I have to admit I haven’t picked up an issue of Yoga Journal since the early 2000s. Those were the days when it was still as semi-serious publication for those interested in furthering their yogic knowledge. My how times have changed…
Yoga Journal recently switched to a new Editor-in-chief from Self magazine. And it has become what one would expect: a yoga-themed Self magazine. The first issue had Hilaria Baldwin on the cover in a corrupted variation of Eka Pada Rajakapotasna. The yoga blogs and social media took the magazine to task about everything from body issues, to over-glorification of yoga celebrities.
This is the latest issue’s cover which shows a fuller-figured practitioner in a oddly timed Vrksasana, like the photo was taken during an earthquake. So now it seems that the new YJ is pandering to its critics and showing what people are saying they would rather see. Except for one obvious misstep…the biggest news story out of the yoga world in several years went completely unnoticed. B.K.S. Iyengar’s passing is not even mentioned on the cover!
I have a background in both print and broadcast journalism. I can remember being in the newsroom and news crews were sent to cover breaking news of a fire or a scandal. The news crew would go to the site, cover something else while all the other media got the good story. That same type of disgust was my first feeling when I saw the latest issue’s cover.
I wouldn’t mind as much, except that many people’s first impression of yoga is through these types of magazines. And if all that is represented is Lululemonized models and people with body issue problems, what does that say about yoga as whole? There is a huge disconnect from the discipline and inner work of yoga in this slicker version of Yoga Journal that is desperate to gain respect in the wrong yoga circles, much like the awkward kid trying to hang out with the cool kids in middle school. Most of us who have survived middle school remember how fruitful that endeavor was. There is a story on this month’s cover entitled “why failing is the best thing that could happen to you.” YJ may want to rethink that story after this fiasco.
So now I cannot spitefully say “I am canceling my subscription” in a huff. I did that years ago. Now I can say please read other material if you want to be serious about yoga. And please don’t patronize the sponsors of these publications that do a disservice to the art, science, philosophy, and practice of yoga.