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New Yoga Journal Editor-in-Chief is a ‘Fitness Junkie’ from SELF Magazine

in YD News

yogajournal-1975-2011

While a certain yoga pants company still seeks a new CEO well-versed in crisis management, Yoga Journal has gone ahead and appointed their new Editor-in-Chief, Kaitlin Quistgaard’s successor. Her name is Carin Gorrell and she hails from Brooklyn and SELF Magazine. This isn’t exactly breaking news, as the announcement was made via an October 24th press release and with very little fanfare, as It’s All Yoga, Baby, who first reported the “news”, perceptively points out.

Kaitlin Quistgaard quietly stepped down as Yoga Journal Editor-in-Chief this past spring after almost 7 years in the position and 10 years at the magazine. We assume it had something to do with wanting to spend more time with her family and yoga mat, which we’re sure is as the case with anyone who quits YJ.

Gorrell, who has taken the yoga reigns, was formerly the features director at SELF where she “oversaw the health, food, nutrition, lifestyle, and total well-being content,” and worked there for the past six years. Before that she was the health editor at Redbook and a senior editor at First for Women and Psychology Today. Needless to say she’s got some lady mag experience, a keen interest in healthy lifestyles – a self-proclaimed “health food and fitness junkie” – and apparently she likes to practice yoga, too.

But what can we expect from a seasoned editor who worked at a magazine responsible for such tantalizing issues like this?

SELF-Magazine-3.2011

Well, we can’t say just yet, but we’re interested. And maybe a little concerned. The last thing the yoga world needs is reaffirmations of the cover model “yoga body” joining the ranks of the already too many women’s magazines promoting skinny females (photoshopped) as the ideal, and articles listing the top 10 ways to find happiness, 5 reasons you’re not happy and 8 ways to be happy RIGHT NOW.

Here’s what Gorrell had to share about joining YJ and her vision for the magazine:  

“I’m proud to join a brand that continues to be the leading media authority on yoga,” says Gorrell. “As a health food and fitness junkie and new mom, all of the facets of a healthy yoga lifestyle resonate with me. I’m excited to incorporate more fun and inspiring on-and-off-the-mat news, trends and service in the magazine, including recipes and nutrition news for clean eating, fashion that translates from studio to street, eco-friendly beauty, home and travel tips, and web-integrated wellness programs, making Yoga Journal the go-to destination for both the most seasoned yoga pros and down-dog newbies.”

In any case, if there was any time to make improvements to a national yoga magazine in an ever-changing climate of growth, evolution and expansion, now is it.

According to the press release, Gorrell joins former coworker Kristen Dollard Schultz, who was digital director at SELF  and is already working at Yoga Journal as director of brand strategy and digital project development. The parent company Active Interest Media’s Healthy Living Group (Vegetarian Times, Better Nutrition, Horse Journal) seems rather pleased with the changes.

“We are thrilled to have Carin taking on this critical role at Yoga Journal,” says Pat Fox, senior vice president and group publisher of Active Interest Media’s Healthy Living Group. “She brings a fresh perspective to the magazine as we refresh the editorial both in the magazine and online to meet the needs of the modern yogi, while respecting the great traditions of yoga and Yoga Journal.”

We get the freshness, but we’ll have to wait and see about the modern yogi/great traditions of yoga love.

Meanwhile, a new magazine by the founder of Origins - that health mag you’ll find in Whole Foods and other places green smoothie drinkers go – called Mantra is about to launch in December with some major distribution. And other magazines like Yoga International cease printing to join the online yoga world.

17 comments… add one

  • Semper Fi

    Great! The last thing we need is a “fitness junkie” propagating an ancient technology designed for one to see her/himself more clearly via ethical living, asana/pranayama, detachment and intense meditation. Why are we letting all the jocks be the spokespeople for yoga? Yoga nerds unite!

  • Mimi

    Right on, Semper Fi! I’m a little tired of injured athletes with huge egos taking over, too! They’re all about achievement (& money). May they seek greener pastures elsewhere.

  • John winger

    I love how the focus of concern is on the fragile female ego and not on how distorted the American brain is when it comes to yoga. News flash… Yoga is not a woman’s fitness fad. It’s a means to enlightenment … For the human being not for woman OR men. I guess I can look forward to more female targeted advertising and neglect of the other 7 limbs of yoga.

  • Semper Fi

    Thanks John!

    Seeing how awful those two poses are on the Yoga Journal covers, it seems they cannot even get the third limb right.

  • VQ2

    Interesting, tho’ that they’d started out in the 1970s at only 79¢an issue, though… bet their treatment of those other limbs didn’t go missing at all in those early days …

  • Semper Fi

    I remember YJ back in the day. They were really alternative and cool. I remember when Carlos Casteneda published his “Magical Passes” and YJ published the postures. Even though this was not considered yoga, they wrote about all sides of the practice. Things have really taken a turn for the worse since then.

  • VQ2

    Not particularly a Castaneda fan – I hadn’t been “hip” or “cool” … so, from my vantage point, I’d be happy to see Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s Cat’s Cradle’s boko-maru … as a “yoga” pose … or anything similar from that era … these days, despite yoga being something us straight-arrows do, it’s become just a tad too twee and a tad too aesthetically fascist for my taste …

  • For starters, I’d like to echo the sentiment already expressed by others: yoga is not a fitness activity. It is a spiritual practice.

    And since when has Yoga Journal ever provided a cover model that was different than other magazines? We hardly, if ever, see people of color or a build other than “yoga thin” on the cover. We also never see males.

    There’s a reason new magazines dedicated to yoga and spirituality are cropping up, and that’s because there is a need and a desire for a magazine that resonates with that crowd, not one that pretends to while modeling the success of today’s traditional glamour magazines.

  • Although we’re perhaps targeting a more yoga savvy audience than does the contemporary YJ, Yoga Teacher Magazine – http://www.yogateachermag.com – seeks to provide real perspectives on modern yoga in an inclusive and intelligent manner.

  • Jeannine

    “brand” and “branding” don’t belong.

  • IndianYogini

    The direction which popular yoga is taking in the U.S. is already very wrong. Now an editor of a popular yoga magazine who is at loss of words in describing her connection with yoga and takes refuge in jargons like media authority, yoga lifestyle (and not yogic lifestyle), etc., does not leave me with much to expect. I once again turn to my Indian books authored by different Yoga Gurus who have mastered the Yoga Sutra, and do not call themselves “fitness junkie”. Come on Yoga Journal…

  • Matt

    At one time this would have made me pig-bitin’ mad, but now I just go “meh.” Yoga Journal–like most old school print media–is fighting for survival, and must seek out the lowest common denominator. Meanwhile, those of us in search of the real thing come to sites like this one. Just pretend Yoga Journal is called something else, like the Aardvark Journal, and ignore it. It will go away.

  • Semper Fi

    You make a good point, Matt. I would never spend a dime a yoga magazine nowadays with so much good stuff on the web. My problem is that most people will use Yoga Journal as
    “entry point” and think that is all there is to yoga. After a while, so many people will think Yoga Journal yoga is the “real thing” and when they cross paths with an authentic style of teaching they will think it’s too strict, write a bad Yelp review and then those studios will go out of business. This may kill out the authentic styles for the Core Power Yoga’s of the world.

  • VQ2

    Well, sure … folks like me, pan them on Yelp if they are owned by spiritual materialists who claim to teach an authentic style but don’t practice what they preach. But as soon as I find their opposite number who teaches the same Raja Yoga but isn’t out for blood, I praise them to the skies on Yelp …

    To CorePower’s credit, perhaps they have economies of scale (and no fear or distaste in going mass media) not evidenced by the overwhelming majority of the smaller chains or independents who may really be fighting for survival. Now, if only the CorePowers of the world chanted, played the harmonium and conducted kirtans …

  • Matt

    Semper Fi: I’m betting that the entry point today is typing “yoga” into your Google Machine. That comes with its own problems, of course… But have you noticed that Yoga Journal, Runners World, Vegetarian Times, etc. are now all basically the same magazine? That they are not particularly connected to yoga, running, or vegetarianism, respectively, but rather to a generalized “fitness lifestyle,” i.e. more shopping?

  • Mimi

    I would rather read Yogadork than Yoga Journal any day of the week. You keep it real & grounded (& funny!) Don’t ever change!

  • Mimi

    Right on, Semper Fi! I’m a little tired of injured athletes with huge egos taking over, too! They’re all about achievement (& money). May they seek greener pastures elsewhere.

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