Following up on a note I posted a month ago, I wanted to clarify that all links to Yoga Journal articles are working correctly. The web development team probably put in a forwarding protocol that automatically sends the visitor from my site to the linked YJ web page. Of course, that it should have implemented that mechanism before switching over from the old site because the new design had been available as a beta for months. Luckily for me, the mix-up happened just as I was about to head off for vacation and did not have time to start correcting all the bad links that were showing up. Now that I’m back, I see that all YJ links on this site seem to be working.
Now if they could only find the right balance between being an advertising vehicle and the most prominent yoga advocate for the United States. If only there was an app for that.
Wow! One of my favorite yoga sites has just undergone a remodeling: The Magazine of Yoga has taken on a cleaner look, a more straight-forward organization and a splendid use of photos. I could never really understand what kind of site it was trying to be (but loved its content) because it shirked the standard chronological order that predominates on most sites and didn’t seem to fit any other mold. MoY also has undergone a reshuffle of its sections: Conversations get top play, for good reason, and a penchant for writerly kind of articles.
I must confess that over the past two months, I have not had time to dig into the MoY articles and interviews, which tend to be longer than most web articles, even running into two parts. I don’t have time at work to steal time for reading a long-ish article, and at home my time is occupied with other tasks. My parents’ deaths have really emptied my life of open, reflective space. I am lucky to squeeze in time for meditation.
My problem is that I’m running into more yoga sites that deserve more than a brief visit: Yoga Modern is enticing; Elephant Journal is just vibrating with life; I just discover YogAnonymous a few days ago; and Carol Horton/Books, actually a Facebook site, just knocks me back with its pace and depth (her longer pieces appear on Think Body Electric blog). I can barely find time to check my RSS feed, much less read everything on these sites. I don’t even think to go over to YogaJournal.
If you’re having difficulty with forward bends, don’t assume it’s your hamstrings. Inflexible rotator muscles may be to blame. Judith Hanson Lasater, January/February 2000 The original Yoga Journal article or Astanga Dancer, with pix
I have to confess that I am growing fond of reading the Visions of Cody weblog [MLS: apparently Mitch Blum has disappeared his old yoga blog. Selected articles are now on his new site. ]. I come back several times a week, not just to read the current blog entry (two a week), but also to go back into his archive. He also brings out a weekly podcast that is a ironic commentary on the yoga scene and human foibles under the intense light of practicing Ashtanga yoga, as well as a sampling of his love of music. He’s frequently poking fun at himself, but can equally turn it on others. Because he’s light-hearted and ironic, he’s a welcome relief from my own deadpan seriousness. Maybe, I enjoy him because he’s a late comer to yoga and has a beard, like me. And then Cody drops an insight bomb:
” The challenge for us hatha yogis is to apply the faith in action that we readily demonstrate on the mat each and every morning into all aspect of our lives.” Five O’Clock Angel
The multiple-paragraph entry has several passages that I wanted to quote, but I had to single one out. This past week I’ve been thinking much the same thing. I show up for my classes, sometimes with resistance because they’ll push me to my edge and beyond, but at the end of class, I don’t feel fatigue (comes closer to bed time). I come out purified, shining, glowing with an energy that I did not know was there. And in small gestures, I try to apply the lessons from the mat to the rest of my life. My physical practice keeps me honest and true when what passes for my persona can take me off in misguided directions.
The program of videos, podcasts and print media runs for 12 weeks, and is meant for the beginner who is practicing at home. My first impression is that it’s a really polished product, with high production values on the handful of videos that I’ve seen so far. There’s a lot of material to be absorbed, even when you’re not starting from scratch. Normally, this online service costs $5 a week, billed quarterly (every 13 weeks). So I am being offered the equivalent of $60 to participate, assuming that the invitation was for the whole program. I just wanted to get that out front from the beginning.
What surprised me the most is that given the high profiles of Yee and Saidman on the yoga scene, the backing of a major retailer in the lifestyle business, like Gaiam, and the strong investment already made in the product, I’m surprised that I had not heard about this service before. It was launched in May, but I have not seen much promotion for it, and I do get a fair share of yoga-related e-mails for products, retreats, and other matters. For instance, I was trying to find a graphic, a banner ad or something like that to illustrate this blog posting, and I google the web for the one displayed here. There was no spot on their website that offered graphics or a media kit.
“The primary reason can be found in one of the central tenets of modern neuroscience: ‘The neurons that fire together, wire together.’ What this basically means is that our mental activities actually cause changes in the structures of our brains–not only what we think, but how we think as well. Given such activity-directed change, it always makes sense to ask whenever large numbers of people start using their brains in new and different ways, what effects these new activities are likely to have on brain structure and function. Blogging, which only seems to be accelerating in popularity, is a prime candidate for such investigation. “
I knew all this futzing around on the Internet would do something for me. This analysis is highly speculative, but taps into the writers’ own background as doctors working with children with learning difficulties. You learn so much about the “normal” human by examining the exceptional case — the sick, the disadvantaged, the handicapped. You should look at the rest of the blog, because it’s chock full of provocative insights.
While you’re at it, you might also look at a couple of sites that go down a similar road: The Psychology of Combating Stress [no longer online], Depression and Addiction [no longer online], Mind Hacks and Innovation Weblog. I’ve lost many hours wandering around these hyperlinks.
A while ago, I mentioned Leslie Kaminoff’s Breathing Project, and made a passing reference to the mailing list, e-Sutra. At the time, it did not seem to be too active. Over the summer, a few mailings came through and it’s really proven to be an welcome delivery to my Inbox. Kaminoff sends out something called Yogoogle (no longer available), which is a compilation of links to recent news stories about yoga. Sometimes, he will add his own comments, but mostly the title, source and the lede. He is probably using Google’s News Alert
to find the articles. It’s a way of monitoring yoga’s presence in Western mass culture.
This kind of exercise can be frustrating since most news sites send their stories to archive within 7-30 days of publication, requiring that you pay for access to their past articles. In any case, it’s no small accomplishment to pull together these news items, throw out the dross, repeats or shortened versions and put it in a readable format. I know because I used to do something like this for another site.
He also sends out a bulletin board in which teachers can announce courses and authors their books. These tend to be centered in the New York City area, but can still be far ranging. For instance, it recently pointed me to the site of Kelly McGonigal newsletter (no longer available – MLS). She teaches yoga at Stanford.
Kaminoff also issues a synopsis of mailing list discussions, on a specific topic — for instance, yoga sequencing.
An interesting publication looks to be Bindu, that comes out of Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School. It says it has only a few of itsissues and articles online, but it does periodically change which issue is available. For instance, only issues Five, Eight and Eleven. I found, however, that by simply manually changing the address to another issue, you can see all back issues. Be forewarned, however, that English is not the native language of the writers so at times the prose can be a bit tortured. The seriousness of the publication makes up for any deficiencies. It puts a lot of emphasis on publishing scientific research into yoga, meditation and other disciplines.