Yoga as religion

NYC-outdoor-yoga-2

One of things I notice frequently is how devout people are to practicing yoga, especially from the west. It’s not surprising as any culture that has removed their own tradition, religion, and values will crave for spirituality, norms, and most importantly a routine.

Yesterday was the international yoga day, and plenty of people have taken part in this ritual. It is being celebrated in almost every corner of the globe, except in some places. I was never into yoga as people in my country rarely take part, however for women they take these classes like a religion. The key difference is yoga can be done by anyone without any affiliation to any spiritual order, there are those who do it for keeping their body fit, whilst others do it to keep their mind focused and relaxed, then there is the practice of spirituality and meditation, as well as learning the values in everyday life.

Any group that is increasingly becoming secular, yet trashing their own culture and heritage, will be devoid of any social structure. They will crave for spirituality, a routine and meaning, as can be seen in anglo women. The norms, values, and spirituality from this ancient practice is being widely accepted into the lives of people who crave for it. However, the anglo women will use the platform of yoga to signal it for other uses.

capture-20170622-101645
@yoga_ky

Practicing yoga has now become a fashion, it is now part of the broader culture in the west to wear yoga pants, show off their hot body, and signal virtue of their devotion. It has become in some aspects by women to showcase their beauty, which falls under the intersexual selection hypothesis.

As people are now given a routine, that will keep them physically fit, spiritually relaxed they will follow this ancient practice and bring it into their everyday lives. Whether this religion will bring beneficial results remains to be seen, however it is much better to have it in society, rather than devolve to other poisonous ideology, it’s popularity ever increasing shows it’s potential.

British legacy

20170315_115345
cricket match in Colombo

Cricket is widely popular among south asians, it can be equated to as the most important ‘popular’ sports culture in those countries. In fact even among the most rural communities, cricket is being played and followed like a religion.

While abroad in another south asian country, I happened to be in the time where a test match was being played between the host nation and from mine. As soon as I entered the arena, I was surprised to see the level of interest regular folks had over the game. Even though it was a test match, which is a lot longer and slower than other versions of the game, people were on the edge of their seats.

One can see why the game is so popular, given the mental strategy required to outperform the opponents. It’s where players need to wear helmets, and body protection to protect themselves from a very hard ball, coming at a person at lightning speed. A dangerous but yet civilized game. However, the main reason of it’s popularity is because of the British empire, it’s the empire legacy that people of the host nation adopted to playing what the ‘elites’ liked to play, and also what to drink, hence ‘tea’ is also a celebrated ‘cultural’ drink.

While sitting on the ground enjoying a lovely day, with green grass, blue sky, sun shining, with players battling on the field, I am reminded of how people are celebrating the legacy of one of history’s largest empire.

East or West

One of things that I like doing is taking pictures of places that most people don’t bother to look. In the early morning whenever I got out to explore Bali, I was exposed to the beautiful ritual by women, who wore traditional dress and offer their blessings for a good day.

While on the right side of the picture, an anglo women is wearing a neck pillow, with shades and snoring her way to another country, these are two very contrasting pictures. One women appears spiritually in peace, devout to her culture, religion, customs; whereas the other one is discontent, uneasy, devoid of any life. Every time I would walk past the road the local women would acknowledge my presence, greet me with a smile, while an anglo woman didn’t ever bother to manage a smile.

This made me question about how critical the culture plays in shaping human behavior, obviously there are genetic differences, however it cannot take hold of how people would conduct themselves in an environment with unlimited behavioral possibilities. Any nation, society, group will fall into chaos without a proper culture, as can be seen from the picture above. Even though the western girl is travelling at the speed of sound, thousands of feet up in the air, exploring continents, she is devoid of any spirituality, happiness, connection with the outside world.

Often times I wonder how much romantic consumerism is infecting people with ideals, one doesn’t necessarily need to hop from one place to another to feel ‘ecstatic’, as touring places I found many people who never traveled outside their own country yet they were full of joy.

Without a proper decent culture and spirituality, any nation will fall into chaos, it’s society will not function, it’s structure will crumble, in it’s weakness another conquering culture will take over as can be seen in the world.

River view

Far from #citylife outing in #river

A post shared by lonefreethinker (@lonefreethinker) on

A family on the boat ride, umbrella used to shelter the bright sunshine, the colorful clothes dancing with the river,  connecting one part of the city to another, the river is the quickest and easiest route to take, the boat an early built vessel.

I decided to explore one part of the city, that was not always the easiest to get to, because concrete and asphalt haven’t yet plundered the place. The smell of asphalt is intoxicating to conquerors, and finally found it’s way to the village. It’s only about 10 miles from here, and didn’t take me long to reach.

As I went to the bridge built out of bamboo sticks, a tool used for so many centuries in this part of the world, one can ‘feel’ the structure as one get’s on it. The view diverged to several paths, each connecting one another, but the view was green, quiet, peaceful it’s as if I was taken to another part of the world. A world, that may cease to exist for conquerors are doing everything they can, to make a world of asphalt devoid of any culture, tradition, and life.

Journey to unknown

artoflv

Every once in a while, I just feel like packing my bags, and hitting the road, not knowing where I will go or end up. It’s not wanting to be in a environment that is unhealthy for my mind but also my body. The thought of spending my days here, is torturing me inside, maybe I need to move somewhere else, a place where I can enjoy nature, with caring people, live a relaxing lifestyle.

Most people didn’t know that’s how most of our ancestors had spent their life living with nature, until the start of a destructive revolution. Life of hunter gatherers was made to look like, terrifying, starvation, barbaric, that’s what our culture tells us, in fact it’s quite the opposite. They were the first original affluent society according to anthropologists  Marshall Sahlins.

That’s what many people are still trying to accomplish, whether it’s people who are hopping of to a different part of the world, or taking regular vacations. Most of them are just trying to get away from the ‘system’, our socioeconomic system, which has made society run like a prison industry.

There are hundreds of questions that arise, as soon as I start packing my bags. Starting from what I am going to take in my bag, the expense, where to go, how to get theres, visa issues (for south asian people big problem), having all these questions are a barrier. To break this barrier, it’s best to just take a deep breath and head out for a journey to the unknown.