(With an exchange between American yogis and a Fundamentalist yogi over at YorgaDork, I remembered this piece I did awhile ago.)
For EternallyBlissfulYoga Super Magazine
A new phenomenon is developing within the American Yoga world; the rise of Fundamentalist Yogis. These practitioners have started appearing at Yoga studios a little over a year ago and have become a distraction according to Yoga studio owners, teachers and students.
The Fundamentalist Yogis (they refer to themselves as True Yogis) apparently grew out of a reaction to the overly commercialized and trivialized contemporary Yoga scene today. These Yogis have not only taken on the beliefs and dress of the sadhus of India but are also doing Yoga according to the first recorded ancient text of Yoga, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. They have begun appearing in Yoga studios sometimes wearing nothing more then loin cloths and carrying tridents. They feel that the pastel colored Yoga mats and expensive chi-chi Yoga clothing is an abomination of the practice of Yoga. Some of these Yogis have an ashen tone to their skin from the ashes that cover their bodies which they claim are the ashes of the dead. When one of the Fundamentalist Yogis was asked if the ashes were from humans, that Yogi only smiled.
Cathy Freeman, a yoga student, whose yoga class has been visited by a Fundamentalist Yogi commented, “The ashes are weird but the trident he was carrying gave me the creeps.” She added, “He did have a nice ass though”. Jasmine-ji, the owner of the Laughing Buddha Yoga studio which has also been visitied by Fundamentalist Yogis said, “I know, as Yogis, we are suppose to be accepting of all Yogis, but these guys are freaking my customer out. It’s bad enough that they don’t bring Yoga mats to practice on, but the fact that they leave all those ashes all over the studio floor has become a nightmare to clean up after. Plus”, she added, “they’re kind of smelly”.
A fundamentalist yogi with a trident rushing to a Yoga class in New York City