‘Moet and Meditation’? ‘Beer Yoga’? – Where is Patanjali’s Yoga Today?

Recently I was at dinner with my husband and a friend at a restaurant that had a yoga studio attached to it. Part way through our dinner there was an influx of young women and I later noticed they were all drinking a bottle of Moet champagne. This seemed so unusual that I asked the waitress what was happening. Her answer seemed unbelievable to me:

“They are here for a ‘Moet and Meditation’ class.”

Yes, you heard that correctly! This completely flabbergasted me, as putting the two together seemed like anathema to me – for I knew (from my study of Raja Yoga) that meditation is used to re-connect you to yourself, and alcohol takes you away from yourself. Further, the class involved drinking champagne before the meditation!

Then, recently I watched a video by Business Inside UK titled ‘People in London are doing yoga while drinking ice cold beer.’ I watched horrified as the video showed people drinking beer in a pub at the same time as practising yoga. The yoga teacher justified it thus:

“It (beer) adds a little bit more relaxation because people tend to be tense when they come… The goal is to make people stress-free, relaxed and happy, and if this means we have to incorporate beer I think that’s perfectly fine and I think that’s encouraged.” (1)

The video ended as follows:

“They say it complements the joy of drinking beer and the mindfulness of yoga.” (1)

Whoa… did this shock me! 

In addition to this there is now ‘hot yoga’ (yoga practised in a very hot room), ‘naked yoga’ (self-explanatory), and ‘fat yoga’ … the list of so-called ‘yoga’ goes on. Add to this the evidence in recent years of yoga ‘gurus’ being accused of having sex with their underage followers, raping young girls, or embezzling their employees’ pension funds, and you start to get a very disturbing picture of the present yoga consciousness.

I practised yoga for 25 years and taught it for 15 years. Although I still teach ‘stretch, strengthen and stillness’ classes, I stopped teaching yoga about five years ago when I could feel in my heart that the yoga I was teaching was no longer true, and in fact was far from what I now understand true yoga to be. I have found that I no longer have the sense of superiority I felt because I ‘practised yoga’ – a superiority that I notice many yoga teachers and practitioners seem to have. Also, since letting go of this consciousness and changing what and how I teach, I have noticed that I am stronger and more flexible than I was before!

The decision to discontinue teaching and practising yoga the way I had been for many years has been very much confirmed for me by the path modern yoga appears to now be going down.

It seems to me that we are now very far away from the source of true yoga that the very wise Indian sage Patanjali taught us in his Yoga Sutras somewhere between 200 BC and 400 AD.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (‘threads’) consist of 196 very short aphorisms (statements), which bring awareness and deeper understanding to how we are living so that we can make changes to support us, thus:

“providing the wherewithal for us to reconnect to our Divine nature and true state of being… The goal of the Yoga-sutras is no less than entire transformation of ourselves, to reconnect to our true Divine essence.” (2)

To deepen our understanding of ourselves and the universe, Patanjali gave us the practical path of yoga, which was given to support human beings to stop being dominated by the mind and to stop taking everything personally, so we could re-connect to our Divinity, to who we truly are, which is so much more than the human body.

So how does drinking alcohol whilst practising yoga support us to re-connect when most people who drink alcohol know that when they drink alcohol they turn into someone else entirely, i.e. they dis-connect even further from themselves?

It appears to me that practising yoga whilst holding a bottle of beer, or drinking champagne before a yoga meditation class, is a complete bastardisation of true Yoga… and that those who teach it are being very irresponsible. 

It seems that today we – including, and perhaps especially, some yoga teachers – have moved very far away from the classical Raja (kingly) Yoga of Patanjali. Perhaps we could ask ourselves, why?

Those who have studied yoga in its true essence know that it is a way of living that is simply about union – union with our self and with God: in other words, union with our Soul. Many have experienced the joy of truly connecting to their Soul and to God, and from there have felt the Oneness that we are all from. Is this not what, deep down, we all truly want? To live a life full of purpose, to develop the ‘kingly body’ that Patanjali spoke of, so we can let go of our hurts and emotions and re-connect to each other and to the simplicity life can be, and – most important of all – to be the love that we naturally are.

This divine connection with our Soul is yoga in its true, and ageless, essence. Alcohol has no place in that connection.

By Anne Scott, Auckland

References:

  1. Business Insider. (2017). People in London are doing yoga while drinking ice cold beer – this is how it works. [online] Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/beer-yoga-london-vinyasa-flow-yoga-drinking-beer-funzing-uk-pub-drinking-alcohol-2017-6/?r=AU&IR=T [Accessed 20 Nov. 2017]. 
  1. Unimed Living. (2017). Patanjali: The great Indian sage and teacher of the Ageless Wisdom | Unimed Living. [online] Available at: http://www.unimedliving.com/ageless-wisdom/the-lineage/patanjali-the-great-indian-sage-and-teacher-of-the-ageless-wisdom.html [Accessed 20 Nov. 2017].

Further Reading:
Esoteric yoga: union with me and God – at last
Esoteric Yoga – yoga for our world today
Feeling the Divinity of God through Esoteric Yoga

530 thoughts on “‘Moet and Meditation’? ‘Beer Yoga’? – Where is Patanjali’s Yoga Today?

  1. If I had not experienced the purity of Patanjali’s Yoga through Esoteric Yoga, I may not have been so amazed by the way Yoga is being represented these days. Yoga is about going inward, becoming still and finding union with body, mind and soul. This is a far cry from drinking Champaign or beer.

  2. The busy-ness of life in the world for many today allows few to truly stop and feel their body. Esoteric Yoga supports people to take time to stop and reconnect with who they truly are.

  3. Realizing about how easily we can take the true meaning of a word and create a different version of it. I appreciate Esoteric Yoga because the integrity of the presenters and the significant benefits that can be felt in the body just by making simple and gentle movements. The stillness and solidness that I’ve experienced afterwards confirms what union – true yoga- is about.

  4. Yoga , like a many other words these days, Yoga has lost it’s true meaning. It is actually a sacred practise – uniting us with the deepest part of ourselves that- in turn – united with God.

  5. The first time I did esoteric yoga in person, I felt a change within myself which I can’t really describe with words. Throughout the whole day I felt like nothing in the world can happen that will offset the steadiness i felt within myself. Often when people talk about how their life is going, they talk about the car they’re driving, the house they’re living in or the job they’re doing. Although I have all of these amazing things in my life, i never measure how well i’m doing based on that. To me, the level of steadiness I keep during the day is what determines whether i’m well or not and that day was a day I will always hold as a marker because the feeling cannot be matched by any gift, possession, food or compliment from another.

  6. “Those who have studied yoga in its true essence know that it is a way of living that is simply about union – union with ourselves and with God: in other words, union with our Soul.” So true. The complete bastardisation that some call yoga – such as chocolate yoga, dog yoga, beer or champagne yoga – do not deserve to have the word yoga associated with them – complete bastardisation of the true meaning of yoga.

  7. In my experience, we do all innately warm to being love, simply because we are of it and are from it. It is natural to us and deeply resting and stilling beyond most people’s imagination. Yet this has not been something we have collectively been asking for in human life. We are avoiding it and it would serve us all well to explore why.

  8. There is something sacred about the union of yoga and stillness of the body. I participated in a session last night and I could feel the difference in my body. It was in stillness, but what was more obvious was the exhaustion and heaviness of what I had taken on and did not belong to me.

    True yoga is the marker of this truth and brings the body to being the boss again, no props, no gimmicks – just pure truth.

    1. When we become still our body can show us how we are really living. Is this why so many don’t want to go there? I love esoteric yoga – the depth of the stillness that can be felt is exquisite.

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