This MSNBC article comes one year after I started my summer intensive yoga teacher training at Thrive Yoga.
Yoga teachers: Overstretched and underpaid
In many respects – the low pay, the gig-based nature of the job, and the unpaid overtime – yoga is little different from other freelance professions in the new, service-based American economy. More than one person interviewed by msnbc compared teaching yoga to being a part-time adjunct professor, with all the job insecurity and irregular pay that implies.
The articles drives homes the message that it’s tough to turn yoga teaching into a viable profession in a competitive marketplace. Obviously, I decided that I did not want to pursue teaching even part time or as a fallback option. I’ve made a coldblooded decision to work on a career track that builds on my accumulated experience and skills — and brings a salary and benefits. I am in awe of those who decided to follow their heart down the yogic path.
This past month I’ve been absorbed in work mode, with a couple of writing assignments that exceeded my initial estimates and required overtime and weekends. But that status has been complicated by the World Cup soccer (football) games that are available in my employer’s break room. I’ve had several topics to write about for this blog, but I never had time to develop them, and it was more important to do yoga than write about it. So I’ve had to prioritize my activities and available time.
I’ve became increasingly aware of how over-committed I ‘ve become: just to cite all the training activities that I have theoretically lined up: (1) studying for the the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Foundations certification (part of my technology refresh 10 years after getting my masters), (2) taking some online courses from Lynda.com to catch up with MS Office productivity tools (my old job was still on version 2003, now I’m using 2011), (3) learning to take advantage of Adobe Creative Suite, especially for online and e-publishing, (4) watching some videos about some of the other software packages I’ve invested in (the delusion that a few apps will make me more efficient), (5) taking some online courses to revive my writing and editing skills (that’s what they pay me for), and (6) stopping the count there… because it’s become ridiculous. Even when I had idle time after leaving the OAS, I could not fit in that much time for skill development and self-improvement.
I’ve been able to tackle these tasks in fits and starts, in evening hours when I don’t have the energy or focus to get the most out of the courses. Regular visits to yoga class and the fitness center have been my way to increase my capacity to extend my functional time and ward off the lethargy of brain work in front of a keyboard. What’s clear is that I have to eliminate my evening TV time, just as soon as the United States team is eliminated from the World Cup.
The issue of how to treat yoga studios under the DC tax code has come to the forefront again:
Washington City Paper Yogis Go Mad Over Proposed Yoga Sales Tax
Although the proposal doesn’t just target fitness studios, the tax has been dubbed the “Yoga Tax” by people who oppose it. The Council gave preliminary approval this week to charge the city’s 5.75 percent sales tax on services like health clubs and tanning studios that previously haven’t been subject to it. The sales tax would also extend to bowling alleys and billiard parlors, barber and beautician services, carpet and upholstery cleaning, car washes, construction contractors, and mini-storage.
Since this measure is part of the annual budgeting process for 2015, the time frame is going to make it hard to alter the decisions already made by the DC Council. Many critics say that the measure is a tax on healthy behavior, but yoga studios are still businesses that are subject to other Federal, state and local taxes. Mayor Vince Gray is a lame duck and has already lost a lot of his pet initiatives so he could not influence this decision one way or the other.
There was also an article in the Washington Post. Here’s the Facebook page of the campaign against the new “yoga” levy.
I’ve been meaning to write an entry about Gita’s Dream, a Kirtan group led by Gita Krista Zember and her husband, Christopher. It runs out here yoga studio, BE Yoga, in Sterling, Virginia (think Dulles Airport). They hold chanting sessions at yoga studios around the DC area, including Yoga in Daily Life in Alexandria and lil omm in DC. Last year, they participated in DC Kirtan Fest; there’s more to the kirtan scene in DC than you might think. She picked up kirtan in 2007 and it’s blossomed into a root of her yoga practice and teaching. Check out the schedule of performances; there’s a couple of things almost every month.
“I now have a Yurt studio out here teaching Hatha Yoga, Meditation, Living Yoga, Reiki, Yoga for Children with special needs and a whole lot of Kirtan! All of the money earned from our kirtans is donated to girls in India rescued from sex trafficking that I go visit and work with there in Kolkata.”
Gita is trained in the Kripalu and Integral Yoga traditions, and has been influenced by other teachers. She leads yoga sessions for special children, which is definitely an under-served group.
I will add her to my DC yoga directory as soon as I can. By the way, a yurt is a portable dwelling typical of nomadic tribes of Central Asia steppes, but in the States it’s come to be an example of sustainable buildings.
It’s that time of year again: DC Yoga Week (9th time around). It stretches from Monday, April 28 to Sunday, May 4. The crowning event will be Yoga on the Mall, Saturday, May 3, 10:00 am – 12 noon. It’s a big, public display of yoga, led by some of the best teachers in the Washington Metropolitan Region, as well as master teachers such as Shiva Rea.
You can find more information on the DC Yoga Week site or its Facebook page. The event is organized by the DC Yoga Community and 30-plus yoga studios and instructors.
The Washington, DC area just got a new yoga studio directory: DC Area Yoga. It looks that it has been operating since the start of the year, according to its blog. It also covers wellness and apparel. More power to them.
The operators seem to have a relationship with a Philadelphia directory and a Chicago one. But if they want to feel intimated, just check out the other Chicago directory and print magazine: illumine. It has more than 200 studios listed, feature articles, commentary and a newsletter.
Yoga teacher Shannon Paige delivers a moving TED Talk about her battle against cancer, depression and the damage they brought to her body and mind. Her talk, Mindfulness and Healing, took place at the 2012 TEDxBoulder event so it’s not seen a lot of exposure. She owns Om Time Yoga Center.
For Shannon, the battle with depression was actually as hard as battling cancer. Through this, Shannon discovers that while, yoga can’t heal depression, getting into your body can change the mind and create a state of empowerment, stability, and release.
Sharon also reminded me that I had failed to maintain a dialogue with myself and whoever else wants to listen to tales from the journey down the path of prana. This will have to do for now.
On Thursday, my boss ordered me it of the office and back home because my cold threatened his health (we share a small office space). On the way, I stopped at an urgent care center to have a doctor look at my congested chest and sinuses, plus my swollen neck glands and fatigue. I was prescribed another round of antibiotics and rest.
This winter seems to have been one long convalescence from bronchitis, sinusitis and the whole immune system. I and my first round of antibiotics in September, a second in December, and then weakened constitution. No wonder I’ve lost my discipline for yoga practice. I am always trying to pick myself off the figurative floor.
Brian Palmer is Slate‘s chief explainer and tackles the claims that yoga is medicine for many medical conditions.
Slate Does therapeutic yoga work? The best studies say no, but they don’t get much press..
Doctors eventually realized — most of them, at least — that prayer didn’t fit well into a clinical trial. Yoga doesn’t, either. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do yoga. By all means, do yoga, pray, and eat lemons, if those things bring you contentment. Do yoga especially if it’s your preferred form of exercise — exercise is a health intervention supported by thousands of clinical trials. But recognize the “yoga as medicine” craze for what it is: an indicator of the zeitgeist, not a scientific discovery.
I’ve commented on the trend towards prescribing yoga for all kinds of ills and flaws. Much of it goes back to the inception of modern yoga in India when its early advocates wanted to validate yoga within a Western, medicalized framework. In the States, the application of yoga as a therapeutic tool has also help it makes inroads into mainstream culture. There’s been a lot of bad science done around yoga therapy, which has compounded the problem. It’s hard to run standardized, double-blind studies on a massive scale on a practice that should be tailored to individual bodies.
But I also think that all this talk about yoga addressing medical conditions is wrongheaded. The practice of yoga is aimed at wellness, the holistic utilization regulation and balancing of bodily systemic functions (myofascial, neurological, circulatory, lymphatic, and others). You could focus a session exclusively on lower back pain, but the asanas and vinyasas would not affect just the lower back, but the whole body. The effects would be accumulative over time, not something like a round of antibiotics. In addition, yoga addresses mental states that Western-style exercise ignores and have a huge impact on well-being.
This article is the latest wave of skepticism about yoga, mindfulness and other things vaguely New Agish. You should also check out The Mindfulness Racket: The evangelists of unplugging might just have another agenda by Evgeny Morozov, a senior editor at The New Republic. He’s actually talking about another trend, the recommendation that people should unplug from their stress-inducing devices because Western society is too hyper-wired and needs to stop multitasking. The mindfulness thing gets lumped in because unplug advocates frequently cite that mind state as the counterweight to multitasking.
Love the photos.
NYTimes.com Yoga Poses in Israel.
Their students, taught in single-sex classes, are encouraged to come as they are, even in day clothes or long skirts, if necessary. The Kolbergs say yoga helps people who spend long days in prayer and study and aren’t physically active. But, Rachel says, “in our studio, we will never have practices that contradict our religion, such as mantras and chanting.
I guess they are not going to have any “naked yoga” classes.