News & Thoughts on Yoga in DC

Posts Tagged ‘Yoga’

Her Big Day

In News on February 2, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Student at Studio DC, Washington Post

Five years ago a new wave of yoga studios began to open in gentrifying neighborhoods all across DC. Now the studios are going beyond teaching beginners, as young women disillusioned by the deadening nature of professional work in Washington, DC, turn to yoga studios for deeper meaning.

The Washington Post profiles the graduation ceremony of a Studio DC 200 hour program. Sixteen young women dressed in white, like brides or candidates for Christian confirmation, walk down a candle-lit aisle strewn with red rose petals. Heady with spiritual commitment and fellowship, they cry, laugh and hug, as studio owners Katja Brandis, and husband Ryan Arnoldy, also in white, look on.

DC has one of the fastest growing yoga communities in the nation. The North American Studio Alliance, a trade group of sorts that is better known as NAMASTA, estimates that the number of yoga professionals has grown by more than 200 percent here in the past five yearswrites the Post.

What does it take, other than a trust fund, to be a yoga teacher in DC?

Alanna Kaivalya, founder of the Kaivalya Yoga Method, lists three qualifications of a good teacher for the Huffington Post:

1/ Connection to a lineage

2/ A daily practice

3/ Enjoyment of people

If we can inspire and encourage students to move (safely) beyond their limitations, we will have done what our teachers once did for us, and in this way, we render the magic [spiritual guru] Krishnamacharya’s wisdom, writes Kaivalya.

Tall orders for the young brides of yoga.

I’m Concerned About Your Aura

In News on January 7, 2012 at 12:16 PM

YouTube, Lululemon

… I drank way too much Kaboocha last night…
… I’ve got total yoga hair…
… My Chakras are so aligned…

Cute and clever, in a charmingly ditzy sort of way, check out the YouTube video below: Shit Yogis Say

What would Lululemon mascot, John Galt, say about the company’s vision of their customers?

Those marketing people at Lululemon are so demonically smart, or at least they’re trying.

Who Is John Galt?

In News on December 20, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Lululemon's "Who is John Galt?" bag Photograph by Meredith Rizzo.

Atlas Stretched: Who Is John Galt and Why Is He on Lululemon Bags?

Yoga and author Ayn Rand  [Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead] have both spawned subcultures of devotees because Americans are individualists who belong to the church of self-improvement. Lululemon’s campaign is startling. (Slate)

Yoga Improves Cancer Results

In News on May 23, 2011 at 5:25 PM
People joining the Global Race for the Cure this spring might want to take their yoga mats, too. Breast cancer patients who practice yoga have lower stress levels and a better quality of lifethan women doing stretching exercises, researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center report.

Cretian Snake Goddess, 1600 BC, Chris 73

Yogis Develop Poses for Patients 

Scientists at the Anderson Cancer Center studied sixty-one women with stage zero through three breast cancer. The women were broken into three groups while undergoing radiation treatment. The first group was given twice-weekly yoga classes, which emphasized breathing and relaxation and integrated poses designed by Indian yogis especially for patients with a possibly limited range of motion. The other two groups of women were either given stretching exercises or were not given any special exercise program. The results of the study were reported at the 42nd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology by Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., director of the Integrative Medicine Program at M. D. Anderson. Dr. Cohen collaborated with Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, India’s largest yoga research institution, in Bangalore.

After one week of yoga and radiation, the women in the first group reported feeling better than the other women, had less trouble sleeping and had lower levels of stress hormone. The yoga group had the “steepest decline in their cortisol across the day, indicating that yoga had the ability to regulate this stress hormone,” according to a report in The Independent of the study.

Downward Facing Dog for the Cure

The scientists are planning a new study to further investigate the link between yoga and better health in breast cancer patients. Participants in next month’s Race for the Cure on the Mall might also consider offering the gift of a yoga practice to their loved ones. for the Cure is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists and has raised and invested almost $2 billion toward fighting breast cancer. The three-mile run leaves from the Mall Saturday morning, June 4.

Questions About Who (Anyone?) Owns Yoga Poses

In News on April 27, 2011 at 6:00 AM

India is sounding the warning shot: Keep your Prana Flow® off our poses.

© AFP/ Dibyangshu Sarkar

Prana Flow® is a trademarked style of yoga developed by California yoga master, Shiva Rae. Though the Indian government has not cited a specific American school of yoga, it has filmed hundreds of yoga poses and registered them with international patent offices. Its goal is to stop American and European entrepreneurs from patenting yoga poses and advertising they have created new types of yoga. This week it also signed an agreement with the Japanese Patent Office.

Yoga originated in India. People cannot claim to invent a new yoga when they have not,

says Vinod Kumar Gupta, who runs the Indian government’s Traditional Knowledge Digital Library which is heading the effort.

As American as Aerobics and Revival Meetings

Almost 16 million American adults practice yoga, spending $5.7 billion a year on yoga classes and products, according to a study released three years ago by Yoga Journal. Americans practice everything from Christian yoga and Jewish yoga to Naked Yoga and Laughter Yoga. The U.S. Patent Office has issued more than 130 yoga-related patents (most for merchandise), 150 copyrights and 2,300 trademarks related to yoga. Most of copyrights and trademarks are for yoga-studio branding and training manuals; none is for individual poses.

The firestorm over yoga ownership was lit in 2004 in Beverly Hills when Calcutta-born Bikram Choudhury claimed ownership of a sequence of 26 postures he called Bikram Yoga practiced by students in a hot room. He tried to collect money from other studios that also offered “Hot Yoga” classes, according to The Washington Post. So far no one in the U.S. has patented a yoga pose.

Wasted Energy

Some experts wonder why the Indian government is spending resources on a non-issue.

“If copyrights have been granted on works depicting the yoga practices of concern, the rights granted would be limited to prohibiting others from copying instructional videos or books used to teach the yoga moves or positions,”

wrote patent attorney Joseph Breimayer in a blog post.

“Copyright cannot be used to prohibit teaching or performing the moves or positions by someone who has learned to do so using the copyrighted materials.”

For Indian Eyes Only

India is releasing 30 to 40 of the yoga videos to the public, says Gupta. The government will not allow yoga practitioners to see or use most poses, many of which he says have been culled from ancient Sanskrit texts.

A Missed Opportunity for India

Americans will continue to Americanize yoga. Who knows what’s next; perhaps reality TV. Might we see:

  • Extreme Yoga Makeover?
  • Project Down Dog?

India has the chance to share new poses — and millennia of yoga tradition — with hungry yoga students:

  • Imagine a You Tube site featuring “new” ancient poses.
  • Imagine distributing Indian yoga for free.
  • Imagine even charging 99 cents per download, and giving the proceeds to India’s other national treasure: their starving children.

Despite India’s economic boom, at least 46 per cent of very young children in India suffer from malnutrition, according to a 2009 study backed by the British Government. There are a number of private India charities who are doing the hard work of feeding, clothing and educating 1000s of destitute kids and could use the help.

Or we can argue about who owns yoga.


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