“One of my goals in life is to do the slowest Primary Series anywhere… rather than the quickest”. Richard Freeman

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

So Sharath, About these hippies.......

from http://yogadawg.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/damn-hippie-yoga.html

I came across a report on one of Sharath's conferences this month where he supposedly made reference ( and not for the first time if my memory serves me) to the 'hippies' who first came to Mysore in the 70's to learn Ashtanga.

 "They were hippies and they were smoking (pause) and they went crazy."  from Adventures in yoga land

and another version  here

Some students tried it here during the 70's but they were hippies!! (Laughs). They had no idea about the philosophy, they were smoking...whatever....they went crazy..... from Living Ashtanga Yoga

Now this reminded me of an article I came across a little while ago that discussed the legacy of the 60's/70's hippy movement, if we can call it such. I can't find that article but here's something else covering similar ground.

So what did the hippies ever do for us? (apart from bringing us Ashtanga)

Activism: The Legacy of the Hippie Movement in the Sixties
By Tamara Mombille

When people talk about the 1960s they generally refer to the heavy use of drugs and unkempt fashion style that was the trademark look of most young people known as hippies. This young group of patchouli and vintage clothing wearing people might seem part of an era of bad fashion, but they made positive changes in America. These young people took risks to work for civil rights and an equal society. Their struggles often inspired lyrics to popular songs to their era such as Barry McGuire's Eve of Destruction:"Black people were taking to the streets in organized protests. Sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in southern cities were inciting both blacks and whites to action. College students, many of them white, were getting involved in these actions and learned a few things about non-violent protest. This was risky in the south. Some protesters were beaten or murdered as a result of their activities."
Many of them faced expulsion from colleges and the possibility of a criminal record just for expressing their ideas of an equal and non-segregated society that kept their young men out of a foreign war such as Vietnam. Thanks to their efforts we are able to live in a society that allows freedom of speech and more opportunities for all ethnic and social groups. The young people of our society share more benefits than the youth in the 1960s. The sense of hygiene and personal care of young people might have improved in comparison to that of the hippies in the 60s, but their interest in social and political issues has declined considerably since the 1960s. Our youth apparently has no appreciation for the freedom and a fair society that the generation of some of their parents or grandparents struggled for.
The motivation of the youth in our present era tends to be inclined towards financial success. The stress of attending a good college or the apathy to obtain an education seems to be the two divisions of the modern youth. The commercialization of education could also be the culprit of the apathy or the stress to get a college education. Some young people stress over obtaining enough funds to pay for their education, while others just lose their hopes of a higher level education because they have no means to pay for it.

Some teenagers and young adults in our modern era do get involved in political and social issues. Some groups are actively involved in protesting against the war in Iraq. Others work to combat world hunger or the unfair treatment of animals, but these groups are mostly a minority. It is common to watch on the news celebrities taking part in protests against the unfair treatment of animals or against the destruction of natural resources. Nevertheless, the interest and the methods to protest and to work to solve the issues that concern them are a result of the youth movement from the 1960s.

Nowadays, people are allowed to protest in public and to express their ideas in public. The liberty to protest in public without being arrested was not a real option before the 1960s. (Howze 2003) One of the most influential activists for freedom of speech in the 60s was Mario Savio. In 1964 he was arrested for expressing his point of view in public at University of California Berkeley. Savio was against banning public expression racism and oppressive college policies that controlled the freedom of professors to educate young adults openly without the scrutiny of educational institutions.

The result was that the students blocked the police car that was going to take Mario Savio to jail for exercising his constitutional right of freedom of speech. (Howze 2003) These early youth student movement was the birth of student activism and the hippie movement. Many of the young people that followed the hippie lifestyle were students that disillusioned with the controlling educational institutions decided to withdraw from college in order to follow their own path of learning. Others joined the movement to avoid being drafted to fight in Vietman.

During the 1960s, so many people were involved in the hippie movement that era is usually identified by them. It is true that some joined the movement to have an excuse to follow a hedonistic lifestyle and to indulge in the use of drugs. These group of people that followed a hippy lifestyle as a fashion trend diverted the attention from the real statement that the hippies wanted to set. Their statement was to create a better society totally different from the establishment in the 60s era.

The hippie movement had an utopian view of society. Their ideas were based in creating an anti-materialistic society in which everyone, regardless of gender, race, beliefs, and sexual orientation had the opportunity to leave in peace. The reality of the idea of constitutional civil rights that supposedly shaped America is what the youth in the Sixties wanted. Instead, they lived in a society in which segregation and unfair treatment of minorities were still the norm.

The hippies and young college students that followed the movement were determined to take the idea of a free country from a paper and ink statement into a reality of society. The new trend that was growing in San Francisco would influence history. According to Robert Howard, the hippie movement that was created in the San Francisco area of Haight-Ashbury "offered in 1966 and 1969 a serious though not well articulated alternative to the conventional social system."

Although the hippie lifestyle was seen by some as an excuse for permissive behavior, the truth is that the root of the movement saw its beginnings in an organized student movement that originated in 1962 with the creation of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society). According to the book The Enduring Vision by Paul Boyer:
"This group of students envisioned a non-violent youth movement transforming the United States into a 'participatory democracy' in which individuals could directly control the decisions that affected their lives. SDS assumed that such a system would value, love, and creativity and would end materialism, militarism and racism."

The hippie movement in the 60s educated people about recycling and organic farming. Many environmental problems in our present time could have been avoided if the hippie's ideas would have been taken more seriously. According to Adam Rome:
"In many cities women worked aggressively to stop air pollution. The New
Yorker Hazel Henderson organized the group Citizens for Clean Air by passing leaftlets to mothers walking their children in the park. The group soon had more than twenty thousand members and about 75 percent were women."

This movement that promoted awareness about environmental issues such as clean water and clean air was known as the grassroots movement. This organization stemmed from the concerns of the nature oriented hippie group about the nuclear waste threats and the growing population and economy. This group also promoted natural vegetarian diets and breastfeeding during an era in which many women preferred commercial baby formula to breastfeeding. It is of common knowledge in our era that breastfeeding is healthier for both babies and their mothers.

They also knew that following a vegetarian diet helped to preserve natural resources and resulted in the ability to feed more people instead of overfeeding farm animals with the sole purpose to eat them. The hippies also practiced recycling, even for the fabrics that they used to sew their clothes. Recycling is being introduced as a fairly new concept in our era, but when the hippies promoted it the idea seemed like and eccentricity of this colorfully attired group.

The most important legacy from the hippie youth is from the 60s is the freedom to work for justice. They proved that they had the possibility of turning society into a better one. Women were empowered to become an active part of the political and social issues of society. Our modern society is moved by materialism, the need to be successful, and body image issues, but our youth knows that when they see injustice they can speak against it.

Works Cited
Berkley in the 60's. Dir/Writ. Kitchell, Michael. Writ. Steven Most. 1990. DVD.
California Newsreel
Boyer, Paul S. , Clifford E. Clark. , Joseph F. Kett. , and Neal Salisbury.
Enduring Vision: A History of the American People. Volume 2 From 1865
Ed. Jean Woy. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2004.
Howze, Glenn. "The Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960s.
Academe Sep. 2003. Find Articles. 12 May 2006. http://www.findarticles.com.
Mc Guire, Barry. "Eve of Destruction." Eve of Destruction. Umvd Import. 1965.
Pilger, Zoe. "War on Iraq: Voice of Youth: Generation Apathy Has Woken Up"
The Independent Sunday . 23 Mar. 2003. Find Articles. 12 May 2006
http://www.findarticles.com.
Rome, Adam. ""Give Earth a Chance: The Environmental Movement in the Sixties."
Journal of American History. September 2003. EbscoHost. June 30, 2006
www.exproxy.umuc.edu

See also Hippies Deserve Respect for their Values and Vision

And in a nod to next week and expressed better perhaps than in a hundred 60s/70s protest songs...

6 comments:

  1. I've always had a soft spot for this part of the Woodstock movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwNHcR5eUPg

    Also, where would the 60s be without Ginsberg?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI4qC4wQMnw



    ReplyDelete
  2. Love this ! I guess David Williams was part of that scene in the late 70s although he was pretty serious about it, learning first and second series in 4 months...still very much a hippie at heart though, just like Danny. Great guys and wonderful legacy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, does make you wonder which 'hippies' he was referring too, reads a bit dismissive but might not have come over that way in person. As the 1970 song goes, 'What's so wrong funny 'bout peace, love and understanding'.

      Delete
  3. One of the guys working for us in Pakistan insists that the long-haired dope-smoking fellas who came through here in the 60s were in fact "happies" - I think that's very funny, but also somewhat telling. It seems like the people on the subcontinent didn't see so much of the political activism of the hippies as they did of acid-heads frying their brains and gaping at the supposedly amazing spirituality here. So I suppose I can forgive Sharath for his dismissal of them. If I could have lived in another time though, I would've liked to be a hippie in the 60s - one of the ones that didn't fry their brains and rather did yoga.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was as bad Cecile, spent five years traveling rough in the early 80's, the only reason I didn't go to India was because I didn't want to think of myself as joining the 'Hippy trail'. Shame I might have ended up in the old Shala in 1983. It's true some lost their way either to drugs or back in to corporate America for that matter but there was something beautiful about that searching, despite not having a clue what it was they were searching for, wish I'd been that little bit smarter in '83.

    ReplyDelete

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A Reminder

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta
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