This was also a big year for yoga in North America, with a whole lotta big conversations. The year started off with a bang: William J. Broad’s rather sensationalist NYT article “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body” and Equinox’s sexy yoga video ad both came at us in January, quickly followed by the infamous Anusara scandal. All this before Valentine’s Day!
It wasn’t all sensation and scandal, however. 2012 also saw the passing of yoga historian and author Georg Feuerstein, the launch of the groundbreaking book, 21st Century Yoga (if I might say so myself), and increased conversation in the yoga community about politics, gender, privilege and anti-oppression.
So without further ado, here are the blog posts that pushed boundaries, got us talking, informed us, and surprised us in 2012!
The Babarazzi – Okay, I couldn’t decide on just one Babarazzi blog post for 2012. They’re all so good! This was the year of The Babarazzi, who apparently came from out of nowhere in February to wake us all out of our blogging slumbers. Auspiciously and uncermoniously launched just days before the John Friend story broke, The Babarazzi has indeed given yoga culture “the celebrity treatment” again and again. Whether they’re shutting down large scale yoga events, antagonizing Sadie Nardini (while praising her good style) or schooling us all on the connection between yoga and anarchism, The Babarazzi has upped the ante in the blogosphere. And for this we are grateful.
YogaDork John Friend, Head of Anusara Yoga: The Accusations ~ This is the single most important yoga blog post of 2012. It just is. YogaDork took a risk in posting about the accusations of sexual and spiritual misconduct against John Friend, and there were a few days where we all waited with bated breath, wondering what kind of response the post would illicit from the Anusara world. The result was the resignation of many teachers, letters, and ultimately, the downfall of Anusara Inc.
Matthew Remski The Yoga Community Must Shelve Both Idealism and Politeness to Loudly and Publicly Endorse Obama Right Now. Who’s In? (elephant journal) ~ Just before the US presidential election, Remski earned himself the title of “the most dangerous man in yoga” with this post.
Derek Beres Why Marianne Williamson Needs to Face Reality (YogaBrains) ~ The group blog, YogaBrains, was another strong addition to the blogosphere this year. Offering, as the name suggests, an intellectual and brainy look at yoga, it’s become one of my regular must-reads. YogaBrains has elevated the conversation and opened minds with their thoughtful writing about 21st century yoga, spirituality and politics.
Chelsea Roff The World’s Largest Yoga Class Only Costs $675,000. What Else Could You Do With That Money? (Intent) ~ GLBL YOGA, a “crowd-funded” large scale yoga event set for NYC in Aug, provoked such outrage from the blogosphere that the Indie GoGo campaign tanked and the event was cancelled. Roff’s article is a compelling response and breakdown of how $675K could be spent otherwise.
Be Scofield Sorting It Out: Yoga, Politics & Off the Mat, Into the World (Tikkun) ~ OTM’s presence at the Republican and Democratic conventions provoked a big response from the blogosphere. In this post, Scofield sums up the drama and offers insightful analysis.
Body Divine Yoga Can History Save Yoga? ~ This smart and analytical blog publishes infrequently, but it’s always a delight to get new content. Let’s hope to see more of well-researched and thought-provoking posts in 2013!
Moonlit Moth With Best Intentions: Yoga, Gentrification and Solidarity in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside ~ This post made a splash in the community and launched writer, yoga teacher and community activist, Andrea MacDonald, as a new voice to listen to. I’m looking forward to more of her blogging, workshops and projects in the coming year.
Anna Guest-Jelley Yep, I’m a Fat Yoga Teacher (xoJane) ~ I’ve long been a fan of Anna Guest-Jelley and her awesome work with Curvy Yoga, so it was super exciting to see her crossover into the mainstream with this post. Yes yes yes.
Earth Energy Reader Why I left yoga (and why I think a helluva lot of people are being duped) ~ With a sharp eye and keen observation skills, EEG shows us all what’s wrong with the current yoga “scene.”
Grace & Grit Time for a fresh start: On Bankruptcy, humiliation and going for what you want ~ A yoga teacher’s honest reflection on the liberating feeling of declaring bankruptcy. Powerful writing from a blogging voice that has gone quiet in recent months. Let’s hope her NY resolution is to blog more in 2013.
Charlotte Bell Living Gracefully with the Financial Challenges of Teaching Yoga (Hugger Mugger blog) ~ A longtime yoga teacher’s response to the Grace & Grit post about bankruptcy. Bell is one of my favourite voices in the online yoga community and the Hugger Mugger blog is a delightful resource of yoga wisdom from her and other writers.
Jay Winston Yoga, Science, Sex Cults & Sensationalism (elephant journal) ~ Dr. Jay is one of the first people I connected with in the yoga blogosphere, and I’m still delighted by his writing (and Facebook comments). This post, a sort-of belated review of WJB’s Science of Yoga, is classic Dr. Jay. Also, he notes the “increasingly pissy tone of yoga blogs” and admits to feeling “like Rodney King on a yoga mat, crying ‘can’t we all just get along?’”
Trying to be Good Fuck you “spiritual teacher,” you don’t know shit. A rant. ~ There’s nothing I love more than a smart, funny rant. Emelia kills it with this post and encourages all of us: “Let’s ask more questions. Disturb some shit. Be curious. Wonder why? Get annoyed.” Yeah!
Brooks Hall Consent & Yoga Class ~ Like Dr. Jay, Brooks is someone I connected with when IAYB was just a wee blog. I always appreciate her feminist and thoughtful writing, and in 2012 she got really into the pelvis, empowerment and the colour orange. It was inspiring to watch her growth and evolution over the year, and she documented a lot of it on her new project, Root Wisdom Yoga.
Here’s to another year of conversation and rabble rousing in the yoga world! Happy 2013, y’all!