Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thank You, NY Times!

Yoga has taken some pretty hard hits in the press lately. Last month The New York Times published an article entitled How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body. Now today I opened my email to their newest hatchet job Yoga and Sex Scandals: No Surprise Here.

The yoga community has been rising up against these articles, ruffling their feathers, preparing to fight. But honestly, I think that is the wrong reaction. I am thrilled! Last year, my yoga RSS feeds hibernated for months at a time. 2012 has woken them up with story after story of this glorious practice.

I don't agree with the content of the above stories, but I love that they exist for a few reasons.

First, to the mainstream world, yoga has had this clouded mystical mystery surrounding it. Articles like above bring to light that yogi's are, in fact, human. They make mistakes. They, too, get drunk when given too much power, much like members of our political system. It makes yoga more accessible, that you can be flawed and still practice.

Second, yoga has been touted as a "cure all." The only articles you saw before were ones where miracles have happened. How yoga has swooped into someone's life and now they have the perfect life. They are off of their diabetes medication, they are able to walk again, they became one with the universe. But much like a 3am infomercial, when something is made to sound too good to be true, people often believe it is. Over and over yoga articles keep pushing the positives down everyone's throat, to the point they stop listening. But throwing in some humbleness, showing some cracks in the yoga armor? Well now it's a whole different story. People may start to feel less of the hard sell and more like they are getting real facts all around. Yoga may pique the interest of a whole new audience, those who started listening again ("Wait, yoga makes sex better? I need to try this for myself!").

Lastly, I think the fact The New York Times feels yoga can sell magazines is huge. Sort of like when a celebrity starts to grace the cover of tabloids it is a sign they have made it. The New York Times would not spend this much precious space if no one was interested in yoga. So to me, them publishing multiple stories in two months is a great sign that yoga is crossing over into the mainstream.

Personally, I have seen the many benefits of yoga and how amazing it can be. But if you're not open to it, it has zero benefits. Yoga is about balance, and these "negative" stories are just balancing the pot a bit so maybe more people will get inquisitive to give it a try themselves. And if that's the case, I say go for it!

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