The creation of the spiritual yogi
The framing of yoga practice as a (spiritual) science – as opposed to being perceived as a fitness and health sport – has strong implications. It imbues the yoga practice and spirituality with authority and difference. The physical exercises (labelled yoga) in this way have distanced itself to other mindless body sport’. In this spiritual context the physical practice of yoga has a different significance – it is not just another physical exercise. Instead yoga is a tool for the inner personal spiritual development’.
So the inclusion of the yoga sign in the habitus of spirituality has strong symbolic significance: it makes the yogic adept different, it gives individuality, it makes her/him spiritual’. It creates distinction and hierarchy. A spiritual identity based on and created by science. Yoga, according to this spiritual framing, is a unique practical tool, which generates inner individual experiences otherwise not accessible. Yoga for the spiritualist becomes a reliable tool (or scientific source) for generating individual spiritual truth’. Further -according to this discourse – such inner individual experience of the ultimate truth is authentic’ and is superior to institutionalised religions, which rely on dogma and empty ritual’.
The yoga sign within the spiritual habitus is therefore a central part of a power discourse. The outcome is identity building and high status ranking. This discourse establishes the spiritual yogi’ as one up and the religious believers’ and ordinary fitness adepts’ as one down. They become the other’ relying on religion or physical materialism. However this preoccupation with the self and its spiritual evolution makes – according to the Dutch professor W. J. Hanegraaff, who specialises in Western esotericism – the spiritual yogi segregated from each other and unable to form institutions and organisations (as religions often do). This individualised community struggles to become a political force and provides instead an endless market opportunity to the spiritual suppliers of the New Age market place. The spiritual identity – constantly reconfiguring and re-creating her inner individual world – has become an ideal spiritual consumer, says Hanegraaff (2008).
Cross your right leg over your left, putting the knees Plank Pose Yogain a vertical line. Inhale; lift up your spine. Exhale. Put some strength Plank Pose Yogain your lower abdominal muscles to support your core strength. Isometrically push your thighs apart. This action will firm the sides of your hips and you may feel a stretch in your outer thighs. Keep breathing! For more intensity, put your right hand on the outside of your right knee, left hand outside the left. knee, and push in with your hands and out with your legs.