My ebook: Journeys with the caterpillar

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Journeys with the caterpillar: Travelling through the islands of Flores
and Sumba, Indonesia
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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Everybody go Yoggin, Yoggin USA

People stretching their legs and arms as they reach for their inner self, tolerating the pains of 109F temperature as they sweat away their malice.... I am not talking about Benaras or Kashi...This is Palo Alto, California. Yes, California is the real yoga land, where there is a yoga center every block (incidentally there is a MacDonalds every three miles in USA)..California has become that unique place where first world concerns (obesity and stress) are encountered by third-world or should I say, other-world solutions.
Of course, US has an abundance of people who occupy more physical space than they should, but even then, the presence of 15 million yoga practitioners in USA is !!!!!!. I wonder if there are even half that many in India...
But then of course, in India there are different issues - For some reason, the yoga show comes on Aastha TV at dinner time !!!!!!! Also in the US, you are most likely to encounter celebrities, corporate honchos and young students of the opposite sex, in a Yoga center...Whereas in India, its more likely to be 35+ gujarati or marwari wives seeking a solution for their gastro problems...And every Friday, at city squares in Calif, Indians dressed in jeans and tees and Americans dressed in Saris and Dhotis sing out loud and spread the message of Yoga...
Yoga in California also invariably comes with a prefix- Power, Hot, Psychedelic and of-course Iyengar and Bikram - truly, many roads to the universal truth... I have only two memories of a similar kind of craze - the Kung-Fu craze in North-East India around early 90s and the present Fencing craze in Kandivali....By the way, will the day ever come when - Yoga will be - "For here" or "To Go"..


Charukesi said...

:)) but the US has always adopted "third world" self help techniques for a while now - transcendental meditation and such - sort of oriental chicken soup for the western soul?


Shivaji said...

Yes indeed, but it had never been at such a scale...
And also most of these centers are run by swedes, african-americans, local americans etc...
And by the way, one of the popular "third-world" self help technique popular in Us is Voodoo