Yoga in India vs. Yoga in the West

After doing my training course in Yoga in India and live there for a while, there was new geographical and personal changes in my life. I went through 4 countries, living in different seasons, my roots, my basis for these constant changes, called Yoga. A constant, but with significant differences.

When newly arrived in India, my motives were working in the area of architecture, then immediately to maintain my sanity went get Yoga classes around the Office where she worked in the city of Hyderabad in the State of Andhra Pradesh.

I thought that ingenuinamente in any city of India would have yoga anywhere, to my surprise it was totally the opposite, in a big city, more than 15 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area, could hardly find five studios that offer Yoga formally wit mat from

The universe helped me and found an Association of neighbors, where the professor would lecture for women who lived in a condo near the business region where he worked. Variants of how I knew Yoga in Mexico, compared with this class, were striking:

For the teacher, Yoga was practiced (only) with a kind of diaper; as for practitioners, was practiced with normal clothes to wear, which to my eyes were beautiful too much as to perhaps ruin with the postures (sarees-Indian dresses and kurtas-beautiful, embroidered gown type blouses, etc) that do not leave to the imagination or apparent shapes of the body, of course. More or less like the images below …

Another, the professor was to some extent thick with practitioners, with a serious look and strict character at the time of the adjustment (verbal only).

In the end, a very crazy, and my search for Yoga in India continued with the approach of the spiritual city or town par excellence: Yoga Rishikesh, after I went through Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh (place of exile of Tibetans and the Dalai Lama’sbase), where I finally made the formation with the contrasts I needed: half of teachers Indians and the other half of the European and Canadian teachers. This balance was crucial and helped me later so I can make the comments:

Note # 1:

Yoga in the West is much more popular than in India

In the West, mainly in countries like United States, Mexico, Canada and others, Yoga turned fever. In these countries is very easy to find a Yoga Studio with classes of any kind at any time of the day. The West commercialized Yoga successfully enriched the varieties and the methodology of teaching.

In India, Yoga in daily life of an Indian is seen as purely a spiritual path.

In the West, in addition to being a spiritual path (for some, not for all who practice), is also a great way to keep fit.

Note # 2:

The teacher-student relationship is completely different

As I said, in my training course had Indian and Western teachers. Despite the Indian professor in charge of the school, be a person with experience in the United States, too, the teaching style was totally different compared to the style of others.

The old concept in India “Guru-shishya parampara” (master-disciple tradition) is a very strong part in culture inside and outside of Yoga. The master is revered and respected, and his word considered as-absolute-. This comes from detailed immersion, such as the meaning of the word so well known “Guru” – (who guide you from darkness to light). With this type of formal presence of the master, there is a respect for students to master and the master for the students, there is a sense of greater demand.

Meanwhile, in the West the student-teacher relationship is much more casual. The interaction is informal and sometimes occurs a inattention, students talking too much between them during class or students in class who do not follow the instructions.

Note # 3:

The styles of Yoga in India and in the West vary greatly

In India, it is believed that teaching is the noblest profession. When someone spends some knowledge to you, is considered an honor. There is a big difference in how teachers teach: In India, the instructions are limited to alignment, breathing and attention with plain language.

In the West, many teachers speak of relationships, self healing, openness of heart, pain, trauma, etc. As the Bhagavad Gita says: “There are as many as there are people yogas” – “there are so many types of yoga as people in the world”

Note # 4:

Yoga and fashion don’t mix in India

As I said at the beginning of the post, in India, is practiced with normal clothes, that anyone uses to work or leave the House. In the West, was created a multi-million dollar industry using Yoga as a vehicle to sell products.

In India people don’t care so much about this, don’t spend a lot of money to look alternatives in class. After all, Yoga is detachment from the body and the senses.

Yoga is a part of everyday life of Indian practitioner, man or woman, can be seen practicing a whole super head aligned with the traditional clothing on the street.

In the photo: the controversial brand of sportswear “Lululemon”, who created transparent trousers to practice yoga.

Still, with these differences, Yoga brings people together around the world. All that practice we want some improvement in health and some also seek this spiritual path of liberation.

I believe any path is better or worse. What I learned around the world is that Yoga is universal. I had the opportunity to see the evolution of people from different cultures through different paths within Yoga, and this is simply the best proof that Yoga is never exclusive and separatist.

All my pilgrimage in India is reported in the post “A trip to India … and inside of me.”