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First It Was Yobo, Now There is Ratra (Radical Traditional) Yoga

You may have heard of Yobo, the un-Yoga. It was my modest proposal for resolving the debate raging here on Elephant Journal and in the Yoga blogosphere over what is, or isn’t Yoga.

It goes like this:

Let’s require that any practice that doesn’t meet whatever standard we set be called “Yobo” instead of “Yoga”. All Yobo studios and their corporate sponsors would be required to prominently display the following language on all their marketing material:

We practice Yobo here. While Yobo is inspired by certain limited aspects of Yoga, it does not include enough meditation, breathing, spirituality and study of ancient texts to qualify as Yoga.

There would, of course, have to be a certification committee that would set the rules and determine what is Yobo and what is Yoga.

Problem solved! No more inappropriate use of the word “Yoga.”

Then I got to thinking, gee, shouldn’t we ultra-traditionalists have our own hot new name for what we practice? So I came up with the term “Radical Traditional Yoga,” or Ratra Yoga.

The devotee of Ratra Yoga is:

  1. One who thinks everything after the Yoga Sutra (about 2,400 years ago) is an unnecessary modern innovation.
  2. One who reads and rereads the big three ancient Yoga texts, the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutra and all the commentaries he/she can find.
  3. One who thinks later Hatha and Tantra practices are filled with as much distracting ritualistic excess as the Vedic rites the original Yogis (including Buddha) were rebelling against in the first place.
  4. One who believes Yoga is not hard work, but rather ecstatic realization of the wonder of the universe.
  5. Believes everyone is already wondrous (“divine”, if you prefer) and Yoga consists of simply realizing that fact, through whatever method works for each individual.
  6. One who therefore embraces all forms of Yoga, even Yobo.
  7. One who does asana (poses), but only in limited form and as much for meditation as exercise.
  8. Who believes the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita represent universal truths that can be found in any religion and any life.
  9. Whose idea of Yoga practice is 1) living life with love and purpose, 2) detaching the ego from results, 3) focusing the mind, and 4) experiencing the wonder of the universe, just as these ancient texts proclaim.

Now that we have Yobo and Ratra Yoga, we can extend the Yoga spectrum in both directions with clarity for all, and embrace everything in between.

What do you think?

52 replies on “First It Was Yobo, Now There is Ratra (Radical Traditional) Yoga”

actually, I'M the one who created the concept that "yoga traditionalists will be the new yoga radicals" — comment #6 in this post: http://lindasyoga.blogspot.com/2009/10/is-america

since I created that new concept, Bob is infringing on my intellectual property….did I ever tell you that I was a legal asst. for 20 years? (seriously, I was, in litigation.)

ahem. my lawyers will be contacting your lawyer…..;)

Erica, I made up Yobo a few weeks ago as my closing comment to the infamous Rainbeau Mars adidas debate on "It's All Yoga Baby". Rainbeau herself endorsed the idea right there on the spot! http://bit.ly/1Vc3Ht

linds-sama, I'm so glad you corrected my serious oversight in not crediting you as the original inspiration for Ratra Yoga. Absolutely, it all started with that great discussion on your blog. Thank you. (Is that enough to avoid a lawsuit?). How about if I offer you half of everything I make on the term Ratra Yoga?

Bob Weisenberg
http://YogaDemystified.com

Erica, I made up Yobo a few weeks ago as my closing comment to the infamous Rainbeau Mars adidas debate on "It's All Yoga Baby". Rainbeau herself endorsed the idea right there on the spot! http://bit.ly/1Vc3Ht

linds-sama, I'm so glad you corrected my serious oversight in not crediting you as the original inspiration for Ratra Yoga. Absolutely, it all started with that great discussion on your blog. Thank you. (Is that enough to avoid a lawsuit?). How about if I offer you half of everything I make on the term Ratra Yoga?

Bob Weisenberg
http://YogaDemystified.com

Erica, I made up Yobo a few weeks ago as my closing comment to the infamous Rainbeau Mars adidas debate on "It's All Yoga Baby". Rainbeau herself endorsed the idea right there on the spot! http://bit.ly/1Vc3Ht

linds-sama, I'm so glad you corrected my serious oversight in not crediting you as the original inspiration for Ratra Yoga. Absolutely, it all started with that great discussion on your blog. Thank you. (Is that enough to avoid a lawsuit?). How about if I offer you half of everything I make on the term Ratra Yoga?

Bob Weisenberg
http://YogaDemystified.com

Erica, I made up Yobo a few weeks ago as my closing comment to the infamous Rainbeau Mars adidas debate on "It's All Yoga Baby". Rainbeau herself endorsed the idea right there on the spot! http://bit.ly/1Vc3Ht

linds-sama, I'm so glad you corrected my serious oversight in not crediting you as the original inspiration for Ratra Yoga. Absolutely, it all started with that great discussion on your blog. Thank you. (Is that enough to avoid a lawsuit?). How about if I offer you half of everything I make on the term Ratra Yoga?

Bob Weisenberg
http://YogaDemystified.com

Erica, I made up Yobo a few weeks ago as my closing comment to the infamous Rainbeau Mars adidas debate on "It's All Yoga Baby". Rainbeau herself endorsed the idea right there on the spot! http://bit.ly/1Vc3Ht

linds-sama, I'm so glad you corrected my serious oversight in not crediting you as the original inspiration for Ratra Yoga. Absolutely, it all started with that great discussion on your blog. Thank you. (Is that enough to avoid a lawsuit?). How about if I offer you half of everything I make on the term Ratra Yoga?

Bob Weisenberg
http://YogaDemystified.com

Erica, I made up Yobo a few weeks ago as my closing comment to the infamous Rainbeau Mars adidas debate on "It's All Yoga Baby". Rainbeau herself endorsed the idea right there on the spot! http://bit.ly/1Vc3Ht

linds-sama, I'm so glad you corrected my serious oversight in not crediting you as the original inspiration for Ratra Yoga. Absolutely, it all started with that great discussion on your blog. Thank you. (Is that enough to avoid a lawsuit?). How about if I offer you half of everything I make on the term Ratra Yoga?

Bob Weisenberg
http://YogaDemystified.com

Erica, I made up Yobo a few weeks ago as my closing comment to the infamous Rainbeau Mars adidas debate on "It's All Yoga Baby". Rainbeau herself endorsed the idea right there on the spot! http://bit.ly/1Vc3Ht

linds-sama, I'm so glad you corrected my serious oversight in not crediting you as the original inspiration for Ratra Yoga. Absolutely, it all started with that great discussion on your blog. Thank you. (Is that enough to avoid a lawsuit?). How about if I offer you half of everything I make on the term Ratra Yoga?

Bob Weisenberg
http://YogaDemystified.com

OMFG – after a 2 year of R&D, followed by 18 months of recovery after a factory fire, the Yobo committee folk had better figure something out. This ol' girl is not going to let a typo stop me now… See you in court or on the mat…preferably a Plank Mat, but any old mat will do…

Thanks Bob for posting the link…

This is some good stuff! Bob et al. I have to say that it does seem that the simplified yobo version has taken over to the effect that no one really much even is aware that there IS another form of yoga! Go, Ratra!! (Anyone wanna buy a yobo mat?) Cheers.

Hi, Megan.

This was a spoof which completely supports what you just wrote. I wasn't seriously proposing we create either Yobo or Ratra! (In fairness to you, this was more obvious in the context of the debates this article emerged from.)

The operative words are in my last sentence, "embrace everything in between". I embrace the diversity in Yoga and think it's all good.

Thanks for writing so I could clarify that.

Bob

and now I have just read "In Praise of Jane" and feel a little sheepish.

yep, knew that you weren't on a hierarchy Bob, pretty sure some people "ratras" out there definitely ARE on the hierarchy idea… which I think was what I was reacting to. 🙂

EcoYogini. Thanks so much for writing.

I assure you I make no value judgments whatsoever about people's Yoga practices. The purpose of this article was to make fun of those who do (many of whom are very good cyber-friends of mine, by the way. We like each other anyway!)

The problem is the writing not your reading. Quite a few people didn't get the joke and think I AM a judgmental purist, when in fact, the opposite is true. It is my responsibility as a writer to make this clear, not yours as a reader to figure it out!

I borrowed Yobo and Ratra from comments I originally wrote on other blogs in the midst of other discussions, linked to above. In these discussions the spoof and it's meaning were obvious. When I brought them together in this article I failed to give enough thought to making sure the meaning was clear in this new stand-alone context.

Luckily, people like you are open enough to voice your reactions and that allows me to clarify my intent.

Thank you for that!

Bob Weisenberg
http://YogaDemystified.com

EcoYogini. Thanks so much for writing.

I assure you I make no value judgments whatsoever about people's Yoga practices. The purpose of this article was to make fun of those who do (many of whom are very good cyber-friends of mine, by the way. We like each other anyway!)

The problem is the writing not your reading. Quite a few people didn't get the joke and think I AM a judgmental purist, when in fact, the opposite is true. It is my responsibility as a writer to make this clear, not yours as a reader to figure it out!

I borrowed Yobo and Ratra from comments I originally wrote on other blogs in the midst of other discussions, linked to above. In these discussions the spoof and it's meaning were obvious. When I brought them together in this article I failed to give enough thought to making sure the meaning was clear in this new stand-alone context.

Luckily, people like you are open enough to voice your reactions and that allows me to clarify my intent.

Thank you for that!

Bob Weisenberg
http://YogaDemystified.com

EcoYogini. Thanks so much for writing.

I assure you I make no value judgments whatsoever about people's Yoga practices. The purpose of this article was to make fun of those who do (many of whom are very good cyber-friends of mine, by the way. We like each other anyway!)

The problem is the writing not your reading. Quite a few people didn't get the joke and think I AM a judgmental purist, when in fact, the opposite is true. It is my responsibility as a writer to make this clear, not yours as a reader to figure it out!

I borrowed Yobo and Ratra from comments I originally wrote on other blogs in the midst of other discussions, linked to above. In these discussions the spoof and it's meaning were obvious. When I brought them together in this article I failed to give enough thought to making sure the meaning was clear in this new stand-alone context.

Luckily, people like you are open enough to voice your reactions and that allows me to clarify my intent.

Thank you for that!

Bob Weisenberg
http://YogaDemystified.com

Hi Bob,
Thanks for clarifying, it's what I suspected and actually your article made me confront that sensitive part of myself that needs to "let go" of the reactive 🙂

It really is fun article! 🙂

[…] “That other kind of yoga is not even yoga!” Teachers from different yoga camps love to bag on each other, subtly or not. They each believe that theirs is the right kind of yoga. Strangely, the Yoga Alliance website lists 500 different styles of yoga, and it doesn’t rank them in order of “realness.” So, why do some teachers feel they have a right to keep the “my yoga is better” controversy alive? You guessed it: FEAR. They don’t want you skipping their class to go to the one down the street. […]

Love this Bob: "Believes everyone is already wondrous (“divine”, if you prefer) and Yoga consists of simply realizing that fact, through whatever method works for each individual." Thank you! Perfect! 🙂

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