Kevin Sheehan Learns about Yoga’s Cultural Significance

When Kevin Sheehan travels for work or for personal reasons, he likes to take a few hours to integrate himself with the culture of this new city. Recently, he had a business meeting in India. It was his first time traveling there and in order to de-stress after a long day of meetings, he decided to take a yoga class. He has only taken a few other yoga classes previously, and found this one to be exceptional yet different for a few other reasons.

 

Kevin Sheehan learnt the meaning behind yoga while in India, away from the cultural-defining American way of practicing it. Yoga means union in Sanskrit, and is meant to bring the mind and body together in a peaceful meditative practice where the breath is at work. The breath is used to unclog any dis-enchanting thoughts or moments that are going on in one’s life. Yoga is nothing without the breath, and only with a good sounding breath can you go ahead and practice each posture at ease.

 

Kevin Sheehan learnt of the pride and confidence that Indian people had concerning the root of yoga. This heavy part of American culture after all must be credited back to India, a practice that was started almost 3,000 years ago. Now as a method to relieve anxiety and be happier in your mental state, yoga is overriding cultural barriers and used as a health conscious practice.

Sadly enough, with all that pride he learnt that some Indians believe that yoga has been culturally appropriated. This comes in the form of marketing messaging that brands such as Lululemon and Lole may appropriate about what it means to be a yogi, or Sanskrit mantras that are supposed to be honored and are instead written on merchandise such as t-shirts.

 

Yoga has many limbs that go past the regular practice. Controlling basic human impulses, using the breathe to control the life within a person and meditative mental exercises are amongst the other limbs of yoga. The deities that are present in yoga studios or stores should be taken with honor and spiritual significance instead of a simple yogi prop. They are India’s God.

 

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