Category Archives: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Yogic Values, Diversity, and Inclusivity

LuluLogoDiversityI had the good fortune to score one of only a hundred seats for The Practice of Leadership, a panel discussion held at the Yoga Journal Conference in New York City this past weekend. The discussion grew out of Seane Corn’s decision to decline an invitation from Lululemon to participate in a leadership training program they were developing for the Yoga Journal Conferences. Ms. Corn explained the reason for her decision:

I told them that I couldn’t be a part of a training program they were hosting unless they themselves were willing to model true leadership, which includes ownership. Their lack of transparency and silence around the controversy in 2013 was irresponsible.”

The “controversy” was a perfect storm of long-standing questions regarding the compatibility of Lululemon’s philosophy and ethics with those of yoga combined with incendiary statements by Lululemon founder and majority shareholder Chip Wilson regarding, among other things, problems with Lululemon’s product line. It all resulted in a public relations disaster and an invitation from Alanna Kaivalya in a phenomenally viral Huffington Post article.

The Practice of Leadership panel discussion was described as follows:

“In this session, we will take on the delicate balance of spiritual values and corporate responsibility featuring community leaders, social change activists and Lululemon leadership. It will be an open and honest dialogue that gets at the heart of our practice, our role as conscious leaders and how to create community in conflict.”

Yogadork posted a nice summary of the proceedings and asked readers to stop and ponder a significant question: “Do you feel Lululemon (a corporation) should be held responsible for upholding yogic values, diversity and inclusivity?”

My answer is that Yogadork rolled two very different questions into one. A coherent response is not possible until the two questions are separated. Here’s why: Continue reading

In The Beginning

OmGong_Mantra_200As is sometimes the case for those of us who become yoga teachers, my first few classes were a little rough. Fortunately my classes were so small that my early missteps were endured only by an unfortunate few. And, since some of my fellow Teacher Training alumni as well as friends with years of teaching experience mercifully subjected themselves to my classes, I got valuable feedback to help me improve. On one such occasion it was brought to my attention that I was so anxious to get everyone moving on their mats that I had forgotten the first order of business: I had forgotten to chant “Om”.

Of course, not every yoga teacher chants “Om” to begin a class. And some yoga students are just as happy to get centered and focused by other means. But as a general rule, at least in most yoga studios, we begin and end a yoga class by chanting “Om”. Continue reading

The Force

Now that the annual celebration of calculated violence and conspicuous consumption known as the Super Bowl is over, let’s contemplate the spiritual truths hiding within one of this year’s most critically acclaimed Super Bowl commercials: The Force.

Continue reading

Beyond ‘Scampi’: Q & A with Dan K, Part 1

My thanks once again to my friends who commented on my last blog post, particularly Dan K, whose thoughtful and challenging questions have given me a launching pad for the next few entries. I’ll approach the broad, underlying issues that Dan’s comments raise by addressing his specific questions in reverse order:

… if self-realization is the goal (of yoga), why does it even matter to you how other people are living? Continue reading

Afraid of the Dentist

I went to visit my dentist not too long ago. Lot’s people are afraid of the dentist. And why not; my dentist is terrifying! She’s a sweet and cheerful woman with lots of long, sharp metal objects and motorized devices that, but for a well-placed shot of an anesthetic to numb half my face, would cause me more pain than I can imagine every time she gets down to business.

But the scariest thing she’s ever done to me had nothing to do with drills or dental scalers. The most frightening moment I’ve ever spent in her chair was the moment she gave me something she insisted I use every day: a toothbrush. Continue reading