Way back when I was a yoga magazine editor, I followed Google Alerts for “yoga” and related terms to stay on top of yoga in the media and generate story ideas. It was actually my love of these alerts and my strange fascination with mass media perceptions of yoga that inspired me to start blogging once the magazine closed.
I have to admit that following “yoga news” is a rather eccentric habit, so I was relieved to learn that I’m not the only one. I can tell that other bloggers and yoga junkies are paying attention when I see stories that popped up in my alerts immediately posted on Facebook, Twitter and blogs.
Now it seems that interest in “yoga news” is growing. Where Is My Guru includes a Yoga News segment on their weekly radio show, with information curated from blogs and mainstream news sources. But you know that the demand for “yoga news” has hit the bigtime when the Huffington Post creates a Twitter account dedicated to “Yoga: Breaking news and updates from HuffPost.”
Allen Schubert has taken it one step further with a Google Group called Yoga News Daily, a twice-a-day roundup of all the yoga news that fits. It’s a little more involved and organized than the Google Alerts, with “big stories” in the yoga world warranting their own section (and occasional witty commentary).
As a self-described yoga nerd, I find it fascinating that someone (who isn’t even a blogger!) would do this. So of course, I had to ask Allen some questions. Here are his responses.
Why did you create a Google Group dedicated to “yoga news?”
As I grew interested in yoga, I found that there wasn’t much news presented in Yoga Journal and similar magazines (they aren’t meant to do that, nor should they – such publications are too slow for modern news distribution).
When I came across interesting articles, I started sending them to my yoga teacher and some friends who were yoga teachers. These emails started as just one article at a time, then became a group of articles emailed out (with the subject line, “more yoga articles…”).
People seemed to find some articles interesting, others said this was more useful than the Google Alerts, and another person said that she often got ideas for workshops looking over the articles.
I always wanted to run a magazine (I did some newsletters in high school), and considered studying journalism in college. When the internet started reaching popular awareness in the late 90s, I created some (crude, basic) websites and ran multiple e-mail lists (more than 10, though I’m not sure how many at one time) for some animal rights and vegetarian organizations. All of this was volunteer work.
How do you decide what to include in Yoga News Daily?
The news and the blogs/views posted on YND should meet certain criteria: newsworthiness (good or bad – I don’t believe in a “good news only” or propaganda news email list); try to avoid announcements of workshops unless they are offering something different or unique; try to avoid posting many news releases from businesses (new yoga clothing lines appear all the time); and try to find interesting and insightful blog posts.
Also, I sometimes ignore all the rules from the previous sentence.
Where do you find the information?
Mostly news searches on Google News and Bing (even a site, http://yoga.alltopics.com/ – though it must be viewed with a careful eye as it posts *news* and *olds*). I also review a variety of blogs about yoga and sometimes follow interesting news or blog links found on the posts.
It must take time to filter and curate the relevant news on a twice-a-day basis. How long does it take you?
The Google News and Bing searches are sorted by relevance, rarely by date (too many duplicate and not-newsworthy hits). I learned long ago on other news searches that you can’t possibly keep up with the news feed. It means some items might slip through, but as a volunteer, I have to realize that I can only devote so much time and just trust that I have a “nose for news” (I think that’s an old saying).
I probably spend a total of 1.5 to 2 hours a day on this (at most), but rarely all at once (I check when I get bored).
All news and blog searches are collected through RSS feeds in Google Reader so I don’t have to “actively” look for them, just scan and passively receive.
What is your personal interest in yoga?
In 2004, after acquiring physical issues due to a sedentary lifestyle in front of the computer at work and at home, I found that exercises from physical therapy worked, but not well enough. Cycling, running or martial arts were no longer attractive to me, due to knee and back issues. I decided to try yoga and found a very good teacher who was previously an Iyengar teacher and converted to Anusara in the 90s sometime. (I never had a workshop with John Friend, so I cannot comment on the Sex, Drugs, and Wiccan Roll.) I found that my physical issues improved quickly.
After a few years of Anusara, I was a bit restless, as I didn’t think I could go “farther,” though I wasn’t really sure what that meant. I also managed to injure myself with the “Wild Thing” pose popular with some in Anusara (and with my teacher’s guidance, managed to get rid of 95% of the pain in one class session). Still, at the end of classes, after savasana, I was feeling a bit *empty*.
Around 2007, I took my first Kundalini Yoga class, where I pretty much found what I was looking for. But in 2010 I did my first 40-day commitment – which turned into 70 days – and felt a big change. I completed teacher training in 2011.