The appropriation of yoga in a world distorted by images of personal brands.
Updated: May 22, 2022
Many yoga teachers have branded yoga through their own personal image, like a fashion catalog, by showing themselves in photos and videos that in the end only show excessive egos, which is not yoga. While there is only one yoga. At ashtanga yoga Lausanne we don't feel that it is very interesting. We are more caring about a practice adapted for each practitioner than about creating a brand for the teachers.
An interview with TKV. Desikashar inspired us a lot by explaining what yoga should continue to be:
"Teach what is inside you, not as it applies to you yourself, but as it applies to the other. " — T. Krishnamacharya
This view was expressed by Desikachar through a seminar in Omega, New York in May 2002 around the theme “The Ocean of Yoga – From the Parts to the Whole” as:
“The current world of Yoga seems to be made up of many small parts, each one competing with and often confusing the other. This is not consistent with the spirit of Yoga, whose very meaning is “to unite”.
The application of Yoga according to the person.
The intelligent and systematic application of Yoga, be it concerned with physical exercises, deep breathing, relaxation, meditation, lifestyle, food, studies, according to the person and together with the persons current situation.
Our Yoga practice as a personalized process that moves from a short term practice adapted to our outer limitations towards a longer term practice that explores our inner potentials.
"The more they (the student) like you, the more they become attached."
"We should be careful if we feel very enthusiastic, because it could distort the spirit of the teaching."
- TKV Desikachar speaking with his senior Western students London 1998.
"There is an image in the world today that the guru has a following and his students follow him like the Pied Piper. This is not good.
The true guru shows you the way.
You go your way and then you’re on your own, because you know your place and you are grateful.
I can always thank my guru naturally and enjoy the relationship, but I do not have to follow him around, because then I am not in my own place.
Following the guru’s destination is another way of losing yourself.
The yoga concept of svadharma means “your own duty or nature”;“your own way”.
If you try to do somebody else’s dharma, trouble happens.
The guru helps you find your own dharma."
-- TKV Desikachar. Book: The Heart of Yoga Developing a Personal Practice
Interview with Desikachar through a seminar in Omega, New York in May 2002. By Lisa Miriam Cherry.
Q: Have you teaching methods changed over the years?
D: I’am not the same person I was. My body’s not the same. My age, my goals, my abilities and my wishes, are not the same. Sometimes even my environment is different. My goals have changed. At 21 I want to excel in all the asana that was my goal. Today it is different, and one year later will be different again. When I become a Yoga student, I lost a lot of my friends, because they thought I was doing something crazy. They thought of me as an engineer. They were ashamed to be yoga teachers in the 1960s. When Yoga became more popular in the West, India began to look at yoga differently, and today because of this contribution from the West, Yoga is now accepted. It’s now in the mainstream, it’s in many medical schools, there’s a board that decides who should be recognized. In India, still the wind blows from the West!
Q: In what way do you think Yoga can help where weste