After years of people writing letters to the editor asking Yoga Journal to stop being so ageist and monochromatic in their choice of (ugh) yoga models, Yoga Journal may be getting the hint. I noticed they had a black woman on a recent cover, and a friend noticed that they actually had an older woman without a perfect body as the demonstrator in one of their inside spreads. I hope they are getting the message that we women yogis do not need to see pictures of perfect female bodies in order to want to buy a magazine. We are more evolved than that.
I was trying out a new yoga class the other night, and the teacher started the class off by apologizing for the substitute who'd ran her class the week before. See, one person had given feedback that he didn't like the sub very much, so she felt somehow this was important to announce to the class and apologize because she had not been able to "hand pick" the sub.
Mass shootings are scary and horrifying, and so of course when one happens, the national conversation turns towards prevention. What could have been done to stop the shooting? More police surveillance? Stricter gun laws?
There are many ways to age, and in my observation, people tend to age in the following ways:
1) They try to ignore their aging, and pretend they are still young even when they aren't.
2) They throw their hands and just "give up" and totally let themselves go.
3) They age gracefully, with acceptance, and take good care of themselves at the same time.
Of course, not everyone is going to fit into those categories. But I've been observing lately that a lot of people tend towards either 1 or 2. They'll either go into a bit of denial and try to Botox their way out of aging, or they'll just quit bothering and let themselves get "old and fat."
Somewhere in between is that happy middle of aging with grace. As I'm only newly aging and in my early 40s, I hope that I can find that middle ground. Still, I find myself wavering between wanting to push my body and taking better care of it...and yes, it's true, you do start feeling more "aches and pains" after 40.
I do want my yoga to be challenging, but a bit more gentle. And I'm less and less interested in doing yoga to "look good" or master the perfect expression of a pose, versus just doing enough to keep my body in good shape and healthy.
Welcome, salutations, and namaste my fellow yogis -
This seems as appropriate a way as any other to welcome you to the beginning of an exploration of one young man upon the Path - a journey and open soliloquay, if you will - into the sublime and seemingly unfathomable world of yoga. Its clouded and ancient past as well as its new home as we find it today in our country: an ancient psycho-spiritual practice of transformation and liberation finding its place in a modern, technological, fast paced, western capitalist country. And this place has by no means been found thus far.
Every year, there's a day of yoga smack dab in the midst of Times Square. But does it actually help the cause of yoga? It is good PR? Or does it cause a yoga backlash?
Yahoo comments tend to be the bottom of the barrel, but they do provide an interesting window into the minds of Americans. The reaction to the yoga event on this Yahoo article was predominantly negative. Comments ranged from the annoyed to the political.
For years I've been writing a personal yoga blog, and sometimes I thought about expanding it to be a bit more useful than me just kvetching about my tight hamstrings. And for a while now, I've been disturbed the trend of yoga towards, well, "trendiness."
But the main "inspiration" for Esteem Yoga was Yoga Journal. For years now, Yoga Journal has been leading the way towards Shallow Yoga with its emphasis on skinny white women on its covers. It wasn't always like this. It used to have pictures of wizened old yoga masters like B.K.S. Iyengar. I'm not sure why they changed, but I never liked the new YJ. And, despite many letters to the editor asking Yoga Journal to stop with the cheesecake pics, they continued on. I stopped buying their magazine years ago. It's a shame, because they do have some excellent writers and good content, but I just couldn't get past those stupid covers.
Well, the kicker for me was last year, when Yoga Journal totally jumped the shark and launched a "Yoga Model" contest. Yes, you have that right. Someone (I did not know) emailed me so I could vote for her in this contest. I was so pissed, I took time off from my birthday to write this scathing piece about it for my yoga blog.
To me, a yoga modeling contest is akin to having nuns in a fashion show, or Buddhist monks vying for the "Sexiest Man Alive" in People. If you are a Buddhist, how'd you like to pick up People magazine and see a feature on "Hot Buddhist Monks," with some buff Asian male model all done up in an orange robe that's open down to the navel to show off his bare chest? (OK, so I admit that sounds somewhat visually appealing, but I still think it would be ultimately tasteless and pointless.)
Yoga, as much as it is a physical exercise to many, is still a spiritual practice for many more. Making yoga into some cheap Hollywood modeling reality show cheapens yoga as a spiritual practice.