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Last month I wrote about people who think of outsourcing their souls and the fact that there is now such a thing as stripper-pole yoga. If there is any type of yoga that can be considered heretical, I would think it would be the stripper-pole kind. But now the New York Times brings us “Rebel Yoga,” which is yoga practiced and taught by a new celebrity guru named Tara Stiles. Lizette Alvarez reports:
“TARA Stiles does not talk about sacred Hindu texts, personal intentions or chakras. She does not ask her yoga classes to chant. Her language is plainly Main Street: chaturangas are push-ups, the “sacrum” the lower back. . . .”I feel like I’m standing up for yoga,” Ms. Stiles said. “People need yoga, not another religious leader. Quite often in New York, they want to be religious leaders, and it’s not useful.”
So why is she a heretic then?
Well, it’s that divorcing of the practice from its spiritual significance that has people in an outrage. (Though, apparently Deepak Chopra is on board with Stiles’s style of yoga.) “For traditionalists, this is heresy, reducing what they see as a way of life to just another gym class,” writes Alvarez. “[Another] yoga devotee, speaking anonymously to protect her job in the industry, added: “I don’t care what Tara Stiles says yoga is; it’s not about making your body beautiful.””
Can’t it be about both, I wonder?
And, as a relevant aside, literally as I was getting ready to post this blog entry on Yoga Heresy, I came across yet another New York Times article on yoga! Just out today in the Sunday Styles section is a front pager on how some infertility experts are prescribing yoga as an “aid for infertility.” Yoga seems like the all-purpose go-to activity for just about everything these days.
What will they think of next?

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