Browsing articles from "December, 2011"

Can Yoga Be Owned?

Dec 29, 2011   //   by Staff Writer   //   The Blog  //  4 Comments

Bikram Choudhury, creator of Bikram Yoga, has sued Yoga to the People of NYC and Evolation Yoga of Buffalo, NY for using his pose sequence to offer Bikram style classes. Yoga to the People is a group of studios similar to Yoga District. They offer a wide variety of classes at their five New York studios for a $10 “suggested donation.” In New York, where most classes cost upwards of $20 each–this a unique and valuable model to reach all people through yoga.

Bikram Choudhury Teaching YogaBikram's sequence is a 90-minute class with a scripted dialogue to guide students through 26 postures, each completed twice in 105 degree heat. Having practiced Bikram yoga at Evolation Yoga in Buffalo, I can say its a worthwhile practice for a certain type of yogi. Bikram yoga is not for everyone. It's an intense form of exercise that involves pushing your body to extremes for health benefits.

The United States copyright Office has decided that yoga poses are “exercise” and not “choreography” and thus cannnot be copyrighted. They are instead public domain. The chief of the Copyright Office's Performing Arts division said that exercises like yoga “do not constitute the subject matter that Congress intended to protect as choreography. We will not register such exercises (including yoga movements), whether described as exercises or as selection and ordering of movements.”

Bikram Yoga lawyer Robert Gilchrest countered that the Copyright Office has in the past issued copyrights for exercise videos. “But now they’re saying they’re looking at it again and they’ve changed their mind?” Gilchrest said. “It is meaningless to this litigation.”

Greg Gumicio, owner of Yoga to the People said, “I very much regret that Bikram has brought this lawsuit. He was my teacher. I continue to respect him and to honor his accomplishments. He has done more than perhaps anyone else to inform people — in the United States and the world — of the benefits of yoga. The particular style of yoga he has popularized has improved the health of countless practitioners. Arguably, Bikram deserves the material rewards that these accomplishments have already brought him.”

Gumicio has created an online petition for people who believe yoga should not be copyrighted or privatized. Can someone “own” yoga? What do you think?

Yogic Consciousness

Dec 24, 2011   //   by Staff Writer   //   The Blog  //  2 Comments

The nature of the unconscious mind creates an easy and frustrating predicament that comes along when one is beginning to learn of the process of meditation and yoga.  Close your eyes, let your mind relax…and without your consent, it drifts off into some region of your unconsciousness, perhaps leading you through a strange trail of thoughts of the day, or into imaginative and perplexing dream territory.  It happens again as you lay down to go to sleep, and as you tinker between waking and slumber, hypnagogic hallucinations begin to spiral and blossom throughout your mind at a rapid pace.

How do we go through the day, having complete control of our actions, words, and thoughts, only to be transported to another realm of thinking when we take a moment to rest?  Why does the unconscious mind dominate our personal will to move toward clarity and ease?  How can one control the unconscious mind?

Truth is, it can’t be controlled, but, it can be possibly understood through various techniques, such as Yoga Nidra, or Yogic Sleep.  Yoga Nidra is a sleep-like state of meditation, where participants, lying in corpse pose of course with eyes closed, explore the multiple layers of consciousness.

Ever heard of the iceberg metaphor? Imagine that our waking life and conscious mind is the tip, exposed to the elements of everyday life.  The massive, submerged chunk below the surface is our unconscious realm, containing memories, manufacturing dreams, preserving intuition, and manifesting imagination.  And the oceanic water that the iceberg is floating in?  Perhaps that’s the energy of collective consciousness.

Like all mass, consciousness is pieced together by density and volume.  There’s a lot of terrain for one to reconnoiter.  And, as said before, it’s difficult to consider the idea of controlling the unconscious mind, but, through practices like Yoga Nidra, its energy can be harnessed, and used positively to reduce stress, restlessness, and a handful of other things.

5 Last-minute Gifts for Yogis (or Yourself!)

Dec 20, 2011   //   by Staff Writer   //   The Blog  //  1 Comment

Happy Hannukah. It’s almost Christmas. And Kwanzaa! If you consider yourself a humanist, ’tis the season to spread a little joy – am I right?

Do you have a special yogi in your life that you’d like surprise this holiday season? Are you stuck on what to get them? In the mood to treat yourself? (“TREAT YOSELF 2011!”)

To thaw your gift-giving brain freeze, or inspire your own wishlist, my top 5 yoga-themed gifts after the jump! Read more >>

Winter is Setting In

Dec 7, 2011   //   by Staff Writer   //   The Blog  //  Comments Off on Winter is Setting In

It's December. It's cold and rainy. I feel like getting under a blanket and hibernating in my warm house. But I know it's also the perfect time to walk myself to the Bloomingdale studio and get back into a regular yoga practice.

Rainy day for yoga in Washington, DCThe winter brings out something in all of us. For me and many others, seasonal depression kicks in when fresh air is rarer and the sun seems to have stayed in bed. For others, the holidays bring on stress over what to buy, how to decorate, and which holiday party to go to. There is a kind of natural lethargy that comes about, which is healthy, I think to an extent. I love having time to slow down, spend more time at home with my roommates eating delicious food.

However, while entering the winter it's important to create some space in our lives for yoga. Going to a class forces me to be present and connect with my body. If I'm feeling low, I can use yoga to appreciate my body and what it does for me. The yoga studio is a respite from everything else that's going on in our lives and outside. On top of all of that, it's a healthy and inexpensive indulgence.

Sometimes I look for a “pick me up” in the form of a cupcake, or watching my fave TV show (30 Rock), or reading a good book. And these are all usually enjoyable, but I really feel like an hour of yoga is more effective. Afterwards I feel rejuvenated, more balanced, and happier.

This blog post is as much for me as it is for you. Margaret! Go to yoga! That's what I'm saying to myself. You won't regret it.

The Teachers

The diverse family of DC yoga teachers at Yoga District are dedicated to making yoga accessible to everyone through a huge variety of yoga class types, from vinyasa flow to restorative and beyond. Most Yoga District teachers are graduates of Yoga District’s nationally-attended 200 hour teacher training program. All Yoga District classes focus on coordinating breath with body movement to promote flexibility, strength, and peace of mind. We strongly believe in yoga as therapy, so catch one of our classes whenever you need a healthy dose of self-care.
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The Next Step

The Yoga District 200 and 500 hour teacher training certification programs, registered by the Yoga Alliance are unique in their emphasis on diversity of teaching styles studied, personal attention, and trauma sensitive yoga. It's no coincidence that Yoga District is regularly voted the leading studio in the nation's capital, and that most of its classes are taught by graduates of its training program. As a full time yoga school, small group trainings are led up to eight times a year by a dedicated faculty including Jasmine Chehrazi, contributor to the Harvard Karma Yoga Project teacher training, teacher training faculty at George Washington University, Yoga Alliance Standards Committee Advisory Board Member, Yoga Activist Founder, and Yoga Service Council Advisory Board Member. So take your practice and community involvement to the next level by joining a training. There's a reason why our graduates call the training "transformative."
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