Thursday, February 17, 2011

Yoga is the new golf (?)

I just read this New York Post article via YogaDork. I really don't know what to make of it. Rationally speaking, I should be happy. If yoga is indeed the new golf, i.e. if it is indeed the new "in" way for colleagues to bond after work, or for new hires to earn extra brownie points with their bosses, then more power to yoga, right? Moreover, I remember that back when I first started yoga years ago in grad school, I basically became a "yoga-vangelist", and tried, to no avail, to get my fellow grad students and professors to start doing yoga too. They responded by politely declining, and then privately labeling me a "yoga nut". Whatever. I've been called worse things before.

But to get back to the present story, it seems that, rationally speaking, if yoga is indeed the new golf, I should be overjoyed and happy, especially in light of my past failures and frustrations with trying to get people to do it, shouldn't I? So why am I not overjoyed and happy (okay, I just realized that "overjoyed" and "happy" basically mean the same thing. Verbal overkill. My apologies...)? Well, I'm not sure. Somehow, this seems to reinforce my recent perception that the popular media has a way of cheapening and vulgarizing everything that yoga is about. So now, yoga is a way to bond with/brown-nose your boss. In addition, according to one of the people interviewed in the article, "advanced yoga practitioner" is also "bullshit that one can put at the bottom of your resume", something that "automatically marks you as slightly alternative, creative and modern" (Huh! Why didn't I think of putting this on my CV?).

Hmm... maybe I should put this at the bottom of my CV:

"Special ability: Is able to fold himself in half, bind himself into a pretzel, and contemplate the opening of his own anus. Very useful ability for counteracting certain anal-retentive tendencies that are commonly found in many corporate and academic work environments."

Maybe this would automatically mark me out as "slightly alternative, creative and modern"?


  1. Ahahaha, that's amazing. I'm thinking of how the employer would reply. "Hmmmmmmmm, this fellow seems pretty loose and open-anused...I mean open-minded." Apparently my imaginary bosses have a Freudian complex or something. (Don't we all though?) If yoga is the new golf then where does that leave golf? Is golf the new yoga? What are your thoughts on this?

  2. I hear golf is fun, but I can't stand the outfits. I can't see how this is a reasonable analogy anyway since yoga is a solo sport and golf you walk around joshing and telling dirty jokes and letting the boss win. How can you do that in yoga?

  3. Yoga is better than golf. At least you get to twist your spine in more than one direction.

  4. I agree. Yoga isn't a competitive sport. It's not even a sport. I'm really thinking this is a sign of yoga as being "trendy", and a way to use for social networking. It's almost blatantly obvious that it is. I'm actually quite new to the serious practice of yoga. (although I was aware of it for quite sometime)

    I wasn't attracted to it because I could somehow score "brownie points" with a superior that I followed into practice with. Although I might recommend it to a friend, I would really like for my friend to engage in yoga because of the enrichment it provides for him, and not simply because he thinks it will make us better friends. (Although I suppose that's enrichment in itself for the both of us. :)) Because if you're doing it for the "golf" reason I doubt you're going into it with a genuine yogic goal in mind.

    Sorry about another rant. It's hard for me to stop myself once I become focused on a subject.

  5. If you give up "the rant" you are giving up yoga. Satyagraha. There is lots of work to do. Most warriors and mavericks so called either take sides with other mavericks, (eg. Waylon at elej or ZenDirtDust) or shadowbox, (see Leslie Kaminoff) but yoga is about standing up for all sides. Awaken your Bodhicitta and fight - even for your enemy!! Your yoga is as good and as crap as anyone elses. JFDI

  6. @Chris, let's see... if yoga is the new golf, then I think golf will still be golf, except it will probably become even "golfier" (if this makes any sense :-)). No, golf will NEVER become the new yoga. NEVER...(see my explanation below for my extreme reaction)

    @Loo, in a sense, it may be even easier to let the boss win in yoga, because in yoga, everybody wins :-) The trouble is that this might not be the kind of victory the boss has in mind :-)

    @Yyogini, agree with your observation about getting to twist the spine in more than one direction in yoga :-)

    @Yogi Mat, "Awaken your Bodhicitta and fight - even for your enemy!! Your yoga is as good and as crap as anyone elses." Well said! I'm not familiar with the work of Waylon at elej or ZenDirtDust. Will look them up.

  7. @Everybody who has commented on this post thus far, here's my explanation for my extreme reaction to Chris' suggestion that golf might become the new yoga. Part of the reason this New York post article caught my attention was because of my family background. Growing up, my dad was (and still is) an avid golfer. (Gosh, I hope my dad isn't reading this... yikes!) He didn't start golfing till he was in his mid-forties. As far as I was concerned, it was a very sudden transition. One day, he didn't play golf, and then suddenly, he was getting up at five in the mroning 3 or 4 times a week to go to the green. So yeah, maybe golf is his yoga, in a sense... And the weird thing is, he somehow single-handedly managed to "convert" a few of my uncles and cousins to join him in taking up golf. He tried for a time to get up to pick up golf, and tried to preach to me about its networking/bonding benefits. I tried for a while, but (a) my swing really sucked, and (b) I just couldn't (and still can't) understand the charm of walking up and down a green with a bunch of guys in these funny outfits. So you could say that golf brings up all these associations of being something that one's old man does that is not so, well, cool. And now is might be becoming the new yoga? Or maybe it was my dad's yoga the whole time... Nooooo.....

  8. In my previous comment, I meant to write "He tried for a time to get ME to pick up golf, and tried to preach to me about its networking/bonding benefits." But maybe you've already figured this out...