this week in yoga: patents, pop stars & truck smacks
Posting my “this week in yoga” column on a weekly basis has proven to be a challenge, but I’m happy that I’m at least doing it on a biweekly basis. However, since “this biweek in yoga” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue (nor does “these two weeks in yoga”), I’m just going to stick to the current name. Time is irrelevant, anyway.
So I’ll start off with some big news from last week: India is preparing to patent yoga poses. YogaDork summarized the news with their usual eloquence and wit. “The Indian government has already compiled a library, the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library to be exact (which we reported on last year), to document every single yoga pose from ancient texts, not to mention other bits of heritage such as ayurveda, to provide a concrete system, essentially protecting it all from bastardization and subsequent “unlawful” patenting and other naughtiness.” It’s an interesting response to the branding and corporatization of yoga in the West ~ although they might be a couple of decades too late. I’m curious to see how effective their patenting effort will actually be and how this will play out. Does this mean that American teachers will have to pay royalities on their “Shakti Kicks” and “Matrix Poses?” In this BBC news story, Swami Pragyamurti and Dr Vinod Kumar Gupta, of the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library, debate whether yoga moves should be patented and how that could be enforced.
Record breaking sailor Reid Stowe, who just returned from a 1000-day non-stop voyage of the high seas, admits to yoga and meditation being part of his daily routine on deck. And he breaks out a rocking Tolasana to prove it (see above pic). The yoga and the healthy diet obviously kept the 55-year-old sailor in top physical shape while at sea, but he also seems to have a very yogic approach to life.”I think of myself as a spiritual sailor,” he told CNN. “When you’re out here for so many years by yourself, you have a lot of time to reflect on the nature of the sea and the vastness of the universe.”
In a recent interview, Belinda Carisle confesses that she is “mad about” yoga ~ and that the practice helped her overcome obstacles such as weight issues, low self-esteem and addiction. The former Go-Go’s frontwoman shares some of her experiences with the practice in her new memoir, Lips Unsealed. She told gloss.com, “It’s really compatible with the 12-step program. Same message, different messenger. I found that for some reason I really took to yoga, especially Iyengar yoga. There’s a lot of breathing and a lot of going within. I’m a different person because of yoga. I don’t know what yoga itself is; no one really knows exactly what it is. But it’s different than going to the gym, I’ll say that!“
In the blogosphere, Renee over at Feed the Yogi shares a wonderful reflection on savasana (this will be some great inspiration for some of the people doing Bindu Wiles’ 21.5.800 project). Contemplating why we practice savasana at the end of class, she offers an interesting observation: “In some ways each yoga class takes us backward through the life cycle. In yoga asana we first learn to stand, then we learn to sit, then we learn to withdraw our senses, and then we learn to rest in awareness. Your life cycle generally goes the other way. Interesting isn’t it? We practice yoga to come back to our inherent stillness and perception, our intimacy with what is.”
In some place called Charlottesville, an “errant” truck crashed through the wall of Integral Yoga Natural Foods and demolished the vitamin section. Fortunately, the store wasn’t open when the tractor trailer’s brakes failed so nobody was injured. The incident also inspired a brilliant headline on readthehook.com: “Truck smack at Integral Yoga,” which garnered some ridicule from commentors.