VIDEO: Is Yoga Straying Too Far From its Origins?

May 6, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Wesleigh Ogle
wogle@smu.edu

Hot yoga, prenatal yoga, laughing yoga, even mouth yoga. Some Hindus are concerned that this ancient religious practice is straying too far from its origins.

Yoga is a Sanskrit term meaning, “to unite” the body with the mind, or the individual with the godhead. However, modern yoga is transforming into something different.

“It’s the time of the day when I can take all of my focus and take it from the outside and put it on myself,” said yoga student Lauren Mishoe.

Yoga became a secular workout in the 19th century when British presence in India put an emphasis on strong, vigorous bodies.

“Yoga transformed itself in the popular consciousness as being a practice of health and well being, and started to become in that way less religious,” said SMU religious studies professor Steven Lindquist.

Although both forms share values of healthier bodies and minds, they differ in their end goals. Westerners seek reduced stress, flexibility and muscle strength, while Hindus are looking for ultimate realization.

“It’s a way to get closer to God, it’s a way to understand your position in the universe,” said Lindquist.

However, some Hindus are concerned that modern yoga is straying too far from its traditional form.

“For some, it’s an issue of cultural pride, it’s an issue of maintaining their cultural heritage,” said Lindquist.

But secular yoga students, like Lauren, don’t see it that way.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily a problem, I think it’s a different kind of experience. I’m not a very spiritual person, so, for me, this is a different kind of spirituality,” she said.

“I think we’ve come a long way as far as knowing what exercises are good for your body. I think that I can create stuff that’s good or better than it was done a hundred years ago,” said yoga instructor Bryan Robbins.

Some Hindus are also concerned about charging a fee for yoga, because they say spirituality should not be sold. But Lindquist says it’s not a problem unless the motivation is solely profit and greed.

Global News Blog: Indian Tycoon Builds World’s First Billion-Dollar Home

November 22, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted By Sana Merchant

Our very own Highland Park may be home to some of the most expensive houses in Texas, but India’s Mukesh Ambani is giving every house in the world a run for their money. Ambani, who is the world’s fourth richest man, built the first billion dollar home in history.

Although the residence, commonly referred to an “Antilia,” is 27 stories tall, the height of this modern-day palace is equivalent to that of a regular 60 storey residential building.  The building covers a whopping 400,000 square feet, 60,000 of which will be used as living space. Additionally, Antilia is designed to withstand an earthquake with an 8.0 magnitude on the Richter scale. Ambani has hired 600 full-time employees to keep the house in pristine condition.

The first six floors of the structure serve as a parking garage, boasting 168 parking spots for Ambani’s family of six. However, if you choose to arrive by air, the building features three helipads for your convenience. The seventh floor of the house serves as a car maintenance floor so that the Ambanis don’t have to resort to their local AutoZone for fixtures. The lavish home also features a swimming pool and a yoga studio among other things.

Moreover, if you need to escape the brutal Indian heat, the Ambanis also have an ice room filled with man-made snow flurries to cool you down. Might I mention the mini-theater which seats 50, three floors of balconies with botanical terrace gardens, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and impressive views of the Arabian Sea against the infamous Mumbai slums.

Each floor in Antilia is designed to stand out against the next. Additionally, the U.S. architects who constructed the house used principles of Vastu, or Indian “feng shui,” to ensure that the house brings the Ambani family lots of positive outcomes. Check out the photo below of this unusual structure:

Antilia

Campus News Blog: International Students

February 28, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Kathryn Sharkey

I don’t know if it’s because I recently returned from studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, that I’m just more aware now, or if this is actually the case, but it seems like there are more and more international students on campus.

When I walk to class, I always end up near students speaking Spanish, Italian, or with thick Eastern European accents. This didn’t happen three years ago when I was a first year student.

I decided to look and see what SMU’s statistics are for international students. The SMU website states that “more than 850 international students from 90 countries attend SMU.”

The top countries that undergraduate students came from in the fall of 2009 were: India, People’s Republic of China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, Republic of South Korea, United Kingdom, El Salvador, South Africa, Canada, Pakistan, Panama, and Sweden, according to the office of institutional research.

What does SMU do to help these students mix with and meet Americans? It can be overwhelming to live and study in a country so drastically different from your own.

In Denmark, we had the choice to participate in a program where we were matched with a Dane and we would meet at least once a week to just do whatever. The students who participated all enjoyed it, saying it was cool to see the country with a guide who knew where to go and what was worth seeing.

I don’t know if that kind of program would work at SMU, but it might help international students cope with the culture shock.

Arts Beat: “Slumdog Millionaire” Fact or Fiction

March 6, 2009 by · Comments Off 

“Slumdog Millionaire” has taken the country by storm.? Last month, the film won the Best Picture Academy Award at the Oscars. Although “Slumdog Millionaire” has been tapped as the feel-good movie of the year, there are many Indians who are up in arms about the film’s depiction of corruption, exploitation, prostitution and life in India’s slums.

As someone of Sri Lankan descent, I know? it may sound harsh but these things are quite evident in developing countries. I have not been to Mumbai, where the film was shot, but I have to been to other areas of India and? witnessed some of these behaviors.

Corruption is quite common in India and is often committed by the police or anyone with money. ? Police have authoritative views and think they rule everything, while wealthy people, feel anything can be bought. People are often seen as commodities and, believe me when I say, those with money are seen and treated differently.

Life in the slums is quite similar to the portrayal in the film. Religion and worship is the center of everyone’s life. Poverty is rampant; street children are everywhere and those with physical abnormalities such as missing limbs or organs definitely earn more money. My grandmother one day told me it’s impossible to help everyone so just give money to those who have more challenges than everyone else. Children are often exploited through their labor and used as a way of building wealth.

Similar to servant labor, where people are often exploited, the sex trade industry exploits many people.? Brothel owners sell young women’s bodies to the highest bidders. Virginity is prized. In a culture dominated by men, few women have control over their own bodies. ? Brothels are proof that the world’s oldest profession exists everywhere.

For more information on “Slumdog Millionaire” visit the film’s Web site at the link below.?

http://www.foxsearchlight.com/slumdogmillionaire

?

-Posted By Praveen Sathianathan

?

Global News Blog: Supriya to Campaign on Facebook

March 5, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Medley Buttermore

The Internet-savvy Indian politicians have taken to e-campaigning for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. Ms Supriya Sule, daughter of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar may be the first on the block with her group on Facebook, a social networking website.

Created by Kailash Chavan, the recently formed group invites participation of people having political interest. The preamble of the group emphasises that this group has been created to serve as a consolidated network for “all” those who believe in the Pawar family. It also states that all those who believe that Supriya Sule is the ideal candidate for the Lok Sabha elections from Mr Pawar’s stronghold Baramati are also invited to join.

The group, aiming to have a non-conflicting approach with any other political group proposes that all party workers, students, leaders, professors, employers join the group irrespective of the political party they belong to.
It also says that its open to participation from all kinds of people — irrespective of whether they are living in India or abroad, whether they have been to Baramati or not, whether they participate in Ganeshotsav festivities or not. It also says that it is also open to people who were NCP members at some point, but have left the party for whatever reason.

It also provides direct access to Ms Sule — it shares her email address supriya.sule@sansad.nic.in as well as her office address i.e. Chavan Centre, General Jaganath Bhosale Marg, Mumbai, India. The article can be seen here

Global News Blog: India Reacts To Slumdog Millionaire

February 23, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Ashlee Rivalto

India celebrated Slumdog Millionaire’s great success at the Oscars last night. As the news of the eight Oscar wins hit India Monday morning, Indian’s cried victory for the rags-to-riches film about a boy from Asia’s largest slum, Dharavi, located in Mumbai. But the country has not always embraced the film in this way. In fact, since the film’s release, there have been angry protests and outraged India natives accusing the film of portraying Western stereotypes.

As India continues to grow and establish itself as a modern world power, some Indians see the Western world handicapping the country with stereotypes. But is the film portraying stereotypes or realities? Poverty is real. Not just in India but all over the world—it exists in all developed nations. It is a reality that many do not like to face, which is why films like Slumdog Millionaire are important, they open our eyes to realities that many of us want to ignore.

One Indian woman was quoted in a New York Times article saying, “This movie is showing poor India and that is liked by Westerners.” I believe Slumdog Millionaire fans like the movie because it is a depiction of a real world reality—not just an Indian reality. Maybe anti-Slumdog Millionaire moviegoers rather see the sparkly fairytale India that is portrayed in most Bollywood movies.

Others accuse the film of being unauthentic. Some Indians even refer to the movie as an entirely British film—with British Director, Danny Boyle and British Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy. If this were true, then why would the movie be embraced by India now as an Indian film victory? Would it have anything to do with the eight sparkly fairytale Oscars it won last night? Now that the movie has morphed into a sparkly fairytale it can be accepted?

Global News Blog: India’s ‘Moral Police’ Gets Valentines Surprise

February 23, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Rachel Champlin

One woman, Nisha Susan, and her allies sent pink underwear to hard-line activists of India. A recent incident with Lord Rams Army, shines light on the fact that India is changing and some are resisting. Such moral police see Valentines Day as defiant of Indian culture. Is an unwed couple celebrating love and commitment truly “un-Indian?” Nisha Susan planned to address the bullies with what I believe to be an appropriately thought-out campaign to stop the Hindu activist threats.

These actions reflect the dichotomy of diehards defending India’s true values and those who defend progress of society and their constitutional rights. The act of defiance was returned with pink Saris, the traditional garment of Indian women.

Indian media have also been taking stabs at the so-called “moral police” with headlines condemning the “Talibanization” of India. It’s time everyone understands that people change and always will. We are never going to have a world in which everyone is perfect with the same beliefs and values—we deal with our differences and be accepting. Like NPR says, “ India proves that non-violence sometimes works, but so does humor.”

To read the story, click here

Global News Blog: Emails Help Aid in Blasts

February 19, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Medley Buttermore

Technology has come a long way, but whoever knew it would be the liaison between today’s advancement and terrorism? On Tuesday, Mumbai police filed a 1,943 page chargesheet into the special Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act. The file is against 21 people accused and who belong to the Indian Mujahideen (IM).

According to the report, “the chargesheet states that the media cell of the terror outfit, headed by software engineer Mansoor Peerbhoy, had sent out emails to media houses minutes before the Ahmedabad and Delhi blasts, by hacking into unsecured wireless Internet accounts of a college in Matunga and an office in Chembur.

The vehicles used in the serial blasts in Ahmedabad were traced back to Navi Mumbai.” Peerbhoy was able to pull off this hacking operation because of the special training he has received from an expert in Hyderabad. Maybe police and other officials should have taken his Sept. 2007 visit to the United States more seriously. On that trip he purchased and bought equipment such as spy cameras and radio frequency signal detectors to bring back with him to India.

This is a reminder to all those that are technologically savvy that there can also be bad outcomes from the progression of technology and everything it has to offer. Hopefully SMU has all wireless Internet accounts secure and can take a warning from others abroad.