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The Core yoga mat organizer in action (image via wired.com)

In a recent blog post, wired.com introduced the world to a new concept: the “Yoga Smugness Quotient (YSQ).” Apparently, the best way to to up your YSQ is to “pile on the hippy credentials” by using the Core yoga mat organizer, a triangular-shaped water bottle and small canister that screw together and fit in the centre of a rolled up yoga mat.

Sigh. My YSQ must be off the charts because when I look at the Core, I see a little bit of entrepreneurial chutzpah (after all, it was designed by a Slovenian teacher who enjoys hiking and singing), but I also see an unnecessary plastic product to take to yoga class, when my regular stainless steel water bottle and pockets will do the job just as well. All that to say that I might just be so yoga smug that I wouldn’t even buy an eco-friendly plastic container to show off how eco-friendly I am.

What’s your Yoga Smugness Quotient? Any other tips to up one’s YSQ?

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maybe this is why more men aren’t doing yoga… (image via chiropractic-help.com)

The old “where are all the men in yoga class” conversation is making a quiet return in the popular press and the blogosphere lately. Even the most casual observer of yoga culture would notice that women outnumber men in the average yoga class, despite the fact that many of the highest profile teachers in North America (and traditionally) are men.

As an article on Yoga Modern last week noted, women make up 72.2% of the 15.8 million people who practice yoga in the US and thus the yoga community feels a need to reach out to men. The title of the article asked, Does marketing yoga to men reinforce gender stereotypes? “Surely there is a way for the yoga community to be inclusive without falling into reductive and overgeneralizing gender stereotypes. After all, are men and women so different that they can’t practice yoga together?” Staying true to the name of the website, the article gives a historical overview of women’s place in the world of yoga, and cites “the non-dualistic philosophies of Vedanta, Yoga, and Tantra.” Read the rest of this entry »

image via seattleweekly.com

We’ve all asked our yoga teacher for a little help now and then. Perhaps we’ve asked about good vegan restaurants in the neighbourhood, breathing exercises to aid sleep, or tips for rocking Chaturanga Dandasana. But Seattle-based humour columnist Michael Stusser enlisted his yoga teacher for a bigger, more transformative project.

While going through a nasty divorce, Michael “decided to take the radical step of removing all trash talk, mud-slinging, rude riffing, and taunting Tweets from my everyday existence for an entire month” and write about his experience for the Seattle Weekly. Realizing that he couldn’t just avoid people and be silent, and that his previous attempts at making major life changes resulted in failure, he saw the need for reinforcement.

If the Dalai Lama and J.Lo had a love child, it would be Dawn Jansen. For 14 years now, this gorgeous and brilliant yoga instructor has twisted me into a pretzel, cured my sciatica, and gently placed positive mantras into my thick skull. Hearing about my grand experiment (and knowing my extensive weaknesses), Dawn understood the need for a game plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Ten days ago, Vancouver made international news when its citizens rioted in the streets after their hockey team, the Vancouver Canucks, lost to Boston in the final game of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The city has since been going through a period of shock, self-analysis and healing as the downtown core slowly comes back together. And now Vancouver yogis are doing their part for the city’s healing process!

According to The Georgia Straight, on Wednesday, June 29, “there’ll be a special kind of riot at the corner of Homer and West Georgia streets in downtown Vancouver. You guessed it—a yoga riot.”

We all know that yoga can heal on an individual basis, and even coming together to practice in the microcosm of the studio can have a ripple effect throughout our communities. So imagine the power when a whole community comes together to practice in a public space which only weeks earlier had been the site of massive aggression, violence and destruction.

“Let’s join together as a community to heal and rekindle the beautiful energy of our city using the powerful practice of yoga,” promises the Facebook event page. “What’s done is done, we can’t change the past – what we can do is set wholesome, rejuvenating intention and share an abundance of love.” Read the rest of this entry »

Oooh, what a year! 2010 has seen some very big conversations go down in the yoga blogosphere. Yoga and Christianity, Hinduism, commercialism, sexism… the whole spectrum! Meanwhile, the bloggers continued living their lives, deepening their practices and writing honestly and fearlessly. I’ve rounded up a few of my favourite posts over the past 12 months – it was such a robust year, with so many strong voices, that it was hard to narrow the list down to just 15. But I did, and here it is. (These posts are in no particular order, by the way. And feel free to list some of your faves in the comments!) Read the rest of this entry »

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