'Today I want to tell y'all a story. It's about this dude on my shirt here, you see? He's on a cross. Anyhow, it's really a myth about a shepherd and his flock of sheep. This dude on my shirt? His name is Jesus and he told this story about the shepherd. You see, there was this shepherd who had like a 100 sheep. One day, one of his sheep ran away, which of course upset the shepherd. He loved every one of his sheep. So, he of course left the other 99 sheep and went searching for the one that ran away. When the shepherd found his lost sheep he had a party and everyone was happy...'
Alright, feel uncomfortable yet? What about the choice of words: 'Myth' and 'story'? We can agree, perhaps, that the more politically correct term would be 'religious parable', and that the general pretense of a religious story prior to a yoga class not otherwise specified as such (i.e. religious) feels a bit strange (to say the least). Did you feel a bit perturbed that the teacher also didn't specifically connect his 'story' with the religion of Christianity, or at least acknowledge that this 'Jesus' fellow is a religious deity for Christians?
How about we change the teacher's story to one about Ganesha... and the 16 phases of the moon. Leave the words 'myth' and 'story' as well as the extremely casual tone of the telling and lack of any reference to Ganesha being a Hindu deity. Now how do you feel?
This is not a post to say that Yoga shouldn't involve anything remotely Hindu in nature- that would be ridiculous. It is to voice my growing annoyance with individuals who co-opt certain aspects of Hinduism in an otherwise secular yoga practice. My yoga practice is spiritual and personal and does not involve Krishna, Buddha, Jesus or God for that matter. Since I can't shut off my ears, roll up my mat and leave or voice my concerns during a yoga class- it is the perfect setting to take advantage of a 'captive' audience and share their spiritual;co-opted views.
Of course, most yoga classes are not like this. Which is fabulous. Nevertheless, I am simply not a fan of appropriating parts of a religious or cultural movement as your own... so this event completely irked me.
article copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com