Yoga with Melissa 178 Cultural Conditioning Series: Money Can’t Buy Everything an Intermediate Yoga Class
: Cultural Conditioning is the social process in which authority figures such as parents, professors, politicians, religious leaders, peers, and the media define our cultural values, beliefs, ethical systems, and ultimately the way we perceive ourselves in the world. Today we are going to look critically at the way we worship at the altar of consumerism. In our culture we are told our consumer choices will solve all our problems. Buying the right cleaner will solve the environmental problems. Buying products with pink ribbons on them will cure breast cancer (forget that many of these products actually have carcinogens in them). Companies can throw together a “green campaign” and all in the name of buying their products.
In truth many of today’s problems will not and cannot be solved at the level of consumerism. Consumerism has gotten us into many of the problems we are currently experiencing as a culture, we only need to look at consumer debt, foreclosures and mortgage defaults for evidence.
Money can’t buy us everything and we can’t consume our way out of every problem. In yoga there is a yama called aparigraha which means non-hoarding or take only what you need.
But I want to go even deeper than that in today’s class and go so far as to say, you can’t buy your way into being a yogi. You can buy an expensive yoga mat, fashionable yoga clothes and yoga books at yoga trade shows. You can pay for all the retreats and fancy yoga conferences you want, but unless you are coming to your yoga mat with regular frequency to practice your yoga, you are not going to experience the benefits of yoga. You cannot buy your way into being a yogi. The only way you can become a yogi is through the practice of yoga. It is called get your but in the asana. Sit in meditation. Get up every morning and practice.
I totally understand that we live in a pecuniary world where everything costs money. I understand that even in order for me to give away these free weekly yoga classes I have to run a business to support that with our membership site and paid videos. Hey, I have to pay for the roof over my head, the clothes on the backs of myself, Tim and Trinity and the food we put in our mouths. I have a heat bill, water bill and electric bill too.
What I am trying to say is that to find the path to inner peace through your pocket book is not going to work, even if you are buying yoga products and services. You do not need to accumulate a ton yoga products and services. Take only what you need to support your yoga practice. Is going to loads and loads of yoga workshops and retreats in the yoga community any different than showing off your fancy car and house in the larger culture? Do the external trappings matter or is it more important what we are cultivating on the inside? As we practice yoga we have the opportunity to focus on a journey that allows us to uncover our True Selves, our dharma (purpose) and in turn create positive change in the world.
Reflect on the ways that materialism show up within spiritual communities. Reflect on yoga as a practice as a verb rather than a noun. How does that change things? What is your intention for today’s practice?
Today I’m going to share some of the yoga poses I’ve had to practice the most and I’m still practicing.
Props Needed: Yoga Block, Strap
Yoga Asanas: supta padangusthasana/hand to big toe pose, cat & cow/Marjaryasana, 1/2 moon balancing from cat, modified side plank/Vasisthasana, lunge/anjaneyasana, parsvottanasana/standing forward folding triangle, triangle/trikonasana, 1/2 moon balancing/ardha chandrasana, downward facing dog/adho mukha svanasana, Camel/Ushtrasana, Childs/balasana, Sages Twist/Marichyasana I, Sages Forward Bend, Bhumisparsha Mudra
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