Yoga Insider

Welcome to The 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 10 | March 2015

Published on March 19, 2015


News coverage of Yoga Alliance's work to prevent unnecessary state regulation.

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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 RYTs,  RYSs and non-members active in the yoga community.

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Examples of yoga in "mainstream" society and how the world is embracing yoga.

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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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Chronicling new styles, quirky ideas and exciting approaches to yoga.

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See the news that matters most to you.

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Protecting the right to practice yoga without unnecessary intrusion

  • Daily Signal discusses the difference in impact of the Colorado Division of Private Occupational Schools’ (DPOS) attempts to regulate yoga teacher trainings (YTTs) on small businesses and large businesses. Hefty registration costs - starting with a $1,750 certificate - would undoubtedly be a challenge for small yoga schools to absorb without raising tuition. Some YTT owners like Michelle Voeller, E-RYT 200 owner of Harmony Yoga, RYS 200, are even shutting the doors on their YTT programs preemptively. Voeller: “It’s really sad. The bigger people will survive, and the smaller people...will suffer.” (March 12)

  • Denver Post reports on the progression of SB 186, which would exempt YTTs from state regulation, through the Senate Education Committee with a unanimous vote on Feb. 25. Next, the Senate Appropriations Committee will vote on the bill. Primary sponsor of the bill Sen. Laura Woods: “For years the [YTTs] have been operating without government regulation…[or known complaints] against [them]." (February 25)

  • Denver Post covers the bill to exempt yoga schools from state regulation that “breezed” unanimously though the Senate Education Committee on Feb. 25 and the reaction from a group of elementary schoolers. Lenora Degen’s after-school class was inspired to recreate the yoga pose Sen. Owen Hill did in a photo after the vote. Degen took a photo of her class doing crow pose to send to bill sponsor Sen. Laura Woods. (March 3)

  • NBC-7 San Diego features a broadcast report on the latest proceedings in the case against California’s Encinitas School District teaching yoga. On Mar. 11 attorneys representing the plaintiffs and defense appeared before judges to state their cases. Defense attorney David Peck: “As [yoga] is practiced in the classroom at EUSD, it’s simply not religious. It’s something all students can participate in. There are no religious teachings...and certainly the students are not perceiving anything of a religious nature.” (March 12)

    U-T San Diego also reports on the Encinitas case hearing, noting that the Fourth District Court of Appeals is expected to rule on the case by June 9. During the hearing, Dean Broyles, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, was interrupted a number of times by the judges during his 30-minute argument in which he professed that yoga is inseparable from its religious ties. Judge Cynthia Aaron countered: “[EUSD’s yoga program is] void of religious, mystical or spiritual trappings.” (March 11)

  • New York Times reports on the battle against YTT regulation in Colorado, a state where “yoga studios have proliferated in the past decade” and competition is high. The article cites Yoga Alliance's observed 20 percent spike in yoga schools in 2014 alone - by year's end there were nearly 3,500 RYSs. To date at least four states - Arkansas, New York, Texas and Virginia - have passed legislation to protect YTTs from state regulation. (March 2)


When mat meets office

    • Fox-13 Tampa features in a Feb. 19 video broadcast the newest way to do yoga - perched upon the new $300 SmartMat, the “world’s first intelligent yoga mat.” SmartMat features 21,000 sensors that detect your pose and calibrate with an app to provide real-time feedback and alignment cues. Co-founder Neyma Jahan says the biggest challenge to the SmartMat isn’t a technical issue, it’s simply rolling it up. (February 19)

  • Patch Portsmouth (N.H.) spotlights the new on-demand yoga offerings from 3 Bridges Yoga, RYS 200, with options for yogis of all skill levels. Under the name 3BY at Home, yogis can choose either a $10 monthly membership or a $3 pay-per-view option. 3 Bridges Yoga co-founder Bjorn Turnquist, E-RYT 200, RYT 500: “We wanted to provide this service to [those who]...needed an alternative to coming into the studio to maintain the benefits of yoga in their lives.” (March 13)

  • Wall Street Journal reports on the hidden price yogis are paying in the booming U.S. yoga market. A recent survey from Sports & Fitness Industry Association found there are 25 million Americans yogis, and class sizes are swelling to accommodate them all. Steep rent prices drive some studios to allow overcrowded classes, where personal space can dissolve. However, other studios like the increased popularity and are using new methods, like mat reservations, to maintain small class sizes. Yoga Alliance Director of Education and Outreach Nicole Conners and studios both agree that yoga's growing popularity is a positive. (February 16)

  • Wall Street Journal highlights the booming digital yoga trend that is giving more people access to more yoga. There are nearly endless options for digital yoga, with both paid and free content available on smartphones, on TV and online all hours of the day. Streaming yoga is a great option for yogis who can’t make it to the studio or can’t budget for costly memberships, but for new yogis, “starting in a studio is probably safest,” where a teacher can ensure a safe introduction to asana. (March 9)


Shining light on inspirational yogis

    • Chestnut Hill Local (Pa.) reports about Barbara Levitt, E-RYT 500, whose adaptive  “Golden Yoga” seated yoga classes are helping seniors stay active and balanced. Levitt has been teaching “Golden Yoga” to seniors, including cancer, AIDS, Lupus, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease patients, for the past 20 years, and in 2007 published a book titled "Golden Yoga" on her method. Levitt: “Like all yoga classes, you see the improvement happen before your eyes. They always seem to leave the class younger than when they arrived!” (March 6)

  • Columbus Business Link (Ohio) covers the merger of yoga studios Yoga on High, RYS 200, RYS 300, and Grow Yoga. The merger provides both studios with opportunity for growth that couldn’t be achieved independently, says CEO and co-founder of Yoga on High Jasmine Grace, E-RYT 200, RYT 500. Yoga on High is also owned by Michele Vinbury, E-RYT 200, RYT 500, and Marcia Miller, E-RYT 500. (March 3)
  • Daily Astorian (Ore.) profiles Michelle White, RYT 200, yoga teacher and massage therapist who opened Hot Spot Yoga and Massage, a new studio offering hot yoga and post-class massages. The coastal studio serves yogis of all kinds, from athletes to nurses and even Coast Guard members. White: “I wanted to create a healthy, loving environment where people could share my passion for yoga.” (March 5)

  • Jewish Link (N.J.) reports on Keter Yoga, a new yoga studio exclusively for women, owned by Jacqueline Routhenstein, RYT 200. Routhenstein has practiced yoga for over 25 years and is a graduate of the American Yoga Academy. (February 19)
  • Luminary (Pa.) profiles Amber Berberich, RYT 200, who recently opened Sat Bhakti Shala Yoga Studio and Sattvic Lounge on Feb. 7. Her studio offers multiple types of classes, including yin, Ashtanga, and children’s yoga, and yogis can support themselves with props hand-sewn by Berberich herself. Berberich: “Sat Bhakti is a place of tranquility and rejuvenation and offers serenity for everyone.” (February 13)
  • discusses Philadelphia’s upcoming Namas Day in April. The biannual event is expected to bring over 350 yogis together for workshops from top leaders in the yoga industry, including Faith Hunter, E-RYT 500, and Michelle Synnestvedt, E-RYT 500. Namas Day organizer Mary Fetterman: “...we welcome all people interested in coming together through yoga.” (February 20)
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch (Va.) reports on the growing men’s yoga market and how mens-only classes provide a more welcoming environment for new male yogis. Yoga instructor Cheryl Brousseau, RYT 200, began teaching mens-only classes after noticing some mens’ reluctance to try yoga in a predominantly female class. (March 7)
  • WWLP (Mass.) featured in a video broadcast Sheila Magalhaes, E-RYT 500, owner of Heartsong Yoga Center, shares yoga practices to help prepare your body for or recover from shoveling snow. Sheila says poses to warm and stretch large muscle groups combined with mindfulness will help to ensure you do not push too far when braving the elements. (February 13)


Yoga happenings from around the globe

  • Active Times spotlights the top 10 yoga retreats around the globe that offer yogis a place to escape their hectic daily routines and strengthen the mind-body connection and “appreciate our connection to the universe.” On the itinerary are retreats in Dominica, India, Mexico, Thailand, and the U.S. with a variety of offerings and climates sure to suit any taste. (February 27)

  • CBS Philly reports on the Montana legislator, Rep. David Moore, who believes “Yoga pants should be illegal in public” and the bill he introduced to modify existing indecent exposure law by outlaw clothing that exposes or depicts a person’s “buttocks, genitals, pelvis or female nipple.” Reporters note in a video broadcast that the bill “didn’t even make it past a committee vote” on Feb. 11; members of the House Judiciary Committee unanimously tabled the bill. (February 12)

    Guardian also covers the same bill in the wake of Rep. David Moore’s insistence that his comment to an Associated Press reporter that “yoga pants should be illegal in public” was an “off-the-cuff remark in the hallway,” and he was only joking. Moore allegedly drafted the bill following public outcry when last year over 200 scantily-clad or completely nude cyclists turned out for the “Bare as you Dare” ride through Moore’s hometown of Missoula. (February 14)

  • The Hindu reports on “Yoga Stops Traffick,” an international event held on Mar. 15 in 55 nations that brought yogis to their mats in awareness of and support for an end to human trafficking. The event was hosted by Odanadi, an organization that has worked for more than two decades to “recover and rehabilitate victims of human trafficking.” (March 15)

  • Middle East Monitor (United Kingdom) features an article on how the Collateral Repair Project is using yoga to help heal refugees living in Amman, Jordan, the temporary home of over 600,000 displaced Syrians. The nonprofit organization was founded in 2006 and supports refugees by providing food vouchers and household necessities to families and offering programs - including yoga - at their Community and Family Resource Center including support groups, self-defense classes, and game nights. (March 5)

Education & Children

Helping today's youth prepare for a future of mindfulness

  • Huffington Post spotlights Y.O.G.A. for Youth, a nonprofit organization founded by Krishna Kaur, E-RYT 500, that brings yoga to underprivileged children in schools and detention centers in California. Children in her program not only do an asana practice, but also discuss emotions and chant to help the students “unite and move forward in the practice together,” despite whatever individual challenges they brought to the mat that day. (March 5)

  • Huffington Post features the new partnership between Silicon Valley’s Ravenswood School District and the Sonima Foundation, an organization bringing yoga and mindfulness into schools already serving 3,400 students in California. Stanford University will study the program’s effectiveness over the next three years, and school officials are hopeful the program will significantly decrease disciplinary issues. Another school district credits its wellness program and partnership with the Sonima Foundation for “a 37 percent decrease in [suspensions] and a nearly 4 percent increase in attendance.” (March 13)

  • Today’s Parent (Canada) covers the mental benefits of the emerging children’s yoga trend and offers poses to try at home with your little yoginis. M. Lee Freedman, child and adolescent psychiatrist, says “kids need better coping skills today,” and are likely to physically manifest their stress through conditions like insomnia, headaches and mood swings. Yoga, she adds, gives children an way to build and understand the connection between body and mind to help manage emotions. (March 4)

Health, Wellness & Research

A mantra a day keeps the aches at bay

  • CBS Detroit profiles Rochester yoga instructor Norma Byrne, RYT 200, and how she helps seniors benefit from yoga by offering chair yoga classes in which she modifies “99 percent of our yoga postures” to be more accessible to older populations. Mary Kocaski, a 77-year-old participant in Byrne’s classes: “[Yoga] helps me stand better, sit better. The whole meditation part has helped me through stressful situations.” (March 16)

  • Deccan Chronicle (India) reports on a study by an Andhra University professor to observe what impact yoga and dance have on students’ stress levels, concentration and mood. Dr Mantri Madan Mohan: “[Yoga and dance] bring positive behavioral changes including better ego, integrity, less depression, anxiety and better social skills.” (February 21)

  • Psych Central spotlights a new study showing a positive impact from yoga on prenatal depression led by Cynthia Battle, Ph. D. and co-authored by Kaeli Sutton, E-RYT 200, RPYT. In the study, 34 pregnant women decreased their “elevated depression symptoms” after attending prenatal yoga classes taught by RYTs for 10 weeks. This study is the first to show a proportional correlation between frequency of practice and its benefits; results show “the more prenatal yoga pregnant women did, the more they benefitted psychologically.” (March 12)

  • Telegraph (United Kingdom) highlights yoga’s power to ease a number of mental and physical health conditions. More people are closing the medicine cabinet and unrolling their mat to find relief from insomnia, PTSD, heart problems, pregnancy discomfort, back pain, and even lowered libido. (March 9)
  • WTNH (Conn.) reporters were joined by Rachel Baer, E-RYT 200, for a video broadcast in which Baer demonstrated the “Joint Freeing” yoga series, also known as “the great healer” for it’s ability to loosen up stiff and uncomfortable joints. Baer notes that joints - stiff or not - need movement to increase joint-cushioning synovial fluid, and she reassures that with practice, movement will become easier for even the stiffest joints. (March 2)


Back to the heart of the matter

  • Bangor Daily News (Maine) profiles Kelly Benson, yoga teacher and recovering heroin addict, who helps others find and maintain recovery in her weekly yoga classes for those struggling with addiction of any type. Benson: “A spiritual practice is the foundation of recovery. Once your mind/body system is more in balance, it opens up the space to really tap into the soul.” (March 9)

    • My San Antonio shares the obituary of early U.S. yogi Minnie Jaye Davis Sherrer, “an adventurous spirit” who practiced and taught yoga wherever her world travels took her. Her daughter Deborah Anderson reflects that a training with Indra Devi, lauded as the “First Lady of Yoga,” was a life-changing moment for Sherrer, a strong believer in the power of “conscious thought meditation.” Sherrer passed away on Feb. 22 at age 87; she practiced yoga until suffering a broken hip at age 82. (March 4)
  • KJRH (Okla.) featured in a video broadcast a look inside the Tulsa County Jail’s yoga class, where teacher Micheal Siegle reminds inmates that, despite being incarcerated, they still have control over their minds. Inmates are responding positively to the program; one even wrote a song about his experience in yoga. Inmate Joshua Harring, Sr., new to the yoga program: “I’ve been making a lot of negatives, since I’ve been here, [into] positives. I figured [yoga] could help.” (March 2)

  • Dominion Post (New Zealand) features an interview with 90-year old yoga instructor Tania Dyett who has been teaching yoga since her 20’s. Dyett says one key to a happy life is living and thinking positively and says teaching is a great source of joy for her. Dyett: “[Yoga is] so much more than the physical, but the physical is very necessary because without a healthy body, you can’t do anything.” (February 19)

  • Hometown Life (Mich.) profiles Laura Tropea-Papenhagen, RYT 200, one of 11 yoga teachers chosen by Africa Yoga Project to train yoga teachers in Africa, 90 percent of whom are East Africans living on less than $2 per day. Africa Yoga Project is an organization founded in 2007 by Baron Baptiste, E-RYT 500, and Paige Elenson, E-RYT 500, that brings yoga to over 6,000 students each week. Tropea-Papenhagen: “We will train them to be teachers, but I will...mentor the students....on leadership skills, marketing, budgeting and accounting so they can find employment not only as teachers but as leaders.” (February 20)

  • Quartz features an article on Colombia’s 67-year internal conflict that has claimed over 210,000 and how the organization Dunna: Creative Alternatives for Peace helps the victims and the ex-militant guerrilla fighters alike find healing. The organization has reached hundreds of Colombians to date and “a dozen now plan to teach yoga.” Proving effective, a study group of participants “showed a 48.5% decrease in symptoms of...PTSD” and drug and alcohol abuse. Former paramilitary member Samuel Urueña Lievano who was a forced recruit at age 15: “[Yoga] has helped me identify who I am. It has given me myself back.” (March 13)

  • Times of India reports on two Swiss pilots who have made yoga an “integral part” of their round-the-world flight endeavor. Swiss yoga teacher Sanjeev Bhanot, E-RYT 500, has trained one of the pilots for over a year and will meet the pair at various checkpoints throughout their journey. Pilot Andre Borschberg: “Sanjeev’s training in collaboration with Hirslanden clinics has given us the best preparation for the upcoming challenge.” (March 8)


The hottest news from the mat

  • ABC-7 Los Angeles uncovers in a video broadcast some surprising health risks that could be living on your yoga mat. Four mats - from a studio, a gym, yoga instructor Larry Thraen, E-RYT 500, and a yogi - were tested for bacteria or fungi. The studio mat was cleanest, with only non-dangerous, environmental bacteria present; the individuals’ mats were the most contaminated and the least frequently cleaned. Yoga instructor April Reeder recommends naturally cleaning your mat using essential oils, which are anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and eliminate germs. (February 17)

  • Fox-2 St. Louis features yoga instructor Elle Potter, E-RYT 200, discussing how her company, Yoga Buzz, is putting a fun twist on traditional yoga classes. According to Potter, Yoga Buzz offerings give people a “reason to hang out afterwards and connect with the community” by hosting yoga events at locations around St. Louis, like at breweries. (February 18)

  • India TV highlights the new Guinness World Record for the “Longest Yoga Marathon” by a male, broken by Hong Kong yoga instructor Yogaraj C.P. on Feb. 15. To break the record, Yogaraj demonstrated over 1,500 asanas nonstop for 40 hours at his studio Prana Yogam, which was open to public spectators. Yogaraj dedicated his feat to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in appreciation for his work in the UN’s declaration of International Yoga Day. (February 15)

  • New York Times spotlights snowga, a growing trend that’s bringing yogis across the nation off the mat and onto the slopes. Offered at mountains from coast to coast, snowga helps winter athletes loosen up, regulate their breathing and increase balance. Vail yoga instructor Anne Anderson, RYT 200, says she began snowga after seeing the astonishing success of mindful breathing for her ski students. Snow sport props make snowga more accessible and students say it is a fun way for “yogis to play in the snow.” (March 4)

  • Psychologies (United Kingdom) features an article about “Yoga in the Sky,” yoga classes held in an Olympic Park studio that is perched over 250 feet high, with breathtaking views of the city and it’s landmarks. Each weekend, yogis take to clear, open skies to find clear, open minds in classes that aim to “[equalize] the positive and negative.”  (March 6)

  • Swim Swam reports on how restorative yoga is a powerful tool for recovery during swim season. Using props like bolsters and blocks - or even household items like pillows and books - to relax in restorative poses allows athletes to “completely let go of all tension and stress.” Poses particularly beneficial to swimmers include supported pigeon and bridge. (March 4)

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