rethinking yoga: two cool recent yoga media projects

(image via thatisexpresslyforbidden.com)

(image via thatisexpresslyforbidden.com)

A couple of interesting yoga-related media projects have bubbled up this week, which means it’s a good week!

First up, SAAPYA: South Asian Perspectives on Yoga in America, which launched with a livestreamed panel discussion on July 11. The panel featured Malini Srinivasan, Jasmin Thana, Yashna Padamsee, Sheena Sod and Seema Sabnani, all yoga instructors or practitioners and social justice workers.

I found out about the 7pm EST panel at approximately 6:57, as I was on my way out the door, so I’m not able to offer a recap. A posting on the SAAPYA Facebook page indicated that it was a great conversation and that there will be a video coming soon.

SAAPYA describes itself as “a platform and network for South Asian diasporic voices in the yoga industry. We build towards cultural awareness and best practices in yoga.” Founded by Roopa Singh, a Brooklyn-based lawyer and pre-natal yoga teacher, SAAPYA has a big vision and big plans. Singh has started an $18,200 crowdfunding campaign to realize SAAPYA’s vision, which includes a public panel tour, curricula focused on cultural awareness trainings and protocol, an anthology of writings on yoga from a South Asian perspective, and office space in Brooklyn.

It’s amazing to see a platform for South Asian voices in the yoga world, as people from this diaspora are often overlooked and unheard. As part of the yoga blogosphere – which is made up of largely white, educated, male voices – IAYB is definitely complicit in the silencing, so I’m looking forward to listening and learning from this new project.

Apparently the next SAAPYA panel events will be November 8 and 11, at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Another cool thing this week: a fascinating and well-researched podcast on the Bitch Magazine blog about North American yoga, specifically yoga sex scandals, gender dynamics in yoga and activism. Yep, it’s a bunch of white people talking about yoga again/still. But at least it offers up some interesting insights to the hip media-savvy feminist community, right?

So Bitch editors and interns talked to yoga researcher Rebecca D’OrsognaThe Science of Yoga author William J. BroadMichael Stone, and Christi-an Slomka of Toronto yoga studio, Kula Annex. There’s also a reading from Be Scofield’s essay in 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics & Practice. As one would expect from a “feminist response to pop culture,” the podcast has a feministy and political angle, and is basically pretty awesome.

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  1. Who are these educated white male yoga bloggers?? I seriously mainly have female (mainly white) yoga bloggers on my radar, of the few male-written blogs I follow only half of them are white… Just curious! Thanks for the awesome links!

    • hi lagitane ~ nice to hear from you! i guess, actually, rather than bloggers, i’m thinking of “thought leaders” in the yoga world, such as mark singleton, michael stone, matthew remski (who does blog, on his own website and elephant journal). the yoga brains crew are doing interesting work (http://www.yogabrains.org/) and mostly dudes.