Is Yoga Politically Correct?

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The search for truth, only arrived at by constant, unceasing questioning, ties Science and Yoga together through a common string, the string of cause and effect.

Anything done with a yogic perspective must have a clear sight of this cause and effect. Such a perspective does not always lend itself to political correctness. Whether on the current matters of intense focus, such as terrorism or global warming, or on the less fleeting matters such as relationships and emotions , the yogic perspective is not always what we would like to imagine it to be.

When Yoga is given the label of being an ‘alternative’ system for self-therapy and growth, etc. it is wrongly portrayed as being a reactionary or counter-culture movement. The adherent and practitioners of Yoga then go about setting up their own associations, communities, forums, etc. And such communities have their own mind set which is fixed and non-changing. In short they are politically correct in the yogic perspective

To give some examples, ideal Yoga practitioners are supposed to support Veganism or be vegetarian at the very least. They are unattached to the desire for wealth, (though they charge a bomb for teaching the rudimentaries of the Yogic science), ‘certifying’ beginners as teachers. They are thin and should look younger than their actual age. They are disciplined. They do not smoke but might drink wine, if western. They are neat and presentable, they generally support protest movements, are socialists (in Europe) or Democrats (in the US) and so on.

Is Yoga Politically Correct?

Is Yoga Politically Correct? (PC – pintrest.com)

This is the kind of politically correct draft list that would be more fitting for the army or a starchy boarding school. Yoga is actually about freedom, freedom first and freedom last. To break the bondages of self-created attachments and prejudices is admittedly not easy, but its effect is the setting into motion of self-willed evolution.

Self-willed evolution is the very essence of the intention behind the practice of Yoga. Body fitness is only the basis, the foundation of this evolution, it not the effect. So, asanas form the very foundation of Yoga, but it is from the base of a harmonious body brought about by asana practice that real evolution then has to be undertaken. Only when this evolution begins can we say the practitioner is on the path of Yoga.

A sign of the self-willed evolution process is inimitable uniqueness. A sure sign of such uniqueness is a personality that is completely unattached to being politically correct. And now, we are forced to confront a question whose answers might be uncomfortable. What is the meaning of the term politically correct?  Politic, the word arises from the Greek politeia, meaning the policy of a state, or an identifiable group of people. So to be politically correct is to conform as per the policies of different groups we are interacting with. So, for example, when people of different skin colours interact with each other, they must maintain racially (politically) correct, because they are now interacting on a racial basis. When men interact with women, they must be gender (politically) correct, for now they are interacting on the basis of gender,etc.

What is ironical to note here of course, is that if the people of different skin colours were not  interacting on a racial basis, they would not need to be politically correct, if a man interacting with a woman did not do so on a gender differentiation basis, he would not need to know how to be politically correct. So, it is when people who believe they belong to one group are interacting with people they believe belong to another, that they system of political correctness has to come into play so that no feathers are ruffled.

In short, political correctness caters to the prejudices of our group identities. Since authentic Yoga practitioners do not have a group identity, they do not need the instrument of political correctness as they do not suffer from the disease of prejudice that comes attached with group identity.

So, a Yoga practitioner would not have a problem for example, with Muslims, or immigrants, or capitalists or environmentalists, or Syrians, or Chinese,or whichsoever group of law abiding people. And why not? Simply because each person is an individual, and to paint a group of people having a certain skin colour, national or religious or political affiliation,in one way or another, is just a sign of the deep irrationalism which is born through prejudice and fed through blind emotion.

If people started thinking for themselves, they would not form groups based on their mutual prejudices and then states would not be able to control their citizen groups through the manipulation of group prejudices, as they do today and have been doing historically. This is the direct and simple method to social freedom, but it starts within, with individual freedom.

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What prevents us from seeking that individual freedom? What binds us to the system of political correctness? The answer is, our need for validation. Most of us do whatever we do, make all kinds of efforts throughout our lives simply in order to be validated by certain groups of people. And what is validation? It is a cheap substitute for love. When we cannot have the love of others, we demand their respect through validation, when we do not have their respect, we at least request their acknowledgement, that they be aware of us, when we fear lack of acknowledgement, we then have two choices, to fall into a pit of self-victimising misery or to make them fear us. Violent people and criminals take the last option.

So, all of this, all of this effort, this work, this political correctness, we undertake and perform, for love. In Yoga, we  go directly to the love  and so have no need for political correctness.

Content and Image ©AryaMarga Society

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