Yoga Work and Climate Chaos: a Note

I obviously think it’s really important to illuminate abuse in spiritual communities. It’s as important as advocacy work for any survivor group. Abuse survivors hold up the mirror.

And yet in the shadow of climate chaos, is it visible? Is it efficient? Is the scope broad enough, and scalable? Are venal spiritual communities worth the attention while entire nations operate as cults, and are pushing others into the sea?

What does it mean when you’re doing good work — the work you’ve made, trained for, the best work of your life, perhaps — in a culture based in economic and privilege excesses that both accelerate and will be wiped out by climate chaos?

Most projects of substance, whether undertaken alone or in groups, take five years. A graduate degree, a book, a training curriculum. Reviewing and reforming standards at Yoga Alliance. Five years is also one predicted window for seeing the first ice-free Arctic summer, which may provoke a methane tipping point, and then an exponential temperature rise. Continue reading “Yoga Work and Climate Chaos: a Note”

Against the “Recent YTT Grad” Stereotype

Against the "Recent YTT Grad" Stereotype

I want to push back a little against an inaccurate and often cruel stereotype of the 200-hour YTT graduate that’s been gaining steam in Yogaland over the past couple of years.

It frames out like this:

The recent YTT grad (80% likely it’s a “she”) is millennial, hasn’t practiced for long enough to be taking a training to start with, thinks that shapes are the point and has the Insta account to prove it. She got conned by a McStudio into signing up for a watered-down curriculum and is being taught by only slightly older entrepreneurial hacks who needed to run a programme to make their rent. Her knowledge of biomechanics is scant and of yoga philosophy worse. She has no connection to the “sacred”, and believes that yoga is a personal lifestyle choice, indistinguishable from fashion. Continue reading “Against the “Recent YTT Grad” Stereotype”

WAWADIA UPDATE #11 /// Methods to Reduce Injury: An Interview Subject Speaks Out



I’ve been asking a lot of questions in the course of conducting this project. The one question I’m most frequently asked in turn is: “What should we do as a culture to reduce incidence of injury?”

This is thorny. It immediately provokes a conversation about the pros and cons of tighter regulations for studios and training standards for teachers. In the seeming absence of any concrete external pressure to regulate from governmental agencies, it’s a conversation that quickly reveals the basically libertarian bias of yoga culture. For the most part, yoga’s primary stakeholders — senior teachers and prominent studio owners — are strongly resistant to the idea that an art form for personal growth should be subject to collective oversight. Perhaps North American yoga is so rooted in 1960s countercultural ideal of self-expression that talk of self-regulation will always be distasteful. And where’s the money in it, really? Continue reading “WAWADIA UPDATE #11 /// Methods to Reduce Injury: An Interview Subject Speaks Out”