Does Commercializing Yoga Hurt Us?

From guest author: Jason Miner,

Yoga is more than mere stretching exercises to help keep you limber. It is a spiritual practice involving meditation and self-reflection. As it is a popular method of relaxing the body and mind, many have embraced the ideals of Yoga. It’s only natural that the capitalists of the world would want to make money on the idea and practice of this combination of body and mind. Mats, water-bottles, towels, and more are loaded with branding icons so that you can meditate on such images as your favorite football team. However, if you are meditating correctly, image is unimportant. Does commercializing such a spiritual activity take something away?

1. Goods – Regardless of what the activity is, someone is looking to make money on it. Whether it is a tiger-printed yoga mat or a Starbucks branded water-bottle, people are willing to pay money just because it shows a favored image or brand. Yoga isn’t the only spiritual activity that is monetized in today’s world. When was the last time you saw a Holy Bible for free at the bookstore?

2. Vanity – Many people will buy into these retail goods in order to gain attention at places like aerobic studios. Although they won’t admit it, why else would you want to meditate on SpongeBobSquarepants? If you were truly into the spiritualistic side of Yoga, it wouldn’t matter what you were using as a mat. Many people will practice Yoga at home without a mat as there is no one to impress.

3. Consumerism – People love to spend money on trinkets and items that hold no significant purpose. Capitalists see this as a smorgasbord of potential riches especially if they see the trend in time to soak it for every dime they can. It has nothing to do with getting in touch with your inner-self, but getting in touch with your inner-wallet. They will create commercials to entice you to buy products you don’t necessarily need by making you feel like you do.

4. Enlightenment – Although merchandising may make you think you need these items to reach a more profound experience of enlightenment, you most surely do not. In fact, you could probably do well to practice Yoga out in the backyard on nothing more than the lawn. No colorful mats or branded bottles will make a difference in how you perceive yourself.

5. Reputation – How would it look if monks at the monastery wore robes with the Pepsi symbol on the back of them? Would you take them seriously? Why don’t nuns walk around in garments showing a bright yellow smiley face on them? You wouldn’t take the religion, faith, or belief very seriously if they did. Does the same thing happen when someone buys into the commercialization of Yoga? Many would think so. To buy these items would make the practice of Yoga look more like a main-stream activity thing rather than finding inner peace.

6. Yoga studios – Most Yoga studios are located in high value urban areas. It means that they are paying high rents. This puts them under considerable pressure to fill classes, leading to over large classes where teachers have difficulty in keeping track of potentially dangerous practices. Teacher training and workshops by famous teachers are essential high price items which keep the studios afloat. This can lead to poor quality teacher training and large numbers of underqualified teachers. Over hyping famous teachers is gradually leading to a tournament model of the financial rewards for teaching. A tournament model is one where a few people at the top make lots of money and most struggle to get by. If this model took hold, it would put further pressure on the overall quality of teaching as most teachers would struggle to get by and be unable to afford extra training.

The world we live in ensures that if there is an activity, a capitalist is looking for ways to monetize it. Unfortunately, that is just how the world currently works. Regardless of what the commercials may try to sell you, Yoga requires nothing more than the power of your own mind and body. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars for trinkets you don’t need, unless you want to.

Jason Miner plays a vital role for He is an expert in writing topics of different categories. He is helping the carnival team to grow & working on making this an even better place for bloggers.


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© Jason Miner, Yogaground 2013

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