Without doubt, folk religion is a field for and generator of empowerment, inspiration, personal development, political resistance, social change, compassion, and cultural enrichment. Folk religion is also the field where the amateur has a voice. The values, orientations, beliefs, passions and impulses of the amateurs – the yoga sympathisers – become here a factor to be reckoned with. As there is no institutional control, no highbrow attitudes, and no authoritative valuations of good and bad taste, such a field can under certain circumstances develop an incredible inner dynamic not possible within the elite religion controlled by professionals. This means that folk religion can slide in any direction. This holds true for modernist colonial- and Western popular yoga – one fuelled by colonial repression the other by commercialism and cultural narcissism. The pace of change of popular modernist yoga is formidable – like it or not. No one can predict its future directions. Its inventions are staggering and a challenge to any guru or scholar who claims, and wants to defend, a core of yogic authenticity and essence. Many even dream of closing Pandora’s box again – but as we all know this is by definition too late. The genie is out of the bottle.
Having appreciated the dynamic of folk yoga’ religion we have also warned about religion’s dark side – – be it folk or elite. Sociologists for instance have pointed to religions’ oppressive dark side throughout history. How it can for instance create and legitimate social hierarchy and power; how it disciplines and controls through tacit assumptions, enabled through its ontological axioms and metaphysical orientations ingrained in language and habits. The analysis of modernist Western popular yoga has made this aspect very evident.
Pull your left knee out to the side and back, Yoga zone folding the foot in close to you. Separate the thighs as widely as possible. Turn Yoga zone toward your left and extend your spine up. Firm your legs, stretching out through your right heel. Inhale, stretch your spine up, exhale, and incline toward your right leg. Pause here and root your right thigh down to keep the knee straight. 7. On another exhalation, curve your body over to the right, your right arm coming alongside your Reach for the right foot with your hand.
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