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  • Writer's pictureSavira Gupta

Do Labels define Yoga? Are you doing or being yoga?

2020 has highlighted the craziness that we live in. The world today is the accumulation of years of hidden injustices that are boiling over and the birth of some really idiotic behaviours, thought patterns and labels that have left me speechless.

Change is the only constant; it is needed desperately to prevent where we appear to be heading as a collective. Our behaviour as a whole seems to have taken a giant step backwards in our thinking and actions instead of moving forward. We are creating division as opposed to uniting as a human race (we are all one!!! Pun intended). You would have hoped that we would learn from this pandemic and lockdown.

This brings me to the Yoga Industry (eyes rolling and head shaking) How does one burn out a flame that is raging with anger, frustration and with many self-claimed experts making their views known. Rather than adding fuel to it I let it run its course, I let it cool down while sharing a perspective that is objective and within context to the Yoga Industry.

Yoga is Political

Yoga for Social Justice

Yoga Diversity


Yoga + White Supremacy

And the list goes on. Now read the above words again and out loud what comes to mind? For me it conjures up an ugliness that perpetuates division. The word ‘yoga’ attached to each of the above words is to create shock value simply because we have become desensitised and have lost perspective and objectivity.

I write from my perspective while maintaining objectivity and staying within context about Yoga. Change is but inevitable and is needed but it is not going happen overnight. So much talk on Cultural Appropriation and Appreciation is simply a temporary band aid for an open wound. Movements for bringing in diversity or calling out the white yoga industry is another alternative band aid. Slotting people into groups is a temporary solution and personally, it’s offensive and takes away the focus from a person and their hard work/achievements.

When these band aids have served their purposes, they are ripped off and what’s left is the same unhealed wound but this time it’s become deeper.

To understand the depth of this practice we have to go back to the meaning of Yoga. Yuj is to unite, to be one with consciousness. (it’s difficult to wrap our heads around this)

As human beings we have to explore and understand our inner mechanics, science and philosophy of the subtle world that resides within.

Yoga has become a process of ‘doing’; many voices say that by doing yoga you will create change in the social environment, politics and so on. This is where I disagree, in whose perspective am I being viewed or challenged on my politics, diversity, social justice etc.?

Who or what group is judging me on my choices and who decides what is right and wrong?

Yoga is NOT about DOING but about BEING. It has nothing to do with a belief system, or what others say or teach nor is it to do with all the buzz words.

To BE YOGA is it to explore experience, seek and determine your true nature without the veil of illusions we collect and carry from various experiences and stages of life that we go through. Being Yoga changes our cellular, karmic, thought, emotional and physical structure.

It is about breaking the circle of life that we have put ourselves into. Being yoga is to detach from one’s individuality and to start seeing our self as simply BEING.

Word art created by Savira Gupta
Do labels define your yoga: Word art by Savira Gupta

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