Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Guerilla Yoga

When you walk into a new studio, do you ever feel that you have to declare your yoga style, years of practice, who your teacher is, the studio you frequent and if you're a teacher, where you had your TT certification.

Just like the Philippines has 7,107 islands so it seems that yoga has as many tribes.

Meet Tara Stiles. Fomer model turned rebel yoga star. Her studio in NoHo offers classes for everyone - no tribes, no groups based on what style your practice. She rejects NYC's elitist yoga scene claiming it reminded her of the mean girls in high school, only with incense and bare feet. She refuses to pledge allegiance to one teacher. Her target market is the gym guy intimidated by the oms and New Age music. She broadcasts her classes online through YouTube, has an iPhone app, and has a bestselling book entitled " Slim Calm Sexy Yoga". Detractors call it a sellout, critics call it a reduction of yoga to the level of a gym class.

I admire Ms. Stiles for going against the the grain. Yoga is for everyone. Not just for those who can touch their toes in one swoop. One need not have a PhD in meditation. Even Bikram yoga, which many purists deride, is still yoga. Yoga has no rules. It is what we do to become better persons. And there's no need to have a Shiva statue in front of your mat when you practice that.

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