Guerilla Yoga protest, DC-style!

Well, the most exciting thing going on this week was the engaging Gita Talk happening over at elephant journal. Ancient wisdom meets Web 2.0 as fearless leader Bob Weisenberg initiated a multi-platform talk on Stephen Mitchell’s interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita. The first blog post on elephant journal introduced the introduction, and racked up 144 comments and over 1000 pageviews. Not only is the quantity of comments impressive, but the depth and honesty that everyone put forward is sensational. The comments range from impressions of the themes and ideas, to uncertainty about the “translation” (which, as Mitchell explains in his intro, isn’t direct but rather filtered through others), to commentary on other versions and translations, to general feelings about the Gita.

It’s not too late to jump into the conversation ~ even if you haven’t read the book. In fact, reading the book isn’t mandatory, as the forum is a wonderful place to discuss the Gita and yoga in general. The talk continues in the upcoming week, with “Why Does the Gita Piss Us Off So Much At First?” featuring chapters 1 and 2.  Follow along on elephant journal, Twitter (#gitatalk) and Facebook.

At the other end of the yoga spectrum: this week finally saw the closure of the tragic “yoga stick” murder, as Natavia Lowery was sentenced to prison for 27 years to life for bludgeoning her real-estate-agent-to-the-stars boss, Lynda Stein, to death in 2007. She used a yoga stick, although nobody is really too sure exactly what that is. The judge who sentenced Lowery to prison had a very yogic take on things, reportedly saying, ”An old and wise adage: The truth will come to light. Murder cannot be hid long.” Yeah, there’s this thing called karma, which will get ya…

The Christian Science Monitor compared the pursuit of oil to the practice of yoga in the Brazilian boomtown of Macaé. “This port was once an insignificant fishing town. Now, as an economic hub, yoga has found a niche,” said the article, which went on to quote Sanjaya Yogi, the founder of the town’s apparent only yoga studio, as saying “I asked an economist where the best place would be to go and grow up, and he said Macaé.” Whoa, is the yoga boom as opportunist as the oil boom?

Fortunately, Sanjaya Yogi set them straight in the comments section: “The oil business extracts the energy that people believe is necessary to live the modern life, fueling wars and the destruction of nature in the process. The people who work in the offshore oil industry spend large periods of their time separated from families and friends, causing at times profound stress… The Nucleo Do Yoga de Macaé is a small effort by my wife, Sumaya, and myself to serve the community of Macaé, rather than to take.”

And score one for yoga: the Washington DC yoga community rallied in a guerilla-style protest of a proposal that would add a 6-8% sales tax on yoga classes and gym memberships. The local media lightheartedly poked fun at their efforts, exclaiming “Those crazy yoga people! For the record, we don’t know what GUERILLA YOGA is, but it sure sounds like a fearsome concept.” Nevertheless, their “crazy” efforts paid off and the proposal fell flat in DC City Council today.  DC yogis do have something to fear, actually, as similar proposals have gone further along the system in Virgina and NY state. In both instances, the yoga communities have fought back with a warrior spirit, just like Arjuna on the battlefield, and with considerable effort overcome the obstacles. That’s what it’s all about, baby.