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Welfare Yoga: Policy Follows Practice in Trend of Yoga for All

in Recession Yoga, YD News

empty pocket pose. Illustration by Martin Ansin

When the market plummeted and the Recession struck, many turned to Recession Yoga – paid, by donation or free classes. Yep, yoga! From stressed out stock brokers to the recently unemployed to high-powered CEOs faced with pulling their companies from the brink people turned inward. Oh yes, it was the worst of times, it was the best of times. The best – for yoga, and wellness in general – because people started to take a sober look at priorities and what truly makes them happy, and perhaps for once, take action.

Today, the economy still hobbles along like a newbie after a marathon Bikramming sweatfest – “no water break!” – but the number of yogis offering free or donation based classes around New York City (and elsewhere) is consistently growing, along with the number of training graduates changing the landscape of accessible yoga, a recent article in New York Mag points out.

Karma yoga is often referred to as the yoga of service. Welfare Yoga, as Alyssa Giacobbe calls it in the article, is becoming the new redemocritization of the practice, or at least helping to balance the bourgeois upper percentile of tight butts. As a matter of fact, official policy is even following the trend. Michelle Obama has adopted yoga for her childhood obesity campaign, and NYC Mayor Bloomberg has included yoga classes in his Young Men’s Initiative, designed to help relieve minority poverty rates.

Our favorite line of the piece, not just due to our onomatopoeia fetish: “Not so long ago, personal bliss bought with public funds would have been seen as politically problematic frippery.”

Fascinating that news of yoga helping kids in school, professional athletes, cancer survivors, military veterans, prison inmates and even those beloved celebriyogis is finally causing policymakers and political pounders to turn their heads and their funds (not without turning their entire spine from the base of course. We pay taxes for you to lengthen and twist, down dog it!)

Welfare Yoga [NYMag]



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