‘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

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

  1. As alarming as Moet and meditation sounds and is – I also know I have embarked upon many strange practices to avoid the stress and pressures of daily life, rather than to allow the simplicity of what lies within to be felt – no Moet, meditation, or yoga needed. However it was true meditation – simply breathing gently in no dictated sitting position – which eventually supported this re-connection with myself. Prior to this point though it was many years of thinking that, what I now look back on, as strange practices, were completely ‘normal’ and often questioned why others were not doing what I was when eventually I came to feel for myself what was true and not true. This was the key – nothing at the time of indulging in this waywardness would change my mind as I was so ‘taken over’ and driven that I could so easily justify my choices, and as long as the connection was not there I would not feel the ill choices. Hence in a way the beer and yoga makes sense – first the beer disconnects and confirms the disconnection already there which then helps to not feel how neither is the yoga truly supportive, thus making the disconnection greater. Really just showing the lengths and complications anyone can go to to avoid the beauty and simplicity of the soul.

  2. Moet and meditation, beer and yoga – what a crazy coupling. We just seem to be getting more and more extreme with our behaviours. Seriously what will we come up with next.

  3. I remember how I used to meet a new best friend when I was drunk, and I would never remember their name or what we talked about, but I used to think we ‘bonded’ amazingly. And no, connection was not even sought at the time.

  4. Re-reading this again made me realise where our world has gone to, in introducing some fad to make something more attractive or a body to ‘relax’ more. When it only requires the simplicity in everything. Despite mod cons or state of the art technology, we are none the wiser or none the healthier. At what point will we ever question this? and yet the simplicity to life is to connect with what’s inside of us, instead of what’s out side of us.

    1. What’s inside of us is endless, whereas what’s outside of us is so limited. The trouble is we’ve come to think it’s the other way around. We don’t think there’s anything going on on the inside and at the same time are mesmerised by the bright lights and sparkle of what’s happening all around us. As long as we keep our eyes on the horizon we’ll never feel satisfied or settled.

      1. I agree Alexis we have made life one huge distraction. Yoga correctly taught can bring the mind back into union with our bodies and from what has been described in the blog, it is easy to see the deliberate attempt that there should be no connection whatsoever. If we do not constantly discern, we will get caught up in the bright lights of distraction as we have always done for eons, which is one of the biggest lies we have fallen for.

  5. Thank you for sharing this. It seems that there are no regulations for offering yoga classes and as far as I know that goes for teaching yoga too, so it seems that anything goes.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Brilliant reflection Anne. Mixing an activity with alcohol and calling it Yoga is like accepting abuse in a relationship and calling it Love. It simply makes no sense.

  10. 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.

    1. It is interesting to note that anything that has anything to do with God has lost its true meaning, so that the God we have come to know is nothing like the God that actually exists. Have we ever stopped to consider if it’s possible this is a deliberate act of sabotage? because if we reconnect back to the God via an inward movement, then the energy that runs our conscious state would lose its source of energy which gives it its life force. Or, maybe that’s too much to hear; that there is another source of energy tapping into our emotional life force so we are kept in an emotionally stressful state, which is the complete opposite to how we could and should be living.

  11. 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.

  12. “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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

      1. Great point, when we really allow our body to surrender the stillness is exquisite but for many, this would be too much and expose the racy way most of us live.

  15. Wow, that is so sad that alcohol is associated with yoga. I have never been a fan of the yoga that shapes you into a pretzel and does the opposite of connecting you to you, your own body and stillness. Are our bodies meant to bend to all of these shapes and for what purpose?

    ‘This divine connection to our Soul is yoga in its true, and ageless, essence’ couldn’t sum what yoga is truly about.

    1. True yoga is a ‘back towards’, but yoga for the most part has become an ‘away from’. An away from as we attempt to become stronger and more flexible, as an away from as we attempt to become more mastered in our ability to ‘do asanas’, basically an away from as we take ourselves and our bodies into doing, even if it is ‘doing yoga’. True Yoga is a back towards our beingness, it is like standing on the edge of a pool with our back to the water, opening our arms and allowing ourselves to fall back.

  16. Anne reading your article again today I was able to feel how precious union or true yoga is as a lived way, and that I hadn’t fully appreciated what I’ve been experiencing.

  17. I have also noticed this attitude of ‘superiority’ that some yoga instructors or practitioners can have, which in my observations, seems to come from having a body that feels strong and flexible as well as feeling strongly connected with one’s spirit. And this is where perhaps the modern day practises of yoga let us down, because it misses out how beautiful, light and delicate the human body is when it is with the soul.

  18. Anne, it is unbelievable that yoga and drinking alcohol can go hand in hand in a yoga class. This makes me realise that there are no regulations on who teaches yoga and on what is taught, it feels like a free for all and that any idea no matter how crazy can now come under the yoga banner, this feels very far away from the truth of yoga.

  19. Brilliant blog Anne Scott. I have also been horrified at the way yoga has become some play thing and lost it’s true origins. Thank God for Esoteric Yoga as practised by students of Universal Medicine. This Yoga offers us a connection to an energy that is way more glorious than any alcohol or other side kick could ever bring.

  20. Yes very true Shirley-Ann, when we are in connection with God we need nothing outside of ourselves, as we are full of love, truth and wisdom.

  21. I once went on a yoga retreat in India for three weeks, where we meditated for about two hours every morning. The woman I shared a room with told the teacher that she was having trouble being still throughout this time and he recommended to her that she have smoke pot before she came along to class. I remember feeling shocked that he would tell her to have drugs before a mediation class that was about connecting deeply to yourself. This experience was enough to begin my questioning about yoga and meditation and the many illusions around this popular practice.

  22. Strange bedfellows indeed – yoga and beer, yoga and champagne, yoga and mindfulness; anything goes these days and only true discernment and reading the energy will make it clear what we are buying into. After all, without the demand there would not be the supply.

  23. We are never going to ease the dis-ease by coming up with ever more ‘creative solutions’. If we truly want to address the unease we may feel in our bodies and in life we need to be willing to go there, look honestly at our life, to delve deeper rather than cover or bury it further.

    1. Your comment Victoria Picone shows that we are not willing to address the unease that we feel in our bodies, so we bury it further by distracting ourselves by whatever means possible. The blog itself exposes just how far we will go not to feel anything.

  24. Yoga and alcohol – seriously! Could our disconnection from ourselves get any more ridiculous?

  25. ‘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.’ If this teaching was the foundation of every yoga class we would know instantly that alcohol and yoga are at complete odds with each other and makes no sense.

    1. Yes, I too have reactions and I can feel how true your comment is because everytime I connect with what I can do is bring a true reflection I instantly feel settled in my body.

    2. We’ve actually bastardised life, truly we have. Our true way of living is nothing like what we are currently living. Even those who are living in what they consider to be a ‘civilised’ way of living are living a long way from the truth. Our true way of living is to be impulsed by the consciousness of God and very few are living this way.

  26. I am currently on a yoga program and it is an outstanding opportunity to bring more stillness into my day to day life.

    1. Elizabeth I have just finished a Esoteric Yoga course, what this course showed me was the ‘raciness’ of my mind, how much I was going into my mind rather than deepen into the stillness of my body. This shows me how my mind fights my body for dominance. Many of us live in our minds rather than our bodies and I wonder if this is why there is so much illness and disease in the world because of the emphasis we put on our minds and neglect our bodies?

  27. We have a historical habit of taking the truth and peverting it so that is suits what we prefer it to be. If we learn one thing, let it be that the key in life is integrity.

  28. If we don’t read the people standing in front of us, i.e. yoga teachers, we will never be able to discern their integrity. The person leading the class can have the most out there sexual fantasies about their students, they could be picturing having sex whith them while leading the class thinking that nobody know what’s going on in their head. But, with our natural ability to read energy we can discern whether the person standing in front of us is harming or not, this way we can discern whether what they are saying to us is harming or not.

  29. We twist and bend to get a ‘unique experience’ but maybe we could say to bastardise what we know is true. Where are we when we start with a glass of champagne or beer, or feel we need to be naked to connect to what, to our Soul? it is like you say Anne ‘This divine connection with our Soul is yoga in its true, and ageless, essence. Alcohol has no place in that connection.’

  30. “This divine connection with our Soul is yoga in its true, and ageless, essence. Alcohol has no place in that connection.” totally. Neither does any other form of numbing agents (food, drive, being hard on ourselves, drugs, sport etc…) I know that because I have felt the divine connection with my Soul and when I do those other things, I no longer feel that connection. It is a loving work in progress for me to keep choosing my Soul.

  31. In the reference article 1.”The goal is to make people stress-free, relaxed, happy, and if this means that you would have to incorporate beer I think that’s perfectly fine and I think that’s encouraged.” It is a sad day when we fool ourselves into believing that numbing ourselves from feeling makes us happy, relaxed and stress-free. When the truth of yoga is about connecting and reunion.

  32. A sign of our times and the insatiable desire for more, different, unique experiences – but these are distractions that make us feel more disconnected from our souls, more distant from ourselves and one another, instead of more closely connected.

    1. Well said Bryony. It seems that part of us that craves those increasingly ‘unique experiences’ is indeed insatiable.

  33. “This divine connection with our Soul is yoga in its true, and ageless, essence. Alcohol has no place in that connection” – and in truth no place in our world either as well.

  34. Whilst the combination of drinking beer and yoga may not make sense on one level, on another level it shows us very clearly how we are living life and the relief or the time out needed to escape from the life we are living. If we look at everything else in life and see the extremes, which are fast catching up as our new normals, then we could also see this as no surprise either.

  35. This is exactly what happens when you live from the parts in expense to the whole they are a part of. Everything gets all jumbled up and has no reference point and even worse, the one-unifying truth we each in essence know to be absolute, gets layered with the many half-truths and deliberate untruths that abound in the guise of ‘my truth’ versus ‘your truth’. Welcome to creation – the world we humans have shaped, where lies get sold as truth and we drink it all up, every last gulp of it until we reach a point of saturation where the body cries ‘no more’. Only then will the being within it begin to make more loving choices that support its return to the whole it first separated from.

  36. I walked into a designer store the other day and saw a slogan on a t-shirt glamourising Moët and Yoga. We must have drifted so far away from truth if this is what we are now championing.

  37. Yoga is about connection, union with our ‘being’. It exposes how ridiculous some of these trends are, a complete bastadisation of the truth of the word and its lived quality.

  38. Now I have heard everything; adding two things that couldn’t be more opposite and probably expecting something amazing to come from it. Its like adding mud to the purist water and expecting it to make you fly.

    1. Honestly coming back to this blog, the idea feels just as absurd as it did the first time I read about it! The expectation that yoga and alcohol in combination will do something amazing just exposes how blinkered into checking out we want to be!

      1. I have to be honest I don’t think that the concept of beer and yoga is that crazy, because most of us are unconscious to the fact that most things we do in life we do in order to repress how we’re feeling. Pretty much our entire world, certainly what we refer to as ‘The Western world’ is set up to permanently distract and numb us from our own unsettlement and so is the combination of beer and yoga really that extreme? I don’t think so, in fact as a yoga teacher myself I’d say that at least it’s more honest than the people who go to India and study yoga intently and who think that they are more elevated than everybody else (I never went to India but my word I felt more spiritually enlightened than pretty much everyone else and yet was a total energetic mess!)

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