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R Gitananda
29 July 2012, 09:19 PM
namaste

I was reading this article and was astonished at some things.
I knew that teaching Hatha Yoga was very profitable in the
United States but I did not realize the exact extent of it.
I've posted some excerpts from the article linked below.

Hari Aum



Practitioners describe hot yoga as if it were as powerful — and addictive — as any drug. First-timers enter a studio with empty stomachs (if they are smart), but nothing prepares them for the wave of 105-degree heat that refuses to subside.

Anxiety begins to gather in their chests well before the first water break at the 20-minute mark. By the sixth of 26 poses — as they try to balance on one leg while pulling the other leg into a standing split — black spots start to pop before their eyes. At the end of the class, students are left flat on their backs catching their breath, hair matted, and clothes soaked.

Outsiders might consider it a torture only a fool would choose to endure. But for true believers, something euphoric is delivered: They feel amazing. ... To the uninitiated, a Bikram class can seem like a cult. It's not uncommon to see girls brush the guru's hair or massage his body as he lectures, as if he were a deity.

One day, while struggling through class, Gumucio says he decided to take matters into his own hands. He signaled to one of the girls that he wanted to take over. "I decided to massage the evil villain in my life," he recalls, laughing. According to Gumucio, Bikram was impressed.

"From that day forward, he was nice to me," says Gumucio. "But I had to pay a different kind of, you know, penalty. Because then he made me massage him, like, every single day for, like, four hours a day. I would be dripping with sweat all over, just from working on this crazy man." ... Yet their friendship began to strain in 2000. That's when Gumucio met John McAfee, a software billionaire turned yoga teacher, and visited his Colorado estate. The pair immediately clicked. Soon McAfee was inviting him to teach at a retreat, spending several days in nature practicing yoga in complete silence. By the time it was over, Gumucio decided he wanted to teach multiple forms of yoga, incorporating McAfee's kriya method, which focuses on the spine.

"That's when things started to go south," Gumucio says. Bikram felt a sting of betrayal at seeing his protege take on a new mentor. "He said, 'You cannot be a ****ing prostitute. You cannot have your feet in two holes.'" ... Yet while philosophy remains the outer crust of the dispute between Bikram and Gumucio, at heart it's a battle over money. Lot and lots of money. The industry is growing so fast that it's expected to reach $8.3 billion in sales by 2016.

With that much at stake, it was only a matter of time until the lawyers showed up.

To most of the country, the yoga war may be nothing more than another mercantile fight between two titans wrestling over the spoils of their industry. Yet back at the banquet hall in Boston, Bikram frames Gumucio as a villain on par with the all-time greats.

"If you have a sick body, a screw-loose brain, you will only be surviving — that will be a man like Greg, Hitler, or Osama Bin Laden," he says, between bites of plump scallops.

Bikram now claims "zero feeling" for his old disciple and believes that the American courts eventually will decide that rectitude is at his side, where it rightfully belongs. ... Suddenly, there is the chime of a butter knife clinking against a wine glass for quiet. It comes from one of Bikram's close friends, who is standing with his arm around the guru's wife, Rajashree.

"Today is Bikram and Rajashree's 23rd wedding anniversary," the man announces proudly as the room erupts in applause.

"Oh, I forgot! ****!" Bikram exclaims as a large mango cake is wheeled to the center of the room. "I forgot completely! ****! Why you didn't remind me? ****! You keep me too busy!"

The yogis sing "happy anniversary" to the tune of "Happy Birthday." Then Bikram announces that, far from forgetting the occasion, he has bought his wife one of the world's most expensive cars, an $800,000 Rolls-Royce convertible. ... When he returns to the table, Bikram turns to me. "Greg Gumucio, he's finished," he says. "He's ass in the grass."
http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2012-07-19/news/web-head-two-yogis-battle-over-the-fate-of-a-tradition-and-a-very-large-pile-of-money/

Vasa
29 July 2012, 10:50 PM
Namaste.

That is an interesting story, sad too in a way. Only in Kali Yuga can what was originally a sincere spiritual practice turn into a cash cow.

Somehow I doubt Patanjali would approve.

Pranam.

Omkara
30 July 2012, 12:47 AM
The so called 'hot yoga' is a fraud.

Shuddhasattva
30 July 2012, 07:46 AM
Namaste

Sadly 'Hatha Yoga' was once a derivative of laya yoga as founded by Gorakhnath. Though placing emphasis on asana and pranayama, it was not defined by these two things.

We might call the yoga taught in the West a very watered down version of asana yoga more accurately than hatha yoga.

Twilightdance
30 July 2012, 11:03 AM
the yoga taught in the West a very watered down version of asana yoga more accurately than hatha yoga.

So what is the problem with this? Just ridiculing "west's" experimentation with Asanas as watered down and using buzz words like laya doesn't make the "Indian" current understanding of yoga water tight, or does it?

And as far as commercialization is concerned, how is India any different? Most western teachers get [or used to get] their certificates from India. Mysore is a hot spot in global 'wellness' and 'yoga' map, Indians and India earns a good deal from this wellness/yoga tourism. Again, what exactly is wrong with all this is where I am confused with.

Eastern Mind
30 July 2012, 11:58 AM
Vannakkam: What's wrong is that our very own scriptures (not to mention the common sense arrived at by meditation) speak so highly of non-greed and humility. So if someone starts profiting for the sake of profit, then hoarding that wealth, its just adharmic all around. If a person wants to contribute, that's all fine, (but you're still supporting this flow, indirectly) but if you're the one doing the taking, you might want to reconsider the karmic consequences of applying blatant capitalism ideas to the spreading of spiritual knowledge. There's some irony there.

Aum Mamasivaya

Shuddhasattva
30 July 2012, 12:05 PM
So what is the problem with this?If you don't see it, I'm not sure I can explain it to you.


Just ridiculing "west's" experimentation with Asanas as watered down and using buzz words like laya doesn't make the "Indian" current understanding of yoga water tight, or does it?I'm sorry that you choose to interpret a note about the actual meaning and origins of hatha yoga to be throwing around buzz words. If anything, hatha yoga is the buzz word thrown around by those who would sell union at a cheap price.


And as far as commercialization is concerned, how is India any different? It's not - it's even more sad.


Indians and India earns a good deal from this wellness/yoga tourism. Again, what exactly is wrong with all this is where I am confused with.Commodifying truth and the means to truth, yet in commodifying them the actual efficacy is gutted. This leads people in a direction which is both contrary to, and obscurative of, actual yoga.

Some people come to real yoga through the falsity. Many others are misled.

In India, I would say - generously - that 98% of the sadhus are fake, especially the self-promoting ones who elevate themselves as god-men and "yogis" and drive that "earning a good deal." It's certainly not a good deal for India.

1. It cheapens Indian culture, to say nothing of the true religion, as a spiritual novelty, a lifestyle accessory for unfulfilled people.
2. Tourism is the worst 'industry' to build any kind of firm economic foundation on. It is totally fickle and rooted in the smoke and mirrors of perception management, to say nothing of crippling to actual economic endeavors when taking advantage of the walking ATMs is so much more attractive. It is a debilitation.
3. It obscures, and drives sincere seekers away, from the actual yoga. It is a symptom of an underlying disease which has caused the rot of the dharma in Indian society, reducing it to ... this.

The most dangerous thing is that it promotes the idea that one can live a materially engrossed life as an accomplice in the destruction of civilization and the ecosytem and simultaneously be spiritually fulfilled (in a wishy-washy new age way) or at least physically and mentally fit by means of an ancient tradition whose culmination is serving your wellness.

MahaHrada
30 July 2012, 06:33 PM
...the actual meaning and origins of hatha yoga .....
Some people come to real yoga.....
.... from the actual yoga...
... fit by means of an ancient tradition....

Could you please help me out and tell me where they are and who do you think in India is still practising (or was practicing in the last 100 years) or even knows knows about the:

"actual meaning and origins of hatha yoga"

"real yoga"

"ancient tradition" (of yoga) ?

It does not even matter to me if they would greedily rake in shameless amounts of money, without blushing, as most of the Gurus and Maths and Ashrams, neo Hindu and traditional, do anyways, it would just be sufficent for me if they practice Hatha Yoga according to the "actual meaning and traditions".

MahaHrada
30 July 2012, 06:58 PM
Vannakkam: What's wrong is that our very own scriptures (not to mention the common sense arrived at by meditation) speak so highly of non-greed and humility. So if someone starts profiting for the sake of profit, then hoarding that wealth, its just adharmic all around. If a person wants to contribute, that's all fine, (but you're still supporting this flow, indirectly) but if you're the one doing the taking, you might want to reconsider the karmic consequences of applying blatant capitalism ideas to the spreading of spiritual knowledge. There's some irony there.

Aum Mamasivaya

But especially in India religion and spirituality, temples, ashrams maths are all about raking in donations, obtaining money and power and we also find a lot of gurus and religious organisations involved in criminal activities. Western spirituality and also western type of Hatha Yoga is much less burdened by greed, fake gurus, criminal activities sex scandals, prostitution, and exploitation, threats and protection rackets etc. then the eastern.

Twilightdance
31 July 2012, 02:45 AM
Could you please help me out and tell me where they are and who do you think in India is still practising (or was practicing in the last 100 years) or even knows knows about the:

"actual meaning and origins of hatha yoga"

"real yoga"

"ancient tradition" (of yoga) ?



In India, I would say - generously - that 98% of the sadhus are fake, especially the self-promoting ones who elevate themselves as god-men and "yogis" and drive that "earning a good deal." It's certainly not a good deal for India.

I don't know if it is 98%, 99% or something else, but Shuddha has already posted the disclaimer that almost nobody by statistical significance know real yoga in India.

MahaHrada
31 July 2012, 05:27 AM
I don't know if it is 98%, 99% or something else, but Shuddha has already posted the disclaimer that almost nobody by statistical significance know real yoga in India.

If there is no original Hatha Yoga taught in India anymore, the whole idea of western yoga being watered down, makes no sense. The truth is the oppossite, Hatha Yoga has been greatly improved , due to a lot of serious scientific research and experience that went into it.

Shuddhasattva
31 July 2012, 07:11 AM
If there is no original Hatha Yoga taught in India anymore, the whole idea of western yoga being watered down, makes no sense. The truth is the oppossite, Hatha Yoga has been greatly improved , due to a lot of serious scientific research and experience that went into it.Namaste

I had decided not to answer your question because it was evident some agenda behind lurked it and a sincere answer was neither sought nor would be appreciated.

But I would like to address this view...

Some scientific research, some of it 'serious' has gone into studying yoga, certainly, but I do not see the improvements. Perhaps you can point them out in terms of:
Are more people - absolutely or by % of society, now practicing an effective form of yoga which causes mystical, absorptive experiences?
Are committed yogis now able to achieve even higher states of conscious than could be expected in previous times?As a kaula perhaps you can tell me how our amnayas, yogic all, have been improved or at least, redecorated?

Real yoga is indeed being practiced in India today - though less so than 30-40 years ago. Many kinds of real yoga. Raja yoga, laya yoga, hatha yoga, etc. The agama shastra is built around laya yoga, and subsumes within it the raja yoga corpus in one form or another.

Any tantrika is a yogin, though of course yoga is by no means restricted to tantra. Each sampradaya has its own yogas, its own absorptive means.

Hindu dharma is fundamentally built on yoga - effective means for unifying jivatman and paramatman, regardless of whether the process stage is dual or nondual, or the fruition of the path is dual or nondual. It is yoga that is being done.

Yoga is not dead in India, and we would be doing a disservice to those who have painstakingly kept the flame lit to say it is so.

Yoga survives in many places, in many different traditions. Some are laya/hatha based, some are raja based, etc. The source material survives, it is still studied, the techniques and theory are still passed down in worded and wordless transmission.

It is still alive enough to be revived across India - and the world, perhaps even able to subsume within itself, and take advantage of this false yoga, treating what would otherwise be a pitfall as a stepping stone to a better place.

Namaste

MahaHrada
31 July 2012, 08:28 AM
Namaste

I had decided not to answer your question because it was evident some agenda behind lurked it and a sincere answer was neither sought nor would be appreciated.

What makes you think so?




Some scientific research, some of it 'serious' has gone into studying yoga, certainly, but I do not see the improvements. Perhaps you can point them out in terms of:
Are more people - absolutely or by % of society, now practicing an effective form of yoga which causes mystical, absorptive experiences?
Are committed yogis now able to achieve even higher states of conscious than could be expected in previous times?


Yes, definetly, besides improving on the available knowledge also some very harmful practices could be eliminated, probably you know very little of the medical and scientifc research that has been done, which started already 90 years ago, as early as 1921, in cooperation with some eminent indian yogis like swami Kuvalayananda of Lonavla.



As a kaula perhaps you can tell me how our amnayas, yogic all, have been improved or at least, redecorated?

I am not a kuala, but i know enough of this tradition to be shure that Hatha Yoga is certainly not a part of kuala Dharma. Hatha Yoga in its present form which involves several asanas, besides the traditional seated postures, was advocated by the Nath Parampara. Though Nath Parampara and Kaula ultimately trace their origin back to the Siddha Matsyendranath and are both tantric, they are far from being identical.



Real yoga is indeed being practiced in India today - though less so than 30-40 years ago. Many kinds of real yoga. Raja yoga, laya yoga, hatha yoga, etc. The agama shastra is built around laya yoga, and subsumes within it the raja yoga corpus in one form or another.

You are not well informend about what kind of practices are done by todays southern shaivas, definetly Hatha yoga is not taught in the 28 Shaiva agamas. If that is what you mean by agamas, and there are also no other sectarian agamas that teach Hatha Yoga anybody ever heard of, if you can name one that would be a sensational finding that would revolutionise our knowledge of Hatha Yoga and of agamic traditions. There are shastras subsumend under the name "Yoga upanishads" that contain ideas that are definetly related to Hatha Yoga, but these are not authentic upanishads, but late fabrications, their origin can also be traced to the Nath Yogis, and are assimilations of their teaching into vedantic circles.
The Hatha Yoga that is practised today has very little in common with the original practice and philosophy of this type of Yoga, the philosophical background of almost all varieties of Hatha yoga taught today to the public, is vedantic, mixed with ideas culled from Patanjali, while the original Hatha Yoga was solely based on the Yoga shastras of the Nath Parampara like Siddha Siddhanta Paddhati, Goraksa Sataka, Gheranda Samhita, Shiva Samhita, Matsyendra Samhita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika etc. Nowadays probably 10-20 people in this Parampara are still aware of some of the correct procedures and few practise Hatha Yoga in its original form.
If you think Hatha Yoga is still taught in its authentic form somewhere in India, give me just a single name or a single Math, where it is taught and available to the public in India. Pics or i donīt belive it. :)


Any tantrika is a yogin, though of course yoga is by no means restricted to tantra. Each sampradaya has its own yogas, its own absorptive means.

We are not discussing the term "Yoga", anything can be called "Yoga", even the budhhists call a lot of their meditative methods that do not involve asanas, yoga. We are talking about Hatha Yoga, which is very well definend, and it is not part of any tantric tradition except the Nath Parampara. All Hatha Yoga shastras, without a single exception, originate from the Nath Parampara.


Hindu dharma is fundamentally built on yoga - effective means for unifying jivatman and paramatman, regardless of whether the process stage is dual or nondual, or the fruition of the path is dual or nondual. It is yoga that is being done.
Yoga is not dead in India, and we would be doing a disservice to those who have painstakingly kept the flame lit to say it is so.
Yoga survives in many places, in many different traditions.

The term Yoga is not a very well definend concept, it has become immensly popular to call everything "Yoga", from Bhakti to Neo-Vedanta, especially in modern hindu circles, but this is too generalising to be of any use, especially when talking about authentic Hatha Yoga.


Some are laya/hatha based, some are raja based, etc. The source material survives, it is still studied, the techniques and theory are still passed down in worded and wordless transmission.


This is not correct in my opinion, there is very little awareness today about real Hatha Yoga and Laya Yoga is only a modern term for advanced practices of Hatha Yoga. Just name me a contemporary indian tradition or teacher, and i will explain to you why he is not practising authentic hatha Yoga but only a watered down popularised mixture of Patanjalis samkhya yoga vedanta and elements of Hatha Yoga but without access to the original teachings and of course lacking the grace of the Gurus of the authentic sampradaya.


It is still alive enough to be revived across India - and the world, perhaps even able to subsume within itself, and take advantage of this false yoga, treating what would otherwise be a pitfall as a stepping stone to a better place.
Namaste

I think you are not well enough informed about what authentic Hatha Yoga is, about the philosophy behind it, and how it is supposed to ripen the body. Would you be better informend about the subject you would maybe understand why certain aspects of hatha Yoga have been improved by its transfer to the west, and that Hatha Yoga in India is at least as much distorted, if not more so, than the western variety.

As I already mentioned Vedanta and Patanjalis Samkhya Yoga is very different from the principles of authentic Hatha Yoga which is based on the philosophy of the Natha Parampara. By discarding many Indian elements stemming from the alliance of neo-Vedanta and Hatha Yoga, that was one of the major influences that distorted the authentic Hatha Yoga, in recent times in India, the modern type of Hatha Yoga has in some varieties moved closer to the original concept, by reviving the tantric background, while what you might think is traditional Hatha yoga in India, is still much more in the grip of the distortion caused by neo-vedanta.