Tag Archives: DC Yoga

First week of the yoga art exhibit at the Smithsonian

I can’t stop blogging today because the news just keeps coming across my computer monitor. The first report on the Freer Sackler Gallery’s “Yoga: The Art of Transformation” on the Mail until January.

Washington Post Smithsonian’s 1st exhibition on the art of yoga explores 2,000-plus years of visual history
First the exhibit examines the concepts and practices of yoga traditions, including meditation and postures found in Indian art dating back hundreds of years. The first piece is an 11th century sculpture representing a yoga teacher, seated in the lotus posture with legs crossed to signify enlightenment.

In stead of writing about other people’s impressions, I should go to the exhibit.

Yoga for men? We’re missing the point

Here is DC yoga news that I feel qualified to comment on:

Washington Post Why yoga is still dominated by women despite the medical benefits to both sexes
Akula is like many women who do yoga and want their spouse or partner to give it a try. But the many myths about yoga stand in their way: Yoga isn’t a decent workout; it’s too touchy-feely; you have to be flexible to do it; men’s bodies just aren’t built for pretzellike poses.

Yoga requires a lot more skill that just doing repetitive exercises or jogging so it’s not something that someone is going to get a solid handle on in a few weeks. Plus, most males are coming from jobs where they have limited physical activity and their bodies are patterned into alignments (hunched over a keyboard) that resist yoga’s streetches. Most would not be in shape to play a touch football game. There are a lot of cultural barriers preventing men from joining the crowd at the neighborhood studio, as well. Continue reading Yoga for men? We’re missing the point

Just in time! Yoga art exhibit to open tomorrow

Photo: image of a seated Buddha or yogi
From the exhibit

The Smithsonian’s exhibit of yoga-inspired art  is now going to open as scheduled because Washington’s political class decided that it had done enough harm and found a way to end the government shutdown. My yoga teacher training classmates at Thrive Yoga are planning to visit as a group next weekend.

Washington Post Alec Baldwin and his wife, Hilaria, bring glitz to D.C. yoga gala
“And really, what could be a better way to end this stressful week in Washington than an evening celebrating the art of staying calm? The black-tie, $1,000-a ticket evening (relocated from the gallery to the Mellon because of the shutdown) celebrated the debut of the Sackler Gallery’s “Yoga: The Art of Transformation” exhibit, which opens Saturday. Because there was no time to move the gala back to the museum after the government reopened, photos of sculptures and paintings from the exhibit were shown on video screens on the wall of the dimly lighted room, which piped in soothing, dreamy music throughout the night.”

Of course, the social events revolving around the exhibit give rise to a lot of frivolous reporting about the high-profile sponsors, like Alex Baldwin and his yoga teacher wife, and the usual cliches about yoga. But that’s the price to be paid for making it to the big time.  At least, Baldwin makes a show of not taking himself too seriously. The exhibit website lists dozens of events so multiple visits may be necessary to take in all the facets of the exhibit.

Photo: yoga class in Warrior II pose
Learning yoga in a class setting has become standard in the United States

I’ve added a new page to the DC-area section of the site: yoga teacher training in the metropolitan Washington region. It pulls together all the links that I have in the local pages into one place with some additional commentary.  With so many people exploring how best to deepen their practice and also pass on the benefits to others, I felt that there was a lack of useful information and convenience.  I welcome any feedback or additional information. Continue reading New resource page – yoga teacher training in Washington

Offering yoga options for differing body sizes

People come to yoga class with all kinds of bodies and limitations, some obvious and others which the body owner is not aware of.

The Washington PostYoga for larger bodies:
“But Carlin still adored yoga, and in 2010, she went ahead with her plan to take teacher training, despite being the only “larger person” in the program. Beyond lessons on prenatal yoga that required her fellow trainees to strap big pillows to their bellies, most had no firsthand experience working with different bodies.”

Annie Carlin, the yoga instructor in question, teaches used to teach in DC, but has now moved back to Brooklyn. The yoga scene can seem to be commandeered by the slender and flexible, but others need it to, as this article shows. More teachers need to be aware of the diverse factors that affect how a person approaches yoga. Not all studios can offer classes exclusively for “larger bodies,” but they can offer modifications of poses. Annie has a website, Supportive Yoga, to provide the details missing from the news article and offer contact information and class scheduling.

The Washington Examiner offers another take: Yoga for all body types and sizes, including a video (2 minutes). Also see Curvy Yoga.

Time running out on fund raising for yoga exhibit

The crowd funding initiative for the Smithsonian exhibit of yoga-inspired art may be coming up short:

Freer and Sackler Galleries: Yoga: The Art of Transformation
This groundbreaking exhibition requires special support, and the Smithsonian needs you! Through “Together We’re One,” our crowdfunding campaign for Yoga: The Art of Transformation, we’re hoping to raise $125,000 to help bring yoga’s incredible past to light. All donations will be used to ship more than 130 artworks from around the world to Washington, DC; offer yoga classes in the galleries; host concerts, a symposium, and a family arts festival; and publish a full-color catalogue.

As of today, $59,000 have been raised and there are only five more days to get cash. It’s gutsy to pass the hat so that a government-sponsored event can take place, but in this case, the cause is worthy and a demonstration of how yoga is affecting mainstream American culture. Sequestration has altered budgets at all levels of the Federal government.

Local school to give an advanced degree in yoga therapy

We have a new wrinkle in yoga training in the DC area.

Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH, formerly the Tai Sophia Institute in Laurel, MD) will offer a Master of Science in Yoga Therapy, starting in September. It calls for 39 credits. Classes will take place on weekends and stretch over two years, three terms per year. To qualify for admission, you must have a bachelor’s degree, a 200-hour yoga teacher certificate, and a year’s teaching experience. The degree will cost $25,000 (about what I paid for my MS in Information Technology). That price makes a 200-hour or 500-hour teaching certification seem like a bargain.

Doug Keller, a well-known and respected yoga teacher, is the advisory director and  Mary Partlow Lauttamus is Program Director. The website does not mention other teachers to be involved in the program.

The Tai Sophia Institute used to be focused on Chinese acupuncture and herbal medicine, health and wellness promotion since 1974, and began offering a masters of acupuncture in 1985. It changed its name in March. I noticed the news when I spotted an ad in Yoga Journal.

I think it’s going to be a hard sell because MUIH has not previously worked with yoga, so why should you pick that school. It does have the pedagogical and administrative infrastructure to flesh out a graduate program. Elsewhere, the Loyola Marymount University at its Los Angeles Extension has a yoga studies program and offers a Master of Arts in Yoga Studies. It has a Graduate Program on Yoga Studies (36 credits). The Yoga Therapy Rx program, led by Larry Payne, has a faculty of 25 teachers. Many of its course offerings are similar to standard teacher training programs. LMU is a Catholic university in the Jesuit tradition.

Asking a hypothetical question about fat yoga in DC

This news article is really about the absence of news:

Washingtonian  Does DC Need “Fat Yoga”?
Mulqueen says she can understand the uncomfortable feeling of walking into a room where you’re the minority; while she’s not overweight, she says she’s often the oldest person in her yoga studios. The same uncomfortable feeling is often felt among less flexible men or people who are completely new to the practice. Mulqueen points out, “Anyone who walks into a yoga room for the first time feels self-conscious.”

I suspect that we already have specialized yoga for overweight people in the DC area, but it’s organized as a private class, with one or more people participating. Most novices are fearful of doing yoga incorrectly; throw in the shame of being overweight and there’s an added incentive to take class in more controlled environment with teachers who are sensitive to specialized needs.

There’s an equally pointed question: is yoga too tailored to young, slender and athletic women? Look at the ads in Yoga Journal.