Mark’s Response to “Yoga Faces Regulation, and Firmly Pushes Back” by NewYork Times, July 10, 2009

Nearly 35 years ago I began my yoga journey in a small NYC loft with a yoga dude named Norman Allen. I was referred there by a very wise doctor, not surprisingly the team doctor for the Joe Namath led New York Football Jets. My impression of yoga prior to this experience was a skinny turban wrapped Indian guy making funny noises and twisting like a pretzel. To my surprise this was far from the case. Well except the skinny part, that Mr Allen was and believe still is. The surprise turned into my life long practice and passion. And that day taught this young slightly arrogant teen just how foolish a judgmental boy could be. What this very first class opened to me was a myriad of possibilities one can have when he doesn’t judge or try and control everything in his path. I was not adept at the class for a long time and I was made to understand that perfection was not the goal, actually there were no goals. Just practice and the will to improve, physically, mentally and spiritually. Well its 2009 and I’ve still never perfected this practice and I’m so grateful for what I’ve learned and even more grateful for what I still have to learn.

Here’s the problem at hand, not just with bureaucrats trying to get a “piece of the Yoga action” today, but with the majority of the yoga teachers and centers today. They’ve lost this passion for the practice. They’ve lost the love of the individual. They’ve lost their understanding of the meaning of yoga altogether. Yoga was never meant to be regulated, Yoga is not taught right at one studio and wrong at another because some false Guru, claims his or her way is the way of the truth. Yoga is balance and with balance comes the need for variety. It amazes me and not in a good way how many so called yoga studios and teachers try and convince their clients how perfect their way of teaching is and yet they condone such bastardizations of the practice as levels,props,music,walls,etc.,etc.. If you can show me anywhere in the Sutras where Hip hop and straps are mentioned or even alluded to I’ll eat my yoga mat. If you can show me where levels are a part of the practice according to the Sutras I’ll eat yours. What I’m getting at is the Yoga community itself is responsible for the state of yoga today and with it comes corrupt companies and governments who want to control these companies and coorporations. I’m very happy this yogini in NYC has taken a stand against the “powers that be” and is fighting for freedom in teachers training programs. I suggest however we take it a bit further and stop acting like such know it alls. Let’s instead be gratefull for this magnificient PRACTICE of love and understanding. This journey of flexibility and tremendous stregth. The next time you find yourself proud of the physical psoture your doing, take a deep breath and let go of this egotistical affair and instead celebrate the wonder of your higher self, that your not judging the posture by its regiments and instead embrace its power of self enlightenment. Let’s embrace our differences and cherish our variations of our teachings. This and only this will give us the freedom, we are all looking for in the discovery of one self.

Peace and Love to all and smile in every posture you PRACTICE


Mark Blanchard