Is the title of the Wall Street Journal article reviewing the book, The Great Oom by Robert Love (Viking) that chronicles the early history of yoga in the United States. Today there are 20 million practitioners of yoga, but at the turn of the century it was virtually unheard of in the United States until the flamboyant and enterprising Pierre Bernard met an Indian guru and started teaching and promoting the practices. Unlike its mainstream acceptance today, yoga was first viewed with suspicion, as Love describes, “Yoga was labeled a criminal fraud and an abomination against the purity of American women.” We’ve come a long way over the past 100 years. My hometown of Burlington Vermont sports a dizzying and wonderful array of Yoga Studies, and your town probably does as well. If not standalone studios then your local gym or YMCA will be offering classes. You can practice yoga that is gentle and contemplative or as athletic as any workout you’ve ever had, perhaps in a studio that is 100 degrees.

Long before the “Yoga Industrial Complex” evolved to include the vast array of teaching studios, conferences, books, magazines, clothing, and celebrity followers, I was practicing yoga. I started in Boston in 1983 and took classes with Master Bo-In Lee and studied in the Siddha Yoga tradition (where I later went to India to further my studies). Yoga is a daily part of my life and how I start my day. I engage with yoga for flexibility and to connect mind with body and all of that with the present moment. Yoga is mindfulness in motion and I teach a slowed down version of mindful yoga in my workshops. Yoga asanas support my sitting meditation practice and thousands of years ago this was the principle application of yoga — preparing the body for meditation. Of course, the Buddha was a yogi, and all of us who walk the mindful path are yogis too. “Om”
Burlington Area Yoga Opportunities:
Yoga Vermont
Vermont Center for Yoga & Therapy
Burlington Yoga
Bow Down Yoga
Evolution Physical Therapy and Yoga
Bikram Yoga Burlington
Living Yoga Studio
Burlington Yoga Conference
Copper Crane Yoga
And Beyond:
Kripalu
Yoga Sanga
Siddha Yoga

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