mindfulness is harder than any yoga pose.

my response to the nyt article

because i love yoga – because i live and breathe yoga – because it is infused into my everyday life – my curiosity was piqued to see an article about yoga in the new york times (nyt).  i had read and enjoyed a couple of previous articles published by the nyt about yoga – though i am not a regular reader of the nyt newspaper.

i read the title of the article – hmmm, i thought – provocative – and i  began to imagine what the article might say.  i saw the photos accompanying the piece, and i thought – hmmm – odd.  here is a link to the article if you care to read it:How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body – NYTimes.com

first of all, william j. broad, author of this article and senior writer at the nyt, thank you.  i am certain that you have helped all of us who practice yoga to be more mindful – and for that – i thank you and i am deeply grateful – anything that inspires practitioners of the yoga, to pay more attention,to practice deeper levels of concentration and awareness, is a good thing.

however, dear mr. william j. broad, i am suspicious of the purity of your intentions or the intentions of the editors of the nyt to publish a well-balanced piece of quality journalism.  for i found the article to be sensationalistic.

it seems to me, that it must have been quite a search to find a yoga instructor to profile in the article – who believes that most people should not practice yoga.  i don’t suppose to know the inner workings of glenn black -the profiled instructor,(unfortunate name cuz every time i see it, i mistake it for glenn beck) – maybe he’s seen to much suffering – maybe he’s forgotten what it’s like to watch a bunch of silly 7 year olds bend in and out of astounding poses – maybe he hasn’t taken a GOOD class himself recently – but, whatever it is – i hope that he still sees the joy in the practice and not just the potential for catastrophe that is inherent in any activity.

and, william j. broad, i am sorry that you were injured in extended side angle pose.  thank you for making me aware of your suffering.  i will do my very best to keep my students safe and whole – so that your experience will not be replicated.

yet, i wonder if there is fear behind the words you write.

i did a teeny tiny bit of research on mr. broad and found that he has had much success in his career. he has won 2 pulitzer prizes and an emmy for a documentary called: germ terrorism. he was also awarded for his work called: nuclear jihad – can terrorists get the bomb?  from my experience, exposure to a day in, day out, saturation of this type of investigation and reporting could cause damage to your psyche – planting a seed of fear in the mind that colors and confuses all things.  for i can feel in my own mind, a shift towards fearfulness and suspicion, when i have overexposed myself to violent and disturbing media images and scenarios.

also, mr. broad has  authored or co-authored 7 books – and there are rumors that this nyt article was simply an excerpt from an upcoming book, authored by mr. broad.

to me, the title of the article, combined with the accompanying photos spark a flicker of fear into a small flame, in the hearts of those who were considering trying a yoga class – for much of the information presented in the article was done so without the context of mindfulness and common sense.  mindfulness and common sense demand that i take responsibility for me. no one else can do that for me.  no one else can train my thoughts to become more expansive, more in tune, with all that goes on around me and within me. no one, except me, can express my thoughts and actions so that they adhere to logical patterns and common sense.  anyone’s  yoga practice – grounded and based in a foundation of mindfulness and sound common sense – flowers and flourishes – in ways that involve not just the body, but the mind and the spirit.

yoga cultivates mindfulness if taught and practiced in the truest sense.  and common sense – well….i think we all just learned that in kidnergarten – i can’t teach ya common sense.  you gotta pay attention to any signals of pain or exhaustion or dizziness or incongruency or imbalance in your practice.  these act as messengers and must not be ignored.  deal with the issue before it becomes an ISSUE. the yoga must be practiced with fierce gentleness and humility – for there are many who have practiced before you, and many who will practice after you are gone.

i mentioned that i don’t like the title of the article – how yoga can wreck your body – really?  i wanna see an article published by the nyt titled – how war can wreck your world!  cuz really?  in the midst of all the suffering in the world and the important issues we need to be remedying – you’re picking on YOGA.

finally,  again thank you nyt article for the sobering wake-up call, to take responsibility for all that we do.  to always, always remember that we matter – that what we do, matters.  it has importance. it has significance.  it affects ourselves. it affects other people. it affects our planet.  how we behave – the choices we make.  they matter.


About familyoga

i am a mama, a yoga instructor, a lover, a gardener, and a music maker. i live in a little town 19 miles northwest of downtown indianapolis, indiana. i will blog about familyoga - specifically, myself, my husband/hetero life partner, brett, and our children as we explore familyoga and good livin'. brett will also be blogging. he is a deep soul. he loves music and traveling, gardening and his family.
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One Response to mindfulness is harder than any yoga pose.

  1. Noelle says:

    Well, articulated, thank you. I had a neck injury which happened after poor ergonomics at work and my doctor told me not to practice yoga any more. I don’t know if some yoga poses contributed to it, but if we all practice MINDFULLY with ahimsa we should not injure ourselves in practice. I did not like the sensationalism of the NYT article, but yes, it does make us remind ourselves to practice ahimsa every day.

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