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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 17 | October 2015

Published on November 2, 2015

Government & YA 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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See the news that matters most to you.

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Government & Yoga Alliance in the News

Electing for more yoga

  • Denver Post highlights the difficulties of making a living as a yoga instructor in increasingly competitive markets, such as Denver and Boulder. Boulder has the highest number of yoga studios per capita in the U.S. and over 120 Registered Yoga Teachers (RYT®s). Yoga Alliance Chief Ambassador Andrew Tanner: “Basically, to make a living as a yoga teacher, you have to be an entrepreneur.” (October 15)

  • India West (Calif.) returns to the case of mandatory yoga practice in California’s Encinitas Union School District, diving more deeply into the reasoning behind each side’s answers to the question, “Is yoga religious?” While both sides agree about yoga’s religious roots in Hinduism, they disagree on the amount of religious effect yoga has on the children who practice it in school. EUSD Superintendent Timothy Baird: “I don’t think we took religion out of it; I think we took out the cultural context.” (October 15)

  • Wall Street Journal reports on the Oct. 8 ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California that yoga poses and breathing exercises are not entitled to copyright protection. This ruling is the latest in Bikram Choudhury’s case against the founders of Evolation Yoga, claiming their yoga system “plundered his intellectual property” – Bikram Yoga’s signature 26-asana sequence. Yoga Alliance Chief Operating Officer Barbara Dobberthien: “Yoga instructors can now put together a sequence of yoga poses without fear of infringing copyrights.” (October 8)

    Telegraph (United Kingdom) also features an article about the Bikram ruling. Presiding judge Kim McLane Wardlaw likened a copyright on a yoga sequence to a copyright on performing surgery: “The copyright for a book describing how to perform a complicated surgery does not give the holder the exclusive right to perform the surgery.” (October 9)


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Business

When mat meets office

  • Huffington Post shares yoga teacher Pranidhi Varshney’s article about yoga’s modern-age “transactional yoga culture” and how it impacts a teacher or studio owner’s ego and business. This “transactional yoga culture” has made product sponsorships, corporate endorsements and online marketing commonplace. Introspection, however, may help to shift our culture back to “one of kindness, compassion and generosity.” Varshney: “We need to ask ourselves the hard questions: Am I teaching and sharing yoga with a spirit of service? Has the commodification of yoga tainted my intentions?” (September 30)

  • FastCompany reports on Yoogaia, a yoga startup that offers live, online yoga classes that bring the personal feel of a yoga studio to the virtual world. Users can activate their computer’s webcam and microphones, allowing the teachers to “see and hear them in real-time” and offer feedback. Two-year-old Yoogaia may be the only company offering live, interactive classes. The classes are hosted in English, German and Finnish by 50 “qualified yoga instructors,” broadcast from studios in Helsinki, Yoogaia’s base, London and Hong Kong. (October 1)

  • New York Magazine features an article about the increasingly competitive yoga teacher market in America. Many yoga teachers are struggling to make ends meet without wearing themselves thin, like Theresa Elliot, E-RYT 500, who feels the strain of the yoga teaching market influx despite achieving great success throughout her career. Andrew Tanner, E-RYT 500 and Yoga Alliance Chief Ambassador, says since 2008, there’s been “a massive growth in the number of yoga teachers.” Yoga teacher Leslie Kaminoff calls yoga teaching “a grueling line of work,” and says teachers often suppress the negative effects they feel. However, teacher Sadie Nardini, E-RYT 500, highlights an alternative – and lucrative – approach to teaching: online classes. Nardini notes this opens teachers up to a huge market of students that may not be able to access yoga in-person: “It’s a win-win for everybody. They learn yoga. You make money.” (October 8)


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Community

Shining light on inspirational yogis

  • Argus Leader (S.D.) features Gretchen Borgum, owner of the new Soul Movement Studio, and her journey through yoga. Mindful breathing helped Borgum through a series of losses in her family, and she focuses on breathwork and self-reflection during her classes with the hope of bringing the same benefits to her students. Student Kayla Parvin: “Breathing into the poses has opened something in me creatively that had never been opened before.” (September 24)

  • Democrat and Chronicle (N.Y.) spotlights one Rochester, New York, yoga teacher’s yoga classes that lets students do tree pose among the trees. Nicole Kazimer, RYT 200, began offering Hikyoga – hiking and yoga – classes in regional parks after becoming a yoga teacher. Her classes allow attendees to relax in nature and leave with new friends. Attendee Christine Lawrence on her experience: “I loved the camaraderie and that there’s no distractions.” (September 23)

  • Dominion Post (New Zealand) profiles innovative yoga teacher Megan Sety, RYT 500, who began a new wave in SUP yoga. Frustrated with rainy weather impeding her SUP yoga classes, Sety worked to create a board that simulates the feeling of SUP yoga, but all while on solid ground. The board allows Sety to teach indoor classes now, and she hopes to sell them in the future. (October 5)

  • The News-Press (Fla.) features Kandy Love, E-RYT 500, and her restorative yoga classes at her studio Health & Harmony. She demonstrates four restorative poses from a sequence by the late B.K.S. Iyengar. Love said she is drawn to restorative yoga because the focus on alignment and use of props makes it more accessible to people of all levels and ages. Love: “If you’re not smiling, I’m not sure why you do it.” (September 28)

  • Sun Sentinel (Fla.) recaps Florida Atlantic University’s Yogathon, which attracted hundreds of yoga enthusiasts throughout the day. Associate Director for Campus Life David Blank notes that “[yoga] really helps with stress management.” The Yogathon was a response to a petition last year calling for more opportunities for physical activity, along with two free weekly yoga classes offered on campus. The classes not only serve students but also residents in the surrounding community. (October 12)


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Education & Children

Helping today's youth prepare for a future of mindfulness

  • Daily Voice (Conn.) spotlights a yoga class for children with special needs held at the YMCA in Darien. Yoga offers particular benefits to children with special needs--helping them focus, allowing them to express emotions with their bodies and giving them a physical activity that is not competitive. “Soothing Yoga” is taught after school by Talita Moss, RYT 200, who “hopes to see yoga being taught at all schools, helping youth learn to calm themselves and become more mindful, compassionate and respectful.” (October 16)

  • DNAinfo showcases Mission Propelle, an afterschool program that works to empower young girls through yoga, books with female protagonists and problem-solving activities. Founded by Anne Warshaw, RYT 200 and RCYT, and Jill Carey, E-RYT 200 and RCYT, the program has expanded from two classes at one school to 40 teachers serving 60 schools in the Lincoln Park and Old Town neighborhoods of Chicago. Warshaw: “We see ourselves as a preventive measure rather than a reactionary measure. We believe that giving girls the tools from an early age will empower them when they do get to middle school and times get tougher.” (October 12)
  • Toronto Star reports on Toronto’s growing “Om generation” of mindful children. An increasing number of Toronto District Schools offer yoga and other mindful activities in their classrooms in efforts to support students’ mental health. Parents and teachers attest that mindfulness practices help students reduce performance anxiety and get a good night’s rest. Equinox Alternative Holistic School teacher Kevin Punch: “Even students who I might not think were taking in mindful things tell me about doing their breathing to calm down.” (September 24)

  • WJHG (Fla.) spotlights an elementary school teacher who shares yoga with his students with autism. Paul Zipes works in five- to ten-minute yoga sessions each day to help his students relax, burn off extra energy and have fun. Zipes says yoga helps students with concentration, fitness and happiness, and has received positive feedback from students, parents and fellow faculty. Jessica Nicolosi, RYT 200, a special guest teacher for the class: “It’s really awesome to see them let go.” (October 1)


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Health & Research

A mantra a day keeps the aches at bay

  • Huffington Post features a column by Vyda Bielkus, E-RYT 500, about why you need a yoga retreat. She noted that when she first arrived at her retreat, which was a gift from a friend, her mind was still distracted and not in the present moment. Bielkus: “Retreats are a wonderful opportunity to slow down and see what is really going on behind the scenes of our own life…If we never pause, we simply do not have the time to be with ourselves long enough to know what makes our hearts come alive.” (September 30)

  • Indian Country Today features chair yoga poses and their benefits. Yoga instructor Christine Means teaches Elder Chair Yoga to Native American tribes throughout the Southwest and says yoga helps create balance. Means: “‘Hozho’ is a Navajo belief, shared by other Indigenous beliefs, of a natural balance in the Universe of all things. It is each person’s right and responsibility to create a balance in life so that we can contribute to our communities and build stronger families.” (October 4)

  • Medical Daily features research out of Washington State University that studied how to reduce child abuse rates and improve parenting skills and resilience. Researchers analyzed 14 groups of male inmates, all fathers of young children, as they practiced yoga over the course of three years. Researchers found that “yoga paired with a parenting program helped the inmates accept a sense of vulnerability and responsiveness to children.” (October 16)

    Vocativ also reports on the effects of yoga on prisoners and how it relates to their roles as fathers. According to a study published in the Californian Journal of Health Promotion, practicing yoga improved the prisoners’ sense of self-compassion and their parenting skills. Washington State University researcher and study co-author Jennifer Crawford: “I believe the yoga practice helped participants become ready to learn and increased their willingness to try new ideas.” (October 19)

  • Medical Daily shares an infographic highlighting five chair yoga poses to practice at work to help avoid tension in the hips, back and shoulders. Created by Furniture at Work, a UK-based office furniture company, the infographic features chair cat-cow pose and a seated twist to “reduce stress and boost performance.” (September 29)

  • Reuters Health discusses a new U.S. study that suggests patients who practice deep relaxation techniques like yoga and meditation may visit doctors less frequently. According to the study, patients who participated in relaxation response training saw a 43 percent drop in healthcare service use. Dr. James Stahl: “Meditation and yoga reduce stress, which in turn promotes wellness, which in turn reduces seeking and using healthcare resources.” (October 15)

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Inspiration

Back to the heart of the matter

  • BBC visits Caracas, Venezuela, to see how yoga is bringing peace to the streets of Venezuela’s “most violent and dangerous slums.” Two years ago, Joel Valencia started Yoga in the Neighbourhoods to help unite confrontational territories. Since then, the program has reached over 3,500 residents of all ages and has over 80 teachers spread throughout the city. (October 6)

  • Cosmopolitan shares 12 pieces of advice from Fern Langham, RYT 200, for those who want to take a yoga teacher training. Langham, who left her corporate career to start her yoga teaching and wellness business, shares advice about how to start your business and dispels common myths about yoga teachers. Langham on finding work-life balance: “I have to stay focused on my vision for myself and my clients, and remind myself every day that I'm doing so much and balance is important.” (September 25)

  • Huffington Post features aspiring yogini Judi Freedman’s experiences during the first day of her 200-hour yoga teacher training program. She details her thoughts while studying the yamas and niyamas of Patanjali, how to sequence a class and how to meditate. Freedman and her classmates will be eligible to register with Yoga Alliance after completing their program in May 2016. (October 16)

  • News-Press (Fla.) spotlights Fort Myers’ inaugural Yoga on the Steps event, which was held on Oct. 4 to raise awareness for breast cancer and show support for those affected by it. Over 300 attendees turned out for a yoga practice led by three teachers, including Suzy Goldberg, E-RYT 200, and over $60,000 were raised for the cause. (October 4)

  • USA Today features "radical self-love enthusiast and body positive encourager" Valerie Sagun, also known as “Big Gal Yoga.” Beginning her practice in 2011, Sagun found that yoga helped her go beyond her self-doubt and enjoy life more. Now an Instagram celebrity, she regularly posts images of herself performing asana and writes about body-positivity. In this feature, Sagun shares four tips about accepting yourself. (October 1)


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International

Yoga happenings from around the globe

  • Business Standard reports on Jawaharlal Nehru University’s push to include courses on Indian culture and yoga. In this controversial step, the New Delhi university is being accused by some of falling to the saffronisation of education. Senior university officials, however, say that “Indian values play a huge role in promoting peace and brotherhood,” and the knowledge gained from courses aims to help students “make human life better.” The yoga course would not only focus on meditation, spirituality and asana, but also on yoga’s benefits. (October 7)

  • Express (United Kingdom) spotlights the first combination of Northern Lights and mindfulness retreats, Northern Lights for the Soul. Based in a remote arctic lodge in Finland, guests can combine the beautiful and awe-inspiring sights of the Northern Lights with expertly guided sessions in meditation, yoga and well-being. Northern Lights Travel expert Jonny Cooper: “[W]e want you to leave with a new outlook, a fresh perspective, feeling energised and touched by life in the Arctic and the Northern Lights.” (October 14)

  • Times of India reports that well-known yoga instructor Ramdev will hold two-day yoga camps for Border Security Force (BSF) troops in October. These events are part of the BSF’s “Golden Jubilee Year” 50th anniversary celebration, which “aims to address the stressful work conditions under which the BSF [troops] work,” according to a BSF spokesperson. (October 15)

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Sports

Improving performance the mindful way

  • California Diver reports on Aqua Yoga, an exercise divers can use to increase the strength and stamina needed for diving. Though there is currently little research and much misinformation, the Aquatic Exercise Association reports that divers can enjoy Aqua Yoga as part of a balanced fitness for diving program. The pool has been a popular exercise location for decades, so “taking yoga to the pool is a natural next step.” (October 19)

  • ESPN interviews Danica Patrick about her yoga practice, healthy eating and quest for well-being. Practicing on her own and supplementing her workouts with yoga, Patrick has found that yoga helps her remember to breathe, stay calm and stay focused, which helps when she’s behind the wheel. She’s also found a more positive attitude thanks to her practice, noting that yoga has “a culture of positivity and letting everything flow the way it's going and not trying to force anything.” (October 7)


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