Time Magazine: "When Yoga Hurts" by Pamela Paul

Yoga has hit the national media once again in an article in Time Magazine. Ms. Paul's article makes some extremely good points.

There are, however, some serious flaws in the underlying assumptions of the article that are indicative of the common approach of the media and the public to yoga.

More editorializing after the jump.


The Hostile New Age Takeover of Yoga

I know I'm a little behind the curve with this posting, as it's already been covered by other yoga blogs (the very excellent souljerky, in particular), but I find myself continuously referring people to Ron Rosenbaum's great article for Slate.com "The Hostile New Age Takeover of Yoga." It's such a relief to hear someone else talking about this.

What Mr. Rosenbaum refers to as "Yoga Media" is only the outward expression of a deep flaw in the yoga community. So often yogic practices are used as justification for strengthening of ego and attachment rather than for their abandonment. Yoga Journal has become unreadable over the last few years as it has turned into an InStyle Magazine wannabee. The only articles worth reading are Julie Gudmestad's excellent articles on anatomy.

The worst thing about this general trend is the way in which one is frowned upon for bringing such things up. I've read that, as yogis, we are supposed to be open and to love and accept unconditionally. I would counter that by saying that, as yogis, we are supposed to be conscious and discerning. We should be able to tell the difference between things that will lead us further towards the goal of freedom from the suffering of daily life and things that will reinforce our ego and our attachments to the attractions and repulsions of the material world.

Read the article. He makes many good points.

Elvis Presley Takes a Very Strange Yoga Class


Olympic Yoga?

I have no more than a superficial knowledge of Bikram yoga (I would keel over and die trying to exercise in that level of heat), but the school seems to be heavily involved in competitive yoga demonstrations such as the International Yoga Asana Championship. An article appeared recently in The Daily Telegraph in the UK reporting on a desire to make Yoga an event at the Olympics.

My knee-jerk reaction is that yoga should not be competitive in any situation and should definitely not be presented in such a format lest the general public (and those who might begin practicing yoga) think this is in any way the point of practice. As a practitioner, I have found it is very easy to fall into the trap of competitiveness, both with myself and with others. As a teacher it becomes so clearly apparent how any movement in that direction is detrimental to the student. A student with the slightest amount of competitiveness in their approach is completely closed off to new information coming from outside, and worse, from within.

Check out the article, see what you think, leave a comment and let us all know.

Yoga in the strangest places...

The very funny, and apparently very limber, Jeremy Piven does a very respectable Vashisthasana II (in suit pants and tie, no less) in the first episode of the new season of ENTOURAGE on HBO.