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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 15 | August 2015

Published on August 26, 2015

Government & 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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Did you know Yoga Alliance’s efforts to support the yoga community are often profiled by national news media outlets? Visit our In the News page to see where we’ve been featured and what we’re sharing about the yoga community.

Government & Yoga Alliance in the News

Electing for more yoga

  • Economic Times (India) highlights that all of the 16,000 Indian schools under the Central Board of Secondary Education are now required to provide yoga for students at least twice per week. This is a new directive from the National Council for Teacher Education, according to Shripad Yasso Naik, minister of the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH). (July 21)

  • Huffington Post features ten tips on earning an “honest living” as a yoga teacher that blogger Ira Israel, E-RYT 500, shares from personal experience. In addition to finding a mentor and remaining an authentic teacher, Israel highlights the value of running teacher training programs. However, he stresses the importance of the Yoga Alliance Standards: “Developing a rogue teacher training that is not [registered with] Yoga Alliance is foolhardy.” (August 17)

  • Yahoo spotlights Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, an “enlightened congressman” who makes it his mission to spread mindfulness practices across the country. Ryan provides yoga and meditation classes for his staff and has introduced legislation that would bring yoga to students and veterans. In 2012 he authored A Mindful Nation, which explores the use of mindfulness practices by schools and research institutions for stress reduction. Findings from his research led Ryan to raise over $3.5 million in grants for the five-year Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction study, which will be conducted by Kent State University and University of Pennsylvania researchers. (August 12)

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Business

When mat meets office

  • CNBC covers the new ways businesses are fostering relaxation in the workplace. While more and more companies offer free yoga and meditation to their employees, some are even bringing client meetings to the mat in hopes of relaxing the client enough to “seal the deal.” Business mogul and avid meditator Russell Simmons: “If everybody meditates, it makes the world a better place.” (August 7)

  • New York Post spotlights Lululemon’s newest business venture – craft beer. The yoga wear retailer partnered with fellow Vancouver-based business Stanley Park Brewing to unveil their brew, the “Curiosity Lager.” Only 88,000 cans will be available, exclusively in Canada. (July 24) News 1130 (Canada) also reports on “Curiosity Lager.” Initially crafted in 2014 for Lululemon’s SeaWheeze half marathon and Sunset Festival, this year’s festivalgoers will also have the chance to grab a pint. A portion of the beer’s proceeds will go to the Stanley Park Ecology Society. (July 25)

  • Wall Street Journal reports on communal workspaces for freelancers or teleworkers and their growing number of social offerings to break up the monotony of office life. The popularity of these membership-based workspaces has grown in the U.S. from one workspace in 2005 to over 750 in 2013. As competition among communal workspaces rises, perks like free yoga and meditation are offered to retain existing members and attract new ones. (July 28)

  • Washington Post features an article on a new women’s athleisure clothing store, Chelsea Collective, a child company of Dick’s Sporting Goods that opened in Virginia’s Tysons Corner Center on August 4. The store has a “boutique-like mix of big-name and niche brands” and prices lower than and comparable to “established rivals” like Lululemon. In a market that “doesn’t show signs of slowing,” Chelsea Collective aims to attract customers with special offerings, like free alterations and a “girlfriend lounge” where customers can try out the clothing on a ballet barre or treadmill. (August 5)
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Community

Shining light on inspirational yogis

  • Charlotte Observer (N.C.) reports on efforts to raise money for the much-needed expansion of Lotus Living Arts Studio in Concord, North Carolina. On August 15, the yoga studio held donation-based classes and a silent auction for items like a YTT discount, free classes and apparel. Studio director Vicky Geros-Holmes, RYT 200: “Yoga is for the people...I don’t think happiness and health should be limited to those with means.” (August 5)

  • Los Angeles Times spotlights Yoga Blend, RYS 200, RYS 300, a “friendly” Burbank, California, yoga studio. Owners Christy Marsden, E-RYT 500, and husband Jason opened the studio doors in 2005 and “emphasize a noncompetitive atmosphere.” Extra touches, like a bowl of papers with intentions written on them for students to take, give the studio a “welcoming and community-oriented” aura. (July 25)

  • Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman (Alaska) highlights Anjali Yoga Room, a yoga studio in Wasilla, Alaska, that caters to yogis of all types. Owner Linda Anastasia Ransom, E-RYT 200, offers regular free classes to support the community. Fellow yoga teacher Sharon Story,RYT 200, assists Ransom in teaching chair yoga at the studio. (July 27)

  • Ruidoso News (N.M.) features Ashley Hall, RYT 200, in an article on the benefits of aerial yoga. The suspension from the silks used during aerial yoga reduces pressure on joints and helps students try new poses. Hall: "It's a great tool being able to learn your body and to learn the balance that your body can actually do.” (July 27)

  • St. Cloud Times (Minn.) spotlights the fourth annual cOMmon grounds yoga and music festival, Minnesota’s only dedicated yoga festival, that connected 200 yogis through yoga, music and arts from July 24–26. Attendees could participate in workshops on niche yoga practices such as hoop yoga and aerial yoga. Festival founder Kristine Rosa: “People every year have continued to embrace it, to pitch in and to come attend. I want to do this as long as we can.” (July 27)

  • WDAF-TV (Mo.) reports from the third annual Yoga on the Steps event, which raised over $45,000 in donations for the charity Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Over 150 attendees gathered in Kansas City, Montana, for the event, hosted by Silpada jewelry company, to support breast cancer patients and survivors. Silpada Co-CEO Ryane Delka: “We want everyone to feel as if their life matters, their journey matters and that they have people lifting them up along the way.” (July 19)

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Education & Children

Helping today's youth prepare for a future of mindfulness

  • Brunswick News (Ga.) features an article about children’s yoga classes offered at a St. Simons Island yoga studio, where parents are welcome to stretch out with their children. Teacher AshleyAnne Brown says she hopes to foster self-confidence and focus in the children while harnessing their youthful energy in a positive way. Brown: “I think the ultimate goal would be having that connection with their body and having them become more comfortable in their own skin.” (July 22)

  • CBC News (Canada) reports on the recent Yoga In Schools Conference held in Halifax, Nova Scotia in July. The conference attracted over 50 Canadian educators, most of whom had never been trained in yoga. Yoga in Schools founders Jenny Kierstead, E-RYT 500, and Blair Abbass, have trained over 200 Nova Scotian teachers on how students can benefit from yoga in the classroom. (July 22)

  • Journal Times (Wis.) features the Eco-Justice Center’s children’s camp’s first yoga and meditation program, which was met with great success. Laura Flanagan, RYT 200, led children ages 6 to 10 through basic poses and breathing exercises. Because of the program’s success, board President Charlie Tennessen said they plan to repeat the program next year. Tennessen: “I think these practices are engaging and fun for our camp participants, and will benefit these individuals outside of camp, and for years to come.” (July 31)

  • Sydney Morning Herald spotlights a Melbourne school seeing “extraordinary” results from its mindfulness and well-being class for 11th and 12th grade students. The weekly class teaches yoga and mindfulness in efforts to reduce school-related stress and anxiety. School staff participate in a similar health and well-being program. Teacher Jim Garas: “They come in with frenetic energy, going in all directions, and leave calm, centered and restored.” (July 27)


  • Telegraph Herald (Iowa) reports on the recent inaugural Character Education Conference, where school teachers got the chance to learn how to bring yoga into their classrooms. In her workshop, “Character Building through Yoga and Meditation,” Molly Schreiber, RYT 200, laid the groundwork for teaching children yoga. Attendees learned about yoga games, breathing techniques and guided meditation. (August 4)

  • Watchdog.org features an article about a school for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder that begins each day with a yoga class. The school, Beyond Autism, was founded by parents thanks to the Arizona School Choice Trust; all students’ tuitions are paid by publicly-funded scholarships. School co-founder Michelle Puopolo says the curriculum, which focuses on holistic development, also includes music, art and pet and equine therapeutic classes. (August 10)


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Health & Research

A mantra a day keeps the aches at bay

  • Bustle reports on a new research study titled “The Safety of Yoga” that explores the “red flags of yoga” claimed by the mainstream media through a comparison of 96 randomly controlled trials conducted on nearly 8,500 total participants. The study found that yoga is just as safe as any other form of exercise; only 1 percent of participants stopped yoga due to an injury. Further, the study found evidence supporting yoga’s reported benefits for low back pain, blood pressure and depression. (August 11)

    TIME also reports on a the study by Dr. Holger Cramer, who began his research after the splashy 2012 New York Times article, “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body.. His analysis found only 2 percent of yogis experienced injuries. Cramer: “The risk of getting injured or experiencing other adverse events is the same in yoga as with other exercise.” (August 11)

  • Brunei Times features an article on yoga’s potential to help improve heart health. Dr. Patrick Ang, director of invasive cardiology at Gleneagles JPMC Cardiac Centre in Brunei, says yoga helps reduce cardiovascular risk factors, including blood pressure, cholesterol and heart rate, “in increments comparable to those seen with aerobic exercises.” Ang adds that yoga could be a more accessible form of exercise for elderly populations or those with mobility issues. Yoga teacher Katherina Tan, RYT 200, says that yoga’s focus on relaxation may make it more effective in “reducing stress and anxiety compared to other fitness activities.” (July 27)

  • Economic Times (India) reports that University of North Florida researchers found that activities involving body positioning and orientation awareness help boost working memory. Their recent study shows that participants’ “working memory capacity had increased...by 50 percent” after completing yoga combined with dynamic activities, including climbing a tree and walking on a balance beam. (August 3)

  • Irish Examiner (Ireland) reports on a new study that found regular yoga practice “reduces stress levels and increases fitness enough to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.” The study, conducted by Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, South Holland, also found that yoga could “be even more beneficial” for practitioners with existing heart diseases. (July 25)

  • Gulf News (United Arab Emirates) highlights how yoga can help reduce arthritis symptoms, including joint pain, swelling and tenderness. A typical yoga practice improves certain components of physical fitness that are seen as “essential” to managing arthritis - flexibility, strength, endurance and balance. (July 31)

  • Huffington Post features new insight into yoga’s contribution to bodily antioxidant levels. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which can cause damage to DNA, cells and tissue – damage known as oxidative stress. A recent study found that “12 weeks of yoga led to higher levels of antioxidants...and less signs of oxidative stress compared to...running, cycling or jumping rope.” (August 3)

  • Huffington Post shares a blog from contributor Marlynn Wei, RYT 200, on how mantra, or repeated words or short phrases, work on a physiological level to calm the mind. Wei cites a new study that found mantras quiet thoughts. While participants practiced silent mantra repetition, MRI scans showed a decrease of activity in the brain’s default mode network – also known as our wandering “monkey mind.” (August 14)

  • Reuters spotlights a laughter yoga class in the Philippines that helps bring positivity to hospital patients with physical disabilities. Teacher Paolo Trinidad: “When you help them through laughter it empowers them. It changes their mindset of self-pity...to resilience [and] empowerment.” (July 22)


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International

Yoga happenings from around the globe

  • Business Standard (India) follows up on the inaugural International Day of Yoga (IDOY) celebrations around the world. All but one of the 193 countries in the United Nations hosted celebrations for IDOY. Shripad Naik, minister of the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH), says these celebrations took form in many ways: group practices, lectures, documentary screenings and yoga concerts. (August 7)

  • FriedlNews (Austria) reports on Vienna’s International Day of Yoga celebrations last June. At an event hosted by the Embassy of India in Vienna’s Votiv Park, around 400 attendees showed up to unify through yoga. Yoga studios around the city offered free classes throughout the day and the Austrian Public Broadcasters plan to release a documentary about the country’s celebrations. (July 21)

  • Hindu (India) features an article on the new mandatory yoga classes that will be offered at two of the country’s prisons. The classes will be taught daily by prison guards and inmates who recently completed yoga teacher training programs. Officials say the program aims to help prisoners cope with “negative thoughts and depression” that could have a long-term effect on both their mental and physical well-being. (August 17)

  • Hindustan Times reports on a recent move by India’s National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) to implement mandatory yoga for all students training to become educators. Programs in all 18,000 NCTE teacher training institutes will cover yoga philosophy and practice as well as bringing yoga into the classroom. Chairperson for NTCE Santosh Panda: “We don’t [necessarily] want them to become yoga instructors, but to pursue yoga for their own good.” (August 17)

  • NDTV (India) announces that the Reserve Bank of India will release a special 10-Rupee coin to commemorate the inaugural IDOY. One side of the coin displays the IDOY logo and its date, June 21. The coin is inscribed with “International Day of Yoga” and “Yoga for Harmony and Peace” in both Devanagari and English text. (July 30)

  • Times of India spotlights a Buddhist institute in eastern China that has accepted 60 students from a pool of 300 applicants to participate in a six-day “summer camp” where they will learn to read and write in Sanskrit, the ancient language of yoga. In recent years, China has seen a revived interest in learning Sanskrit, which has reportedly been taught in Chinese schools since the 1940s. (August 18)


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Inspiration

Back to the heart of the matter

  • CBS Philly (Pa.) profiles former Marine Captain CJ Keller, E-RYT 200, who brings fellow veterans together to ease trauma through yoga. Twice weekly, Keller offers free yoga classes to veterans and their families. At the classes, students can offer donations to Active Heroes, a nonprofit serving members of the military. Keller: “Yoga gives you the tools. It empowers you to be present with what is.” (July 15)

  • Daily Mail (United Kingdom) interviews Elizabeth “Betty” Marshall, a vibrant 85-year-old yogi who has taught yoga since 1974. Her students include practitioners with Multiple Sclerosis and who have had strokes. Marshall’s teachings focus on the breath, which she says is the most important part of life. Marshall: “Anyone can do yoga. Whether you’re sitting in a wheelchair, lying on the floor, or even in bed, there’s always a posture for everybody.” (August 10)

  • Huffington Post features Paige Reeves, RYT 500, a yoga instructor who started the nonprofit YogaVida in Phoenix, Arizona. Her program offers free yoga classes for immigrants, taught in Spanish, and for members of an HIV-positive support group at a nearby health center. Reeves: “I can envision more and more people becoming inspired to pay forward the emotional and physical changes yoga has sparked in their own lives.” (July 31)

  • Poughkeepsie Journal (N.Y.) reports on the benefits of men’s yoga and offers suggestions for men to find the right type yoga for them. Men, like all yoga practitioners, come to the practice with a variety of goals and needs; with many styles of yoga to choose from, trying a few different types can help men find the practice for them. (August 1)


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Sports

Improving performance the mindful way

  • Albuquerque Journal (N.M.) highlights the St. Pius High School football team, which began taking power yoga classes to improve their game. Melora Lager teaches the class, which is focused on injury prevention and mobility. Lager: “One of the main things is getting them to be focused on being still and settling in, so they’re really aware of their body.” (August 2)

  • Ames Tribune (Iowa) features an article on how yoga helped Iowa State University football player D’Vario Montgomery gain flexibility and reach a healthy weight. Despite leading the team last year with 605 receiving yards, Coach Paul Rhoads recommended Montgomery practice yoga during the offseason to further improve his game. Montgomery: “I can really tell the difference between when I played last year and this year.” (August 13)

  • Business Standard (India) reports that members of the Archery Association of India (AAI) may take yoga classes as part of their training for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The archers say the sport is as much a mental challenge as a technical one. Vijay Kumar, AAI president: “Archery is all about mental toughness. It is a sport where a calm and composed mind is necessary to success.” (August 4)

  • Richmond Times-Dispatch spotlights how some Washington Redskins football players use yoga to improve their performance. Defensive end Jason Hatcher says he makes a point to attend yoga class after game days and before practice days: “[Yoga] definitely makes a difference.” (August 10)

  • Times-News (N.C.) reports that Elon football player Chris Blair is returning to fall training with a “refreshed perspective” after taking up yoga over the summer. Blair says yoga has improved his flexibility and has helped to deepen his personal spirituality. Even during summer training, Blair says he noticed his increased flexibility when stretching with his teammates. His favorite yoga pose? Rather than strenuous asanas, Blair prefers child’s pose so he can “regather” himself. (August 6)


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Trending

The hottest news from the mat

  • Detroit Free Press highlights the popularity of moonlight yoga, the brainchild of Urban Solace yoga studio. Taught by yoga instructor Michelle Moten on Detroit’s riverfront, all 150 spots for the free class are already filled. Moten: “We were looking for new, innovative ways to introduce yoga to the community for those who have not had experience with yoga, to increase the access of the program, but also to make it fun and interesting and an unconventional way to practice.” (August 10)

  • London Evening Standard features London’s latest trend that blends yoga with live classical music – Moga – and how you can try it for free this summer. For three weeks, triyoga and the Royal College of Music will offer “Tranquil Tuesdays,” free Moga classes with “a live orchestra” of musicians from the college. Diana Roberts of the Royal College of Music: “Combining live music with yoga should create the perfect environment for relaxation.” (August 5)

  • New York Magazine spotlights a New York City cat cafe that welcomes feline-loving yogis for weekly cat yoga classes among adoptable cats. At Meow Parlor’s cat yoga, the four-legged residents mingle around mats as teacher Amy Apgar, RYT 200, leads participants through a 45-minute practice. (July 29)

    Washington Times features a story about another cat yoga class for a cause. Organized by Homeward Bound pet shelter volunteer Jeanette Skaluba, an event in Decatur, Illinois, raised $500 and collected food and supply donations for the shelter. Yoga at Connie’s studio owner Connie Pease, E-RYT 200, led the class featuring six of the shelter’s most sociable cats. (July 25)

  • WKTV (N.Y.) visits a local Broga class to highlight how the classes cater to the type of workout some men are looking for. Cardio and higher intensity movements are incorporated into the yoga class to help improve core strength. Instructor Robert Sidoti: “It is strong, and somewhat athletic at times. But at the end of the day, this is accessible.” (August 12)

  • Vox contributor Julia Belluz shares her findings after analyzing over 50 research studies on yoga and its health benefits. Belluz explores what research shows about some of yoga’s most widely-touted benefits, from relieving back pain to improving flexibility. She also compares yoga with other forms of exercise and outlines the history of yoga research. (July 22)


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