Well, it was bound to happen eventually: according to the latest headlines, “upset Hindus criticize Yoga Journal’s yoga-comedy-series as mockery of revered discipline.” Not all Hindus, though – just one particularly influential and vocal Hindu statesman, Rajan Zed, who is speaking out against the Ogden: The Inappropriate Yoga web video series launched by Yoga Journal in March 2009.
According to several dodgy and poorly written articles floating around various Indo-American websites, Zed claims:
yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was a serious mental and physical discipline by means of which the human-soul (jivatman) united with universal-soul (parmatman), and not something to be spoofed at. [prokerala.com]
I gotta say that I really don’t think that Ogden is “spoofing at” the ancient tradition of yoga; I see him as taking the piss out of contemporary North American yoga practitioners, in a good humoured, kinda necessary way. (C’mon, we’ve all been in yoga classes with that creepy dude-in-a-headband trying to impress the ladies with his veganism and then looking down their shirts.) Also, Yoga Journal didn’t create Ogden – his original video was a YouTube hit in 2007. Their Ogden web series seems more like a slightly desperate attempt to increase online readership and relevancy.
This isn’t the first time Rajan Zed has taken on American pop culture. He also tried to incite a worldwide boycott of The Love Guru last year and criticized Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP newsletter, suggesting that she change the tagline from “nourish the inner aspect” to “nourish the outer aspect” (which, you gotta admit, is pretty funny and kinda true – he also said, “The actress needs to grow up and stop writing about mundane topics like ‘Boots by Gucci,’ ‘Banana Pancakes,’ ‘The Hungry Cat’ and ‘Tweezerman’ — in which she talks about taming the unruly eyebrows of men.”)
Watch all 5 episodes of YJ’s Ogden The Inappropriate Yoga Guy web series. And for the sake of nostalgia, check out the original vid below.