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Yoga on Crowded NYC Subway – Awesome or Not? (video)

in Public Display of Yoga, YD News

Gawker complains it’s “dumb and obnoxious”, calling out the homeless ‘joke’ at the end of the performance, continuing that “Lululemonheads like these have ruined [yoga] for the next several decades.”

Huffington Post likens it to the “endearingly bizarre people” you see on the subways on a regular basis.

it’s all yoga, baby‘s Roseanne admitted to feeling “a little embarrassed” about the display.

Oh, those acro yogis.

You make the call…need some local and out-of-towner opinions.

disclosure: we know the yogis involved as Matt Giordano and yogi partner Chelsey Korus.



44 comments… add one
  • maxyne baker

    Looks like fun. I can see how some purists would find this disturbing, but the laughter, and collaboration is at it’s core very humane and positive. Made me smile:)

  • 0msweetom

    That was sweet.
    I love endearingly bizarre people.

  • Shea

    “The word ‘Yoga’ has been vulgarized and does not mean anything now .” ~Swami Rama

    This video is utterly distasteful and embarrassing. Her use of the Anjali mudra coupled with her annoying giggle makes every one of my senses scream in pain.

    I no longer participate in anything having to do with what is being called “yoga” anymore. I’ve made the move to keeping it to myself and only practicing asana in private. That’s where true yoga can happen.


    • Andy

      I know what you mean. So much of yoga has become this extroverted, ‘hey look at me’ thing that makes me cringe with embarassment. I’m not one to tell people what their yoga should or should not be, but to me it is very important, personal and sort of inward. This show-offy, externally-focused “yoga” does not interest me.

  • LA

    I see this as a fun display of acrobatics, not yoga. If I were on that subway, I might be amused or annoyed- depending on the fullness of the subway before they starting blocking the doors!

    Yoga on the subway, to me, would be an act of offering your seat to someone, or genuinely smiling to a stranger. Putting on a show in the middle of the aisle is cute and fun, but not really yoga, in my opinion.

  • Chris

    I would be more annoyed by that woman’s cackling and the fact that they’re blocking the doors than anything from a yoga standpoint. I agree with LA that it seems more like acrobatics than yoga. If I were on that subway, I’d probably just roll my eyes and go back to reading the paper.

  • melissa

    id be annoyed – and you know, i appreciate the yoga in many forms! but on a crowded subway? or a subway in general? no. save this for the park, your mat, your home, or a studio. most importantly – save it for yourself. dont do yoga for others. do it for you.

  • squeakywheel

    What I see here is pure narcissism, not yoga.

  • This is just attention seeking and a bit silly – ok to be called ‘fun acrobatics’ but not yoga……

  • annie

    I admit to not watching the video, because you asked for a general opinion as to what we think of this. If you block the doors or get inside the personal space of others it’s impolite and dangerous. I imagine the laughter everyone is referring to is due to nervousness on the part of the “performer” – she’ll get better. As a public transportation commuter I DO enjoy a show on the subway, or bus, or street, or in the station, I do. I feel connected to a community when people perform in the subway. It’s nice. I also feel that everyone’s needs to move around a public conveyance must be respected. And if something makes more people interested in yoga that isn’t a bad thing.
    All the haters who stick their noses in the air about what yoga is and isn’t on every single blog and website having to do with yoga just have emotional pain they haven’t healed. So much anger and vitriol over something that doesn’t hurt anyone. It’s sad really. Why do you care what yoga is or isn’t? Why can’t you just do what you think yoga is without expressing such disgust with what makes others happy? What does it have to do with you? Let go. Let go. Let go…

    • Jen

      Reminds me of what one of my instructors always says – “It is my truth right now.” As in, what is Truth for you in a moment may not be the same Truth for another in that moment. Their path and your path may not be the same. Doesn’t make one person wrong and another person right necessarily! So if someone’s yoga is a silly, joyful expression to make people on a subway, who may be full of angst or worry, forget for a moment and laugh/clap… whatever you call it, it produced joy. Just make sure you do it safely 😉

  • At first glance I agree with Shea’s comment b/c I do find it so disheartening that yoga has become such a “industry” rather than a spiritual “awakening” in our society. It often seems as though folks spend so much time investing in the clothing, mats, props, memberships, workshops, teacher trainings, etc that the idea of simply “sharing the gift” is almost obsolete. With that in mind, I have also moved more toward a private approach to practice in recent years.

    HOWEVER – I don’t see how any of that relates to what is going on in this video. I think these are a couple of fun-loving characters playing together in life. I don’t think it’s really about yoga, but more about a lighthearted, joyful, memory-making experience. More over, I’ve always cackled at people who think yoga needs to take place in a state-of-the-art facility or in a peaceful, softly lit, sparkly clean room or on the banks of a gorgeous, serene shoreline. Although practicing on a subway isn’t exactly realistic, this video sort of serves as a humorous reminder that your practice comes from within… It matters not where you’re physically existing when it happens.

    The angry yogis should take a few deep breaths and be open to the thought that it’s okay to allow others to experience joy in their very own capacity 🙂

  • Naja

    I could not agree with Annie more.
    The Sanskrit word yoga has the literal meaning of “yoke”, from a root yuj meaning to join, to unite, or to attach. With this definition I believe it is very alive today and even though it may have strayed from the original forms of yoga in ancient India, it still is the best way to connect with yourself and your body.
    Yoga may not mean anything and may have been “vulgarized” according to Swami Rama, but then again, how vulgar is the sexual misconduct he was found guilty of? (in reference to the case against him in 1997) Before you change your perspective on what yoga should be, maybe do a background check on the people who you are taking your perspective from. Make your own opinions.
    This is not saying that I agree that they should block exits in a crowded subway, not to mention the germs they picked up by being on the floor of a subway car, but it was a fun show of yoga. It did what it was meant to do…get media attention, and as a result it may have recruited a few new yogis and yoginis in the world….and that is always a good thing.
    Just my opinion, take it or leave it 😉

    • “Before you change your perspective on what yoga should be, maybe do a background check on the people who you are taking your perspective from.” Good point….

  • that dude’s a wimp! he used a yoga rug on the subway car floor instead of getting down and dirty……

    • Yogini5

      That’s telling … the breakdancers we still see on the NYC subways are not afraid of catching germs …

      And the riff on the homeless at the end …
      Logic FAIL … Not all who beg to strangers are homeless and not all who are homeless beg to strangers …

      Maybe they aren’t SoHo trustafarians, but they sure don’t do much for the image of yoga outreach (except for outreaching for $$ to their studios’ coffers) ..

  • Tracey

    The video irritated me at first… one of the things I love about yoga is that it makes me feel humble, find a quiet, beautiful, open-heart- space inside my own mind and body. This kind of behavior feels loud, and falsely proud, and gives the “look at me! I have great yoga clothes too!” vibe… not exactly appealing. I think the greatest part about yoga, though, is that everyone who does yoga can find that quiet, open, beautiful space through practice. Finding it is most likely to happen in studios and at home… not so much on the subway, show offs.

  • Celina

    Well my opinion is kind of mixed because I think as many of you that a crowed sub is really not the place for an acroyoga exhibition because that´s what it is. It is dangerous if they fall, or fall over somebody and everybody is touching her so it´s not ideal. Plus the blocking the doorway and really taking space is not a yogic move. they look kind of funny and quirky but that´s not really yoga for me. However if that makes people interested in yoga that is awsome, let´s just hope that more people are interested than the other way around. Because I have been doing yoga for years and I would like to try out acroyoga someday, but it´s another deal, and not everybody is going to find yoga reachable when they see that…

  • m. cherry

    it’s not yoga. it’s stunting. quite frankly, i found it annoying.

  • Julie

    I thought it was lighthearted and fun, and would have welcomed the diversion while riding the train. But I agree with other posters that it’s more acrobatics, as opposed to yoga.

  • Dao

    I found this was more a circus exhibition and the girl laughing is obviously having a good time, good for her. I didn t feel part of it at all though, and i doubt it would recruit anybody to yoga but rather to acrobatics.. In any case this display is not what I would show to my friends to bring them into yoga, I’d be afraid they run away!.. Yoga to me is so different : personal benefits as well as weird &obvious sense of community belonging.. Hence these people can do it , whatever, I don t feel connected.. This is not yoga to me , it’s puppies having fun. .. Please? In the subway? I would feel irritated at them taking all this space.. Whatever, let them do but I hope this is a one shot thing…

  • Banana Republic Resident

    Yoga?…hmmm… I wouldn’t really call it that. I just see it as a show-offy exhibition of balance and flexibility.

  • What makes this video interesting is to read people’s reaction to it, the strong reactions seem to be from trying to define what yoga is and isn’t. I doubt the people in the video ever thought this public display of their practice would get such in depth attention, but hey, it did, and it’s getting the rest of us to think about what yoga means to us.
    I agree that this display seems so removed from the personal inward practice that yoga can be, but everyone’s on their own path, and I’m always happy to see people taking up the practice.

  • they remind me of the yoga types who bust into a handstand when the teacher says savasana…..LOOK AT ME!

  • Tina

    Now that we have the names of these two and a studio, let’s all show in their classroom and subject them to the same obnoxious stuff. Flash mob anyone? Only kidding, not!

    • Yogini5

      Yeah, let’s do the wobbliest of tree, headstand, mountain pose and drive these supposedly Iyengar-based yogis ca-raaaa-zee …

      They’ll get off their elitist high horse ASAP.

      • Yogini5

        And if you wind up paying the studio anything, stop any checks immediately!

    • martha

      It would be fun if a big group of commuters came to their studio and read newspapers, listened to ipods, or just stared into space while swaying gently to the movement of an imaginary train.

      • Yogini5

        Great! I have my thoughts to complete the simulation, which involve having cacophonous iPods at a volume where others COULD HEAR IT, and then articles both yoga-related-and not, get juggled and then tossed to each other across the practice room …

      • Gerry

        Awesome idea martha. How about putting up posters for free yoga for the homeless for any of their next classes? It would be great if a bunch of the homeless showed up and the studio arranged a class for them as amends for the stupid joke of one of their teachers.

  • Sam

    I wonder if these yogi stuntpeople, especially the female in the deep backbend, thought of what would happen if the train had to stop suddenly? She would have been thrown forward and possibly cracked her vertebrae causing possible paralysis. We admonish our kids for doing less dangerous stunts on trains and in cars.

  • JeffreyD

    Yoga is supposed to be about white chicks getting skinny-fat, not this!

  • I don’t know if I’d ever be brave enough to do that – thanks for sharing!

  • L

    So stupid it’s not worth mentioning.

  • heidi

    Love it!!!I actually know the guy thats laying on the floor haha GO MAtty

  • Funny – great discussion – you’re ALL right!! Of course. Yoga has been thrown around so much it isn’t an ancient or obscure practice anymore. Perhaps this propagation is the gateway to real yoga? We have a lifetime to discover it.., what’s the hurry? As teachers, did we not take an oath to propagate yoga? I’d say Lululemon is doing God’s work just as much as pissing off our puritan ego.., myself included. So let’s turn inward for those of us who struggle with the externalisation of that which is sacred to us. Just as we are all divine and unique expressions of creation, yoga has found its way and become uniquely expressed by the masses. Let’s embrace that. Dance yoga, Power yoga, funky friday yoga, kids yoga, senior’s yoga, teen’s yoga, Lululemon yoga, all of it! And if Acro Yoga can make you smile and chuckle and laugh a little louder than LONG LIVE ACRO YOGA!!!!!!

  • Correction: Purist not puritan.

  • I get pleasure from, result in I discovered just what I was taking a look for. You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

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