Whenever the New York Times starts publishing multiple articles on yoga (two articles in less than a week; see the previous two blog entries), it usually portends a major existential crisis for the U.S. yoga community. The attention from major media is another indication that yoga is dipping into the American mainstream and losing its authenticity.
One of the central bugaboos for many commentators is that yoga now means big bucks. Just look at some of recent articles: The Future of Yoga, How Yoga Sold Out (WSJ’s Speakeasy blog, written by Stephanie Syman) and YogaDork’s Who Will Save Yoga?. Somewhere in these articles you’ll find a statement like “…yoga is a $6 billion industry with some 16 million American followers.”
These figures comes out of Yoga Journal‘s 2008 Yoga in America study. Journalists love the YJ figures because they come from a reputable source, confirm that yoga has moved beyond niche status, and impute the value of their own reporting on the topic (“My editor did not send me out to write a human interest feature about an ex-hippie.”). Continue reading It’s just money but who’s counting