The most recent of these articles is this one on Tara Stiles "rebel yoga." And once again, NYT seems to be wanting to stir up a fight within the yoga community. And once again, there seems to be little effect. Most of the blogs that I read seem to share my opinion: these articles are entertaining and do portray a certain style of yoga, but really aren't that important to the rest of us.
That there are "non-traditional" yogis is of little interest to me. I have my practice, and I choose a more "traditional" style, because that's what resonates with me. But yoga is not one size fits all. And I'm sure that many of the students of these "spirituality-free" genres will eventually come to a place in their practice where they want to learn more and evolve or they will simply grow bored and leave yoga for something like Zumba. And that's ok too.
While I was doing my sesame oil abhyanga, I was wondering why the desire to create "controversy" in yoga. Does it come from a place of disdain or jealousy? While I was pulling sesame oil through my teeth for the purpose of whitening them, something clicked. The more people like me, yogis, the more the market shrinks for things like t.v. dinners, teeth whiteners, and chemical lotions. Yogis are very bad for business. Yes, there is Lululemon and ample opportunity to buy stuff for yoga. But frankly, you don't really need anything for yoga, you don't even need a mat. And before you know it, you're becoming more connected to your body and eventually the greater environment. You stop "needing" all kinds of other things. You begin cleaning your house with cleaners that you made from vinegars and essential oils. And boom! You're contributing less to the corporations that are polluting our environment and trying to sell us things that we don't need.
And so there is a certain interest on the part of corporate America to get people to dislike yoga and find strife among its practitioners. Maybe I'm a bit of a conspiracy theorist, but I wouldn't be surprised to find links between the NYT and those corporations who would benefit from people leaving yoga or ignoring the "spiritual" aspects of it.