Are men really less flexible than women?

I recently read two articles on that apparently rare specimen: the male yoga student. In an undated Yoga Journal article, “Where Are All the Men?” Andrew Tilin, considers why men aren’t naturally inclined toward yoga. In a December 22, 2012, New York Times article, “Wounded Warrior Pose,” William Broad investigates whether men risk injury doing asana. The takeaway from both articles (whether true or not) is nothing startling: Men are naturally less flexible than women (although even researchers “can’t specifically link it to differences in hormones, musculature, or connective tissue”). Men are more likely than women to sustain major injuries from yoga (women sustain more injuries overall, … Continue reading Are men really less flexible than women?

Yoga Journal (and yoga), then and now

Last month I acquired a couple of Yoga Journal magazines from the late 1980s and early 1990s. What a revelation! I’m familiar with the magazine, having subscribed on and off (mostly on) since the late 1990s. But what a difference two decades can make. So impressive were the back issues that I found limited archives online at Yoga Journal on Google Books. Here are my observations, albeit from a third-person point of view: Personal transformation Back then yoga was less about fitness and more about transforming one’s mindset. YJ readers were seeking a mind-blowing, life-changing experience. They wanted to uproot their whole way … Continue reading Yoga Journal (and yoga), then and now

Yoga Journal: the music issue

The September 2011 issue of Yoga Journal is “the music issue.” It contains a home practice sequence synced with an MC Yogi playlist, interviews with musicians who do yoga, and a look at the kirtan spectacle in America. The online magazine offers Funky Love Songs, “some of the grooviest, most genre-bending forms of mantra music in the yoga world.” Should we care what Alanis Morissette (cover model), Bonnie Raitt, Moby, Ziggy Marley, and Maroon 5 band members say about yoga? Well, I’m a willing listener of stories and opinions (on yoga, on whatever)—if someone has something to say. I wrote about doing … Continue reading Yoga Journal: the music issue

Is it ever OK to give advice to strangers?

Among my favorite yoga blogs is Jessica Berger Gross’s Enlightened Motherhood, a Yoga Journal blog. Recently I was reminded of her August 11, 2010, post, “Don’t Be a Baby: And Other Things Not to Say to Your Child (Or to Your Yoga Students),” in which she contemplates whether it’s ever appropriate to offer parenting advice to strangers. At the gym, I watched a guy doing behind-the-neck shoulder presses with a barbell. Dressed in a snug white wife beater, he was obviously “into” working out and proud of his body. But, while he and his workout buddy were decently fit, his lumbar spine formed … Continue reading Is it ever OK to give advice to strangers?

Sarah McLachlan, Yoga Journal, and real journalism

For Yoga Journal‘s 35th anniversary issue, the cover girl and feature subject is singer Sarah McLachlan. I’m not surprised: McLachlan perfectly suits the magazine’s image of yoga. She is attractive, health-conscious, white, and “West Coast”; she supports progressive causes; she’s famous but, like many readers and the editor in chief herself, she’s also a single, working mom who practices yoga. Reading McLachlan’s interview, I found nothing blatantly off-putting (the woo woo design concept wasn’t her fault). That said, I also found nothing compelling about her thoughts on Lilith Fair or surfing or motherhood or yoga. Without the celebrity hook, would that story have … Continue reading Sarah McLachlan, Yoga Journal, and real journalism

Yogic eating

In the February 2010 issue of Yoga Journal, Jessica Berger Gross wrote “An Honest Meal,” about how yoga changed her relationship with food. It’s a neat summary of her memoir, enLIGHTened, which I reviewed in my second blog post, “Do yoga, lose weight,” last August. (I recommend reading the whole book, which more satisfyingly details her backstory and personality.) While I was a bit underweight in high school and college (being thin had its own stigma, by the way), I was so thin that I could model for pills to lose weight, I’m not sure that’s how that works but … Continue reading Yogic eating

The lure of the mega studio

Since my last post about the biggest yoga studio in my town, I’ve attended five more classes there (12 total). I’ve seen four of their five locations so far. They’re all huge: I’d estimate that two have mat capacity for 40 to 50, one could hold 60, and the main studio might squeeze in 80. Of course, everyday classes don’t fill to the max. But they’re still large. On Sunday night, the Vinyasa Power Flow class attracted about 40 students, while the Yin class was a hit with at about 60. (One class that I took last week numbered seven, … Continue reading The lure of the mega studio

Are you WDWG?

In the 1980s, my friend Laura moved to San Francisco and landed a job at Kelly Services (aka Kelly Girl), the iconic temp staffing agency. She applied to be a temp but ended up hired as an in-house typing instructor (despite forfeiting her own typing test twice due to panic attacks—but that’s another story). “When people applied for work,” Laura told me, “the interviewer would mark their files with special codes if they presented well. If they wore appropriate, stylish clothes and had their hair (and makeup for women) done well, they were WDWG. Well Dressed, Well Groomed. “If they also … Continue reading Are you WDWG?

Broken wings and bystander yogis

In the September 2009 issue of Yoga Journal, Kaitlin Quistgaard, Editor-in-Chief, writes about finding an injured bird while she was driving. She stopped, although she had no idea what to do. When another car passed, she flagged it down. That driver did have a plan, tucking the bird in her coat and taking it to medical care. Quistgaard’s point: We can help even when we are unsure what to do. Would you stop for an injured bird? What about a deer hit by a car? A dog? A human? Even in non-emergency situations, do people go out of their way … Continue reading Broken wings and bystander yogis

Dress for success

Flipping through an old Yoga Journal magazine (December 2008, in case you’re wondering), I noticed this ad for Bhakti Ware, a yoga clothing company. What are you supposed to think? >Doing yoga will make you hotter >Wearing Bhakti Ware will make you hotter >Doing yoga and wearing Bhakti Ware will make you hotter, guaranteed >Bhakti Ware’s workmanship and design are impeccable >Darn, I thought this magazine covered  yoga, not tango Actually, this company deserves some commendation for making their clothing in the USA, for donating $1.08 of each purchased item to worthy causes such as NRDC, and for designing attractive … Continue reading Dress for success