The best news from our latest 2-week excursion to China is that increasing numbers of yoga students in the mainland are committing to a regular Bowspring practice. Through our tireless translator, Vicky from Beijing, we talked with many of the 90+ yoga teachers who attended our 5-day training in Xi’an about their experience of learning the Bowspring method. Many of the trainees acknowledged from their direct experience of practicing Bowspring over the last 4 months (since our previous visit in September of ‘17) that although it is not easy or comfortable to practice at first, the Bowspring’s wavy, dynamic alignment greatly improves health and is very therapeutic. More and more yoga teachers in China are moving away from a steady diet of the standard model linear alignment of modern postural yoga (MPY) and embracing a wavy, dynamic alignment of the Bowspring. It was encouraging to hear that so many Chinese students were willing to wisely choose a healthier, yet more challenging long-term path of the Bowspring, than the short-term comfort and career-stability path of the status quo of teaching MPY.
Over the last few decades, as China has become a superpower in the global geopolitical landscape, its focus has unfortunately been on short-term economic development over long-term spiritual growth and environmental sustainability. After Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) the orientation of the country turned toward “material progress” and away from prioritizing spirit, religion, or free-thinking individuality. Over the last few decades, China has become an authoritarian, capitalist and anti-labor “Communist” state, which encourages success in life mainly through being productive, particularly reflecting in the generation of profit. As a Communist country, China does not promote religion. With only about 1 in 6 citizens claiming that they are “religious”, and without a strong continuity to traditional spiritual lineages, making money and increasing professional status have become a leading priority for the general Chinese populace.
In China, with the short-term view directed toward increasing business profits, environmental regulations are sacrificed, a low level workforce is exploited with low wages, and cheaper, synthetic ingredients are widely utilized in everything from manufacturing to food production. The terrible consequences of this short-term focus on profits include intense environmental pollution, no regard for animal life, increased use of GMOs and chemicals in the food supply, and a de-emphasis on spiritual development.