Yoga in America as seen through news reporting

Fear of Yoga in CJR November/December 2006 issue  [MLS: article no longer online, but see Robert Love’s new book, The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America]:

Yoga is the Survivor of the culture wars: unbloodied, unmuddied, unbothered by the media’s slings and arrows, its leotard still as pristine as its reputation. Everybody loves yoga; sixteen and a half million Americans practice it regularly, and twenty-five million more say they will try it this year. If you’ve been awake and breathing air in the twenty-first century, you already know that this Hindu practice of health and spirituality has long ago moved on from the toe-ring set. Yoga is American; it has graced the cover of Time twice, acquired the approval of A-list celebrities like Madonna, Sting, and Jennifer Aniston, and is still the go-to trend story for editors and reporters, who produce an average of eight yoga stories a day in the English-speaking world.

This article by Robert Love is informed by several years of research in newspaper archives and microfilm. It tells yoga’s story from the early 1800s to now and how it has been reflected in headlines and fads in the media. Love has a fresh angle because he does not profess to be a practitioner and knows the weakness in most newsrooms for a trendy catchline.