rydra_wong: a woman wearing a bird mask balances on her arms in bakasana (yoga -- crow pose)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] sun_salutation
Just wanted to link to this excellent, snarky and incisive piece in Hyphen Magazine on the "yoga debate" started by William Broad's NY Times article:

The Yoga Debate: An Existentially Challenged Desi Chimes In by Kirti Kamboj

On the pro-yoga side was expert Rebecca Greenfield. She held positions such as: "When done right, yoga is a sweaty work-out. And, no, we're not just talking the 'hot kind.'" And, "Admittedly, yoga attracts some of the worst people on the planet: The image obsessed girls mentioned above, super-hippies, and self-righteous spiritual types. But any human that's obsessed with a type of exercise is generally intolerable."

I found these points both illuminating and disturbing. Before, I was under the assumption that I'd been doing yoga all my life. Yet things I believed to be the core of yoga -- yama niyama ideals, body awareness, breath control, etcetera -- have no place in it at all. When done right, as Greenfield points out, yoga is a series of sweaty contortionist work-out poses.

So all this time, I've been inadvertently lying, saying that I do yoga, when weeks can pass without me striking even one sweaty contortionist pose.


(Mod, could we have an "articles" tag, please? And/or a "meta" tag?)

Date: 2012-01-17 12:02 pm (UTC)
muck_a_luck: (Yoga Namaste Two)
From: [personal profile] muck_a_luck
Tags added. Thanks for the link.

Date: 2012-01-17 03:02 pm (UTC)
daedala: line drawing of a picture of a bicycle by the awesome Vom Marlowe (Default)
From: [personal profile] daedala
This is awesome and hilarious. Thanks!

Date: 2012-01-17 03:38 pm (UTC)
daedala: line drawing of a picture of a bicycle by the awesome Vom Marlowe (Default)
From: [personal profile] daedala
Yeah. I also suspect that the more appropriative/commodified the yoga style, the greater the likelihood of injury.

Date: 2012-01-17 07:40 pm (UTC)
recessional: a woman in a yoga pose (personal; just breathe)
From: [personal profile] recessional
It has definitely been my experience that I see the necessary conditions* for injury way more often in the commodified styles (which seem to me more appropriative, although I am not An Authority by any means) than in the places I've been that are more body-and-breath focused, that put weight repeatedly on body-awareness and on non-violence as a practice towards one's own self and body as well as towards others and are at least aware of yoga's origins as a spiritual/religious practice with a purpose other than creating a Sexxxxy Body.


*competitive attitudes, lack of apparent body-knowledge on the part of the instructor, encouragement to ignore pain and other signals from the body under that stupid "no pain no gain" kind of attitude that permeates everything, indifference, etc, etc.

Date: 2012-01-17 07:43 pm (UTC)
recessional: a woman in a yoga pose (personal; just breathe)
From: [personal profile] recessional
I also sort of want to retroactively flail at my response to the Broad article, because some of my comments might have come off as reductionist as Greenfield's, and if they did, augh, I suck and am sorry; I was referring solely to the actual physical poses at that point, not to yoga-as-a-whole. /social-awkward-fail-reduction-attempt.

(Which, as Kamboj says:
I'm not terribly impressed by the deductive powers of reason displayed by yoga experts who've just discovered that asanas can be harmful if improperly performed (next, they will prove the sky isn't always blue; at night it gets quite darkish)
)

Date: 2012-01-17 07:43 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lilmoka
Perfect snark ♥

Date: 2012-01-18 12:10 am (UTC)
oftheuniverse: (Words ♥ Ignorance)
From: [personal profile] oftheuniverse
It's nice seeing someone recognise that yoga doesn't just mean a rigorous physical work-out, and that it's actually a spiritual practice.

On the other hand, I'm so sick of seeing "Americans"/"whites" criticized as a whole group for appropriating from other cultures. It just makes me feel like I'm supposed to be ashamed/labelled an appropriating, stupid hippie that simply borrows things from the "Mystic East" because it's cool - but that's incredibly far from why I identify as Hindu and try to practice yoga in my life. =|

I agree with the author of that article though, that everyone needs to stop acting like it's a surprising revelation that unsafely doing yoga asanas can be...unsafe.

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