Growing up in an advanced capitalist society, my whole life has been subjective to the roles of media in which they have exemplified the rise of religion. I was enculturated (Krissman’s word for “brainwashed) into believing that if I was a follower of religion’s dogmatic ways, my freedom and safety would be taken away from me. However I have come to build my own hypothesis on religion in where I believe, religious illiteracy is far more dangerous than religion because it puts a barrier between ignorance and tolerance. My current cultural anthropology education has presented the evolution of religious practices from all around the world. Anthropologists have studied the evolution of religious practice. Cultures have been known to modify a traditional belief from another, which may be borrowed through the “diffusion” from subculture that may come to be appreciated for their different worldview (Spradley and McCurdy 2012; 256, 257).
Western nations are undergoing a revitalization movement, the undergoing construct of making a culture more satisfying. Wanting to emphasize on a more personal spiritual quest rather than becoming an exclusive member in as organized religion (Spradley and McCurdy 2012; 256, 257). Western societies have altered the spiritual significance of yoga that originated in eastern societies. During the late 19th and early 20th century a new era of open consciousness towards Eastern religions commenced in the United States.
Traveling from a far distance the traditional religious background surrounding yoga is being overlooked by western nations; who use it as a form of exercise and fashion. At what extent is it okay for another nation to exploit another countries culture?
John Bodley argues that primitive cultures “are totally different from our own” and that they “represent an almost total contrast in adaptive strategy to our own unproven cultural experiment” (Beyond Counterculture 81). That being said, is it okay to “adapt” yoga from Eastern cultures and alter it, disregarding the religious scriptures and Vedas that surrounds it in India. Primitive religions and worldviews include ideas that express the interdependence and identity of these people with the natural world (Beyond Counterculture 81). Consumerist societies has modernized/white-breaded traditional yoga.
In Nepal, men become Sadhus to devote themselves to achieving moksha or liberation through the practice of yoga as an act of penitence (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q56zsqg8_8). This same practice is being used by corporations who have altered it into something profitable. There are yoga mats, towels, and clothes which have no traditional significance behind it.
In my following posts, I will have had gathered information and personal experiences from people who have traveled to India and have seen the yoga culture and compare it to that of here.