Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Intelligent design and `hot' yoga

This is sort of old news, but y'all probably heard our beloved Dubya speaking out in support of intelligent design being taught to kids in school. This at a (quoting from the Washington Post), freewheelin', spirited news conference with Texas paper reporters. Sounds like Dubya felt right at home. In the midst of the uproar that ensued, his science adviser (what? he had one? yeah, only I suspect he hasn't had much to do since assuming that position) tried to smooth it out by clarifying that it was in a "social context" that the president meant intelligent design to be introduced in schools. That is swell, but why not also introduce kids to alternative sexual preferences (like, homosexuality) in the very same "social context"?

After that profound reflection, its time for more pop culture whoring. And what better to gripe about than that fad of all fads... yoga! I was reading an article where some hipster mentioned that he was into the latest manifestation in this genre - hot yoga. I didn't get it at first, but then I realized that it was a mangling of the term hata yoga (the hata rhymes with butter, if you will). Now, hata is a Sanskrit term used to describe a kind of obstinate, dogged persistence, which, combined with yoga, indicates the kind of physical activity that I usually associate with some yogi up in the Himalayas. I find it hard to believe that some jetsetting, capuccino/moolatte-sipping, Wall Street Journal-reading, yuppie could practice real hata yoga. Heck, I find it mighty unlikely that any consumerist American could. But then, isn't that what fads are all about...

Oops, in my zealousness to disparage fads, I forgot to Google hot yoga, just in case I missed something. Sure enough, when I Googled the term just after I wrote the previous paragraph, I found out that it was not mistaken for hata yoga (, although that sneaking suspicion lingers...). But wait, this hot yoga is apparently a sequence of some 26 asanas (positions) supposed to be performed at a balmy 106 F. Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.

I should have signed off on that triumphant note, but I couldn't resist adding this bit of information. I was born in this sleepy little town called Mysore in Karnataka, India. Now, after 24 years, I learn that there is also a very popular style called Mysore yoga. Wonders never cease.


sas said...

Hi Shashank,
Well, I agree that it is difficult to imagine an american practicing real hatayoga but sadly the reality is that the number of western yoga enthusiasts vastly outnumbers the indians interested in yoga. Two months ago, I tried to search for yoga materials on the internet and I was surprised to find the detailed english translations of ancient sanskrit text on yoga. But, It must be agreed that westerners are interested in the physical benefits of yoga and not the spiritual ones. Whatever the reason, credit must go to them for saving the knowledge.

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