Trigger warning: this video and the text below contain accounts of rape and sexual assault.
On last night’s “Nightline,” three of Bikram Choudhury’s five sexual assault accusers bravely came forward to talk about the horrors they suffered at the hands of the yoga guru. Honestly, I had read about the charges, but the first-hand accounts were far more disturbing than I imagined. As a newly minted yoga teacher and a long-time yogi, these women’s stories rocked me to the core. To think of a practice that has been such a positive influence in my life being perverted by the most disgusting form of victimization is gut wrenching. As Sarah Baughn, the first woman to come forth in the media with her charges, says, “My daughter one day looked at me and said…’Mommy I want to be just like you. I want to be a yoga teacher.’ And all I could think was, ‘You can’t do that. You’ll get raped.’” Keep reading »
Oh for fuck’s sake, fine, I’ll respond to the click-baiting article about yoga on xoJane. A writer going by the name of Jen Caron (her real name, Jen Polachek, was removed as the byline following the backlash to her article) has written the following essay: “It Happened To Me: There Are No Black People In My Yoga Classes And I’m Suddenly Uncomfortable With It.” Caron is a self-described “skinny white girl” and what “happened to” her is a “fairly heavy black woman” attended her yoga class and seemingly had a difficult time with some of the poses. Obviously, Caron writes, the fat Black woman who isn’t as “good” at yoga must resent her, in all her skinny white yogic glory, and this (utterly imagined) racially-charged tension made Caron uncomfortable. But the discomfort, the ruined yoga class, was worth it because isn’t her essay about it brave and compassionate? Jen Caron cares. Keep reading »
This time of year is tough. These cold months between the holidays and the first day of spring are like one giant, perpetual Monday staring you in the face. I’m generally a pretty happy-go-lucky person, but when the chilly months roll around, my personality changes. I get down in the dumps over just about everything.
This time last year, I was living on the Florida coast, where I experienced my first sunny winter in over a decade. I’d always known I tended to fall into a funk each winter, but experiencing a January without snow made me realize just how tough a time I had each year. That Florida winter, I had plenty of energy and optimism — just like I do in the warmer months. When I’m living up north, a typical January for me usually means sleeping late, feeling hopeless and getting close to nothing accomplished. When I saw how good life can be year-round when winter blues aren’t part of the picture, I knew it was time to change how I approach the cold, slushy season. Keep reading »
I have mixed feelings about the series photographer Peter Hegre posted on Reddit of his wife, Luba Shumeyko, doing super-advanced yoga poses in the buff. One the one hand, the photographs are undeniably beautiful. On the other hand, well, a lot of things. I hate that they perpetuate the myth that yoga poses are supposed to look a certain way. The fact is, most bodies will never be able to do many of these poses and seeing someone else do them can make the practice seem unapproachable — especially to newbies. Also, sadly, because she is naked, some dope will see these pictures and mistakenly think that yoga is sexually charged practice. Actually, it’s not — or shouldn’t be, I should say. With some recent sex scandals that have rocked the yoga world, you can see how easily those lines get blurred. Naturally, Redditors had various reactions — from discussion of Luba needing to “eat a cheeseburger” to admiration of “her physical strength” to comments about “how much more detail you can see in muscle tone when clothing is off.” Because how could a woman be naked without everyone weighing in? Click through and see what you think about the naked asanas (NSFW). [Nerve; Huffington Post; Imgur]
The last time I did yoga was more than a decade ago, when a couple friends and I took a weekly class at the gym for a few months. Even then, I was kind of a slacker who lurked in the back of class muttering obscenities about downward dog (not sure if it’s big boobs or lack of arm strength, but that pose has always been SO uncomfortable for me). Recently, though, I’ve been yearning to give yoga another go and see if my adult self enjoys it more than my teenage self did. There are tons of great studios in my neighborhood. Right now, the only thing holding me back from packing up my yoga mat and actually going to class are a series of “what ifs”: What if everyone in the class is better than me? What if my outfit is dumb? What if I can’t hold the pose?
Luckily for me, my coworker and friend Ami just completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training, and is scheduled to teach her first class next month. She seemed like the perfect person to field my most pressing and ridiculous yoga questions without judgment. Here’s what she had to say about downward dog, baggy Weird Al t-shirts, and, yes, farting during class… Keep reading »
With all the unflattering Lululemon headlines this past year, and CEO Chip Wilson’s recent resignation, it was only matter of time before one of the overly friendly, insanely in shape employees opened their gluten-free yappers about what was going on behind the scenes at the yoga retail empire. Mary Mann did us that favor. In her Salon expose, the former retail employee (known in Lulu lingo as “educators”) at New York City’s Union Square location told all about the cult-like company which offered free exercise classes in lieu of health insurance, forced employees to make 10-year-goal lists to hang in their stores, encouraged them to attend self-help seminars on the company’s dime and created a fake,”ideal” customer named Ocean. Gulp. Oh yeah, and there was an “educator” murder/suicide while she worked there that sounds like it was ripped from an Investigation Discovery special. After the jump, a few of Mann’s most bizarre revelations that made me frightened enough to want to buy yoga pants elsewhere. Keep reading »
I know that naked yoga exists (if only in the deep recess of my consciousness, right near the part of my brain that remembers to do taxes each year). So far, this naked yoga trend has been mostly a male-only endeavor. Go figure. Women are already weary of being leered at by mnn in their tight Lululemon pants. Chelsea’s Bold & Naked Yoga studio is foraging ahead into the all-naked yoga word. They will be the first in New York City to add all-female and co-ed nude classes to their schedule.
“If you are looking for an orgasm, you are in the wrong place,” said owner Joschi Schwarz. “I know sexuality is always in peoples’ minds and I have a feeling that a lot of people don’t know that yoga has nothing to do with sex at all…When you get rid of the clothes, you get rid of the labels — and that’s a beautiful thing.” Keep reading »
Yogis, rejoice! O’Hare International Airport in Chicago now has a yoga room! The room is open from 6 am – 10 pm, and according to aviation commissioner Rosemarie Andolino, it serves as an “oasis for passengers.” O’Hare is one of the nation’s busiest airports, so an oasis is exactly what its visitors probably need! Chicago’s other major airport, Midway, is also set to open a yoga room in the near future as well. Keep reading »