Oh my, here we go again. More controversy in the yoga world. Or so it seems to be controversial, to me at the very least. (Yes, I am one little person, but I think I’ve got some good things to say).

“Yoga Classes Reach for the Extremes”

Oh, the New York Times is at it again. This time, they are taking a look at a trend in yoga in NYC, yoga classes that are basically cardio classes, full of planks, lunges and squats. Or let’s just say these classes are masquerading as yoga classes that are full of “hard bodied women armed with their Stella McCartney Falabella bags (or the equivalent fashion statement), were now drenched in sweat, hearts pumping to blasting Eminem, Nicki Minaj and One Direction.”

Excuse me, is this what yoga has come to?

Man, this is a sad, sad day, when the practice that I love with all my heart has been degraded to a workout for Type A folks who are just looking to sweat. I actually took a class at Exhale Spa in Chicago many years ago, with Erin Jacques (mentioned in the NYT article for her SLT – strenth, length, tunes – Yoga). Erin’s class was exactly what it sounds like – strengthening, stretching and music. Now I have nothing against getting stronger or fitter or more flexible. I encourage my students to embody those principles when practicing yoga ASANA.  I love a good intense practice, as long as it has something that connects back to the ultimate purpose of what yoga is.  But it’s not yoga, when all you are doing is listening to some instructor yell at you over music whose lyrics are questionable, at best.  In a “sanskrit-free” zone. So why are they calling it yoga at all? It’s like calling that fake soy meat “Chick’in” or whatever the hell they call it.

One of my favorite Yoga Sutra, Yoga Sutra 1.2, says “Yoga citta vritti nirodhah” or basically, Yoga is the quieting of the fluctuations of the mind. Or if you want to put it in everyday language, Yoga is getting your mind to stop all that incessant chatter so you can really get connected to yourself, or spirit, on a deeper level. That, to me, is what yoga is. It’s not about getting six-pack abs or a tight tush or any of that stuff. Nor is it about who can look the hottest in their Lululemon gear. It’s about living your life from the light within and being connected to your path. All the other benefits of yoga are just the icing on the cake.

So please, turn off the music, tune into your heart and practice the YOGA. Please 🙂