‘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

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. What a comedy/tragedy this is to combine the sacredness of meditation designed to connect us to our inner essence and alcohol designed to take us out of our body! I have no further comment.

  6. It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic, and defiling and bastardising such a glorious truth – the Union of Yoga.

  7. Beautiful Anne – you show us how we tend to take truth and twist it to suit the way we prefer life to be. We go for relief not true understanding. Shifting this perception inside of us is a kind of yoga itself.

  8. When we do not listen to our body we accept all sorts of things that simply are not true, like doing yoga whilst having a beer.

  9. It is quite absurd to be using substances that take us away from ourselves when doing yoga that is supposed to reconnect us to ourselves and God,

    1. In our mind everything can be ‘logical’ or complete lies repeated over and over again regardless if it’s true or just a ‘little white lie’ (a lie being a lie no matter what size we choose to give it). The body cannot lie as it feels what it feels and thats that.

  10. Yes, we seem to change everything and invent new ways of being. We pride ourselves on being creative and breaking tradition. Yet, what are we really doing when we change the core teachings of things such as Yoga? What is the purpose behind that?

  11. No judging here, but if you take into consideration the scientific fact that alcohol is poison which fact based, takes you away from your core, your essence, your inner heart, or what ever name you want to put to it, then alcohol and true yoga don’t mix.

  12. The interesting part here about this article, is how you came to your own awareness about how yoga feels in your body, and made the decision to stop, in your own time, in your own way. And this feels important because are we not all on our own journey’s? Figuring things out, trying things out, letting go and picking up what may or may not work? This seems a fundamental part of life, and even though something may look not quite right or definitely not true from the outside, what that person is experiencing and hence learning is priceless and deservers all the time and dedication in the world.

  13. Reading this again after doing esoteric yoga for a week in the evenings and the power and beauty of it, gave me a kind of sad feeling that we have strayed so far from that, to having to add alcohol to the mix.

  14. On reading this blog, it’s incredible to see just how far we are willing to create realities that stretch and twist so far from an original truth… so that in the end we have no idea what the leading impulse was.

  15. It is great to call out the obviously insane that happens in the world. But it is also good to know that no matter how crazy, harmful or anti-evolutionary our experimenting in life may be, our soul keeps steadily pulling us back. One day we will all get sick of the distractions and heed its call.

  16. With many ‘words’ or things we have strayed far away from its true meaning and simplicity in order to keep us away from the truth while being in the illusion of pursuing truth.

  17. Well that is a new one I hadn’t heard of alcohol and yoga. For me the original Sutras of Patanjali ” providing us the wherewithal to reconnect to our Divine nature and our true state of being” are wonderful teachings I have read and in practice support me to reconnect to a stillness within me, with my Divine essence and with the all and and after practising yoga of many different types I know this to be the one I choose.

  18. Once you know to recognize the one true quality meditation or yoga can connect you to and or deepen it, everything else that claims to do so but doesn´t is exposed not just for the error but the great harm it does.

  19. ‘Moet and Meditation’? Sounds like a past time I would have seriously considered in the past! As I never seriously considered doing yoga but used to love a drop of the bubbly, add the two and it would be another activity to not feel how I truly was and how life was truly going.

  20. I practised yoga for years and went away on retreats and on one of these occasions I injured both of my knees, and that was while I was sober. Add alcohol to the mix, and there’s no telling what injuries might occur.

  21. These practices reflect the desperation in people seeking to quell their inner restlessness which cannot be truly quelled by managing symptoms. The truths in life have not changed throughout the ages and neither have the many ways in which we try to avoid those truths.

  22. Some catchwords, concepts or methods like yoga, meditation, sports etc. in general are considered to be good. We would do good to discern much more the ‘content’ and or quality of anything in life and not just when the ridiculousness becomes obvious, like in beer or chocolate yoga or similar.

    1. Great point Alexander Braun, things do tend to stand out when they become extreme, but its in the quality of even what appears ‘normal’ that reveals if it true or not.

  23. I was in a shop the other day where the radio was playing, and they were talking about one of the hosts that had been sent on a week’s exploration of loads of different fitness trends, one being something like ‘hot R’n B yoga’ or something along the lines of combining yoga and dance. Hearing it on the radio, I couldn’t help rolling my eyes at the ridiculous combination, so far away from the true origins of yoga, and I thought of this article. It is true, that we can develop a connection with our bodies that can be related to movement, but it first comes from a connection to a quality in stillness.

  24. In my experience, when there is a known quality that can be defined as divinity, and this is felt to the core, then what is clearly not from that same source is easily exposed. But, never is there a judgement on what is not from divinity, it simply is left to be as it is, because despite all that does not make sense in this world, there remains and continues to be the greatest beholding love available to us all. It is the light of our soul which gives us this and it is never tainted by activities that are untoward, or harming.

  25. incredible the lengths we will go to, to distance ourselves for truly connecting and instead checking out from our bodies

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