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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 13 | June 2015

Published on June 23, 2015

Advocacy & YA in the News

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

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Business

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

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Community

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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Inspiration 

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

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International

Examples of how the world is embracing yoga.

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Sports

Chronicling the growth of yoga among athletes and athletic programs.

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Trending

New styles, quirky ideas and exciting approaches to yoga.

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Advocacy & Yoga Alliance in the News

Electing for more yoga

  • Green Bay Press Gazette mentions the Encinitas Union School District case in an opinion column about the debate over religion in schools. Despite complaints from parents that yoga is “inherently religious”, judges in a court of appeals ruled “yoga as practiced in the school... [to be] secular in purpose and effect.” (May 28)

  • PR Newswire both ran Yoga Alliance’s press release announcing the results of a recent survey on American yoga demographics that Yoga Alliance hired Wakefield Research to conduct. The survey revealed over 19 million American adults currently practice yoga and over 56 percent of American adults are interested in trying yoga. (June 16)

  • Los Angeles Times reports on the end of the lawsuit to stop yoga instruction in Encinitas public schools. Attorney Dean Broyles, representing the parents who sued the school district, said his clients will not further appeal but plan to “educate parents” about their views on yoga’s religiousness. Superintendent Tim Baird: “We are not teaching religion, we are not instructing anyone in religious dogma. Yoga is very mainstream.” (June 12)

  • St. Albert Gazette (Canada) features Larissa Whiting, owner of Lahari Yoga, who won one of Yoga Alliance’s International Day of Yoga grants to fund the Amazing Race-style free yoga event she planned in celebration of the day. Called the Lahari Yoga Kula Collective, the festival and race are meant to spread awareness about yoga and global warming. Whiting: “I can’t believe we received a grant. We’re a tiny nugget of yoga studio and this is an international event.” (June 13)
    Editor’s note: Read about Lahari Yoga’s event on our website!
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Business

When mat meets office

  • Nerd Wallet features five tips from Yoga Alliance spokesperson Andrew Tanner, E-RYT 500, and past workshop presenter Racheal Cook to help yoga studios stand out in an increasing and sometimes oversaturated market. One tip is to start in a free location - like your home or a park - before committing to a lease. Kimberly Wilson, E-RYT 200, RYT 500, owner of Tranquil Space, RYS 200, RYS 300, taught from her home before expanding to two studio locations within ten years. Tanner: “Being a good yoga teacher and having cool studio name is no longer enough.” (May 21)

  • PBS aired a video interview with Aetna Insurance CEO and “former hippie” Mark Bertolini, who recently implemented yoga and mindfulness programs for his employees. A near-death skiing accident in 2004 led Bertolini to yoga and meditation as a way to manage his residual pain, and he wanted to pass yoga’s mind-body benefits on to his employees. Since implementing the classes, he’s seen benefits including a 7.5 percent reduction in health care costs and productivity spike. (May 28)

  • Phoenix Business Journal reports that Core Power Yoga, RYS 200, a Denver-based national chain of yoga studios, will open its first Arizona location. Core Power’s Phoenix location will be one of over 100 locations operating in 15 states. (May 29)

  • Wall Street Journal spotlights two longtime friends whose retirement plans include running the yoga studio they opened last year in Avon, Ohio. John Plagens and Walt Henry manage studio finances and act as the studio’s janitors - a role they would not trade in. Henry: “We may be the only janitors with an M.B.A and a law degree, but we love our jobs.” (May 31)

  • Washington Post features an article on “BeerYoga” offered at Port City Brewery Co. in Alexandria, Virginia. The brewery offers a yoga class and pint of beer for $15 - less than the cost of some studio classes. Instructor Melody Abella, E-RYT 500, keeps the class mood “focused on fun,” which keeps students coming back. (June 16)
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Community

Shining light on inspirational yogis

  • Economic Times (India) announces that the United Nation’s International Day of Yoga event in New York City will be “broadcast to an audience of thousands” in Times Square. Minister of External Affairs of India Sushma Swaraj will run the event, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and UN General Assembly President Sam Kutesa will be in attendance. (June 9)

  • Fox 13 (Utah) reports live from the inaugural Downtown Yoga Festival held in Salt Lake City on May 23 and 24 that attracted over 400 people on the first day alone. The event was hosted by Santosh Maknikar, founder of the nonprofit Yoga for the People, which brings yoga to underserved populations in the area. The intent of the festival was to educate the community on the benefits of yoga and bring both experienced and new yogis together. (May 23)

  • Huntsville (Ala.) Times reports on The Yoga Benefit for Nepal, a May 30 yoga event that raised $1,250 to support animals affected by the Nepalese earthquakes. Teacher and animal activist Tracey Glover, E-RYT 200, focused her teaching on the connection between animal and human victims. The Humane Society International reports there are thousands of affected animals, including dogs, cats and cows, some strays and some separated from their owners during the earthquakes. (May 30)

  • Ithaca Times (N.Y.) profiles Christopher Grant, a software development firm CEO and RYT 200 who recently opened Yoga Farm, a studio located on his 65-acre farm. Perched atop a waterfall, the studio offers students a soothing atmosphere and a “holistic orientation to yoga,” Grant said. (June 14)

  • KPBS (Calif.) features an article on Loyola Marymount University’s first graduates of the Yoga Studies Masters program. The Yoga Studies program offers courses on the physical practice of yoga, Sanskrit and yoga philosophy. The article features a radio interview with the program director, Christopher Chapple, E-RYT 500, and one of the graduates, Danielle Fowler, E-RYT 500 and owner of True Nature School of Yoga, RYS 200, RYS 300. (June 1)

  • Mental Floss reports that Latham, Illinois studio Yoga at Connie’s opened its doors to six local shelter cats for Yoga with Cats. The event raised over $500 and one cat left to a new home after being adopted by an attendee. Studio owner and cat lover Connie Pease, E-RYT 200, plans to hold more Yoga with Cats classes in the future. (June 15)

  • Radish Magazine (Ill. & Iowa) spotlights Jeani Mackenzie, E-RYT 500, and the aerial yoga classes offered at her studio in Bettendorf, the Davenport School of Yoga. Mackenzie says the fabric slings used during class help students go deeper into poses. Student Joan Marttila: “Gravity is still involved, but it feels different. Aerial yoga gives you more freedom. Inversions are fun because the sling is doing some of the work.” (May 26)

  • Reuters profiles Colleen Saidman Yee, E-RYT 500. The former model recently released a book, “Yoga for Life: A Journey to Peace and Freedom,” chronicling how yoga helped her recover from a heroin addiction and manage PTSD.  The book features sequences for various challenges, including divorce, boredom and low self-esteem. Yee and her husband Rodney Yee, E-RYT 500, organize yoga events around the globe and own three New York City studios. (June 8)
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Education & Children

Helping today's youth prepare for a future of mindfulness

  • Financial Express (India) reports on Discovery Channel’s hour-long TV special “The Story of Yoga,” which will premiere at 9 p.m. on June 21, the International Day of Yoga. Rahul Johri, Executive Vice President of Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific: “‘The Story of Yoga’ is one of the most comprehensive narratives that provide[s] an in-depth view on the evolution of yoga from an ancient practice to a lifestyle choice that’s making tremendous impact on people’s lives around the world.” (June 8)

  • Magnet (Australia) features an article about Free Girls Yoga, a nonprofit organization providing free yoga classes to female high school students. The project began in 2014, when founder Elke Avis started offering classes in Sydney; classes are now also offered in Newcastle, Coffs Harbour and overseas. Group ambassador Rikai Blondel: “Through the practice of yoga, we want to see girls achieve a radiantly healthy respect for their bodies, have emotional stability and feel good about themselves and their place in the world.” (May 27)
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Health & Research

A mantra a day keeps the aches at bay

  • Chicago Tribune features an article on how to breathe fully and improve one’s breathing. Dr. Ingrid Yang, a yoga teacher, explains the four stages of breath in yoga and the importance of focusing on the breath. Dr. Sumita Khatri adds that yoga can help strengthen the muscles involved in breathing. (June 12)

  • Good Magazine reports on recent scientific findings proposing that yoga could help ease chronic pain. At a recent conference, Dr. Catharine Bushnell of the National Institute of Health presented research showing a link between yoga and increased gray matter, the nervous system tissue responsible for pain tolerance. Bushnell: “[This research] suggests there is a causative link between yoga and gray matter increases.” (May 18)

    Psych Central also features research shared at the American Pain Society’s annual meeting that evaluates how yoga and chronic pain affect the brain’s gray matter. While anxiety, depression and chronic pain cause gray matter loss, which decreases cognitive functions, practicing yoga or meditation increases gray matter. NCCIH Director M. Catherine Bushnell: “The encouraging news for people with chronic pain is mind-body practices seem to exert a protective effect on brain gray matter.” (May 16)

  • Greatist spotlights the importance of alignment in yoga poses and accepting your body’s physical constraints rather than straining to do a pose perfectly. Nicole Katz, E-RYT 500, owner of Yoga 216, RYS 200: “The simple truth is that yoga poses look different on different bodies. And that’s okay…because pushing yourself into a shape that isn’t physically accessible to you can injure more than just your pride.” (May 18)

  • NJ.com (N.J.) interviews U.S. Marine Corps veteran C.J. Keller, E-RYT 200, who uses yoga to help cope with his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He said mindful breathing helps him with his anxiety, including his “flight or fight” response in stressful situations, and he now teaches yoga classes for other veterans. Keller: "The military is very good at training you for combat, but what happens when it's over?" (June 4)
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Inspiration

Back to the heart of the matter

  • KOAA (Colo.) reports on yoga classes that help foster parents take care of themselves and find a break from stress. Yoga instructor and foster parent Farrah Frye, RYT 200: “They’re parenting children who’ve experienced trauma and that brings additional elements to the picture that can make it a little more stressful than normal.” (May 21)

  • Los Angeles Times interviews Michelle Goldberg about her new book “The Goddess Pose: The Audacious Life of Indra Devi, the Woman Who Helped Bring Yoga to the West.” Born Eugenia Peterson in Latvia at the turn of the 20th century, Devi moved across the world studying and teaching yoga before making it big as a celebrity yoga guru in Los Angeles in the 1950s. (May 28)

    NPR also interviews reporter and author Michelle Goldberg on yoga figure Indra Devi’s role in bringing modern yoga to America in 1947 and the differences between modern and ancient yoga postures. Devi fell in love with yoga and travelled to India in the 1930s, where she became the first female student of Krishnamacharya. Goldberg: “[Devi] was the one who took yoga from being what people in the west tended to imagine...and domesticated it.” (June 1)

  • New York Magazine’s The Cut features Jessamyn Stanley, a yoga teacher breaking down stereotypes by documenting her practice on Instagram. Rather than advocating for “fat” or “curvy” yoga studios, she emphasized the importance of making all classes more accessible. Stanley, on why having a “yoga body” isn’t important: “The whole point of this practice is to burn away the parts of our lives that are built up over the years that don’t matter, and to burn that away to who you truly are.” (May 28)

    Woman’s Day also spotlights yoga teacher and Instagram persona Jessamyn Stanley whose photos are inspiring women of all shapes and sizes to love their bodies. Stanley: “I always tell people (especially women) to stop sending negative energy into their bodies and thoughts. That negative energy is responsible for all body unhappiness.” (June 1)

  • New York Times credits B.K.S. Iyengar for his work to bring yoga to the masses as International Day of Yoga approaches. Though only the “highest-caste men” were traditionally allowed to practice yoga, Iyengar taught people of all classes, including women and foreigners. Columnist Manu Joseph: “Mr. Iyengar...was largely responsible for liberating yoga from men like himself and creating the circumstances for it to infect the world and in the process win the adoration of Indians.” (June 10)
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International

Yoga happenings from around the globe

  • CCTV (China) reports on yoga’s growth and increased popularity in China. One contributing factor to yoga’s rise in the country was a popular TV show from the 1980s and 1990s that helped spread yoga beyond Hong Kong. Nowadays, yoga is helping people find relief from work-related stress and balance their lifestyles. One teacher, commented that yoga in China tends to be more physically-oriented than traditional Indian yoga. (May 19)

  • Economic Times (India) reports that art historian Benoy K. Behl’s photographic exhibit “Yoga for All, Yoga for Health” will be on display during the month of June at Indian Embassies in 20 countries. The set of 64 photos were captured in locations across India, Vietnam and the U.S. Behl also filmed a documentary, “Yoga: An Ancient Vision of Life,” which will be screened in 50 countries on the International Day of Yoga. (June 15)

  • Mid-Day (India) announces that Western Railways, one of the country’s busiest rail systems, will offer free yoga classes to employees after a staff member expressed concern for the mental health of a co-worker. In wake of the Germanwings plane crash, the company aims to lower the stress of their employees to ensure maximum safety for both employees and passengers. (May 26)

  • Moscow Times features an article on Yoga Journal’s tenth year of publication in Russia, celebrated not with a yoga mala, but with an extensive survey of Russian yoga practitioner demographics. Over 1.3 million - out of nearly 143.5 million - Russians currently practice yoga, the vast majority of whom are in the middle to upper class. (May 28)

  • Reuters reports that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to perform yoga asanas and pranayama at New Delhi’s International Day of Yoga celebration on June 21. The event is expected to take place on a road running between the presidential palace and the memorial India Gate. According to an official from Modi’s party, Home Minister Rajnath Singh may make an appearance at the event. (May 28)

  • TIME writes that Air India now mandates daily morning yoga sessions for all pilot and cabin crew recruits as part of their training program. An airline official: “...we believe that yoga brings in a sense of discipline as well as help[s] cope better with the stress of the job.” (June 2)

    Huffington Post India also covers this story, adding that 78 pilot trainees and 300 cabin crew trainees will participate in this program. To further support the program’s goals, senior management of Air India will be attending a two-day workshop on relaxation techniques at an ashram in Bangalore. (June 1)

  • Times of India highlights that Belgium, one of 177 countries co-sponsoring International Day of Yoga, is expecting several thousand participants to turn out for celebratory events in multiple cities across the country. The nation’s capital will host the largest event, due to take place in Brussels’ Bois de la Cambre public park. (May 28)

  • Times of India spotlights the history of yoga and postal stamps. In 1991, India released the world’s first stamp set depicting yoga postures. In 2009, India released a stamp of revered yoga figure Maharishi Patanjali. China became the second country to release yoga stamps with their set of eight stamps depicting yoga figure B.K.S. Iyengar, released in honor of a June 2014 China-India summit. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will reveal two new yoga stamps in honor of International Day of Yoga. (June 18)

  • Vancouver Sun reports on a local International Day of Yoga events to be held in the city. Nirmala Raniga, Founder of the Chopra Addiction and Wellness Center, will host an all-day event at the Plaza of Nations that is presented by the Vancouver Committee and endorsed by the Consulate General of India. Premier of British Columbia (B.C.) Christy Clark: “[Yoga has] become part of the cultural fabric in B.C.” (June 6)
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Sports

Improving performance the mindful way

  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinelspotlights how Green Bay Packer Datone Jones uses yoga to improve his athletic performance and loosen tight joints. Jones: “Just over an hour [of yoga], every day stretching, staying limber, staying loose, I saw my whole game change.” (June 14)

  • Washington Post features an article about a 2013 George Mason University study on the effects of a mindfulness-based intervention with yoga on the school’s basketball team. During the five-week study, the team participated in eight 90-minute mindfulness sessions and eight hour-long Hatha yoga classes. At the end of the study, the team reported less stress, increased mindfulness and increased goal-directed energy compared to the control group. Fallon Goodman, Doctorate Researcher at the GMU Center for Advancement of Well-Being, oversaw the study and added yoga to the mindfulness program “because athletes are accustomed to physical exercise,” she says. (June 2)
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Trending

The hottest news from the mat

  • American Bazaar chronicles key figures in the growth of yoga in the U.S. Prominent names include Swami Vivekananda, who introduced yoga to the U.S. in 1893, and President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama, who brought yoga to the White House’s Easter Egg Roll in 2009. (June 14)

  • Daily Life (Australia) contributor Virginia Pelley reflects on her experience at Metal Yoga Bones, a yoga class set to “death metal” music. Pelley says the class, held in Brooklyn’s Cobra Club bar, helped her feel “more at home” than in traditional yoga classes. Pelley: “The gestures to heavy metal culture were fun and goofy, rather than contrived, which discouraged everyone from taking themselves too seriously.” (May 22)

  • Huffington Post Canada shares nine etiquette tips to help deal with embarrassing situations in your yoga classes. Learn how to handle situations like a late arrival to class, an accidental fart or a fall onto another’s mat. (May 22)

  • New York Magazine features an article on the growing number of yogis turning their Instagram accounts into a profession. Most of their earnings are “in the form of product placements or travel to retreats or luxury resorts where they are hired to teach” or even just pose for pictures. One Instagram yogi, Caitlin Turner, RYT 200, shares photos from tropical locations with her 230,000 followers. (May 27)

  • Wall Street Journal highlights the trend for wineries to offer yoga and fitness classes. Typically located on expansive properties in scenic locations, Wolffer Estate Vineyard’s co-owner Joey Wolffer said running these classes is an obvious choice for their customers. Wolffer: “A lot of people go to yoga…and come back and pick up their wine for the weekend.” (May 28)

  • Well and Good spotlights Salty Yoga, a “slow flow” yoga class offered in a New York City salt chamber complete with salt floors, salt walls and a halogenerator pumping salt particles into the air. Salt treatments have long been a trend in Europe and are credited to lower anxiety and help relieve skin and respiratory ailments. Salty Yoga teacher Ellen Patrick, E-RYT 500: “[Classes are] meant to help people breathe better by bringing an awareness to the breath, paired with the full [therapeutic] benefits of salt.” (May 27)

  • WMAR (Md.) reports on Yoga in the Vines, a yoga and wine tasting event at an eco-friendly vineyard in suburban Maryland. The motto of the classes? “Yoga now. Wine later.” Teachers Emily Lodge, E-RYT 200, and Melody Clark, RYT 200, led an all-levels class on the lawn of the property. (June 1)
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