Russell Brand and The Yoga Revolution

Like pretty much everyone else in the country I watched the Russell Brand interview last year. Enjoyed the mixed reviews he got. That is, on the one hand he is an idealistic fool who has his head in the clouds, high on his own adulation (now he’s given up the drugs) and too much of a professional fop to be taken seriously. On the other hand those of us who aren’t that cynical applauded him. Like he pointed out, he isn’t someone that could reasonably be expected to figure out all the logistics and hand them over for Jeremy Paxman’s beardy perusal at that precise moment in time. And why would he be able to? He is, after all an entertainer as he admitted. However, the point he made was not that visionary. He only verbalized what should be screamingly obvious to anyone really. Or at least to anyone that his lived in the UK for the last five years or so.

There have been all these articles lauding him as a Messiah. Or if not the Messiah a very naughty boy to go teasing Jeremy like that.. The thing is, Russell Brand, for anyone that’s read his Booky Wook is a dedicated practitioner of Yoga. And as a fellow practitioner of Yoga, who also presumes to teach this ancient tradition, I can’t help but agree.

Russell as a Messiah? No. But I see Shiva in him. The archetype of Shiva. The God of Yoga. That is, someone who dances to his own tune, likes a bit of eyeliner, is properly loathed by his father in law (when he has one), who spends far too much time in his own meditation, and when he comes out of that meditative trance is- lets face it- a bit of a sucker for anything in a skirt. Read the Tantras. Shiva is many things but a crowd pleaser? Not necessarily. As the Siva Samhita states, the great Yogi becomes, in this world, perfectly independent. And independence is not something that the world we live in currently encourages. Living in a UK city I have seen independent businesses closing time and again. It seems as if every time I go for a walk there is a new Sainsburys, yet another fun-sized Tescos on the street.

Yoga is a beautifully simple phenomena. That is- the proof is in the pudding and you become your own experiment. You are not asked to believe anything, rather, just to open your eyes. It acknowledges the causes of human misery and the one that stands out is incorrect understanding of a situation.

And this is where the UK as a whole seems to be living right now. Incorrectly understanding the reality of our situation. Living in fear. In a work situation ruled by endless risk assessments. Endless reviews. And this is apparently happening in schools too now. And hospitals. Being handed expectations of what you are supposed to fulfil. Not from a workaday expectation of what the average person can do, but from the agenda of fear. Aggressive targets that are made to keep you anxious. Not too long ago I read an article about personality types- that is, if an extremely successful business was a personality what would it be? The answer was a psychopath. If you look up the definition of psychopath on wikipedia it is a personality disorder, characterized partly by enduring antisocial behavior, a diminished capacity for empathy or remorse. Which is perhaps why, increasingly our workplaces are ruled by jobsworths who start their sentences with “ What I’m going to have to do”. In an situation never more terrified of taking risks. As Russell put it, our system of voting, of political power is based on a pre-existing paradigm, one that is narrow and serves few people. And the way the voting system works has never accurately reflected the true feelings of the population. Anyone can see that

Its suddenly all about the profit, and as Russell said , where there is profit there must be deficit. Healthcare and education are surely basic human rights and should not be all about the profit. We are currently being asked to buy into the idea that we are poor, that poverty reigns supreme and that the only way out of it is to toe someone else’s line. The fact of the matter is that materially, the world is as rich as it has ever been. There are enough resources for us all but we are fed a diet of fear and doubt and can’t see what is there for us. We are short on cash and stuff our faces with the affordable cheap refined carbohydrates that keep us anaesthetized from yet another Sainsburys.

I went on holiday last year and when I flew into Stanstead on my return one of the first things I saw was a betting shop. Excuse me? A BETTING SHOP in an airport? And in every magazine now there are advertisements for endless lotteries and games of Bingo. With stories of how the shining faced winner flew off to Spain to celebrate being pulled out of poverty. And the advertised payday loans too.. Suddenly the Hunger Games does not seem quite so fictional. Keep the have-nots hungry, keep them praying on a miracle. Make programs about the ones that are milking the system and create resentment. Good old Roman tactic of divide and conquer. I mean really, are the people on ‘Benefits Street’ any less worthwhile than the vacuous morons on ‘Made in Chelsea? Apart the furnishings their lifestyles bring you couldn’t say the Chelsea crowd are any richer intellectually, culturally or spiritually.

This country is hungry for revolution. But as in the system of Yoga true change starts within. True change starts with changing our attitude and behaviour. Lets follow the example of the people of Todmorden, growing free food. This could happen everywhere. We believe that we lack the material resources we need, but we could just get more creative. And remember that indifference is the opposite of love.

So I propose a Yoga Revolution. We could start by running a few classes in parks, people could practice for free or make a donation if they liked, and we could use that to open up some more allotments, grow food, take people on day trips, the skys the limit. Isn’t it time we stopped believing that there is not enough wealth to go round? Not enough money? Not enough love? We live in a rich world. We are beings that are made of love, composed of light, if only we can do the work to uncover the wealth that is truly there, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Lets take Yoga classes out into the streets and start scraping the shit away. We could make Sunday afternoon free Yoga time.

Lets not forget that the tradition of Yoga was always a counter culture phenomenon. And now would be a good time to remember that. Think on this – The Yoga Revolution. Not fighting for a share of what we don’t have, but realizing and recognizing the resources we do. And sharing it.

Please share this idea using the button below. Thanks to Ned Richards for the photo.

1 thought on “Russell Brand and The Yoga Revolution”

  1. Great article and bang on point. Intelligently written and so much beyond the words. I am sure you agree there has been a yoga re-love-ution birthing for years and like you said it continues and grows stronger every moment. This is a powerful article and just another shout to whoever hears the call to wake up and see what is really happening within and without and then creatively co-create new ways like you said. Yoga Sundays sound cool. I am going to share this article with all the Yogis / Yoginis I know, maybe they will start Yoga Sundays too. It is a simple as going within but as we know change is the most feared action from humans. I know the shift is happening no matter how hard it is to see in day to day society and the structures still apparent. But like you said its back to the mat and find the balance on the mat, balance in your life. Keep singing your song its a good one. In gratitude

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