A kerfuffle about a Canadian university where yoga classes were cancelled after concerns about cultural appropriation were raised by the Centre for Students with Disabilities sparked Michelle Goldberg, author of a biography of yoga pioneer Indra Devi to discuss the complicated issue of cultural exports, cultural appropriation, and the history of yoga.
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Yoga Joes started life as a wonderful, weird Kickstarter to produce a set of nine "Green Army Men" in yoga poses; having raised over $100K in direct sales at $20/set ($10 for military personnel) Brogamats is now selling them in retail channels at a $28 premium, for all nine: "headstand, meditation pose, cobra pose, warrior one, warrior two, child's pose, tree pose, crow pose, and downward-facing dog." (via Canopy)
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Bikram Choudhury, the millionaire accused serial rapist who popularized hot yoga in America, sued other hot yoga studios in 2003, including "open source yoga" practicioners, asserting that he held a copyright over the sequence of poses conducted in his class.
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These cats do not care about your vanity asana video selfie. Not even a little. Read the rest
According to the Moscow Times, yoga studios in Putinland have been told to stop hosting classes, lest they spread the occult
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One of the letters, seen by Kommersant and addressed from Nizhnevartovsk First Deputy Head Sergei Levkin to the head of social and youth policy Marianna Parfenova asks that she take all necessary measures to stop Hatha yoga lessons from taking place at the stadium.
The move is crucial "in order to prevent the spread of new religious cults and movements," reads the letter.
A second letter, sent to the heads of the departments for physical culture and education, refers to Hatha yoga as "inextricably linked to religious practices" and as having "an occult character," Kommersant reported Friday.
Manly mindfulness for mellow macho muscle men.
They're from the creator of "Brogamats," a line of yoga stuff for dudes, and intended to inspire veterans and people who like the military to try out a little yoga.
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They're $40 from Thinkgeek, perfect for doing Downward Facing Droid and Bot's Pose. Also Happy Android. 95% cotton/5% spandex, machine washable, sizes S-3XL.
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Bikram Choudhury, founder of Bikram Yoga and notorious copyright troll, was recently accused of rape and sexual harassment by former students and employees. more details have come to light about the accusations, including Choudhury alleged racism, disparaging remarks about overweight people, gay people, and a long list of other sorts of people (women with small breasts, people with tattoos, etc). He also hates the color green so much that it is alleged he removed the emergency exit signs from hotel ballrooms where he was teaching.
According to a woman who trained with the cultish guru in Los Angeles, Choudhury doesn't limit his repulsive behavior to his close circle; he waxed poetic on his dick, women's bodies, and matrimony ("Love your bitch wife every moment," he advised) by way of introduction.
Sydney Towne said she kept a list of Bikram's behavior when she trained with him full-time from April to June 2012 because "he dislikes so many types of people" that "a list seemed like the only way to keep track of it all." She loved Bikram Yoga, but hated the way Bikram himself "completely takes advantage of people and their desire for wellness."
"I think he preys on people and there's such a cult of personality around him that people don't question his clearly inappropriate behavior," she said. "I completely believe all accusations against him."
Bikram Yoga Founder Hates Sluts and Fatties, Loves Talking About Dicks
(Image: toe stand, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from yanivnord's photostream)
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The Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art in Washington, DC is preparing the first large exhibition of yoga-related art. Titled "Yoga: The Art of Transformation," the show is really a look at the history of the practice that dates back as far as 500 BCE. According to Smithsonian, "the exhibition includes more than 100 temple sculptures, devotional icons, illustrated manuscripts, court paintings, photographs, books and films borrowed from 25 museums and private collections in India, Europe and the United States." You can get a preview of the art over at Smithsonian Magazine or donate to support the exhibit at the Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Galleries. Above left, "Siddha Pratima Yantra" (Western India, dated 1333; Bronze, 21.9 x 13.1 x 8.9 cm.) "The negative space cut from a sheet of copper represents an advanced Jain practitioner (siddha) who has achieved disembodied enlightenment." Above right, "The Prince in Dange" (from The Magic Doe Woman, Mrigavati, attributed to Haribans, 1603-4, opaque watercolor and gold on paper, 28.3 x 17 cm.) A Preview of the World's First Exhibition on Yoga in Art Read the rest
Lululemon Athletica has recalled 17% of the women's yoga pants in its stores because the latest batch were apparently too sheer. The quality control problem forced the company to cut its revenue forecast by $12-17 million and its stock price took it on the chin.
"The ingredients, weight and longevity qualities of the pants remain the same, but the coverage does not, resulting in a level of sheerness in some of our women's black Luon bottoms that falls short of our very high standards," the company stated. "We want you to Down Dog and Crow with confidence and we felt these pants didn't measure up."
"See-through pants problem causes Lululemon recall" (CNN, thanks Jess Hemerly!) Read the rest
I missed this great piece in the LA Weekly from a few weeks back about multi-millionaire yogi blowhard Bikram Choudhury. We've covered his antics before, but his copyrighty litigiousness just got interesting again.
Short version: Bikram is basically the Walter White of yoga. And I'm talking Breaking Bad Season 5 episode 6 Walter White. The "hot yoga" kingpin isn't in the yoga business or the money business, he's in the empire business, and he's suing his former apprentice and right-hand-dude Greg Gumucio for intellectual property infringement.
But now, the US Copyright office says it may have issued all protection related to yoga sequences in error, including the one Choudhury's suing over.
Random tech world connection: Choudhury was introduced to his now-nemesis by John McAfee, the software billionaire turned yoga teacher.
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This book is a tome of body science for yoga teachers with over 1000 pages in the second edition. I purchased it a few months ago. While I’ve skimmed the entire volume, I’ve spent the most time on the appendix related to balance in yoga postures.
Most yoga instructors can tell you a handful of things that improve balance such as a gazing point, engaged muscles of the standing leg, and mental concentration. Mel Robin has written 80 pages on this subject. He covers gravitational effects on yoga postures; aspects of mechanical metastability; generating counter-torque when falling; balance sensors, and neural repatterning among many, many other topics. This one section alone has changed the way I practice balancing asanas and how I teach them to my students.
With the recent publication of William Broad’s controversial book The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards it’s more important than ever for yoga teachers to understand if and how science backs up claims related to the medical benefits of yoga. Robin’s book does just that. It looks at the science behind the asanas.
I understand that he is working on his newest edition…
-- Michele McGinnis
A Handbook for Yogasana TeachersMel RobinsFirst Edition, 1000 pages2009$83
Available from Amazon
A Handbook for Yogasana Teachers Read the rest
Officials at San Francisco International Airport today unveiled what is said to be the first dedicated practice space for yoga in any airport, anywhere in the world. I'm not surprised to see it's in SFO's newly revamped Terminal 2, a swankily-designed space where Virgin America is based, and some really fantastic food vendors abound.
So much of the the blog/press coverage of today's SFO yoga room launch is cliché-ridden, scoffing at yoga as "woo woo" and so on. But I think it's a great, practical idea. I practice yoga, and when I'm waiting between long-haul flights in an airport, I'll often try and find a discreet, out-of-the-way spot to do a few poses before I'm crammed into my flying cattle pen. Gentle stretching and exercise before, after, or between plane flights makes good health sense.
I do hope this is the start of a trend at other airports around the world. One caveat: the idea of using their provided sticky-mats grosses me out. I'd definitely BYOM (bring your own mat).
More: SFist, MSNBC, SF Examiner, CBS.
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A open Indian database of all yoga postures will go live soon. It's intended to serve as a reference for patent and copyright offices around the world who are petitioned by the likes of Bikram Choudhury with patent and copyright applications for individual postures and sequences of postures. The Times of India
article is somewhat confusing in that it mixes patent and copyright freely. I haven't heard of patents being granted on yoga postures, but there have been many stories about the controversial practice of copyright offices allowing registration of choreography copyrights for sequences of postures:
In order to stop self-styled yoga gurus from claiming copyright to ancient `asanas', like Bikram Choudhury's Hot Yoga -- a set of 26 sequences practised in a heated room -- India has completed documenting 1,300 'asanas' which will soon be uploaded on the country's Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), making them public knowledge.
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Around 250 of these `asanas' have also been made into video clips with an expert performing them.
According to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research ( CSIR) and Union health ministry's department of Ayush, "once the database is up online, patent offices across the world will have a reference point to check on everytime a yoga guru claims patent on a particluar `asana'."
CSIR's Dr V P Gupta, who created TKDL, told TOI, "All the 26 sequences which are part of Hot Yoga have been mentioned in Indian yoga books written thousands of years ago."
He added, "However, we will not legally challenge Choudhury.
This sign, spotted by James Fallows of the Atlantic in the Marina district of San Francisco, reminds me of that scene in Clueless where Alicia Silverstone donates her skis to the Pismo Beach Disaster.
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