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American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture

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American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ 8/30/15 7:35 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture Noah 8/30/15 11:58 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture tom moylan 8/31/15 5:05 AM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture CJMacie 8/31/15 9:43 AM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture Scott Kinney 8/31/15 6:59 AM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ 8/31/15 10:49 AM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture Small Steps 8/31/15 12:57 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture Scott Kinney 8/31/15 1:03 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ 8/31/15 3:10 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture This Good Self 8/31/15 8:57 AM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture Derek 8/31/15 12:34 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ 8/31/15 12:50 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture Derek 8/31/15 1:15 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ 8/31/15 3:21 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture Derek 8/31/15 4:15 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture Scott Kinney 8/31/15 7:51 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ 8/31/15 8:43 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture Scott Kinney 9/1/15 9:01 AM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ 9/1/15 9:49 AM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ 9/1/15 10:36 AM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture Scott Kinney 9/1/15 10:40 AM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture Dada Kind 9/1/15 10:58 AM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ 9/1/15 11:29 AM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture This Good Self 8/31/15 8:13 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture Noah 8/31/15 8:16 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ 8/31/15 9:06 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture CJMacie 8/31/15 3:22 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture Noah 8/31/15 3:32 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture CJMacie 8/31/15 3:46 PM
RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture Noah 8/31/15 3:58 PM
(Let me preface this post by acknowledging that some people have great and profound changes with physical practices like asana postures and Qi Gong. So far I have enjoyed trying out the asana postures.)


I recently started Yoga because all my life activities are sedentary: meditation, programming, general self-education, etc. So adding a physical practice to balance my life is common sense.

Let me say that again. I recently started mindful light gymnastics. Wait, let me say that again: I recently started light gymnastics to balance my lifestyle.

American Yoga appears to be nothing but asanas and the reading off of fortune cookies that the Yoga instructers acquired from the next door Chinese buffet. What the fuck? I always knew this, but now that I've been regularly going to 'Yoga', what the fuck is this?

As you might have picked up from that previous paragraph, I'm a little taken aback by what is called Yoga. I am far from a traditionalist. I don't care about 'authenticity'. What I do care about are pragmatism and aesthetic awesomeness otherwise known as coolness.

Some very quick googling lead to the notion that asanas haven't really been a big part of Yoga historically, which I already assumed with a background of meditation practice. Searching the Dharma Overground yielded some results from physical practices. Every thread I can find has had positive reviews of the asanas and other physical practics. But what is special about asana postures? From a magical perspective, what if one came with the attitude and intention that the act of running or cycling is a supremely sacred spiritual act on the chakra system with strong mindful body awareness and that asana postures are simply stretching? Would one have profoundly positive experiences/chakra openings with running and really nothing to write home about the asanas? If this were the case, then would it be more of the intention and attitude towards any physical activity and not a particular permutation of body posture/movement?

I assume a good chunk of people here practice American Yoga, what are your thoughts on this and American Yoga in general?

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
Answer
8/30/15 11:58 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
A couple thoughts arise.  One is that hatha yoga consists of the bandhas, which are various locking postures that obviously do stimulate the kundalini for many an experienced practitioner.  These bandhas are not arbitrary.  One good experiment would be to invent a goofy position to quickly move into (a very small motion) and then out of, and see what it does.  Then perform a bandha and see what it does.  For a large segment of the population (regardless of conceptual background), I would predict that the bandha would show results and the random motion would not.

Also, hatha yoga consists of even more stuff than the bandhas and the asanas.  For instance, there are a ton of purifying exercises for all systems of the body.  These can get pretty hardcore.  As a child, I remember watching my father (a yoga teacher since the early '70's) run a string between his nose and his mouth several times.

Most westerners are not practicing this way.  They are doing asanas.  Some of these asanas were created in the last 40 years or so.  Some of them are ancient.  Good reference points are The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (circa 1400's) or the more modern Hatha Yoga by Swami Satchitananda.

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
Answer
8/31/15 5:05 AM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
howdy,
i'm  a big fan of ashtanga yoga for fitness as well as 'spiritual" support reasons.  i am also a big fan of aypsite.org which focuses more on the spiritual practices and concepts of yoga.

tom

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
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8/31/15 6:59 AM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
So, what's the goal of your yoga practice?

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
Answer
8/31/15 8:57 AM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
I do yoga (as mentioned in another thread).  I also get a little bit sick of the talk about chinese medicine and meridians and crap.  Chinese medicine is such a load of nonsense.

Maybe find a different teacher.  They are all very different to each other.  Some don't mention meridians at all.

If you don't like all the talk, just enjoy being surrounded by hot, tight bodies of the female variety.

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
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8/31/15 9:43 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
tom moylan:
...
i'm  a big fan of ashtanga yoga for fitness as well as 'spiritual" support reasons.  i am also a big fan of
aypsite.org which focuses more on the spiritual practices and concepts of yoga.
Your link there actually goes to the DhO discussion home page when clicked (but somehow not in this quotation above in red, which errors-out). Typing the URL into a browser does get to the Advanced Yoga Practices website.

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
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8/31/15 10:49 AM as a reply to Scott Kinney.
As far as the asanas are concerned, I'm using it as a method of mindfulness of body, a form of exercising concentration, notocing the any energetic flow, and being somewhat physically active.

So cultivating factors for awakening and being slightly healthier, as a small subset of my overall practice.

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
Answer
8/31/15 12:34 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
A few years ago, I read Mark Singleton's Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice (Oxford, 2010). I got the impression that the yoga class we know today is basically India's answer to the nineteenth-century European calisthenics fad. The baby-boomers then reshaped this blend to their own liking.

The real hatha yoga was historically despised in India. Vivekananda thought it wasn't even a form of spirituality at all.

Right, that's roughly the type of stuff I found after googling for just a few minutes. My post was originally a sort of rant about that, and what I find lacking in Yoga, which I pulled back from because I didn't want to write it all out, but concisely was going to be the about the lack of meditation/awakening/union, lack of Satsang, and lack of ritual. Particularly the lack of ritual seems dubious probably to the vast majority of people here, but I've been in a sort of mindframe of:

"What does a plausibly good religion look like that fulfills a good chunk of needs of its members?" and my sort of backlash against culture and its lack of providing that supprtive network. Actually you would be better to know this than me since you're into Christianity, but I was thinking, pragmatic dharma does a great job of acknowledging meditation and awakening, my local Lutheran church does a great job at providing a community, and I can't really think of any group that does a good job with brining the sacred with ritual, so that's another topic for another day, and then I look at Yoga and it just doesn't really provide anything besides postures stuff, and in order to appease its membership it doesn't really commit to a framework that, "This is the point of Yoga." and instead, "Yoga is whatever you want it to be emoticon"

Of course, most people are in the frame, "Well, that isn't Yoga. You shouldn't come to Yoga expecting to do sitting meditating or to have a supportive community, that's not the point."

To summarize, I'm looking at what our communities need that will keep people from living miserable lives and I find that the current institutions just don't do a good job, and I'm a little hesitant to go into a full on hour upon hour argument of why it sucks.

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
Answer
8/31/15 12:57 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ:
As far as the asanas are concerned, I'm using it as a method of mindfulness of body, a form of exercising concentration, notocing the any energetic flow, and being somewhat physically active.

As far as this goes, if it's working for you, then just ignore the fluff.

I started developing an interest in yoga and (formal classes in) qi gong about two months ago and it has been a wonderful complement to an already mature martial arts practice. As well it's been helpful in my ongoing trek through the contemplative fields. I just turn my bullshit detector on when I go to yoga and have learned to ignore the dingbats.

Every now and then, at yoga, I try to speak about the energetic body and other things to see where a conversation might go. If the discussion veers off into woo-woo land, I just smile and nod and mentally make a note. The discussions from the qi gong set are much more relevant, maybe because taoism, qi gong and tai ji have a much more secured lineage.

As far as meridians and the like, it's not just talk. Recent discoveries about the fascial chains in the body line up almost exactly with the way they are described in TCM. It's a true way to train and develop significant martial energies. I have felt it from the hands of the skilled and it is inspiring, frightening and very very real.

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
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8/31/15 1:03 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ:
As far as the asanas are concerned, I'm using it as a method of mindfulness of body, a form of exercising concentration, notocing the any energetic flow, and being somewhat physically active.

So cultivating factors for awakening and being slightly healthier, as a small subset of my overall practice.


How do you actually do that? What is your personal yoga practice like? What do you do, how do you do it? What's a yoga session like for you?

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
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8/31/15 1:15 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ:
"What does a plausibly good religion look like that fulfills a good chunk of needs of its members?" 


Right. How many times do you go to a yoga class and see families with young children attending as a family? How many times do you go to a Goenka retreat and see families with young children attending as a family? You do see that in Catholic churches and in Evangelical churches. The Evangelical churches haven't had much for contemplatives historically, thought that may be changing. The Catholic Church does have its contemplative orders on the other hand.

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
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8/31/15 3:10 PM as a reply to Scott Kinney.
Dilate attention to do a loose steady spread on the whole body in whatever posture, relax in any way possible given the posture and let energetic releases naturally flow out as a side effect of focus and relaxation, typically associated with kriyas.

How I do it exactly is hard to say, it kinda just happens.

Edit: To be clear, this is in the context of a novice attending Yoga, and the general impressions that I assume most all others would more or less take, minus strong concentration intentions, probably.

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
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8/31/15 3:22 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ:
...

American Yoga appears to be nothing but asanas and the reading off of fortune cookies that the Yoga instructers acquired from the next door Chinese buffet. What the fuck? I always knew this, but now that I've been regularly going to 'Yoga', what the fuck is this?
...

Then there's "Kriya Yoga",  s/w popular in the USA, going back to one  Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952), that's 100% Bakhti religion (some  asana stuff but not central that I've noticed).  Actually call that  maybe 50% or more American new age religion, but the two go together  nicely.

A Brahmanic/Hindu religion that goes back to Patanjali, and was heavily influenced by Buddhism -- e.g. prominent feature being "The eight-limbed path", that in outline and many specifics looks very  familiar.

There are major centers in LA and San Diego, and elsewhere movements stemming from principle students of Yogananda:

Church of Ananda (J. Donald Walters) in Northern California (and Italy and India);

A branch led by one C. Roy Davis, with meditation / teaching center in Georgia and satallite centers e.g. in San Jose (and a small group in  Palo Alto which I attended a while about 10 years ago).

see further:
http://www.yogitimes.com/article/patanjali-yoga-sutras-viveka--kriya-yoga
https://www.google.com/search?q=yogananda&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
http://www.anandauncovered.com/IndexENG.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Eugene_Davis

There are a couple of ways I would be interested in looking at this. The first might be to ask: "What is the historical precedence that has lead to the demographics of Yoga as something young white women do?"

Here's another way to look at it: Say I'm a young person who one evening at some bar or club is suddenly hit with the realization I'm, "Looking for something more." What do you do? Volunteer? Join Islam? Play Super Smash bros 4? Okay, maybe there is something to Eastern spirituality that seems intuitively appeling. Yoga is all the rave, maybe I'll go there. Yoga is about asanas and acceptance or something. People come in, don't say anything, do some poses, leave and don't say anything. The website encourages silent entrance and leaving, so mostly its strangers meeting together doing poses together while remaining strangers. (Yes, I know its quite possible to talk to anyone, I am referring to the general cultural structure.) Rinse and repeat.

Now say you're a young person with college debt, working full time, do you pay gas money and pay 10-20 dollars per class? Or do you go to church for free? But say you're still non-religious and don't want to go to church. What do you do? What I'm trying to tease out is, for every person you see at a Yoga center, or Western Buddhist center, who don't you see? What are they doing? What do they want? Is there a system that would provide something worthwhile to these demographics that somethng like American Yoga and Western Buddhism and Protestant Christianity are all missing?

That's kinda the feeling I get when I go to Yoga, that culturally something has gone awry that has a reasonable, actionable, and practical solution, and I don't believe its purely a fictional worry.

A branch led by one C. Roy Davis, with meditation / teaching center in Georgia and satallite centers e.g. in San Jose (and a small group in  Palo Alto which I attended a while about 10 years ago).


Yeah I think kriya yoga might be legit.  Yogananda probably was a relatively scandal-free guru.  Also, Roy Eugene Davis is cool, my dad knew him from when he would visit Ananda ashram back in the day.  Said Roy always gave good advice and what not.

Noah S:
A branch led by one C. Roy Davis, with meditation / teaching center in Georgia and satallite centers e.g. in San Jose (and a small group in  Palo Alto which I attended a while about 10 years ago).


Yeah I think kriya yoga might be legit.  Yogananda probably was a relatively scandal-free guru.  Also, Roy Eugene Davis is cool, my dad knew him from when he would visit Ananda ashram back in the day.  Said Roy always gave good advice and what not.

J. Donald Walters' "path", on the other hand, has been followed by a series of sexual scandals.

J. Donald Walters' "path", on the other hand, has been followed by a series of sexual scandals.


Oh yeah, Kriyananda right?  Very bad things.

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
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8/31/15 4:15 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ:

That's kinda the feeling I get when I go to Yoga, that culturally something has gone awry that has a reasonable, actionable, and practical solution, and I don't believe its purely a fictional worry.

That's a legitimate concern, TPFKARJ. Plenty of people have noted that Western individualism is becoming more and more extreme. To what extent is the yoga "community" really a community?

Derek Cameron:
The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ:

That's kinda the feeling I get when I go to Yoga, that culturally something has gone awry that has a reasonable, actionable, and practical solution, and I don't believe its purely a fictional worry.

That's a legitimate concern, TPFKARJ. Plenty of people have noted that Western individualism is becoming more and more extreme. To what extent is the yoga "community" really a community?
OK, I'll wait until the discussion cycles back to actual yoga practice.

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
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8/31/15 8:13 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
Ryan you're causing unecessary stress for yourself!

Enjoy moving your body surrounded by beautiful women - that's all.  When you stretch, you are probably releasing built up stresses stored in the body as tension.  The tension was created by negative thoughts like the ones on here, btw.  It's not rocket surgery.

One need not call it yoga.  Just call it 'stretching class'.  Has yoga been beset by a whle bunch of bullshit?  Sure it has!  Everything has!  Even Western medicine is 90% bullshit.  Ask Daniel.  There's nothing in life that isn't bullshit!

Just have fun and relax. 

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
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8/31/15 8:16 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
Enjoy moving your body surrounded by beautiful women - that's all.


Lmao, true.

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
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8/31/15 8:43 PM as a reply to Scott Kinney.
Culture doesn't matter?

You hint at having a strong grasp of what Yoga practice proper is, so, give a reasonably succinct explanation, ideally with relationship to typical American Yoga one might find shopping around cluelessly.

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
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8/31/15 9:06 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
You're kinda right, but I find writing and ranting to be a form of therapy and orientation emoticon And while I don't expect my writing to have much of an influence, writing, ideas, and general will to change cultural structures works, whether its political law, Yoga, or Buddhism so in that spirit I express myself.

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
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9/1/15 9:01 AM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ:
Culture doesn't matter?

You hint at having a strong grasp of what Yoga practice proper is, so, give a reasonably succinct explanation, ideally with relationship to typical American Yoga one might find shopping around cluelessly.

Big "C" culture is above my pay grade, I care more about community. More on that in a moment.

I admit that I was poking at you with a loaded question, and I apologize for that. Here's the point I hoped would come up; your personal practice defines your yoga. Your goals in yoga, how you train (maybe that's a better word than "practice"), how you learn what you need to know to serve your goals; that's all your yoga.

Now, you're a beginner, and you seem to be depending on classes, and your ultimate goals are a little out of the reach of your average yoga teacher.  They may also be a little out of your immediate reach. As a beginner, you have a lot of physical skills and information to take in. The ability of a teacher to explain shoulder pack, hip alignment, mid-foot drive, hand confirmation, how to regress a posture for your physical condition should matter more to you now than the purity of their lineage.

Personal disclaimer: I learned yoga from my martial arts teachers and coaches, from fighters. That shuts me out of a number of what you would call "American Yoga" schools. (I've been told on a number of occasions that what I do isn't 'real' yoga because I fight or eat meat or whatever.) However, I do have a yoga community; other practitioners who come from martial arts backgrounds. We share tips, tricks, training protocols, asana variations, specific flows for specific attributes. At the core though, we all practice on our own, there's a lot of 'woodshed' or 'garage' time.

I do go to seminars or classes that cover things I'm working on. I went to one last summer on inversions and arm balances. The funny story from that seminar was; the teacher introduced a number of conditioning drills to prepare for arm balances. One of them was a seal crawl across the studio floor and back. It was new to most of the people there, I did not pick up on that fact. In Jiu Jitsu classes I've done seal crawls thousands of times, it was part of every class warmup. So, at the seminar, when my group started across the floor, I was across and back before the others were halfway across. Busted. "Um, I've done that before....."

Anyway, you will be able to find a community that you can participate in, if you are a more careful 'shopper' so to speak, and if you commit to doing work on your own.

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
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9/1/15 9:49 AM as a reply to Scott Kinney.
The Yoga community I do go to relative to what one finds in American Yoga, is actually pretty good. I should have been clear from my original post that all these thoughts are arising in the context of me wondering, "What does a good community, institution, path, tradition, system for people realistically look like?" This is an example coming out of probing that question.

Some googling of what Patanjali considers the point of Yoga is "the neutralization of the alternating waves in consciousness" and the whole framework of yoga and all of its limbs and techniques exist for that purpose.

So one could say the goal of Yoga is awakening, cultures like Pragmatic Dharma, and from what people like Daniel say, Burmese Buddhism put awakening seriously on the table for people, so it seems reasonable we, as a culture, could have that to some degree accessible. Not perfectly, but enough. So compared to real cultures that exist now, Yoga does a bad job. Compared to how many Christian churches that exist now, offer their members a sense of community, Yoga does a bad job. In other words, if one has no background in this, they would basically assume that Yoga is basically feel good light fitness. "I come to the gym, I run, I lift, I leave." "I come to yoga, I do downward dog, I leave."

When you go to a place that basically denies the core values you adhere to: Yoga as awakening, on top of just not really having anything that could be called a functional community, there is a sense of mourning, or disgust. I'm respecting my humanity by owning this disgust, and like an oragami piece I'm unleashing this into the world via writing. That's what writers do. I'm already over it more or less as of this writing, I'm not tortured by this reality. But these words are my testament that I don't submit to the context that "This is reality. This is what Yoga is." When historically Yoga has been vastly more than asanas, as Derek also alluded to.

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
Answer
9/1/15 10:36 AM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
I am obviously not the first to question the culture of yoga, here's a fun site:

http://recoveringyogi.com/

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
Answer
9/1/15 10:40 AM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
The question I keep coming back to is; isn't that really a function of *how you practice*?

Just picture this for a moment.

You approach yoga as you would seated meditation. The posture becomes the primary object of concentration; physical feelings of discomfort and strain may become "notable", fears may become notable, as well as the normal mind chatter. That's a valid approach. It's just one where you have to put in your own effort, the class can't do it for you. 

Some schools do social and charitable work in their physical communities, and some even offer free classes to teachers, police, fire and EMT (2 schools near me do this).

Another thing to consider: yoga could be a supporting leg in your overall personal practice; like seated meditation, like studying texts or attending Dharma talks, and doing other supporting work. In that context, yoga plays a role, and a necessary role, it is just not solely responsible for your development.

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
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9/1/15 10:58 AM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
http://www.shinzen.org/Articles/artBuddhismYoga.pdf

RE: American Yoga and the Burger King "Have it your way" Spiritual Culture
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9/1/15 11:29 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
From the article, "There are two ways to look upon the pranayama and asanas that constitute most of what istaught in modern yoga.They may be looked upon as exercises to prepare the body for thelong periods of intense sitting that may be required to attain Samadhi.On the other hand,they may be looked upon as a venue within which you cultivate intense concentration inlieu of those long periods of formal sitting practice.The former point of viewwould seemto be implied in the yoga sutras themselves.If we take this point of view, then clearly,modern yoga, although spectacularly effective in creating health and vitality, is failingdismally to achieve its ultimate goal because very few studentsof yoga ever go on to dointense sitting practice.If we take the second point of view, that the yoga session itself isthe venue for developing the inner limbs of the Yoga Sutras, thena little formal training inMindfulness technique can go a long waytowards facilitating that goal."

Since Shinzen is my biggest influence it isn't a surprise without much thinking I've naturally used asanas as a meditation object rather than exercise that prepares me before taking on a meditation object. Here he kinda re-affirms my position: "modern yoga is failing dismally to achieve its ultimate goal"

Maybe I'm too optimistic, but the existence of Shinzen and his far from insignificant following gives me the sense that there could be "Shinzen centers" so to speak, in the sense that such communities provide respectable meditation, respectable physical practice, respectable talks, respectable community, far from perfect, far from conflict, but vastly superior to what is available now. Shinzen also talks about the native american rituals he has attended, which I mentioned briefly in a previous post about what I find lacking in general spiritual culture where the art of ritual, as a deep human longing, especially doesn't exist in the wake of Protestantism and the Enlightenment to what I believe is our detriment.