Archive for January, 2007

McDonald’s Teaches Yoga?

Forgive me, regular customers, but since I don’t go to McDonald’s anymore (loved it as a kid, but as an adult it makes me ill), I didn’t realize they’d added Asian chicken salad to the menu, and were offering yoga DVDs to customers.May 2006 issue of Fortune Magazine says the “Asian salad [is] made of orange-glazed chicken, snow peas, red peppers, mandarin oranges, almonds and green soybeans known as edamame. People who buy the salad as part of a “Go Active! Happy Meal” for adults are given one of four 15-minute exercise DVDS, including one that teaches yoga.”Yoga is being roped into helping McDonald’s dodge the obesity charges levelled at it.So yoga and Super Size Me are on opposite sides of the obesity debate now?Actually, maybe yoga is on both sides.

Executives Drop in on Pattabhi Jois thanks to Business Week?

Jan 29, 2007 issue of Business Week profiles the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India, home of K. Pattabhi Jois, revered master of the very physical form of yoga called ashtanga.“Pilgrimage to the Heart of Yoga” by Savita IyerThis article was in the Executive Life/Travel section. While the article is accurate, it’s hard to imagine jet-setting executives dropping in on AYRI: this form of yoga in particular requires a steady practice and knowledge of the poses.From what I’ve heard, the town is not exactly cushy. You rent a room from someone once you arrive, and the accomodations are basic. The fanciest service available is email and the connection is slow and unreliable. Not exactly what travelling executives might be looking for.Still, it’s fascinating that Business Week has chosen to run this article. There’s interest out there….

Humor on Christian Yoga

At last a humorous take on Christian yoga. BC native Shannon Rupp in the independent daily newspaper, The Tyee, skewers Quesnel area woman’s objections to yoga in classrooms–because, the woman says, yoga is the work of the devil. Natch.

Here’s an excerpt:
“Cummings also complains that yoga in the classroom is the same as prayer in the classroom, and again she’s not wrong. You frequently hear prayers of the “oh-god-oh-god-oh-god” variety, especially in beginner yoga classes. An occasional “Jesus!” isn’t unusual.”

Read, “Me, A Yoga Devil?” at

(And scroll down to follow the amazing, convoluted commentary that follows the story!)

History Of Indian Yogis 2000 B.C. – 2000 A.D.

History Of Indian Yogis 2000 B.C. – 2000 A.D., course at Loyola College, CA

From the course catalog:

“Most reconstructions of the history of yoga in India have focused on the term “yoga” as it is found in a selection of major religious and philosophical texts, including the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the Bhagavad Gita of the Mahabharata, and the Hathayogapradipika of Svatmaraman. These reconstructions have tended to emphasize a body of ecstatic and meditative practice. When, however, one traces the history of the term “yogi,” the presumed agent of yogic practice, the reconstruction changes radically. From the very earliest accounts of yogis, as found in narrative passages of the Mahabharata, and down through the Tantras and medieval and modern non-scriptural accounts, the image of the Indian yogi has been one of a phenomenally powerful, but also dangerous possessor of supernatural powers, who exits his own body, often to take over those of other people. Using archeological, iconographic, and textual data, this course will survey the image of the Indian yogi from the earliest times down to the present day. The conclusions it will draw will be most surprising.”

BBC covers Yoga

A post on the BBC’s Web site (BBC’s Hindi service) discusses India’s modern newsmaker, yoga guru Swami Ramdev.

Read more:

Rodney Yee’s New Love: An Old Story

The NYTimes covered Rodney Yee’s wedding to Colleen Saidman (Sag Harbor yoga studio owner) last weekend.

The story was first covered in New York Magazine in May 2005

It was much talked about, and even covered in yoga magazines as an ethical issue. We sure hold our teachers up to high standards.

Yoga in "Children of Men"

In the arresting movie, Children of Men, there was a brilliant characterization of yoga/healing culture. Several times, the midwife character who’s helping Theo and Ki, invokes Shanti and chants Om Mani Padme Om. She even gets skeptical Ki to chant when when they are burying the leader of the Fishes, Julienne.

The midwife character is a bridge–she is key to the escape and she gives her life for the child about to be born. But she doesn’t get to see Ki delivered into the right hands. That’s left to morally exhausted Theo.

The midwife is struggling to live in an unlivable world, do what’s right, and have hope. You get a sense that she has to deceive herself to do this. Chanting Om Mani Padme Om gently underscores this: Julienne has been shot in the neck, murdered by her own people. She’s buried in an unmarked grave in the woods, in desperate circumstances. There is no redemption. If there is a soul, if there is a god, if there is a healing power, or a guiding light, we don’t see it in this movie. The midwife character invokes Shanti in spite of the overwhelming evidence that Shanti is meaningless here.

Sometimes this is how the “healing” around yoga culture seems: harmless when times are good. But how effective would it be if the government and the terrorists were trying to kill you?

New Drink– Our True Desires

At the opening of Golden Bridge Yoga Center in New York last weekend, and then again at Jivamukti this weekend, I sampled a new super green drink that’s coming onto the market, Cellnique. It claims to replenish and renew all 30 trillion cells in my body in just 400 ml.

Advertising (and price) aside (this baby goes for about $5), the drink tastes okay, and feels excellent in the body. It should; it’s stuffed with an amazing number of good-for-you ingredients. The list is so long you can hardly read the type, but it includes pea protein, hemp protein, and quinoa, as well as some more expected ingredients like broccoli and spinach. But the exotic far outweighs the domestic here.

What I found really intriguing was the marketing label. It neatly captured what I think we think we’re doing when we 1) eat organic 2) practice yoga 3) go to accupuncture or a Chinese doctor 4) go to therapy. It’s a kind of 1970s mentality of well-being meeting the lifestyle-consumer mentality of the 2000s. We all have to work now, but we spend our money on health.

Here’s the blurb, complete with Cellnique’s capitalization and punctuation:”You are beautiful and unique, in every way, all 30 trillion cells… you are Cell-nique ™.”Our Philosophy–Live Consciously: Most of us don’t live on a mountain. We live in this world. We strive to be authentic, caring, compassionate and, most of all, soulful. Our perspective is worldly, informed, provocative, stimulating, sensual and aware. We desire to go deeper, to find meaning and balance while living and succeeding in the material world. We ask questions and find answers, continuing to evolve and emerge into our highest being. We feed ourselves the best nature has to offer, knowing it is the secret to lasting health, ageless beauty and superior performance.”

Yoga is Big Business

The New York Times reports that (gasp!) yoga makes some people a lot of money. Their business reporter Susan Moran dropped in to the Yoga Journal conference in Boulder, CO, in early January 07 and found people not just blissed out with Shiva Rea, but dropping $100 on necklaces said to help with “expression issues.”

As the mainstream embraces yoga, expect to see more and more shopping opportunities wherever yoga is practiced. Retail therapy gets literal.

Meditate on this: Yoga is big business

Read a Canadian angle this story:

NPR looks at the Business of Yoga

From NPR’s Web site:
“Talk of the Nation, December 26, 2006 · Guests explore yoga’s path from the margins to the mainstream, and its transformation along the way from spiritual meditation to a mass-marketed workout.

Hanna Rosin, staff writer for The Washington Post and author of “Striking a Pose,” an article in Harper’s magazine that examines yoga’s potency as both exercise and market force.

Robert Love, contributing editor at the Columbia Journalism Review. Love’s recent article “Fear of Yoga” traces yoga’s origins in the United States and its rocky rise to popularity.

Miriam Nelson director of the John Hancock Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition”

Listen HERE