On April 21st the 'Independent Yoga Network' organised in Wolverhampton a conference entitled ‘The Future of Yoga’, bringing together many teachers and practitioners from across the UK and beyond.
The fifteen short talks covered a wide variety of topics. The presentations ranged from very abstract to down to the earth. They included e.g. the ‘Uberisation of Yoga’ through online videos, the question of who or what can claim ‘authority’, how to make Yoga accessible without diluting and disrespecting practices, and the futility of attempting to package Yoga or put it in a box. At the background there was a number of reactions to the suggested NOS that was perceived as a concept that would strongly limit the diversity of yoga practiced in the UK ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6KsJ_ePKQg) There has been also concepts of considering yoga as a religion (http://www.namaskaram.co.uk/Dear-Ms-Larissey/), which has also created opposition. Looking subsequently at the web, the NOS and the yoga as a religion created a huge stir in the UK yoga community. Another subject that created interest was the already mentioned tendency to learn yoga through mobile applications that depersonalize the process of learning. This is a disputable tendency; however the young people seem to be very much tied to their mobiles through which they seek information, chat and share.
Geza Timcak spoke on behalf of the EUY, and there was also an opportunity to share information about the EUY, its values, TTP and the Zinal Congress.
In the course of the lively debates which ensued, the strong sense was that whatever fashions and fads may emerge, authentic teachers should continue to do what they do, and thanks to them, Yoga will endure.
All in all, it was a very valuable experience that would be hopefully matched by subsequent conferences.
Proceedings were videoed and will be available via the IYN website: www.independentyoganetwork.org .
Below are some links that develop the discussions further.