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Looking back at the first decade of the 2000s...

Despite the odds against it, we managed to survive the first decade of the new millennium ~ described by The Globe and Mail as “a decade that began in earnest with a huge terrorist attack, followed by two intense wars and more terrorism, ending with a complete financial collapse, undercut with fear of an overheating planet.” Egads – no wonder people were turning to yoga! Through the 10 years of stress and uncertainty, yoga did not only boom but thrive, as people turned to it in search of physical relief and spiritual comfort.

Yoga entered the new millennium on a wave of unprecedented popularity in the West. In 1990, yoga was this thing that old hippies and new age flakes did ~ by 1999, yoga was being practiced by uber-celebrities such as Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, and Marc Jacobs had designed a $400 yoga mat bag. Yoga had become ultra fashionable, as well as profitable. This ascent continued in the early 2000s, with yoga and all things related making big news, and big business.

Over the course of the decade, yoga found increased mainstream acceptance, greater commercialization and bigger profits ~ paralleled by an increase in yoga activism, wider diversity and investigations into yoga for healing and therapeutic uses. Yet, the jury’s still out on whether this mass popularity and commercial appeal is a good thing for yoga. In a 2006 feature article, The Atlantic Monthly described yoga as being “at a confused, precarious place, teetering on the edge of overexposure.” Has yoga reached its tipping point? Or is it still hovering at the edge? And how will the practice evolve in the next 10 years? Journey through the decade to see where yoga has come in the past 10 years…

2000
Yoga Journal, a San Francisco-based yoga/new age magazine which had been publishing since 1975, relaunches with a slick new look and branding, including a fancy new wordmark (design-speak for the title on the cover, aka ‘logo’). Lululemon, a little yoga apparel company that started two years earlier, opens its first and flagship retail outlet in Vancouver (there are now over 100 Lululemon locations in Canada, the US, Australia and Hond Kong). Big name athletic companies clue in to the retail power of yoga: Seane Corn is named Nike‘s first global yoga ambassador, and Christy Turlington launches her Nuala yoga apparel line with Puma.

2001
This is a breakout year for yoga: Time magazine features a cover story on the power of yoga (featuring Christy Turlington, of course) and Rodney Yee makes a guest appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. According to Time, an estimated 15 million Americans practice yoga (twice as many as 5 years earlier). Sri Pattabhi Jois gives one of his final North American workshops in New York City, during which the 9/11 terrorist attacks take place. Read the rest of this entry »

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