Does race or ethnicity matter?

On a recent trip to San Francisco, a friend suggested dinner at a sushi restaurant that I’d never tried before. I’m always up for sushi, so I readily agreed. At the restaurant, I was relieved to find an unpretentious neighborhood fixture—run by Japanese people. I must admit, whenever I see a Japanese restaurant with non-Japanese owners and chefs, my knee-jerk reaction is to write it off. I immediately assume that it’s a mediocre, copycat place, falling short of an authentic experience. Is that fair? Are Japanese people born with a knack for slicing perfect slabs of maguro and hamachi? Of … Continue reading Does race or ethnicity matter?

adidas + yoga = ?

A recent post on it’s all yoga, baby quipped about an “adidas yoga” class, offered at the 2009 Yoga Journal Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. A barrage of mostly anti-corporate comments spurred spokesmodel Rainbeau Mars herself to type up an ardent defense. What’s the big deal about yoga branding? Corporate sponsorships? Yoga spokesmodels? Yoga models? ISSUE #1: Materialism Some believe that a yoga practitioner who signs on to represent major corporations like adidas is “selling out.” They find it incongruous that a yogi would promote material trappings, especially expensive or unnecessary things (who needs yoga shoes, after all?). I agree … Continue reading adidas + yoga = ?

The Iyengar method is rigid … not!

Those unfamiliar with Iyengar yoga often assume that the method is rigid. At the micro level, they’re somewhat right. In Iyengar yoga, precise form is essential. Initially this form is physical, from head to toe. But, over time, ideal physical form works with the breath to affect your physiological, mental, and spiritual state. So, an Iyengar teacher is guaranteed to nail you for floppy arms, lazy arches, collapsed chests, and the list goes on (and on). You might think you’re in a deep backbend but, no, an Iyengar teacher will notice that you’re relying too much on that overly bend-y … Continue reading The Iyengar method is rigid … not!

At the movies: Enlighten Up!

I’d been curious about the 2008 yoga docudrama Enlighten Up! and finally saw it today.  You probably know the setup: Filmmaker and yoga fan Kate Churchill chooses a non-yogi, out-of-work journalist Nick Rosen, to immerse in yoga for six months. Her objective: to see whether he’ll undergo any transformation. The film opens with a montage of quotes by famous yogis, including Rodney Yee, Cyndi Lee, Natasha Rizopoulos, Baron Baptiste, and Gurmukh. (With their words cut into sound bites, they all come across as idiots. Whatever you think of Yee, he appears the most likable and least la-la-land-ish.) Once Churchill chooses … Continue reading At the movies: Enlighten Up!