Why anthropology and yoga go hand in hand


Lately I have increased my yoga and meditation practice, I have become a member of a yoga studio (instead of the gym) and I have become a vegetarian.

I clearly see the results!

Though I have been working on an example paper for two weeks, I feel relaxed and happy; the daily yoga classes has actually helped me be productive, because they have made me able to clear my thoughts for 1½ hour. I feel enlightened by the old Sanskrit concepts as I get to look into them. Also, I feel as if I’m doing my body a favor when I listen to what it tells me, and by studying a bit of anatomy. Last but not least, my chronic stomach pain is just about gone.

This new state of mind has made me think. Why not make yoga an even greater part of my life? Why not make it a living?

I have been thinking about doing the 200 hours teacher’s certificate. Initially my thoughts centered around using it to become a teacher in my time off. Slowly, however I’m realizing how my cultural anthropology education goes hand in hand with the passion of my spare time.

• The yoga teacher studies a foreign way of live, likewise does the anthropologist
• A yogi does ‘participatory observation’ by engaging in the foreign way of life to achieve a greater understanding of it, so does the anthropologist
• The yoga teacher questions life in her own culture, and she takes elements from the foreign culture and spreads knowledge of how it can be beneficial for people in her own society to incorporate those elements in their lives, and so does the anthropologist.
Thereby both the yoga teacher and the anthropologist study life styles, and works as consultants and cultural brokers.

To me the job as a yoga teacher seems preferable in comparison to for example the stressful life of a business consultant, the political hindrances of the development worker, or the researcher’s compromises resulting from discrepancies between money and dream project. Also the word of the yoga teacher is heard, rather than hidden away in the library and to some extend outdated before it is even published.

Moreover, the Sanskrit words ‘ahimsa’ (mental and physical nonviolence to all living beings) and ‘namaste’ (the light within me greets the light within you) are characteristic of both the yogi and the anthropologist.

The anthropologist can sure benefit from focusing more on meditation, physical exercise and a healthy diet.

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