Yoga Insider

Welcome to Yoga Insider, a monthly publication by Yoga Alliance® compiling the most current news about yoga. Browse the news by category and check out the archived editions to your right.

Edition 14 | July 2015

Published on July 21, 2015

Advocacy & YA in the News

News of government leaders embracing yoga and coverage of Yoga Alliance.

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News about the small and big companies alike as well as the money side of yoga industry.

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General stories regarding RYT®s, RYS®s and non-members active in the yoga community.

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Education & Children

What's happening with yoga and meditation for children and schools.

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Health & Research

How yoga affects the mind and body. 

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Stories about yoga and words of wisdom to bring a smile to your face and brightness to your day.

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Examples of how the world is embracing yoga.

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Chronicling the growth of yoga among athletes and athletic programs.

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New styles, quirky ideas and exciting approaches to yoga.

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Advocacy & Yoga Alliance in the News

Electing for more yoga

  • Wall Street Journal quotes Yoga Alliance spokesperson Andrew Tanner, E-RYT 500, in an article about the best time of day for yoga. According to Ayurveda, in which much of yoga’s philosophy is rooted, certain times of day are best for more meditative or more vigorous practices. Tanner: “The Ayurveda philosophy divides the day into blocks of time. Some are better than others for exercise.” (June 22)

  • Willamette Week (Ore.) cites Yoga Alliance statistics on yoga revenue in an article about government efforts in Portland, Oregon to determine if yoga studio workers are employees or independent contractors. Most studio owners fear the added cost of having employees rather than independent contractors may put them out of business. Michele Loew, E-RYT 500, owner of The Yoga Space, RYS 200, RYS 300, on the employee business model: “The bottom line is, it’s more expensive to do business, and it’s compete with yoga studios that are still using independent contractors.” (June 24)


When mat meets office

  • Capital (N.Y.) interviews Carin Gorrell, editor-in-chief of Yoga Journal, to discuss the magazine’s 40-year history and it’s plan for the future. Gorrell on how Yoga Journal promotes body positivity: “We...aim to represent all the different people who practice yoga visually in every issue with more diversity in body types and ethnicities.” (June 25)

  • Greater Baton Rouge Business Report (Fla.) reports that Yoga Bliss, RYS 200, owner Kimberly Matsko, E-RYT 500, has left the studio in order to focus on her other business, The Big Squeezy juice bar. Matsko and a co-owner of the studio, Peyton Fisher, E-RYT 200, RYT 500, planned to “[open] cold-pressed juice bars in the yoga studios, but it never worked out.” (June 24)

  • Huffington Post contributor C.P. Gurnani shares five lessons about business that he learned from yoga. One lesson teaches that work tasks, like yoga asanas, are made easier when broken down into steps, or kramas. Another emphasizes the ability of a new perspective - like a headstand during yoga or a fresh pair of eyes at the office - to effect much-needed change. (June 26)

  • New York Business Journal spotlights two-year-old athletic wear company Yogasmoga, owned by siblings committed to ethical and sustainable business practices. To cut down on its environmental impact and ensure safe manufacturing, Yogasmoga’s trademarked fabric and products are all made in the USA. The company, which has been “profitable since day one,” plans to expand from its two current stores to 10 stores by the year’s end. (July 2)

  • Racked features an article on SpotYoga, which offers rooftop yoga classes with breathtaking views of the New York City skyline. The co-founders planned to host classes in public parks, but difficulty obtaining permits turned their search for a venue to the sky. Thanks to retractable roofs at all locations, SpotYoga plans to operate year-round. (July 8)


Shining light on inspirational yogis

  • Brunswick News (Ga.) features an article about Dustin Brooker, RYT 200, and his journey to become a yoga teacher. A native of Georgia’s Golden Isles, Brooker moved to Hawaii in 2009 and found yoga during his path of self-discovery. Wanting to share yoga with others, Brooker moved to San Francisco to complete yoga teacher training and shortly after returned to the Golden Isles, where he currently lives and teaches yoga. (July 6)

  • Chicago Tribune profiles Nolan Lee, E-RYT 200, whose introduction to yoga inspired a career shift from stressful restaurant ownership to holistic health care. After quitting his job, Nolan studied to become a certified and licensed chiropractic physician, a certified acupuncturist and a Registered Yoga Teacher. Lee on the best part of his job: “You’re helping people find relief and get them to feel better, and that’s incredibly gratifying.” (July 2)

  • Courier (Tx.) columnist Jan Dial, E-RYT 200, reports on “Yoga for Harmony and Peace,” a Houston event to celebrate International Day of Yoga that drew over 1,000 attendees. Highlights of the event include a yoga session led by an 87-year-old teacher and a children’s yoga session led by Yogiños, a trilingual yoga program for children. (July 21)

  • Merced Sun-Star (Calif.) spotlights 24-year-old Navpreet Singh Sandher, RYT 200, who has been honored as the Veteran of the Year by California’s 21st Assembly District. Sandher served as a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps until being honorably discharged in 2013. (June 28)

  • Mountain Xpress (N.C.) highlights Asheville YogaFest, which has potential to gain Asheville, North Carolina even more recognition in the national yoga spotlight. Director Mike Hiers says he takes inspiration from other national yoga events to refine the vision of the festival, which is in its second year. Hiers envisions the festival as an “intimate and serious yoga festival that reflects the beauty and flavors of Asheville.” (July 7)

  • Sun-Sentinel (Fla.) highlights a group of veterans who developed a passion for yoga through the Elevated Warriors program. Sponsored by Connected Warriors, RYS 200, the program introduces yoga to veterans through fellow ex-military members - people who understand the stress of returning home from active duty. Yoga instructor Randy Hamlin: “[This way], there is immediate credibility as far as the teacher-student relationship [goes].” (July 10)

  • Wichita Eagle (Kan.) profiles Kelsea Wright, RYT 200, whose new business, Limitless Yoga, will allow her to teach yoga anywhere. Rather than renting a studio space, Wright purchased yoga supplies and props to take with her as she teaches. She says her business model will allow her to better adapt classes to the students’ needs. Wright: “Sometimes going to a studio can be a little intimidating, it might just not be the environment you thrive in.” (June 25)

Education & Children

Helping today's youth prepare for a future of mindfulness

  • Daily Record (Pa.) profiles children’s yoga teacher Joni Ritter, RYT 200, RCYT. During her classes for little yogis, Ritter incorporates literature and games into the lessons as well as partner poses that “[celebrate] the union that yoga is all about.” Ritter: “To see kids progress and stick with it and get excited about what I’m excited about is all worth it.” (July 6)

  • BlogHer features Jaysea Devoe, RYT 200, a 13-year-old yoga instructor from Encinitas, California. Devoe began practicing yoga at age 8 and completed her teacher training at age 12, making her one of the youngest yoga teachers in the U.S. Despite her age, her students range from age four to 60. Devoe: “Everyone is exactly where they need to be in their practice.” (July 10)

  • Keloland (S.D.) spotlights a growing trend among American children - yoga. According to a National Health Interview Survey, 3 percent of American children now practice yoga. Kia Pidde, RYT 200, owns Form Fitness Boutique, where she runs a yoga camp for kids and pre-teens. Pidde says children can gain calmness and clarity from the practice: “I really don’t think it’s ever too young to get started. There’s benefits for children and high schoolers.” (July 8)

  • New Indian Express reports that another Indian school has just made yoga a mandatory part of the curriculum for students, a growing trend in the country. KS Natarajan, chairman and principal of the school: “Introducing yoga will be a good change and will keep their mind and body healthy.” (June 25)

  • Times of India features an article on increasing interest in yoga certificate and degree programs at Yoga Sadhna Kendra (YSK), India’s Banaras Hindu University yoga school. Applications to YSK have surged and are expected to continue increasing, according to Deputy Director KM Tripathi. It’s believed that International Day of Yoga will help to bring more jobs in the yoga industry. (July 10)

Health & Research

A mantra a day keeps the aches at bay

  • spotlights how yoga helped former U.S. Marine Yusra Kauppila, RYT 200, manage her PTSD after being deployed in Iraq. Kauppila currently volunteers with Warriors for Healing as an operations manager. Warriors for Healing aims to raise awareness of yoga’s benefits and serve veterans with PTSD. The organization was founded in 2015 by Bhava Ram, E-RYT 500 and owner of Deep Yoga, RYS 200, RYS 300. (July 1)

  • Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet explains why more men should practice yoga. Yoga promotes a healthy lifestyle, can improve sports performance and can reduce stress. Yoga teacher Danny Poole, via the Washington Post: “All I knew is that there were hippies doing it, and I was intimidated because I didn’t know what it was. Then I got hooked on it because I never felt so good.” (July 8)

  • News-Press (Fla.) reports on the potential dangers of slouching and shares yoga poses demonstrated by Aja Reeser, E-RYT 200, to open the chest and front body and counteract a slumped posture. Slouching could lead to neck and shoulder strain, restricted breathing and cervical spine damage. From a yogic perspective, slouching blocks energy flow in the heart center and solar plexus, which some say is linked to low self-esteem, self-consciousness and fear of rejection. (July 6)

  • Times of India features yoga techniques to help relieve stress, with an emphasis on breathing exercises. It includes five pranayam techniques to increase concentration, alleviate anxiety and calm the mind. (July 3)


Back to the heart of the matter

  • Essence reports on Urban Yogis, an initiative led by Deepak Chopra and Erica Ford, RYT 500, that began by bringing yoga classes to a housing project in Queens, New York. Ford reported that the classes have not only improved the lives of the participants, but have also reduced the amount of gun violence in the neighborhood. Urban Yogis has expanded to 17 locations across New York City. Chopra: “We started working with gang leaders and kids who had been in prison, and now they’re leaders of society.” (July 5)

  • Las-Cruces Sun News (N.M.) features an article written by Colleen Boyd, E-RYT 200, about the importance of being an amateur when trying to learn something new, including yoga. Boyd emphasizes how, when facing a setback, letting go of unrealistic expectations allows us to be kinder towards ourselves. Boyd: “We learn more quickly when we are completely open to not already knowing.” (June 30)

  • New York Post profiles Dan Nevins, RYT 200, a retired Army Sgt. and double-amputee who now offers inspirational teachings in yoga classes across the country. Nevins: “[Yoga] has made me realize that not only can a guy with no legs do whatever he wants, but he can inspire people to do what they want...and, in the process, change the world.” (July 6)

  • Register-Guard (Ore.) features an article about yoga classes that are part of Mobility International’s Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD). The WILD program aims to train female disability activists “how to apply leadership skills in their native countries.” Judy Abel, RYT 200, teaches the program’s yoga classes, which are aimed to foster physical and mental well-being for an overall healthy lifestyle. (June 25)

  • TakePart reports on the Prison Freedom Project, a program that brings yoga classes to overcrowded South African prisons. Over 100 inmates are enrolled in the program with the goal of improving well-being and self-reflection, as well as reducing recidivism rates. American volunteer instructor Kevin Weiss: “Through yoga, and really through the awareness practices that yoga rests on, I’ve seen offenders reflect on the harm they have caused through their criminal acts.” (July 7)


Yoga happenings from around the globe

  • ABC News features an article on global events to celebrate the inaugural International Day of Yoga on June 21. In Taipei, over 2,000 yogis unrolled their mats for 108 Sun Salutations, and in Paris, participants gathered around the Eiffel Tower to celebrate. (June 21)

  • Business Insider covers International Day of Yoga festivities in New York City’s Times Square that drew over 17,000 attendees. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attended the event that brought peace to typically hectic New York City streets. Ki-moon: “My hope is that yoga will give people everywhere the sense and the oneness we need to work together to live in harmony and usher in a life of dignity for all.” (June 21)

    CBS New York also highlights the Times Square event in New York City to mark International Day of Yoga. This is the 13th year that Times Square has hosted a yoga event on the summer solstice. (June 21)

  • CBS reports on the millions around the world who “bent and twisted their bodies” in celebration of International Day of Yoga on June 21. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined over 35,000 yogis in New Delhi for the largest yoga class ever held. At a Dubai event, one yogi attempted to break the world record for the longest headstand, holding the asana for 61 minutes. (June 21)

  • Firstpost (India) reports that daily yoga is now mandatory for the country’s Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs). Forces are designing plans to implement yoga, which will be adapted on a “case-by-case basis”. (June 29)
    Business Standard (India) also reports on the now-mandatory yoga for the CAPFs. A directive from the Union Home Ministry states “it would be prudent to include [yoga] as part of the daily physical exercises of the forces in various field establishments.” (June 29)

  • Forbes features an article on India’s International Day of Yoga events and the country’s growing investment in the spread of yoga. India’s largest event was held in New Delhi, costing the government over $4.5 million and with nearly 36,000 attendees. The event set new world records for largest yoga class and most nationalities in a yoga class, with 84 nations represented. (June 29)

    TIME confirms that New Delhi’s International Day of Yoga event, with 35,985 attendees, broke the Guinness World Record for the largest single yoga event. The previous record was set in 2005 by nearly 30,000 Indian students. (June 22)

  • Moscow Times reports on the central Russian city of Nizhnevartovsk’s ban on public yoga classes. Officials contacted two yoga studios to inform them they may no longer offer classes in municipal buildings. A letter from Sergei Levkin, the city’s first deputy head, calls for “all necessary measures to stop Hatha yoga lessons from taking place at the [public] stadium.” (June 28)

  • New York Times reports on Russian President Vladimir Putin stating during a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he wanted to try yoga. Putin: “I have tried many things, but never yoga.” (July 9)

    TIME also features an article on Putin’s plans to roll out a yoga mat for the first time despite a reputation as a “Master of the Manly Arts.” Putin’s other so-called “manly” athletic pursuits include judo, hunting “and even bare-chested horseback riding.” (July 9)


Improving performance the mindful way

  • Dispatch (Ill.) spotlights Eddie George, a former NFL running back who is now an avid supporter of yoga for everyone, not just athletes. After a nine-year professional football career, stepping onto a yoga mat taught George how to breathe and stretch out tense muscles. He encourages those new to yoga to not compare themselves to others and to focus on one’s breath and resolve. (June 29)

  • ESPN highlights how Duke sophomore cornerback Zach Muniz and his football teammates ended up in a university yoga class, which they said helped improve their normal training regimen. Instructor Lisa Wright: “We worked on flexibility, balance and static strength, all of which help a football player… I think most of them saw nice increases in flexibility and liked having yoga as a sort of warm-up before their group weight-training session.” (July 9)

  • ESPNW shares five yoga asanas to help soccer players “counterbalance their aerobic, acrobatic moves on the field.” Gwen Lawrence, E-RYT 500 and owner of Laws of Yoga, RYS 200, RYS 300, says that while soccer can make the knees vulnerable, hip opening asanas can help protect them. (June 30)

  • Fox Sports reports that Detroit Lions Wide Receiver Golden Tate is the next professional athlete to take up yoga to improve his performance. After a successful year, Tate says he unrolls his mat to increase flexibility and to ease tight muscles. He hopes that in the long run, yoga will allow him to become a “fine wine of NFL receivers,” only improving as he ages. (July 6)

  • WQAD (Ill. and Iowa) features three yoga poses to improve your golf swing. Radius Yoga Conditioning Director Dana Santas, E-RYT 200, explains how flexibility and strong muscles can help prevent golf-related injuries. Santas: “When golfers have mobility limitations in their mid back or hips, they compensate with their low back and knees, which not only hampers play but often leads to pain and injury.” (July 1)


The hottest news from the mat

  • Argus Leader (S.D.) spotlights the Sioux Falls Regional Airport’s newest addition - a yoga room. Outfitted with yoga mats and instructional posters, the yoga room offers travelers a place to breathe, stretch and relax before taking to the sky. The airport is the sixth in the nation to feature a yoga room. (June 25)

  • highlights 3D Yoga Anatomy in a post on newly-free apps. With a library of 40 poses, the app offers tips on entering and exiting the postures and shows which muscles are used in each asana. For a limited time, the app is available for free download. (July 5)

  • Democrat and Chronicle (N.Y.) features one reporter’s experience with stand up paddleboard (SUP) yoga, which packs the additional challenge of maintaining balance in a pose while atop water. Instructor Amy Gurske: “Adding the water element brings a whole new aspect of letting go, and letting yourself do something you're not comfortable with." (July 2)

    Miami Herald also reports on the benefits of SUP yoga. Aside from improving balance, SUP yoga helps build core and upper body strength. (June 30)

  • DiscoverSD (Calif.) contributor Anna Mueco, RYT 200, spotlights yoga opportunities at the San Diego Comic-Con. Pairing yoga pants with a cape earned attendees a space at the costume-required “Superhero Yoga” class offered by Pura Vida Yoga. The studio also offered conference attendees discounted rates at their classes throughout the week. (July 7)

  • Post-Bulletin (Minn.) highlights Bandha Boards, wooden boards designed to bring the feel of standup paddleboard (SUP) yoga to solid ground. Bandha Boards are designed and built by teacher and SUP enthusiast Bonnie Thoe-Austin. Yoga instructor Michelle Kalina says certain poses that are challenging on the floor are easier on the board because “the board is moving with your foot.” (July 3)

  • Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) reports that the former “historic hotel in Upstate New York that inspired Dirty Dancing” is being transformed into a yoga center, due to open on International Day of Yoga 2016. The new owner, billionaire and friend of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Subhash Chandra, plans to open five more yoga centers in the U.S. within ten years. (June 26)

    Bloomberg also features an article on the transformation of the former Kutcher’s Country Club into a yoga center. (June 25)

  • (N.Y.) spotlights Camp Georgetown, a former minimum-security prison in Central New York that is due to become a yoga and retreat center. The prison shut its doors in 2011 and was sold to the new owners two years ago. (June 24)

  • Telegraph (Ga.) features an article on “Hoppy Hour Yoga,” a special yoga event hosted by Hometown Yoga where yogis attend a one-hour class, then get a beer at a nearby bar. Popularity turned this single event into a continued venture - over 100 participants turned out for the first two Hoppy Hours. Hometown Yoga co-owner Rachel Gerrity, RYT 200, says a live pop music DJ gives the class a quicker pace and an upbeat energy. (June 26)

  • Gambit reports on a New Orleans woman who teaches yoga classes for people of color. Throughout her years of practice, teacher Valerie McMillan was bothered she “didn’t often see black yogis” in yoga studios; this, she says, inspired her to start teaching Black and Brown Bodies in Motion. Geoffrey Roniger, E-RYT 500 and owner of Feret Street Yoga, RYS 200, says the media and the poor economy are two possible contributing factors to the underrepresentation of people of color in the city’s yoga community. (July 6)
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