On a grassy knoll inside Central Park at the People’s Climate March, a group of demonstrators, keen on enlightening the world, had set up in plain view (see my original report) and readied themselves for their spectacle.
Some eight or dozen people, half men, half women, all roughly thirty years old, were doing jumping jacks. Hup two three ourp! A smaller group was demonstrating squat thrusts—down! up! down! up!—while a third bunch were showing arm curls with tree branches evidently foraged from the park. Unh unh unh!
This athletic show was meant to convince people to be one with Mother Earth, to be one with the Universe, to be one with each other. Or something like that.
No, wait. It wasn’t weight lifting or old-fashioned calisthenics. I mis-remembered. It was yoga. Well, they’re easy to mix up, right? Each are forms of exercise, conduits for health and that kind of thing. Isn’t that so?
We’re seeing a lot of this lately. People cropping up, flexing their musculature in an effort to twist the space-time continuum to align the vibrations (it’s always vibrations), to be in spiritual resonance, and to cause bystanders to fall under the spell of these vibrations and travel along the same world-line to the final destination of Full Enlightenment.
Item Turkish protesters hold mass yoga demo (video). This was in 2013. From the description: “Protesters who have been occupying Istanbul’s Gezi park for six days in an effort to save it from the bulldozers take to mass yoga as a new form of protest.”
A women in the video said, “I felt Peace. I felt Peace. I mean, I’m like I’m not sleeping and you know there’s this craziness and you feel you’re really upset but I was at peace today. It was nice.” Another man (pictured above), looking like the Director in some California corp “Oohhmmed” silently and said nothing.
Item At the Republican Convention in Cleveland came many protesters. According to one news report:
…To the northwest, brightly colored characters dressed like monochrome dervishes twirled in silence. To the northeast, a row of five figures wearing black from head to toe engaged in slow-motion yoga.
It was a typical scene this week in Cleveland’s Public Square, the 10-acre park where demonstrators, media, and above all police congregated while delegates duked it out at the Republican National Convention.
Item At that same event, a magazine devoted to celebrity tittle tattle spoke of “an ambidextrous beatnik doing yoga in a Black Lives Matter tee in front of sign that proclaims ‘Pro-police Anti-brutality.'”
Item In Vancouver two “two pro-pot activist groups” went to war with one another. Organizer “Jeremiah Vandermeer says it’s when police told them they could set up on the front steps of the art gallery, that things turned ugly.”
“We didn’t set up a stage, we were just going to go up the Art Gallery stairs.”
“Well there’s another group of activists who are very aggressive and they actually physically assaulted me twice, one of them ran at me with a rolled-up yoga mat sideways, wacked me in the side of the head, like battering rammed me.”
Yoga mats as physical as well as spiritual weapons!
Item The Yoga of Protest Politics: How to Bring Yogic Principles into the Upcoming Election Season by white guy Josh Schrei.
How do we reconcile the yogic teachings on inner calm with the anxiety we feel at the state of the world? How do we quiet our mind when… Trump? [ellipsis original] And should we quiet it at all? Isn’t our outrage at the current situation a catalyst for change? Shouldn’t we be out in the streets and in the back alleys of the Twitterverse calling for a better world? Or would that be decidedly “un-yogic” of us?
Schrei tells us “Guess what? Yogis protest.”
There are so many more such items that they represent a trend. Not only in the public display of provocative or hideous clothing (as the body of the wearer is fit or not) known as “yoga pants”, or in the danger of sliding under the sway of bizarre religious figures (such as with Dahn), but in the return to something like an old-fashioned kind of paganism.
These protesters really do think, like those doing jumping jacks or stretching before the game really don’t think, that their pretzel-bending is manipulating “elements” and that these manipulations will cause spiritual changes in others. But unlike paganism in the good old days, the only gods yoga-ists recognize, besides the universe itself or Mother Earth, is themselves. Interesting, no?