A Yogi Could Teach Cameron Fiscal Lessons

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As David Cameron came into power in May last year, he said: “the age of irresponsibility is giving way to the age of austerity”. And as we entered the New Year he declared that the cuts were “putting our economy and our country on the right path.” The measures taken reflect some of the language from another path; the Path of Yoga.

The widespread budget cuts that have been brought in by the coalition government share some interesting parallels with the language and philosophy of Yoga.

As David Cameron came into power in May last year, he said: “the age of irresponsibility is giving way to the age of austerity”. And as we entered the New Year he declared that the cuts were “putting our economy and our country on the right path.” The measures taken reflect some of the language from another path; the Path of Yoga.

A yogi who commits to this path develops a daily practice. One of the main aims of Yoga London’s Teacher Training course is to develop the graduate’s home practice. Practice is the foundation of good living, and the route map for the journey to enlightenment. Attending a yoga class everyday will help to foster some principles which shake off irresponsible living and guide a yogi on the right path. These principles include several that are echoed in the language of the government’s fiscal cuts.

For example, one key principle in Yoga is ‘Tapas’, translated as ‘fiery cleansing’. Anyone who has been to a dynamic yoga class has practiced tapas. The breathing and movement builds internal heat which in turn stimulates processes such as sweating that cleanses the body. Another interpretation, offered by Yoga London’s Rebecca Ffrench, is that Tapas is heat and friction generated in the mind. Ffrench says Tapas is “rooted in discipline. It's that hurdle you have to overcome when kicking a bad habit, or starting a good one.”

Using the same metaphor, the “Bonfire of the Quangos”, launched by the Coalition government, has cut publicly funded a committee to save millions of pounds. David Cameron’s version of Britain is one that uses self discipline to moderate borrowing and cleanse the habit of overspending.

But the human effects of these cuts offer an alternative angle. Last week Manchester council leader Sir Richard Leese said he had no option but to make 2,000 staff redundant. On the 19th Jan Hampshire council announced 1200 job losses among spending savings of 55 million, and on the 27th Liverpool Council announced 1500 job cuts. A Yogi must always find the right balance. The Government cuts run the risk of causing harm as many lives will be affected by the job losses across the country.

For those who are made redundant Yoga could offer a path out of a dead end. It is a healthy routine for mind and body and could prevent a slump into inactivity. Ffrench says “when you follow the path of yoga you stop following outer signs and signals and you start to follow your own inner compass.” Wherever Britain’s “new path” leads you, Yoga might offer you the map to another path. Visit YogaLondon.net for a portal to Yoga classes, retreats and teacher training.

For more information on YogaLondon Ltd, please visit http://www.yogalondon.net/about.aspx

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Rebecca Ffrench
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