Chattering Mind

Chattering Mind

A New Yoga Magazine: Meaty Reading

Hi, Valerie here, subbing for Amy while she gets all sandy and relaxed.

Though it may seem like yoga has peaked in popularity, Rodale just renewed faith in the stretchy genre with a new magazine, Yoga Life. The tagline is, “mind, body—get it together.”

I just got my hands on the debut issue. It’s the first yoga magazine I’ve seen in a while that seems to compete with Yoga Journal directly. Its appearance and design are similar to that old faithful—very women’s magaziney, simple, but not arty—but edgier and with things I’ve wanted in YJ for years—pop culture recommendations (“Punk Shui” and “The Office”) and lots of small servicey (how-to) articles on everything from getting “your man on the mat” to applying the tenets of yoga to your relationships (“don’t get hung up on results”). Gone are YJ’s heavy cultural explications about yoga. Not much about yoga’s roots either. One feature, “Lean Machine” is all about getting that coveted yoga bod—”Shrink your butt as you expand your consciousness.” Meaning, this might be the first yoga magazine to have a sense of humor.


One thing that’s even further from Yoga Journal territory—in a slightly disturbing way—is the unabashed inclusion of meat. According to the principle of ahimsa in the yamas and niyamas—yogic do’s and don’ts—yogis are to “do no harm.” This includes not eating meat. As part of an Ayurvedic food story, page 59 has a photo of a shrimp cocktail, page 61 grilled chicken, a whole turkey gleams on page 64, and one of the recipes calls for bacon. It seems to be an admission that Westerners are picking and choosing elements of the lifestyle and combining it with other traditions—India’s Ayurveda, Atkin’s high-protein, etc. But there’s something a little unsettling about tree pose and bacon sharing pages.


Chattering Mind lovers, though, will like the story on their back page, “29 Thoughts That Popped Into My Head While I Was Meditating” by Sarah Miller. A taste:

6. Clearly I am too shallow to meditate
8. I am clearly way too smart and complicated to meditate
10. I want a tuna melt [there’s that meat again]
15. In through the nostrils…
16. Nos-trils. What a ridiculous word.
20. Is that some small animal rustling around outside? I am not supposed to ignore outside sounds, only to acknowledge them and then move on. But what if that noise it’s making is chewing? Rustling I can move on from. Chewing, I’m not so sure.

For more info check out the website:

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posted June 13, 2006 at 7:49 pm

I was all excited about yoga life until you brought up the exceedingly important question of the meat issue. This left a sour taste in my mouth and totally turned me off to their disrespect of true yoga meaning. It is just a shallow fad if taken so frivolously. That’s not the direction I’m looking towards for beneficial feedback through yoga and meditation. I left that behind years ago. Poor magazine, how sad.>

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Louise Dumont

posted June 14, 2006 at 5:01 pm

I just bought the magazine on newsstand about a week ago and I LOVED it! I definitely respect vegetarians (I am one, too) but what I liked best about YogaLife is they show you how yoga doesn’t need to be an “all or nothing” activity. I don’t think that makes it a shallow fad at all — it invites more people to try it out! If people get deeper into it because of YogaLife, then great! If not, so be it. I think we’d all be better off by doing even a LITTLE bit of yoga……>

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posted June 14, 2006 at 7:45 pm

I actually loved YogaLife. Valerie thanks for talking it up. I think it was MORE tolerant and less cultish than the yogas and yoga students out there that are exclusive and judgemental. The only thing that makes me hesitant about yoga is people like that vegetarian above who make me feel bad about the choices I make. I can’t join an ashrom or even afford yoga outside my gym but I think the world of a few deep breaths and looking at the world as a postive whole. Isn’t a key principle of yoga acceptance? If it’s to hand down a strict doctrine that excludes the yoga-curious (or anemics) for that matter please let me know. I thought the Sutras speak of being kind, nonjudgemental and always moving your thought process to the higher mind.>

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posted June 16, 2006 at 5:36 am

In response to the letters written after mine: when I first started yoga a few years ago,I had the same doubts as does the third reader and didn’t know where it would take me. The more I practice, the more I have time to reflect deeply on what is important for my life and how to bring more peace to the planet. I also lived on a sheep and horse ranch where raising sheep(600)was done for a living. I have seen enough animals in pain,agony and heard the most nightmarish tales of animal tortures and indignities to be able to decide what is right for me. In the oldern days, people had few beasts, fed them grass, kept them outdoors according to the season and treated them like animals. Today the system treats animals like material, an old shirt to throw away, inhumane treatment is rampant. I could go on but either you understand by now or you rest on your position because your comfort zone has no room for change. Yoga is about evolution. You start where you are and climb. Beginners seem highly critical for beginners. Reflect upon this a year from now and see where yoga takes you.>

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Louise Dumont

posted June 19, 2006 at 7:29 pm

Dear MS: I think you just nailed the point — yoga IS about evolution and you start where you are. I think YogaLife only helps that process, so I felt like the magazine really encourage people to join that evolution. As for your point about the humane treatment of animals, I heartily agree. I would guess that the Eds at YogaLife would, also. The real issue is about the humane treatment of all living things….not just whether you eat meat or not. There IS a right way to do it, if you are going to. I just feel like YL is what was missing from the yoga world, and I’m personally grateful to see it there. Hopefully it will encourage more conversations just like this one. — LD>

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