editor of the nation gives up yoga for kickboxing in order to kick some republican ass

Koga: the best of both worlds

In an article for The Guardian last week, Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor/publisher of The Nation, confessed that she is giving up yoga for kickboxing. She wrote:

Now, I have nothing against yoga, but in light of the threat to our country posed by decidedly hawkish GOP wannabes, I find – at least for my purposes as publisher and editor of the Nation – yoga’s emphasis on serenity and pacifism to be frustrating at best, impractical at worst. It’s not that there’s anything objectionable about the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras; like many ancient spiritual texts, they are eminently wise and reasonable…

Quite simply, yoga doesn’t play in politics, which, for Republicans in this day and age, is all about winning, taking and imposing one’s will upon others.

Now, more than ever, Americans need to stand up, to fight for what is rightfully ours; we cannot dispassionately let the right impose its will upon us merely because we believe we’re closer to spiritual enlightenment than they are. (via The Guardian)

Serenity and pacifism? She obviously hasn’t spent any time in the yoga blogosphere! Frustrating and impractical? Okay, yeah, I get that – a quick glance at mainstream yoga culture reveals lithe spandex-clad (or naked) bodies, blissed out smiles and sugar-coated feel good language.

And while there is a growing discourse on politics in the yoga community (as I discussed in my 2011 Yogi of the Year post), yoga is still generally considered an escape, a form of fitness.

But Katrina clearly doesn’t know anything about yoga scriptures. The Bhagavad Gita takes place on a battlefield. It’s an examination of morals and values; it presents a system of how to take action in the world – not to disengage with it. As well, if Americans of “sound mind” practiced and lived ahimsa, non-harming, as articulated in the Yoga Sutras they would have no tolerance for policies that are all about “winning, taking and imposing one’s will upon others.”

Anyway, I’m not going to try to convince anyone into getting back into yoga. Even Katrina admits, “What’s more, on a practical level, there’s less difference between kickboxing and yoga than you might think. The superficial physical objectives (ability to kick ass in one case, extreme flexibility and agility in the other) are just that – superficial.”

I’d rather see her take up Koga, a handy yoga-kickboxing fusion, which would give her the best of both worlds. It would be really cool if Koga was kickboxing moves played out while shouting verses from the Gita. Then y’all would definitely be able to kick some Republican ass.

  1. Sign me up, too!

  2. Gandhi acted “dispassionately?”

    He was taking on an Empire. Granted, one that had been weakened by war, but it wasn’t like it was a “nice” Empire. In fact, in the way of all Empire’s, it imposed its will be force.

    This notion that adopting the tactics of the enemy doesn’t also lead one to the mind-set of the enemy is rather daft. If she’s not overly familiar with Eastern spiritual texts, perhaps she’s more likely to be familiar with Adorno, who said, “Wrong life cannot be lived rightly.”

  3. Giving up yoga for kickboxing because the evil Republicans will stop at nothing to impose their will on others? Seriously? Okay, if you think Republicans are the ones excited about using the power of government to mandate how much salt to eat, what light bulbs to use, what kind of car you can have, what kind of health insurance you must have, etc., then you are probably silly enough to think that taking up kickboxing will help save the country.

    Historically, governments have been used as the universal oppressor of mankind, but somehow government collectivism has been proposed as our salvation. “Slavery=freedom” ain’t just for 1984 anymore.

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