I’ve been doing Mysore Ashtanga yoga for some years now, and one of the things I was looking forward to when moving here was to get some serious in-depth lessons, straight from the source. Think Miyagi-san in Karate Kid, the whole trimming the Bonsai tree and doing some “wax on, wax off”, inner enlightenment thing.
But no. This might come as a surprise, but yoga is not a big thing here. It’s not a national sport – that would be cricket – or even a common hobby.
In Helsinki I would see people carrying yoga mats quite often. The gyms would be crowded to the point of every class being a hot yoga class. And that’s good, people taking care of themselves is a very positive thing.
But here the only time I’ve seen anyone, ever, carry a yoga mat has been by some foreigners down in Goa or Kerala. In Varanasi, the birthplace of sun salutations, the only people doing them in the light of the rising sun were westerners.
So that’s one myth busted.
Oh well, at least the Chinese still do Tai-Chi every morning. Right?