Gary Kraftsow on the Watering Down of Yoga (video)

“As yoga has expanded its base and popularity, there’s been a sort of watering down and trivialization of some of the deeper teachings.”

Have modern practitioners lost sight of yoga’s deeper teachings?

Gary Kraftsow & David Sunshine discuss how the culture of yoga has changed over the years at the 2011 Yoga Journal Conference in Estes Park.

Gary Kraftsow is founder of the American Viniyoga Institute (AVI) and is America’s leading teacher of Viniyoga. He conducts yoga seminars and retreats throughout the United States and Europe for yoga practitioners, yoga teachers, and therapists. For more information about Gary’s work, visit

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6 Responses

  • Barbra Brady says:

    I wish I had more than two thumbs to Thumbs Up, Gary Kraftsow! He states my feelings exactly, and in a succinct way that I have been trying to find, that I may express it as well. I'm going to link this to my website! Coming from one of the "deep" traditions (Rod Stryker's ParaYoga), I don't dismiss the other "fun" new styles, but do appreciate an endorsement from Mr. Kraftsow.

  • Street Yoga says:

    While it is true that the teachings have changed, evolved, and transformed, I prefer not to consider it a "watering-down". In order for mindfulness, healing and wellness to compete with Western societies emphasis on entertainment, physicality and fun, then yoga must adapt and be ready to share its benefits with people as they are, where they are. Without judging others, we must create that inward focus that Kraftsow speaks of, and lead by example.

  • i'm not sure i completely agree with Mr. Kraftsow here, though I respect his opinion greatly. I think he has a fair point that every single yoga plus combination is not up to par, but many are – as Yoga is about integration and when there are similarities between elements of the world there is often a connection to the teachings of yoga. Now, not everyone who runs a yoga plus event is thinking philosophically and are more focused on the fun. But goodness, whatever exposes people to yoga IMO.

    • Street Yoga says:

      Truly! Within our work at Street Yoga, we seek to expose as many people as possible to the healing aspects of yoga. We must strive to respect the range of traumas and abuses our clients may have experienced, in addition to individual beliefs for pre-formed concepts about yoga and religion. I always try to recall the concept that if a person is exposed to yoga in this life, then they will find it sooner, and more deeply in their next life. Whether or not you believe in rebirth, I feel it is a lovely way to illustrate the unforeseeable results of yoga in any form.

  • I just hope that they keep yoga authentic. I'd hate to see it go completely western.