2013 was a rich and decadent year! I just rounded up the big yoga stories of the year, but we can’t forget that it’s the hard work and dedication of a community of bloggers that keep the stories coming.
This is IAYB’s fifth annual list of the top yoga blog posts of the year. Five years of this, whoa! How things have changed since my first run-down way back in 2009. And yet, there are some familiar names and perspectives on this carefully curated list.
This annual compilation has become a year-long process, as I start bookmarking favourite blog posts as soon as the new year starts. By the end of the year, I have a massive file, which I then start to whittle down based on significance, originality and memorable-ness. So here, in no particular order, is the creme de la creme of the yoga blogosphere – the highly subjective top 15 yoga blog posts of 2013!
Sean Feit Words and Action at the Yoga Journal Conference (Nadalila.org) ~ Based on IAYB’s year in yoga review and Google Analytics, it’s pretty clear that the Hyatt Boycott vs. Yoga Journal showdown of January 2013 was one of the most significant stories of the year. While there were many blog posts and opinions on the whole affair, Sean Feit’s balanced reasoning and level-headedness stood out. “For me the issue is less the details of the labor dispute than… how we understand ourselves as modern yogis.” Yes yes yes.
Matthew Remski Leaving the Smoothies of Atonement ~ It was a challenge to pick just one of Matthew Remski’s thoughtful and poetic pieces of writing this year. But this piece is classic Remski, full of sharp observations of yoga culture, insights into human nature and damn good writing. More, please.
The Babarazzi Yogilebrities Deserve the Spotlight. Let’s Give It To Them ~ The mysterious and anonymous Babarazzi collective, which seems to operate under the loose anti-authoritarian leadership of one Aghori Babarazzi, continued to delight and cause trouble this year. Although it seems like it’s going through somewhat of an adolescence (inexplicable silences and withdrawls), The Babarazzi churned out some great content in 2013 – and this piece proves that they’re at their best when carefully taking down the ugly facets of commercial yoga culture. Don’t ever stop, Babs & co!
Jezebel I’m a Size 18 Yogi and Lululeman Can Kiss My Fat Ass ~ Nothing like a little sizist drama to catch the attention of one of the Internet’s leading pop-feminist blogs. This Jezebel writer dared to express the sentiments held by many women after Lululemon founder Chip Wilson insisted women’s bodies were the cause of the brand’s poor quality yoga pants.
Hilary Lindsay Do These Pants Make My Ass Look Fat? (Bitchin’ Yoga) ~ Another response to Chip Wilson’s fat shaming. Lindsay names the shadow lurking under the outrage at Wilson’d thighs comments: “Lululemon has been cited for one questionable act after another but if the yoga public flinched it didn’t show in sales records; not until the company made a pair of yoga pants that woman complained were too sheer. ” It’s really quite depressing, when you think about it.
More Cabaret Project Bendypants: Practicing Yoga While Fat ~ Of course an LA-based troupe of fat dancers in fishnets would post a fascinating insight into privilege and body image! While there has been a lot of noise in the yoga blogosphere about round bodies and yoga, this post is proof that it affects more than the yoga world. A heartfelt and honest contribution to a conversation that can only benefit from more amplification.
Curvy Yoga Why People Resist Body Positivity ~ Anna Guest-Jelley has long been a leader in the growing movement of body positive yoga. This post is further proof that her voice is essential and necessary.
Body Divine Yoga Why I’m (still) a Feminist: The Goddess and Yoga ~ You knew all this talk about body positivity and fat yogis and Lululemon would lead to the best feminist post of the year, right? BDY names the glaring contradiction in the yoga blogosphere: “Have we finally abandoned that old trope of feminism – that language matters? Seems so. Because how can it be, despite our intentions of ending social injustice and gender oppression, of ‘decolonizing yoga’, that our yoga media consistently reinforces the ultimate gender inequity of all – without a second thought?”
Jacoby Ballard Examining Power, Privilege and Oppression in Yoga Service ~ Speaking of Decolonizing Yoga, the social justice and spirituality movement really took off in 2013. This incisive post celebrates this growing movement while encouraging critical and awakened thinking. An important and ongoing examination.
Carol Horton Yoga, Scandals, Personal Responsibility and Collective Growth (90 Monkeys) ~ Scandals and drama make for exciting online reading and give us something to talk about. But it’s important to step back and think about their underlying causes. In this post, Carol Horton looks at how the yoga community responds to controversies and unearths the potential for creative exploration and growth.
Vanessa D. Fisher Spirit, Inc: The Politics of Spirituality and the Stalled Revolution (elephant journal) ~ This detailed and thought-provoking article isn’t about yoga specifically, but the discussion about elitism and privilege in the mainstream spirituality and New Age movements is completely relevant to the yoga scene.
J. Brown Heard the One About Yoga and Life Coaching ~ Yogi J. Brown has offered a thoughtful voice and commentary over the past couple of years, and this post is one of the brightest examples. He manages to articulate a growing trend and call for a way to maintain the integrity of yoga practice.
Charlotte Bell Why I Teach Old-School Yoga (Hugger Mugger blog) ~ With honesty and clarity, Charlotte Bell unapologetically tells the world why she teaches and practices “old-school” (meaning no music, no heat, no flashy gear) yoga. Let’s hope this leads to a revival.
Eco Yogini Yoga Raves and Their Environmental Impact ~ In case you need another reason to not ever attend a yoga rave, Eco Yogini breaks down how all those sound systems and plastic glow sticks are no good for the environment.
YogaDork Harlem Shake Yoga Style ~ Remember the Harlem Shake craze of spring 2013? Right, me neither. Anyway, it’s hard to pick the best post by YogaDork because there are so many, and Dork just plays an essential service to the online yoga world by keeping us all informed and smiling. While this silly roundup of yoga-themed Harlem Shake videos doesn’t carry the weight or significance of the other posts on this list, it is classic YogaDork: a confluence of a pop culture trend and pop yoga that makes you want to laugh, cry and throw your hands up all at the same time, when really the only proper response is to just. Dance.
Here’s to another year of delicious stories, questions, reflections and trouble-making!