Is the Yoga Community Creating a Sense of Otherness?

The concept of “otherness” has come up for me a lot lately. Whether it’s in the context of yoga, education, or mental health, I’ve been spending a lot of time asking myself how my communities unintentionally exclude others. Yoga Modern’s Managing Editor, Chelsea Roff, wrote a great post about hierarchies in communities. In her words, we flock to communities because their members confirm, “I see you. I value you, and you’re wanted here.” 

I wonder, though, about those who can’t or don’t seek out community. Or worse, those who are met with exclusion. How many people come to yoga wanting to hear “I see you” and hear only silence?

slow down, slow down, slow...
Creative Commons License photo credit: Victor Bezrukov

Just last weekend I taught my first yoga class in a studio. A bit anxious before the class began, I flipped through the September/October issue of YogaChicago, and an article about Molly Lannon Kenny, creator of Integrated Movement Therapy®, caught my eye. In it she discusses the need for yoga teachers to embody the concept of bodhisattva, a Buddhist term she describes as

…one who has the attitude of ‘I feel so humbled by the body, mind, and soul, and circumstances I was born into. I am so grateful for the opportunities and to have the money to go and study yoga. I feel so blessed by all of this that it is my life’s orientation to be a better person. I want to serve and help other people. That’s my life”.

Yes, I thought, that’s it. That’s why I’m here. I recommitted on the spot to this intention of devoting my life to the service of others through my work in yoga and trauma counseling  – not as a savior, but as someone seeking liberation alongside my students, my clients. Class shortly thereafter, rocky and a bit mangled as many first attempts might be, was richer as a result.

Antoinettes Yoga Garden Creative Commons License photo credit: Robert Bejil Photography

Yet, daily — from magazines, to clothes, to accessories, yoga styles, to yoga conferences and trainings that cost hundreds and thousands of dollars — our community seems to be encouraging a very different ideal.

We are bombarded by the commercial yoga “shtick” of sexy and seductive.

As an emerging yogi, I find myself vacillating between the image of yoga presented by the media and the one Kenny talks about, the yoga of service and surrender.  At one end I am susceptible to the manufactured yoga goddess image myself, and at the other I am finding the strength to declare the lunacy of such an ideal. And sometimes it’s difficult enough to recognize when hypocrisy hijacks integrity, let alone raise my voice when it does.

Yoga Bums
Creative Commons License photo credit: tarotastic

I wonder, however, if this hypocrisy does more than just perpetuate damaging sexist stereotypes. Does it also continue to marginalize populations our westernized yoga culture has dismissed, furthering a paradigm of otherness? Look around in your next yoga class. Who do you see practicing beside you?

Chances are the majority are white, middle class females in sound physical shape. Hey, no shame in being a white middle-class female; I’m one, too. In the classes I frequent, however, there are typically only a handful of men (although word on the street is this is changing), and women of color are few and far between. I rarely see men of color or a female  larger than a US clothing size 12.

Many studios offer discounts for students, but there are few that provide support for parents of one-income families, folks just struggling, or for the unemployed outside of weekly community classes  . It’s no wonder, after all, since the “face” of yoga we see in the mainstream media represents anything but the increasingly multicultural and physically and socioeconomically diverse population in the United States. We could write entire posts about the intersectionality of access, economics, provocative marketing, and consumerism, but a more urgent question to me is this:

Is our community creating a sense of otherness?

If, as Molly Lannon Kenny posits, our life as yogis should be oriented toward serving everyone, how did we get here? How did we get from bodhisattva to ballyhoo, and more importantly, how do we get back? Can we ever go back?

Posted by:

- who has written 6 posts on Yoga Modern.

Lara Veon is a regular contributor to Yoga Modern. She also works as a body-centered psychotherapist and consults for Mindful Practices, a school wellness organization bringing yoga and wellness programs to schools and educators throughout the country. Her home is Chicago, IL where you can find her loving, laughing, and most likely standing on her head.

31 Responses

  • Hannah says:

    Lara, this was great! I'm totally sharing it with many of my friends and on Facebook!

    I think about these things a lot too and am working on figuring out a concept to many yoga really available to all and open a studio where that can happen. Yoga needs to take a return back to some of its roots, taking away the "sexy" ideals of the spandex, 2% body fat, vegan instructor standing on her head with her arms on her shoulders and simultaniously drinking a wheatgress maca acai broccoli vanilla almond latte.

    While yes, we do need to make money as instructors, do some markets and sell some yoga clothing it has become pretty obsence. I actually once upon a time worked for that one nameless yoga realier that's name starts with an L and it was a nightmare! The ideal they sell is not at all realted to yoga and I could write a novel on the experience of working there. What do we really need to do yoga? In truth not even a mat. An open mind and heart.

    • Lara says:

      "taking away the "sexy" ideals of the spandex, 2% body fat, vegan instructor standing on her head with her arms on her shoulders and simultaniously drinking a wheatgress maca acai broccoli vanilla almond latte."

      Hannah – this part of what you said made me laugh out loud! :) There is more than a bit of truth to it, unfortunately. Most yoga teachers I come across are not created in this image, which is what is so staggering – and disturbing. Sure – yoga teachers as a whole are in decent physical shape (as any teachers of a daily movement-based practice would be), but not in order to be sexy or sell clothes. My teachers tell me the same: come with an open mind and heart.

      I love your studio concept, and I hope when you figure it out, you'll come back to share. I do believe we have a collective voice in the yoga community… and where there is a collective voice there is power.

      Thanks so much for commenting, Hannah.

  • JayW says:

    Lara,

    This does a raise a familiar question and one that I have witnessed during my 4 year Yoga career. As a man in the yoga world I am most certainly in the minority of students. I do agree that we ( the yoga community ) should and can reach out to lower socioeconomically diverse population and offer assistance to those in need of help.

    On the other hand it does take a leap of faith/willingness for one to come into the world of yoga. I found myself taking my first yoga class out of curiosity and wanting to "TRY" something else that running on a treadmill. Since my first yoga class I have never been inside the rooms to get a "workout". I attribute that to my first teacher connecting the dots of mind, body, & spirit and have had a regular 3-4 yoga classes per week. Yoga has changed my life, my purpose, my oneness in myself, community, and the various Kulas that I move in and out of….

    With that said as being in the minority of men in the rooms. I have several male friends that I have tried to get into the rooms and most look upon yoga as something that girls do or as wimpy. I try to get everyone I encounter onto the "MAT" in my random conversations and travels, but most often it falls upon deaf ears. Every once in a while when someone finally steps on the "MAT" ad gets "IT" it brings me great "Joy".

    I would love to remove the stigmatism that surrounds yoga and I think that Yoga becoming main stream will help. Minus all the bells and whistles of clothes, equipment and size 4 & 6 women in the rooms. An ancient practice reinventing itself will most certainly take time regardless of economic status or the perception of yoga is just for women or the thought that yoga is a religion.

    Is that our job as students and teachers to bring yoga to the masses….I most certainly think so, but it will take an active yoga community, teachers, and students to get out of themselves and their practice to regift the joys and treasures of what yoga has to offer.

    Great article and I look forward to more of your articles

    • Lara says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments, JayW. I agree so much that reinvention takes time, and your point about the benefit of yoga becoming mainstream is a good one. I often think of only the negatives of a concept becoming trendy or mainstream, but you're right: bringing yoga to the masses IS part of our job as teachers and students, because everyone should have the opportunity to benefit from what you said are the joys and treasures of what yoga has to offer". Thanks so much for the reminder.

      • Andy says:

        Why is it you guys' job to bring yoga to the masses? I've heard many people say they might be interested in it if it weren't for the annoying people evangelizing yoga to everybody they meet. Why can't it just be something you do because it is important to YOU. Is that inherently selfish or something? I don't think so. Not saying you have to keep it to yourself, but the ideal of bringing yoga to the masses, I think, is one of the causes of this otherness you speak of. I remember 10 years ago hearing a lot of "the world would be such a better place if everyone did yoga!" Well, now everyone does do yoga, and here we have these aspects of it that annoy so many people.

  • Carol Horton says:

    Hi Lara: I think that the answer to your question is unfortunately usually "yes," yoga is certainly creating a culture that feels exclusive along the lines of race, age, gender, body type, affluence, etc., that you describe.

    Digging even deeper, I also think that the more the young women who fit the "manufactured yoga goddess ideal" buy into it, the more they become alienated from their authentic selves – precisely the opposite of what yoga should be about.

    In this society, whatever can be marketed and sold will be, so there is no escaping the conundrum. My conclusion is therefore to accept it, and do what I can to build bridges between the commercialized dimensions of yoga and what I believe are the more valuable ones. As there's never a bright line separating the two – one person's sell-out is another's personally valuable experience – the weird contradictory nature of American yoga is, for me, an uncomfortable reality that I need to practice living with as comfortably as I can with.

    • dsunshine says:

      AgreeSent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

    • Lara says:

      "one person's sell-out is another's personally valuable experience". This is so true, Carol! Yoga itself is contradictory in nature; I often lose sight of that even though I hear myself telling others we need to have space where we can hold opposing truths. As an idealist, I find it hard to admit there is no escaping this particular conundrum; however, your point about building bridges and living with uncomfortable realities is one I'll be pondering more about. Thanks so much for this food for thought!

  • Jody says:

    I think about this all the time. Being fairly new to yoga and even newer in beginning to teach, I sometimes felt like one of the outsiders in the room, particularly when I first started. Yes, I'm white and female. But I'm also older and wasn't particularly in shape to begin with and was always one of the largest in class.

    Where are all the other people like me? Why aren't they signing up? Why is it that magazines, websites, etc. always seem to feature the perfect pose, the perfect yoga body just as they do in typical women's magazines?

    I blogged about this just yesterday. My fears, failure, expectations, the unknown and why it took me so long to get to the mat. I hope we can find a way to encourage others to get past all that and find their way as well.

    • Lara says:

      Jody, I think by having this conversation we are hopefully finding a way to encourage others to get past these perceived barriers. I have the same feelings as a new teacher. Perhaps just recognizing and being sensitive to the need to truly welcome everyone in our classes is a good start. Thanks so much for commenting!

    • Yogini5 says:

      I had signed up, but I had been met with a lot of snobbery, condescension, and superciliousness by some of the founding instructors at a studio. I was still a couple years away from being "over the hill" at 54 years of age at the time.

      So, being as I am a primarily home practitioner (it is a very tight schedule as well as financial issues that keep me from being a frequent student), I went a little old-school, with a more home-practitioner-friendly studio that teaches a mild style.

      Do you BLAME me?

      Where is that fork in the road that you would take that you would teach at a studio such as the old-school one?

      Was it that its teacher training was to take two years instead of two weeks or two months?

  • nelle says:

    I can't wait to get into a yoga community again, something that must wait until I am employed, it will be a good complement to Reiki. Good article, well done.

  • nikki04 says:

    Agree with the other comments here – there is this "stigma", or at least reputation, around yoga as this crunchy neo-hippie, yuppie, thing that women do. Men don't – because it's "whimpy" or because men decide they aren't flexible enough. And that image may also keep other women away, as well.

    I don't know how to change that, really. There is a lot about yoga that actually ties into the hippie-ish mindset (e.g. vegetarianism, etc) so some of those connections are going to be there no matter what.

    The larger problem is getting yoga, and I'd argue fitness in it entirety, to a larger populace. The thing is, people who have the money and time to practice… have money and time. They're also the ones who have money and time for the gym (and even those that are ridiculously busy, MAKE time for the gym because it's a priority for them because they feel like they have to look a certain way). The vast majority of people don't have that access, and probably couldn't even make time if they wanted to. Nor is it a priority. That fundamental problem needs to be changed, and it's not just about yoga.

    Sure, gyms and studios and shalas need to make money to keep their doors open. But, for instance, as a student, I needed to have a discount to be able to practice and I could never afford to go to clinics. My studios would offer "scholarships" to go, but then you would have to fill out an application, and it became all competitive and so very non-yoga. I don't know the answer – but maybe in offering free community classes once a week, sliding scales for membership, or volunteering to teach in schools (starting out with kids when they're still kids has to help a lot). Starting the thought process on it is step one.

    • Lara says:

      Hi, Nikki04. Thanks for your comments. I know work-study is also an option many studios offer. One can work at the yoga studio in exchange for free yoga. It's a good deal for those who have time, and it does provide access to many who couldn't otherwise afford it. I love your idea of volunteering to teach in schools. Imagine an army of yogis infiltrating our schools, armed only w/yoga mats and love! I think I found my dedication to today's practice. :)

  • Adrienne says:

    Nice article, great point! As a non Yoga person I can attest to the intimidation factor all those flat abs and holier-than-thou attitudes perpetuated in current yoga media stereotypes have inflicted upon my psyche. And I am one of those WMCFs to which you refer. I know better but I am still hesitant. I hope more yogis can remember yoga's roots and reach out to everyone, because paradoxically especially in times of struggle, meditation and the search for inner peace might be just what we all need.

    • Lara says:

      Absolutely, Adrienne! I remember my teacher during training asked us all to just imagine what the world would be like if everyone did a little more yoga or meditated more in their daily lives. What a beautiful vision!

  • Julie says:

    Ahhhhhh this post is talking more specifically about "the business of yoga." Which yes, it has become quite a business and has all the ugly parts of a business. Practicing yoga asana in this country is still in it's infancy! And it will take time to balance the scales on who is practicing yoga asana in a yoga studio. Or maybe it never will because that's a business and not necessarily the "practice of yoga." One who practices yoga is part of the yoga community, so how does one become part of the yoga community? And what is "the yoga community?"

    To practice yoga is not just asana. In fact, hardly. But if we are just talking about the practice of yoga asana, let us keep in mind is meant to be done on your own, alone. The other ways to practice yoga are to be practiced all the time (no fee required) in service to the greater whole. Yoga philosophy believes it is all connected- I am you, you are me, there is no separation. We are ONE giant community.This is what the "yoga community" is spreading and sharing to as many as possible. Which may be different than "the business of yoga."

    Community of any form begins somewhere with a group of people who are unified by specific parameters. What I believe to be important is what that community impacts or impressions upon the larger community (which is the entire universe) and how that community grows and spreads.

    To me, the distinguishable trait of the yoga community when compared to others is that the yoga community IS concerned with EVERYONE getting a chance to experience yoga because it is actually just one big community called "the universe!"

    Many a yoga teacher have worked hard to bring yoga into schools, governments (the democratic national convention!!), prisons, mental institutions, halfway homes, HIV?AIDS community centers and on and on. MUCH of this is on a volunteer basis. I write from experience.

    As part of the "yoga teacher" community in New York City, this community is always striving for yoga to be introduced to everyone. And, as a yoga teacher who teaches in other cities (other yoga communities) I can say that every where I go teachers are striving for the same in their communities and are also looking for creative ways to make yoga accessible to all.

    much, much love

    • Lara says:

      Thanks, Julie. Much love to you, too. :) I suppose it is easy to let the "business of yoga" obscure the practice of yoga, particularly when it's hard to prove the practices of the business of yoga support yoga philosophy…although – it's possible, too, that asking questions like this is creating otherness in and of itself. I don't know.
      In reading your comments, I think there are a few aspects that beg further exploration (access, for one), and yes – perhaps they do have to do more w/the business of yoga. I don't know how to avoid that, however. I wish there was no distinction, but as someone just emerging into the yoga community and hoping for it to be my life's work, it's simply unavoidable – and to be quite honest, overwhelming.
      Maybe the question should be what ARE we doing to spread to as many as possible, as you say. Perhaps greater access can grow simply from sharing more information about models that work outside of the studio (while asking the tough questions about the business of yoga, too, of course). Thank you so much for your thought-provoking comments.

  • Johnnie says:

    Thank you for this post, Lara! I'm glad it's out in the world. I respectfully ask two questions:

    1. Why is this a condrum when there are people of color and large diverse socioeconomic populations everywhere to engage with (especially those whose culture is directly rooted and based in yoga and energy practices)?

    2. There are examples all over the country of people/groups who are meeting individual, community and environmental needs through yoga, energywork, integrative medicine and more. I wonder why they are rarely highlighted in conversations like this? (Sage in Chicago, Third Root in Brooklyn, Casa de Salud and Sani Yoga in New Mexico, Detroit Community Acupuncture & People's Yoga in Detroit, worker cooperatives: http://thirdroot.org/links-coops.html to name a few )

    I ask as someone who is exploring and questioning my own limitations and to engage a group who is pondering similar issues :) .

    Thank you, Lara and YM for giving me/us the space to explore this topic/practice!

    • Lara says:

      Johnnie, I'm glad you are here adding to the conversation. I'm not sure I understand your first question. Are you asking why I think this is a conundrum or why the potential of creating otherness is a problem? Or are you asking why I'm not asking the groups you mention to engage in these questions? I'm just not sure I'm reading it as you intended, so I thought I'd clarify before answering.

      As for your second question, thank you so much for pointing out the wonderful models already in place and asking why I haven't highlighted them. I should have. It's an important question and reminds me a TED talk with filmmaker, Julia Bacha, in which she asks why we only pay attention to violence in the Israeli-Palestine conflict instead of showcasing the nonviolent leaders. Her point was that if all we saw in the media was violence, the non-violent movement, which does indeed exist, would never have a chance to grow or lead to peace. I think your question raises the same point.

      Perhaps the next post about this should be a resource-share that highlights groups/models that are inclusive and meeting community needs inside or outside of the studio environment. I do know Sage in Chicago well; it is amazing, and it's non-hierarchical structure is innovative and deserves recognition (and replication). Thank you for sharing the others, as well!

  • IfeTogun says:

    Hey Lara, I loved the article. I thought it was very thought provoking. I’ve got a couple of thoughts I wanted to share with you.

    I read this last night but I waited to comment because I wanted to really think about it, and not just shoot off a reply based on my initial feelings. But I woke up this morning still thinking about it (a testament to the poignancy of the topic) and I still felt the same way.

    Here’s my issue (and it’s sort of a meta-issue I suppose). By writing about the “otherness” that some yoga communities seems to be creating, and then highlighting the groups that are “othered” by them, are you not also creating “otherness”?

    That last sentence was a bit convoluted so let me try to make it a bit clearer. Until I read your article, I never thought of myself as a “black” yogi; I was just a yogi. And when we create programs “designed” to bring in “others” are we not participating in the “othering”? I think so. I don’t want to be a black yogi or a black intellectual or a black anything else. I just want to be what I am without any recourse to my race. I am not black; I am me. Just me.

    I’m reminded of a time I went to a church in the south, way down south. The moment I walked in it was clear the congregation was not use to my kind in their church. How did I know this? They were exceptionally gracious…so gracious that all I wanted to do was run out of there. Now how do I know they don’t do this to all new people? Well, I wasn’t the only new person there; I was, however, the only black one. And while the other visitors got warm welcomes, mine was piping hot. I can appreciate the effort, but all it did was make me feel different. I don’t like to feel different.

    While I understand the intention behind the various programs to diversify yoga, it’s just another way—in my opinion—of saying: “you’re different, so we’re gonna take care of you. Now come here and let me help you.”

    Aside: It also one of the reasons I’m so tired of seeing everyone running off to Africa (black and white alike), to save the poor Africans. The intention is great, I’m not questioning that, but the effect is unsettling. It creates a great divide, arguably one that would not have existed without these great intentions.

    Of course this generalizes beyond race. I’m sure no one wants to be known as the “male yogi” or the “size 12 yogi” (using the other categories from your article)—It’s limiting and unnecessary.

    And why is there a need to attract “others” anyway? If the yoga is as powerful as we believe it to be, then, in time, they will come. Think field of dreams (a bit tongue in cheek, of course). If my yoga studio started an “attract the black folk” campaign (and I know they’d never call it that, but that’s what it would boil down to), I’d have to think really hard about staying there. Sometimes treating people kindly because they’re different is just as bad as treating them with contempt.

    Again, I really did enjoy your article. Just wondering what you think about my thoughts.

    Ife

  • Lara says:

    Hi, Ife. Goodness, you have me thinking. And nodding. And cringing, too. Thank you for your thoughtful response. To be honest, I thought about not writing this for many of the reasons you cited. I am hyper-sensitive to my role as a white female yogi of privilege and recognize how what I'm asking might be misconstrued as a misguided attempt to "save" people. It's not. I really have enough work to do trying to save myself before I attempt to save anyone else. You wouldn't know that because you don't know me, and I didn't communicate it well, but I share your distaste for situations where this is the case.

    I do feel a responsibility as the target group of the "business of yoga", though, to call foul when I see it. As an educator, I know the harm it does to children to see ads in the media that don't reflect images of them, and I don't think it's a stretch to say this is the case w/yoga, too (It also makes me think about what Claude Steele coined 'stereotype threat' and how that might apply to yoga, too). As a former overweight female, I know how intimidating and unwelcoming it can be to walk into a yoga studio filled with fit women clad in spandex and showcasing Chaturanga biceps. Because the westernized commercialization of yoga asana is so different than the philosophical tenants of yoga, I think it's important to have these discussions – especially if we want to CHANGE anything!

    I also respect – and actually agree – with your opinion that we should all just be who we are without recourse in regards to race, gender, socioeconomic status, size, etc. And yes – I think there are instances when programs designed to include certain groups end up perpetuating "otherness". Maybe this is why it is so important to acknowledge the complexity of such conversations and engage in dialogue and to use a phrase by bell hooks, "make sense of what is happening" together.

    As for the need to attract "others" to yoga, I guess I see yoga as a right, similar to civil rights and the rights to public education, and like those, it doesn't appear to be a level playing field. If yoga is truly universal, everyone should have the same access to practice asana. Perhaps that is unrealistic in a capitalistic society such as ours – I don't know. But I feel we don't have any choice but to talk about it if we want to change it. Not everyone will want to change it; not everyone will even recognize it as a problem. Which is fine and what makes this discussion so interesting. It goes beyond just treating people kindly, though, in my opinion. If yoga is a system, and I think it is and will continue to be in the US, I think we should work damn hard to make it as close to an anti-oppressive system as possible and one that reflects and serves the larger community.

    Thank you SO much, Ife, again for your thoughts. I'm sure I'll be pondering them more – and hopefully so will many others!
    Lara

  • David_Sunshine says:

    I think this is a terrific discussion with some incredibly insightful remarks. My personal questions have to do with how we define the notion of 'help'. Fifteen years ago, before Madonna practiced yoga and prior to Oprah's interview of Rodney Yee, yoga in this country was considered something 'other'. And down here in Texas, if you did yoga you were considered not only different than the rest, but people figured you were part of a cult. As director of a yoga center I would get a monthly call form some 'kind' soul that wanted to 'save' me. I am sure their intention was to 'help' me.

  • David_Sunshine says:

    I think this is a terrific discussion with some incredibly insightful remarks. My personal questions have to do with how we define the notion of 'help'. Fifteen years ago, before Madonna practiced yoga and prior to Oprah's interview of Rodney Yee, yoga in this country was considered something 'other'. And down here in Texas, if you did yoga you were considered not only different than the rest, but people figured you were part of a cult. As director of a yoga center I would get a monthly call form some 'kind' soul that wanted to 'save' me. I am sure their intention was to 'help' me.

    The Bodhisattva ideal is about helping others out of suffering. However, this is based on three main interrelated elements – compassion, wisdom and skillful means. Compassion and wisdom arise naturally as we see our interrelatedness not our otherness. And the practice of skillful means suggests that all beings require different remedies for their suffering so there cannot be one truth or solution for everyone.

    When I first started doing yoga I was so enthusiastic about sharing it with my father. After convincing him to join me he hurt himself in his first class and never returned. Fail?

    I believe that yoga has brought and will continue to bring much good to the world. But whether it stems from enthusiasm to share or perhaps a desire to profit, I think when it involves 'helping others' that it is important to honestly look at where this desire comes from within us and to distinguish between bodhisattva skillful means and missionary attitude.

    Seven years ago I vividly remember the day when a Catholic priest walked into my yoga center. I figured he was there to condemn me but when I discovered that instead he came to take classes, I knew yoga was no longer considered 'other'. Thanks Madonna, Sting and Oprah!?!

    • Lara says:

      David, I'm glad you elaborated on Bodhisattva. Your comments remind me of the necessity of asking why we are doing what we are doing. I've gone through some periods where I've observed myself as an insufferable"yoga evangelist" only to ultimately come to the conclusion that what healed my suffering might not for another. My friends and family ( while they were tolerant) are quite happy I've arrived here. :)

  • Johnnie says:

    Thank you, Lara. Let me clarify.

    There are communities in probably every state in the U.S. who's culture is rooted in Yoga philosophy. It feels as if Western culture (in some ways) has redefined the original practice of yoga. Rather than engaging or regularly collaborating/partnering with these groups we learn their practice and remain completely separate. As Julie said, we are one giant community. It feels strange to be discussing yoga and never looking to the people or the culture who gave us it.

    In your opinion (knowing you don't and can't speak for everyone), why do you think this happens?

    • Lara says:

      Ah. Thanks for clarifying, Johnnie. Personally, I think this is what happens whenever anything becomes a business in a capitalistic society. I also think our country's history of colonization – and the continuing systemic implications – has much to do with our society's lack of collaboration with the groups you mention (and not just in regards to yoga).There are probably lots of other reasons, too. We are often scared of what we don't know; It takes time to collaborate; it's hard work; it means holding the mirror up to ourselves and really seeing, etc…Any of these can be overwhelming, and sometimes it is easier to take another route.
      On a less critical note, personally I think the interconnectedness emphasized in yoga philosophy provides hope conversations such as this will be embraced so there can be more of the collaboration of which you speak.

      Thanks again for commenting, Johnnie!

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