February 6, 2013

The State of the Union in Yoga: New Schools, New Code of Behavior.

Courtesy of D Sharon Pruitt

So far 2013 is turning out to be a bit better than last year in the yoga world. For one thing, nobody—not one guru—has been caught with their yoga diapers down. That’s a relief. And it’s been a whole month!

Furthermore, no schools of yoga have exploded as of yet. But what could ever match the spectacular self-implosion of Anusara last year? I always say if you’re going to go, then go big.

If we learned anything from the scandals of last year, it’s that looking for the good may not be as productive as looking for the real. Why? Because while looking for the good might make us feel better, looking for the real might actually make us better.

Before we go back to the mat to “let it all go,” here is a relentlessly real look at the state of the union in yoga today.

I’m trying not to laugh, but really…

New schools.

There is a new “Anusara School of Hatha Yoga.” After ‘le scandal’ erupted, every well-known national-level teacher left the school. Although there are a few diehard and mostly local teachers left in “ASHY,” even John Friend is gone. He has a new yoga school called “Shri Daiva.” And you know I can’t make this stuff up.

There is also another new school of former Anusara teachers called the “Kula Evolution.” They are offering certification classes along with “ASHY.” You could enroll with them, or, you could learn how to teach yoga from a certified teacher near you that teaches yoga. Right?

Yogis are behaving better.

In all of 2013, all six weeks, not one new teacher has been caught on Extra as a yogi behaving badly. Not Bikram Choudhury (sex and a trademark lawsuit), John Friend (sex, drugs and rock and roll behavior), Bhagavan Das (sex with really young girls), K. Desikachar (um, you guessed it), Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (for touching inappropriately), B.K.S. Iyengar (for yelling too much), and just about every other guru who is also human or runs an ashram.

That I might be the only yoga teacher in the world who is not getting any sex on the mat, whatsoever, is beginning to be insulting.

Yoga is not killing anyone, yet.

So far in 2013, no one has written another book about how yoga can hurt, maim or kill you. The Science of Yoga claimed that almost one person a year dies in yoga! OMG! You know, practicing all that breath work is just like going to war these days. You gotta be careful.

People are nicer. Even Lululemon is nicer.

Nice seems to be the operative word for 2013. Nice and happy.

Even Lululemon seems to be getting nicer. At least, they are a lot nicer to me since I wrote that they didn’t have older ambassadors and more than 24,000 people worldwide agreed with me. In fact, the store near my house now has pictures of old people hanging on the walls. There is even one of Mother Jones! Okay, I made that part up. A civil rights, humanitarian activist like Mother Jones would never have shilled for Lululemon, even if they gave her a free mat.

Blessings still suck.

So far, the entire six weeks of 2013 is shaping up to be a blessed year of blessings in yoga. Omg I can’t believe I just wrote that in ‘yoga voice!’

I’m determined to be a real voice in yoga, no matter how good this stinking year turns out to be. I rolled around in the muck of last year long enough and now I prefer to laugh my way to enlightenment. I’ve done it both ways, and believe me, my way is better.


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Ed: Kate Bartolotta

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