Monday, August 30, 2010

Global Mala Chicago

Yoga for Peace

September 11, 2010 at 9:30 am.

Let's meet at Buckingham Fountain.
It's free, just bring your yoga mat!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A View from Inside Child's Pose. And a weekly roundup.

Well, the most exciting thing for me right now is that I have been stretching in my blogging style—to great success! I have been enjoying getting some good conversations going over at Elephant here and here.

My most recent post, Power to the Pubis was picked up by the alumni relations website for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I am honored to see that.

In honor of the female "down there" here is a link to a Web site that specializes in jewelry and things to celebrate the glorious variety nature has created in women!

Super-Power Bloganista, Linda-Sama was interviewed. Learn more about her here.

Bob Weisenberg's conversation from my post, Sexy Yogini + Car at Elephant, was presented again here.

Thank you for reading! Happy day best wishes!

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Power to the Pubis!

..accepting the fullness of feminity along with our strength!

On Kathryn Budig, Toesox, Lululemon and the Powerful Female Pelvis.

Click here to read more at Elephant.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Yoga Journal is a Chronicle of the “Yoga Scene”, including Nakedness…

I came across this response from the Editor in Chief of Yoga Journal, Kaitlin Quistgaard, to the concerns generated by Judith Hanson Lasater’s letter that was published in the September 2010 issue. Here is a small excerpt:

“Perhaps the biggest difference between the magazine Judith founded and the one I edit today is that while Yoga Journal continues to be a source of instruction and insight on yogic practices, it is now also a chronicle of the ever-evolving yoga scene–a scene that didn’t exist 35 years ago and one that some old-time practitioners would, quite frankly, find un-yogic.”

(The bold words are in the source post…)

Yes, it’s easy to see that the magazine has evolved, and so has yoga, but to place in bold text the opinion that it is only “some old-time practitioners” that find parts of the “ever-evolving yoga scene” questionable really minimizes the option of critical thinking. If I’m reading this right, it’s just the “old” people who feel this way so it doesn’t matter to the magazine so much because Yoga Journal is a chronicle of what is happening: an unseeing filter for whatever is going on in yoga in our culture right now. Well thanks for clarifying that for me, Ms. Quistgaard, I now understand better how to look at this magazine.

And I guess since it’s just “old” thinking, and I don’t want to feel ashamed for not being of the latest, hottest opinion of yoga I’ll just clam up since these other opinions are apparently no longer relevant.

I think that ideals, choices and responsibility are important when publishing about a subject I care about like yoga. But she also points out:

“It’s a messy time to be in the business of covering yoga. Some yoga publications that offered a purist’s view of the practice are no longer in print, while “workout yoga” is popular on the newsstand. Yoga Journal remains devoted to bringing a full spectrum of teachings to a wide audience, and it does so while walking the age-old line of art and commerce.”

I find this response somewhat dispiriting, or is it sobering? Have I been drunk with idealism? Is our culture so far gone that the only way we can get peoples attention is by showing them a flashy naked (or almost Naked) idealized form?

Friday, August 20, 2010

...nothing falls but into life.

Perfection: Men of
dreams. You came to disappoint.
Painful lessons learned.

Imperfection: Hope.
Dreams shine. Heart yearns. Door opens...
Unknowing and free.

Seeing life. Fallen
tree enchants. Struggle appears
worthy now. Love speaks.

Love: Have you entered
me as a ghost of my own
longing? (Drunk with it.)

How to begin when
the fallen tree looks dead? See
the sparkles. Believe.

* Title of this post comes from a poem by Wendell Berry *

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Some blogs I've enjoyed this week.

Nikki Chau wrote about something that was redolent of Things That Jerk with Your Emotions. The post is called:
Don't Bite the Hook: A Lesson in Working with Anger
It includes a reference to my recent popular post at Elephant.

Carrie writes an interesting blog, shining light on disabilities to help and inspire people. She also posts interviews with high-profile yoginis like Natasha Rizopoulos and Seane Corn.

The Men's Section

I came across some interesting material about men this week:

Men's Yoga

Men's Food

Men's Sex

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Slim, Sexy Yogini + Car, and what the heck are we sayin’...

What’s good about this Nissan car ad with Tara Stiles is that it communicates about a car that has the potential to cause less harm to the environment, and it gets yoga to the eyes of a mainstream audience. But it makes mistakes in message, too.

Click here to read more at Elephant...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Some yoga blogs that happened this week.

Roseanne at It’s All Yoga, Baby did a great round-up of the “maelstrom of discussion” around Judith Hanson Lasater’s letter to Yoga Journal. Very worth reading, especially if you got caught up in the flow like I did...

I disagree very much with the way Waylon Lewis ended his interview with Judith Hanson Lasater:
We’ll be glad to put this behind us, at least for now. It’s the kind of question that will probably, and should probably come up from time to time.
I am not ready to put “behind me” some of the really important points Ms. Lasater brought up in her letter to Yoga Journal. After having awareness raised, is it really a good idea to try to hide the fruits of that inquiry? I was glad to be reminded that I care about the production of images in our culture and how they affect us. Thank you Judith Hanson Lasater!!

And here’s some comic relief from YogaDawg. Thanks, YogaDawg, I needed that laugh!

Other great blogs from this week:

Astanga Thuggees from Bindy Fry's Itty Bitty Brain Basket: Read it to find out what the heck that means…

Roadmaps for the Soul from Yoga for Cynics.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Break from the Regularly Scheduled Programming...

It's nearing the end of summer, and I've been thinkin' that it might be about time to break my schedule and do somethin' different--a little recharge and refresh break for me. Here are a few programs I'm *not really* considering from different retreat centers across the country:

Radical Self-Loathing: Free Your Inner Bitch!

Total Sugar and White Flour Diet: Ride the Waves of Cotton Candy Cloudy Thinking and Mood Swings Galore.

Inner Critic Boot Camp: Really Give it to Yourself!

Exploring Inner Poverty: How feeling worthless helps you to let go of your dreams (You never would have succeeded anyway...) A Support Group for Loosers.

How to Stay Single for the Rest of Your Life (and Tell Yourself that You Enjoy it when You Don't)

No You (It's Better this Way): Get so Thin that You Practically Disappear.

Yoga for Your Nude Photoshoot.

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

How we react to seeing nudity is personal.

When I see the naked yoga ads--especially the Toesox ad--I feel vulnerable and confused, rather than turned on or jealous. And I'm willing to take responsibility for my personal reaction. These days I try to look past this type of ad after recoiling slightly--the ads are not for me. But there is really so much behind my reaction. It is only the recent conversations--brought on by Judith Hanson Lasater's letter to Yoga Journal--that have made me take another look at what has been easier to ignore previously.

What the naked (except for Toesox) Toesox ad brings up for me are memories of student films and photoshoots I participated in when I was in college. We shot a lot in black and white and I do think it's beautiful, but seeing a young woman whose vagina and pubic hair is barely covered by an arm and the clever shooting angle just makes me imagine everything that might be happening around that moment. In my minds eye, I see lights and an assistant or more and a photographer-- all clothed--while this nude young women is being attended to and visually preyed upon. I have no reason to think that Kathryn Budig, the model, feels in any way compromised by the photos. It's just me feeling insecure about my own past youth and vulnerability. Perhaps, I can't really see the beauty that might be there because the image just seems inappropriate: it is harsh on my eyes. I don't understand the nude advertising for non-skid socks. It really seems crass to me.

As a yoga teacher, I hope my teaching is helping students to discover their own bodies, going deeper into their own experience. I don't want to be an object for ogling, and at the same time I am inspired by beautiful yoga teachers. And I feel empowered by my own beautiful body. So we are never totally separated from our sexuality. A good interaction between a teacher and student can be healing and helpful, and sexuality can magnetically draw positive uplift.

I do think that healthy sexuality can permeate all aspects of life as a joyful undercurrent. Most of the time we don't need to talk about it.

And while I do see the potentially positive aspects of sexuality everywhere, people look to a magazine like Yoga Journal to be educated about yoga. And I wonder: what does the Toesox advertisement add to that conversation? For me (and apparently others, too) it is confusing. And for people who are new to yoga, it might be misleading. Is yoga supposed to be arousing? A form of foreplay, perhaps... If we are having our eyes trained in this way by looking at Yoga Journal, aren't we going to be more likely to wonder about our yoga teachers naked? Or maybe I'm just naive. I'm sure some people already do. In fact, I have been smacked by the beauty of a male instructor removing his shirt to demonstrate a pose. So who am I to judge?

Sexuality is everywhere, and when we try to suppress that, it is still there: we are merely ignoring it.

In our sexually-charged world how do we insure a safe space for practicing yoga? After all, pursuit of sex can be a form of predation. This is why sexuality around yoga must be consciously reckoned with. Otherwise our yoga classes just become another meat market. Wait a minute! A lot of them already are. So perhaps Toesox ads are just a natural outpicturing of the way American culture is processing yoga: as a way for women to become "Slim Calm Sexy!" as Tara Stiles recently tweeted about her new book entitled 'Slim Calm Sexy Yoga'. Here is a picture that came from a link on her Twitter page:

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