Power in India

Lately, India’s been in the news for a lot of conflict-related activity. First, the Union Minister made a blooper by calling homosexuality a disease– that too, in front of UN members gathered for a conference on HIV/ AIDS and health issues.

Telangana is also a concern, with separatist movement gaining ground in the region of Andra Pradesh.

Then, terrorist attacks on Mumbai, totaling 9 times in 9 years, with a death toll at approximately 100.

Recently, it’s been mining corruption right here in Karnataka, with a Chief Minister (equivalent of Governor in the US) who says he deserves a Nobel Prize for his work in this state. Sure, he probably helped pave the way for a number of large hi-tech corporations to set up shop in the city. But Karnataka is still one of the lowest scoring states in the nation. Eeek.

And today it has come out that Norweigan mass murderer Anders Breivik’s manifesto cited Indian Hindutva groups such as RSS–showing the reach of power and control in the world.

It’s not just large scale issues: seems everyone wants a share of the power. Today in the Mint, I learned more about the need for power in the growing middle and upper class population of urban India.

In a place where power rules, a few deep breaths are definitely called for! In life, we always need to find the right balance. Yet wherever I go in this country, I find only power yoga classes, whether they are Power, Bikram, or Hot yoga. Designed to pump more adrenaline and build muscles, they are useful when one has low metabolism, and has an imbalance of pitta (low) versus kapha or vatta doshas.

In India, politicians such as PM Manamohan Singh, who has repeatedly been termed the “sitting duck” puppet of Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, might benefit from such a class. Masses of Indian citizens can learn to take control of their own citizenship, as today’s Times of India writer Subhashini Vasanth says is needed.

Others, however, those who use power as a means of control (such as, yes, Karnataka’s CM), are better off taking gentle classes such as Restorative, Therapeutic, Ananda, and Yin. In these classes, more emphasis is placed on letting the pose take over, focusing on the breath, and contemplating on the intention.

Choosing the right class for you is important. Such an understanding can help balance out one’s own inner qualities, ensuring both power and compassion are built.

So this week, our little rooftop group (which is now not so little), will use balance poses such as 1/2 moon, Warrior 3, Dancer’s pose, and Tree pose to remind ourselves of the need for balance.

We will work on balancing our power with compassion. Even in strong poses such as Veerabhadrasana 1 & 2, we focused on the compassion a warrior feels. We’ve all heard stories of soldiers and veterans in a war-torn zone who see a small child playing on the street and want to make sure the child goes home safe. Yoga is a chance to remember those stories, remember one’s own moments of compassion, and build upon them.

Alternatively, we will practice yin and restorative poses, and feel their power to open our hearts and take over while we relax.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. P. Balasubramanian
    Jul 27, 2011 @ 21:08:48

    Dear Sowmya,

    That is, indeed, a very interesting blog.

    I do not agree with your linking up the worst ever Norwegian’s link with RSS. I am a RSS member and I know much more about that organization.

    Re: BSY and corruption, I agree with you. But you must read, if you have the patience and time, an article which I just now accessed. No one wants to deal with the Congress and DMK parties’ stupendous corruption deals. Sonia Gandhi is sitting in a fortress, well defended by her lieutenants. One day more will come out about her.

    With best wishes,

    Bala Mama


    • sowmyaayyar
      Jul 27, 2011 @ 23:31:35

      dear Bala Mama,
      I definitely agree that the mass murderer in Norway was not linked to RSS…. He himself associated with RSS beliefs, as written in his manifesto…. as always, people take something they don’t know enough about and blow it out of proportion.


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