Several important events occurred during the last couple of weeks. First, Yoga teacher Judith Lasater, who launched Yoga Journal in 1975, sent a letter to the editor and protested (very politely) the increasing sexualization of the magazine’s content. I’d say It’s just the tip of a very large and insalubrious iceberg of problems.
Then there was also the really extensive and controversial article about Anusara Yoga creator John Friend in New York Times Magazine. John responded to it skillfully and measuredly on his own site (http://www.anusara.com/).
This relates to Roseanne Harvey, the former editor of the now defunct Ascent magazine, boldly announcing “I think we can declare Yoga officially dead” on her popular blog in October of 2009 (http://itsallyogababy.com/).
Wow! Given this public furore, I feel I have to come at least somewhat out of my semiretirement shell (since 2004) and participate. Who knows, the Western Yoga movement might be witnessing a turning point. I am not holding my breath, but these are interesting developments. Wouldn’t you like to see a change?
Many years ago, I was invited by Yoga Journal to be one of its contributing editors, and I hesitatingly agreed. When I realized that there was little intention to represent the non-posture side of Yoga, which is my forté, I resigned after a while. Actually, I started to feel uncomfortably self-conscious about being associated with the magazine. Many students were wondering why I was a contributing editor at all. They were right, of course.
I can’t imagine how Judith Lasater must feel to see her brainchild become so perverted. I had an opportunity to browse in early issues of Yoga Journal, and they were a very encouraging effort, which by rights should have been continued and developed.
There is nowadays no full-spectrum North American Yoga magazine out there. Even Yoga International (renamed: Yoga + Joyful Living) seems to be heading down a glitzy cul-de-sac. My worry is: When will commercialization begin to compromise content? Let me hear from you what you think about traditional Yoga and a Yoga magazine that has substance and also addresses contemporary issues.