Almost every day, it appears that more and more people are “doing” yoga. I admire them and I also wonder if it’s just a trend like the other things that are, consciously at least, presumably not fads, like the Atkins and South Beach diets, the taste for war overseas, and the public’s interest in the rise and fall of celebrities.
But here’s Christy Turlington and her friends at Puma launching mahanuala, a newly branded line of loose, yoga-friendly clothing. I don’t want to be sceptical about this, as anyone who risks time away from work to focus on their minds and bodies is doing themselves and those around them good. And there are clothing lines for skateboarders so why not yoga practitioners?
But I always ask myself regarding new things: “Under what sign was this born?” Websites, for instance, were born under the signs of 90s opulence and a revolution in information technology. The Lewinsky scandal was born under the signs of misplaced values and concern about large government (and large government officials). The rebirth of yoga is sadly born under the signs of poor economic outlook, war, and misappropriation of public and private capital.
The questions then are: Is yoga’s rejuvenation a response to externalities beyond our control and a de-rationalization of our modern life? Or is yoga a retreat from the real, a denial of our own violence to ourselves and others, and admission of the poverty of our daily ways and means?

4 thoughts on “mahanuala”

  1. Or, perhaps, yoga might be a return to the real, a repair of the violence to ourselves and others, a way to embrace the richness of our poverty?
    To (mis)quote a [William Carlos Williams?] poem:
    I have had my dreams like other men
    and they have come to nothing.
    So here I stand
    feeling the hat on my head
    feet on the ground
    breath coming in and out of my nose
    and decide to dream no more.

  2. I am sure that many people are practicing yoga just for the trend sake and because they think it will slim down their thighs. A lot of people don’t realize that there is a whole philosophy and lifestyle behind yoga. However, a lot of people are embracing the philosophy side of yoga and bringing into their everyday lives.
    Your comment:
    “Or is yoga a retreat from the real, a denial of our own violence to ourselves and others, and admission of the poverty of our daily ways and means?”
    Yoga does not offer a means to escape anything. In fact it usually brings to the surface all of the abuse we bring down on ourselves. It is not unusual for someone to break down into tears while practicing yoga – not because of the physical demand of the poses but because it is bringing “reality” to the surface. It is showing us that there is much that we need healing from and yoga is just one step in bringing about that healing.
    Yoga has been popular in this country for a while now – long before the Bush admin. took over. Christy Turlington has been practicing yoga since she was in her teens so for her it has nothing to do with a trend. She lives it in her daily life. As for the clothing line, Mahanuala, it’s nothing new. Many other companies have been offering clothes just for yoga for many years now. I think she is just excited that the world is finally taking an interest in something that has brought her much healing. You should check out her book, Living Yoga.

  3. These are good comments. I realize that it’s very easy to be cynical about the marketing of products that cater to enlightenment but I’m going to try to look at the yoga movement in a different way; perhaps yoga is a kind of new accumulation of self and selfhood in the face of the dispersal of all things selfish and therefore universal.

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