Last updated August 11th 2016

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(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

By Chakra Rich

Last Updated 8/10/2016 at 7:30 AM

Tel Aviv, Florentin: In an effort to prove once and for all to the rest of the nation that Tel Aviv is NOT a den of frivolous weirdos, the city has decided to wage a debate between yoga enthusiasts and pilates nuts. And since it involves Israel, this debate has captured the attention of people who don’t live in Israel but still have a lot to say about Israel anyway.  For example, the World Council of Pilates is demanding fairer rights for Pilatians in Israel. Council Chairperson Helen Hartuchus explained.

There is incredible discrimination in Israel regarding Pilates. From the government down to the streets they only discuss Yoga. Yoga, yoga, yoga. They only practice Yoga. They do Yoga at festivals. Yoga in the street. Yoga on the beach. Several Israelis who wish to practice Pilates approached me and say they just don’t feel part of everyday society. They feel in some ways alienated. Israel talks of being a free society but it is just not the case for Pilates Students.

Meanwhile born-again Yoga students are protesting too…. against other forms of yoga! Hatha Yoga, the traditional and original form of Yoga,  claims to be the more spiritual form of practice. It ‘claims‘ to be the true way to connect with our internal energies and the Universe as a whole.  Yet some people out there don’t practice Hatha and now feel they are being discriminated against.

Florentin resident Yonatan, who was very inflexible when he started but who can now touch his toes and sit cross-legged while eating muesli, shared his story with the Daily Freier. “I feel I am a born again Yoga student. I was never flexible. I started with Ashtanga and really enjoyed the movement it had for my body. But when I go to festivals it’s all about meditation and stillness in the yoga. What about a little bit of movement in our asanas..I don’t feel I should be ‘forced’ to follow rules I don’t want for my body. I just want choices when I go to festivals.

[The Daily Freier learns something new every day. Apparently there’s also a yoga called Iyengar. Let’s take a look….]

Iyengar Students are also in protest…  Allenby-area aspiring musician Sivan says, “We have enough ropes, cushions and chairs to support all students at all festivals. We just feel marginalized as a group.”

At a national level, Netanyahu has been accused of favouring Hatha Yoga and politicizing the situation for his own benefit. One of his ministers who can’t be named for legal reasons has been quoted “Ashtanga students are yogis who have lost their way. We must ensure that every yogi returns to the fold of true Yoga.

The Knesset is due to debate whether it is safe for people to carry unlicensed yoga mats for fear of potential conflicts between rival groups of yoganauts.

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Filed under: Guest Writer Wednesday Tagged: Netanyahu, pilates, Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv problems, Yoga, yogalates