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On Why Yoga Can Be So Irritating (Although You Should Go Anyway!)

@manatee I grew up in Oregon and I can't agree with you more. I moved to Southern CA and escaped the stench. But the memory of the girls with "chive crotch" who didn't bathe their hairy armpits or anything "down below" lives on. Nor will I ever forget the reaction of a friend visiting from Mexico when she saw a swarm of Grateful Dead followers ( who all came from middle-upper class families) in their filthy raggedy attire. She cried out "Oh no! those poor people! They must going through a really rough time and nobody cares! How could this happen in America?" It was impossible to explain to someone from a poor country why these young people would choose not to bathe, dress like street urchins, and just basically leech off all the shmucks who would give them free food and shelter. When they had every opportunity to be educated, productive members of society. I did get turned on to the benefits of yoga thanks to them, but I chose to practice it in a clean, stench free environment.

Anyway, I now live in Mexico. I have seen, first hand, the extremely dirt poor conditions so many people live in. Running water, electricity, paved streets, decent schools and medical care are a luxury.
Yet you see them coming out of the makeshift shacks they live in, freshly bathed, well groomed, looking spotless in clothing that has been washed and ironed with great care. And to top it off- wearing a beautiful smile on their face. So, for these people who struggle everyday just to maintain the basics, it is almost impossible to comprehend the American mentality.

Clearly, materially speaking, they are very poor. But they are so rich in spirit. With very few exceptions, they are very close knit families and most often live in extended family units. No need for daycare or nursing homes. No need to pay a "shrink" when you have a supportive family to help you. The use of psychotropic meds is almost unheard of. They maintain their spiritual traditions and rituals, and include the children from the very beginning. No need to pay a guru to be your guide because you have lost touch with you inner self. With such a physically demanding lifestyle, no need to pay gym fees to get a workout. They may not do yoga, but they know how to position and move their bodies when they carry heavy loads,ect., and therefore they have excellent posture.

And last but not least, they do not shy away from the reality of death. In these remote villages when someone dies, the family handles every detail at home. The women bathe and prepare their loved ones body for burial. The men build a simple wooden casket and prepare the burial site. Their loved one's body is never left alone. Before the funeral and burial, they hold a 24 candlelight prayer vigil around the body which is laid out in the front room. The following day the casket is carried to to the church for a funeral Mass. Then the casket is closed and hand carried to the cemetery accompanied by musicians as all members of the village walk behind in a solemn procession.

I realize that I've gone off on a bit a tangent. But I believe it is relevant, because all of us who go to yoga and meditation classes are seeking the peace and happiness that we lost along the way in America. The wonderful Mexican people who opened their hearts, homes and shared their lives with me, showed me the source of true happiness. We can all learn so much from them.

Posted on September 17, 2011 at 9:29 pm 0