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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Minister for yoga please

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Ministry for yoga

India has a minister for yoga. I read about it in Hung Le’s book The Crappiest Refugee and I thought that must be a joke, but after googling it turns out that yes, India really does have a yoga ministry. It was set up in 2014.

I can’t even imagine what happens in the Ministry for Yoga. I love that instead of saluting a flag though there’s a bunch of politicians on their mats saluting the sun. And if you’re out of order? Well you can drop and give us 50 downface dogs? If you’re not flexible, then you don’t get voted in.

The Ministry of Yoga sounds a little bit Monty Python. I wonder what they do exactly. Do they issue fines to people who’ve culturally appropriated yoga into novelty yogas such as goat yoga? Hip-hop yoga and beer yoga?

What is wrong with people? Beer is good. Yoga is good. Goats are good. But that doesn’t mean you put them together and make a thing. It’s not even a joke. It really happens.

Beer yoga is something you apparently do in a brewery or a tap room while drinking… you guessed it, a beer. It seems dangerous. And dare I say it, a bit disrespectful to the country that came up with the whole yoga thing in the first place and generously allowed the world to sell $300 yoga pants ironically made by people from the same country or in close proximity for less than $2 an hour.

Beer yoga is about as culturally sensitive as pulling a bong in your mindfulness class or having sex on the altar at your local church. (Hang on I think the clergy have already been doing that – they just don’t know how to get people to pay for classes.)

For a practice like yoga that espouses clean living, drinking a beer is contradictory to the whole philosophy. It’s going to make the bigwigs at the Ministry for Yoga furious. It’s only a matter of time in beer yoga before they introduce nuts and a cheese platter. And watching the footy.

Then there’s goat yoga. Goat yoga is when you do yoga and goats mount you. A real goat. I thought that was illegal but apparently it’s a trend. I’ve seen the pictures and it looks like something that you should only see on the dark web. Women lying on the floor with goats on their backs. I don’t want to be dominated by a goat when I’m whacking out a cobra. Gently nibbled on the ear as the creepy little hooves trot up and down my spine. Is this an animal-cruelty issue? Do goats even want to be involved? Must they also wear Lorna Jane?

And what do you do with the goats between yoga classes? I’ve been to yoga and I know that at the end of the class we all obediently stack our mats and our rolls, our blankets, and our stretchy rubber bands. Where do we stack the goats?

I know there’s naked yoga. When you’re talking goats and beer it’s a lot less weird but still not really something I would find appealing. It would be my worst nightmare to look up and see some old dude performing Adho mukha svanasana, which in lay terms is ‘arse in the air’, and spy all that swinging scrotum. It would look a lot like a goat I guess, which is perhaps where they got the idea for goat yoga. Balasana would literally be Ball and assna.

I’m all for the Ministry for Yoga opening up in Canberra. I would love to see our parliament try a little Pranayama. Alternate nostril breathing might really help many of our elected pollies who can only seem to breathe on the ‘right’. I can see it now, Christopher Pyne and Tony Abbott in their baggy yoga pants, red faced and planking bitching about how much better they are at planking than anyone else. Josh Frydenberg struggling with his core strength; he has to use funds from the NDIS to keep his arse in the air. Barnaby is trying a headstand – it’s even harder when you don’t have a neck. And our PM is face down being mounted by a goat. Hang on – it’s not a goat, it’s Peter Dutton.

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  1. Finally, the comeddiene turns up to the party , but whose party, or does it matter! Well, yes, Sarah could take the goats in if they need a place, and Rich could drop round with a Chardy and elevate proceedings. But what do you do withe dung, the garden of course, good for the carrots.

  2. I can’t think a single Green initiative that’s come to anything. The mini fleuros the councils were giving away 25 years ago had mercury; the latest LEDs have lead and arsenic; the ghost bats didn’t die out they recolonised; the hole in the ionosphere was always there fluctuating; we send our recyclables to China and even with their slave labour they have to send them back, they can’t make a buck out of it either; the Franklin was saved by a coalition government; the professionals make the seachange and then they don’t want development. But gradually there are those of us who keep swallowing the bait. In Uki once, me my wife and friends sat at a table, I said someone’s left their carrot. It was a carrot top. This woman rushed over and said, it’s mine, and left munching on it. Think globally, act locally. If acting locally comes down to a carrot top then I fear for the globe.


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