Someone just sent me a link about ‘yoga rooms’ in airports, a well intentioned share from an acquaintance who thought I’d be cheered by this.
No. Am not.
The proliferation of yoga, everywhere and in any form, are like clouds covering the sun.
This isn’t a judgemental view based on keeping yoga elusive or elitist.
It’s that we mustn’t be afraid to call out what has happened in the last 20 years, namely, the swapping of one set of distractions and desires for another.
So lots of people who choose yoga were once chasing a job, better income, home, things, holidays, a dream relationship. Others, a very large proportion, come to yoga for stress from the mind or distractions or to overcome an addiction. Yoga, with its spiritual connotations and background, seems to offer a new alternative.
But most yoga classes and spiritual stuff are just another way of distracting from what’s really there and become things that people want in the same way they might have wanted or needed other things, even if the material manifestation is subtler. Net result, the swapping of one set of desires (money, things, love) for another (my better body, my better health, I must do my yoga, I must have my healthy food). Even the chasing of ‘experiences’ rather than ‘things’ is still desire and a need of something external that distracts us from what is there.
You can do real yoga sitting at Gate 48 at Gatwick surrounded by the cacophony of all life and yet another flight delay annoucement, and being with it all – including how much aggro is building up inside of you.
Or you can find a yoga room, do your Om, grapple with your friendship bracelet, and escape the reality for a little while.
As a regular practitioner of asana (yoga posture) practice, I totally get the need to stretch out the body when you’re travelling, especially if you have long waits and layovers. To have space to stretch out in the airport is a great idea.
But it’s the labelling of it as ‘Yoga’ and how this continues the myth, the quite frankly BS conception of yoga as a series of stretches with, maybe, some deep breathing.
I’d be a lot happier if they called it Stretch Rooms, or Exercise Room. Go and do all the downward dogs you like there, I’d be totally cool with that and yes, would join in.
Another way of seeing the mass proliferation and very loose use of the term Yoga, is that it suggests in life we are needing and creating MORE separation in order to find peace and quiet. The areas of life we regularly occupy – in our heads or airports, or workplaces or street or kitchen table – remain segregated emotionally and mentally as well as literally. This leaves human consciousness conflicted.
Doing real yoga in the airport lounge (purification of thought, acceptance, non violence, consideration, self inquiry) might mean that your kids settle down, or the angry person in the queue senses another way of being, and.. who knows… maybe eventually, one day, airport lounges will feel like mini temples. Just saying.
I recall when they introduced playing ‘classical music’ in the evenings at my local tube station. The effect was huge and quick: people, of all ages and backgrounds, were found to behave calmer or more considerate of one another. The actual environment and context was the same.
The tube station had to be the tube station. Thousands had to carry on using it and many would be using it on the way home after drinking more than a few pints. Would having quiet zones in the tube station have had the same effect?
Would it just preach to the already converted. And would it make us folk (I include ‘me’ in the ‘us’) who do yoga and love calm feel even more sensitive to the un-calm and a craving to retreat to that Quiet Zone?
Yoga rooms in airports? It’s like adding to the cloud cover over the sun.