What I’d Like to See in a Serious Yoga Magazine. ~ Michelle Marchildon

Via Michelle Marchildon
on Oct 4, 2013
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Stop the presses. This is huge. Yoga Journal has just reported on its website that there has been some inappropriate behavior in the yoga world.

OH MY GOD!woman-screaming-2

The largest and longest-standing yoga media outlet has taken a break from selling its advertising space to sit up and take notice that its industry may have a little problem with teachers having sex with students.

This is, to my knowledge, the first time in Yoga Journal’s history that it reported on something more controversial than say, if you jump forward at the end of the exhale, or the beginning of the inhale. Bravo!

Now that I’ve recovered from the shock, I’d like to take this moment to describe what I’d like to see in a serious yoga magazine, since we are about to get a brand new one from the creators of Origin. This could be an opportunity for the $30 billion yoga business to get some information along with their glossy full-page ads for yoga wear.

Things I’d like to see in a serious yoga magazine:

1. Serious journalism. What is serious journalism? For starters, when yoga companies sue each other, when teachers abuse students and when yoga studios sell phony yoga trainings, I’d like to see some commentary on this. I just had a reader ask me this week what I thought of Anusara yoga. Um, I think it may not exist anymore as its founder has left the building and taken the trademarks with him.

2. Something other than skinny, affluent white women. I know this is not in my best interest, as I might be in the (somewhat) skinny white people category. However, yoga is for every ‘body.’ I find representation by those with big hearts and bodies to match to be inspiring.

3. And let’s not forget the older people. I know we are fascinated with whoever is new, but let’s remember the teachers who have been practicing since before the current crop of yoga celebrities were born. The yoga industry has the attention span of a flea, jumping from one thing to the next. “Oh, look, this one can hula hoop!” Let’s remember the titans who paved the way. There’s Beryl, Patricia, Judith, Richard, David, Rodney and hundreds more.

4. Controversy. I’d like to see us mix it up once in a while. I’d like to see Chris Courtney debate Cameron Shayne on whether it’s okay to have sex with your students. We don’t have to be afraid to disagree. In our disagreements, we will sow the seeds of progress. I know someone said that somewhere.

5. Some new views. If I read one more tired article on how we’re all love, I’m going to scream. I’d like to read about the role of social media in yoga, naked yoga, and if you need a tattoo to sell a YTT.

6. I’d like some acknowledgement of the crazy hate and haters in yoga. What are people thinking when they write anonymously that an author deserves to die? I mean, What. Are. They. Thinking?

7. An understanding of the business. I say that everyone is a yoga teacher. Well, it’s kind of true. I’d like to see more articles on the business of yoga and who is making money around here. On the website www.yogafestival.com, there are more than 75 festivals listed for 2013. There are so many free classes at the mall or in a park, it’s a wonder anyone pays for it in a studio anymore.

8. The final and most important thing I’d like to see in a Yoga magazine is REALITY.

Why? Because the perpetual talk of love and peace, the fear of disagreement, the panic over negativity and our history of brushing yoga scandals under a rug has turned a lot of people off to yoga. On the other extreme, there’s gossip, invective, emotionalism, and mob mentality. But in the middle there are still plenty of people who are intelligent, discerning, have families and responsibilities, are sexually monogamous (or just not screwing their yoga teacher) and work at a job who want to enjoy this beautiful practice, and they don’t want to feel like they are entering a cult of crap when they do.

That’s right. I just said that yoga sometimes feels like a cult of crap. You can now write in anonymously that you wish for me to die.

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About Michelle Marchildon

Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s an award-winning journalist, and the author of Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga. Her second book, Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga, is for yoga teachers who want to inspire their students. Michelle is a columnist for elephant journal and Origin Magazine and a contributor to Teachasana, My Yoga Online and Yoga Journal. She is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and teaches in Denver, Co where she is busy raising two boys, two dogs and one husband. You can follow her on Facebook at Michelle Marchildon, The Yogi Muse. You can find her blog and website at www.YogiMuse.com. And you can take her classes on www.yogadownload.com.


27 Responses to “What I’d Like to See in a Serious Yoga Magazine. ~ Michelle Marchildon”

  1. Kirstie Segarra says:

    Sweet! I agree….

  2. Karla says:

    Right on, Michelle! I always love your writing.

  3. yogivilla says:

    Hell! YES!

  4. thanks Michelle for your clear words about the perpetual talk of love and peace

  5. Dianne says:

    Great article! I wish I wrote it! Amazingly done thank you !

  6. So true. All of it. (Except I don't want you to die.) And you know what? Part of the reason that I've ultimately settled into writing for elephant journal so happily and almost exclusively is because this site invites and welcomes intelligent debate. I've disagreed with more than one important elephant—and that's only led me to respect and admire them and this community more.
    Love this, Michelle. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go put on my XS yoga pants and take my hula hoop out back.

  7. Paula says:

    Thank you Michelle! I stopped going to yoga for two reasons, I cant afford it and I was over all the smiley, sparkly unicorn riding stick people. And NO I do not trust that they are strong enough to keep me from falling, I am twice their size!
    I would love to practice with real people,

  8. Jennifer says:

    100% agree….could be so much better and so easily done…

  9. Michelle Marchildon says:

    Me too Jennifer white. And I used to really like you, until I heard you wear an xs. Soooo kidding.

  10. Guy Gabriel says:

    I agree in that yoga should be representing a big swath of practitioners of all sizes, colors, and nationalities. We should remember the yogis in loin cloths along mother Ganges and not just the spandex-hugging designer crew. Yoga has been Americanized to the third degree and that’s hopefully going to help us see through the maya to our own truth. Thanks! for illuminating us with honesty and integrity on this ongoing yoga debate as to what it should rightfully be, and honoring those pioneers also who set the course that has seen its share of forked roads…


  11. atenea says:

    Wonderful piece, thanks!

  12. nimbus says:

    I love this! Saying that the lulu lemon/Bhaktifest/anusara scene is yoga is like saying Panda Express is Chinese food. You can get rice there but….

  13. Katie says:

    The pioneers go back much further, too many to mention. I thank the Beatles for opening my mind and Ram Dass for filling it up …

  14. neil says:

    Love your article MIchells. How about if we go back even further, say to the Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad-Gity, the whole Mahabharata, Upanishads, the Kabbahala, or even the New Testament and discuss them seriously. Wouldn't that be a shocker?

  15. Johnny says:

    Thanks! This is why I let go of YJ about 10 yers ago. I would like to add to the list more of yoga and tantra in India, that is outside of the Krisnamacharya, Jois, Iyengar tradition so big in the USA (I´m from Sweden by the way).

  16. Michelle Marchildon says:

    I don't think we can take the Bhagavad Gita seriously, because Arjuna didn't do Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga. That was a joke.

  17. Karen P. says:

    Great article, Michelle! I share a lot of the ideas you expressed. Thanks for writing it.

  18. Auki says:

    I agree, Michelle. Yoga in America has become a cult. Yoga is not even about real Yoga, which means "union with Source." It's all about making money by selling looks, sex, magazines, books & seminars, white-racism, capitalism and a mindless Stepford Wives-like sunny-positivity & goooey-love that makes my skin crawl. (Thanks a lot, Oprah!)
    God help us… please! 🙂

  19. @nick_gaeta says:

    I really enjoyed this article. We are trying to "protect" yoga from harm but in reality were suppressing it from helping more lives. Let it out! Teach the Business aspect, debate, and stop taking it all so DAMN SERIOUSLY!

  20. Sandy says:

    "I was over all the smiley, sparkly unicorn riding stick people." LOL!!! Right on.

  21. Johnna Langlo says:

    Yes!!!! I just went to the Southeast Yoga conference this weekend and had some similar thoughts floating around in my head. Thank you for saying them!

  22. YogiSophie says:

    Oh man, do I ever agree! I've actually been on a bit of a yoga hiatus because I am so sick and tired of the cult-iness of yoga, and how a lot of people are taking it from something relatively simple and turning it into so many things that barely even resemble yoga. I remember my first yoga class – I was wearing sweatpants and a comfy t-shirt, and not only did I not bring my own yoga mat, NO ONE had yoga mats in the class! We brought a regular towel to put down on the carpeted floor just to have a little space-boundary. The teacher did not try to sell me workshops or anything after class, she just guided us through some poses, told us stories about the yoga philosophy and that was that. Fast forward to now, where yoga classes are totally unrecognizable. And I'm not even 30 – that first class was NOT too long ago. Maybe 10 years. What's happened since then??

  23. Anna says:

    awesome way of putting it! lol

  24. @yogatwit says:

    I agree as well. Thanks for the article.

  25. Ruth McKenna says:

    Yes! Love this article, beautifully written and completely agree. Would really love to see such a magazine…I subscribe to Yoga Journal and realised after 6 editions that it's basically the same every month and the number of ads are such a bore. I'll pay more for smoething serious.

  26. LifeEnergiser says:

    Thank you … absolutely agree …{Carol}

  27. Prema says:

    So true. Let's hope that around the corner and new day is dawning and we collectively create it.