Bhagwan Shiva known as Adi Yogi is said to have imparted the knowledge of Yoga to mankind on this day, thereby earning the title of first guru (Adi Yogi). Yoga is an integral part of the Vedic/Sanatan culture. The first reference to Yoga, in fact, is made in Rigveda but it is widely speculated to be a pre-Vedic tradition making it as Indian as anything can get. The formal compilation of Yoga was made in the Yoga Sutras by Maharishi Patanjali. The Yoga Sutras explain Yoga in terms of mental, physical, and spiritual discipline. The disciplines include Yama (dos), Nyama (don’ts), pratyahara (daily observation), dhyana (concentration), Dharana (understanding the object), and samadhi (deep meditation). But consumerism has commodified Yoga in terms of secular concept and selling in the market as a tool for physical fitness, stress relief, and relaxation techniques.
Commodification of Yoga
21st June 2014 was declared the International Yoga Day by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Further, the institutionalized promotion of Yoga by Prime Minister Narendra Modi itself spread this ancient Hindu practice around the world. Fighting the negative emotional behaviour like anger, lust, greed, and jealousy, people started to practice it in mass numbers and the results associated develop a trust in the practice of Yoga. But the acceptance of Yoga and its practise by the western countries and even by Islamic countries in the Middle East started to paint Yoga in a “secular” and “non-religious” picture.
Moreover, Yoga’s all-around solution for both body and mind activated a commercial market for the practice. People started to sell it by rebranding them in secular packages and without understanding an integral part of Yoga which ultimately brings mind & body to a confluence.
Yoga’s originality lies in the observation of spiritual disciplines like Yama, Niyama, pratyahara, dhyana, Dharana, and Samadhi. The confluence of Pranayama (breathing) and Asana (physical posture) is an integral part of Yoga. Simply doing some physical activities similar to Asana cannot be called Yoga. The practice is incomplete without the integration of Vedic chanting of Om. The divine sound of Om and Asana associated with deep breathing brings the comic energy of the universal and fulfils the bloodstream of the body with new sources of energy. That’s why it is said that to practice Yoga, a natural environment is necessary, where practitioners come close to nature.
But the recent attempt by pseudo secularists to secularize and term the practice of Yoga as a non-religious physical act is fake. Yoga is very much Hindu and the practice fully assimilates the ritual, practice, and associated identities of Vedic culture. In an attempt to commercialize this practice of Yoga in pseudo-secular terms, these people are trying to dilute the very essence of Yoga. Yoga is incomplete without the practice of discipline described in the Yoga Sutra & Vedic scriptures.
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