New NYT Piece about iPhone App Star Tara Stiles
The New York Times seems to run long yoga articles about once every quarter.
This time it's a piece called Rebel Yoga (a theme they seem to have latched onto and won't let go of), about aptly-named 29-year-old former model and Morris, IL native Tara Stiles, author of the 2010 best-seller, “Slim Calm Sexy."
The piece quotes a blog rant about the book by local yoga teacher Linda Sama.
I don't know much about Stiles or her book, except that I heard her once on Deepak Chopra's satellite radio show. She was teaching pranayama, and, according to my limited knowledge, it was not correct - which was a bit disconcerting, to say the least.
Here's an excerpt from the article:
TARA Stiles does not talk about sacred Hindu texts, personal intentions or chakras. She does not ask her yoga classes to chant. Her language is plainly Main Street: chaturangas are push-ups, the “sacrum” the lower back. She dismisses the ubiquitous yoga teacher-training certificates as rubber stamps, preferring to observe job candidates in action.
In her classes, videos and how-to book, “Slim Calm Sexy,” Ms. Stiles, a 29-year-old former model with skyscraper limbs and a goofball sensibility, focuses on the physical and health aspects of yoga, not the spiritual or the philosophical. For traditionalists, this is heresy, reducing what they see as a way of life to just another gym class....
...Among yoginis, Ms. Stiles’s own training remains an enduring mystery. Someone’s yoga lineage — whom you trained with and where — is often sized up as closely as a thoroughbred’s pedigree. It can impress, or not. But Ms. Stiles, who said she has a 200-hour certification but refused to say from where because she does not want to sanction the program (it is also absent from her bio), believes much of the training available in New York and elsewhere does little to actually prepare someone to teach yoga, and can give people a false sense of confidence. “I did training in New York City to teach yoga,” she said. “It was absolute crap. It’s not useful.”
Yet, she offers teacher training, of a sort, at Strala. It costs $2,500, although she plans to lower it to $1,500, and it takes place over four weekends; 25 students have completed the course so far. Asked about this seeming contradiction, she said she was responding to demand. And, she added, her training program emphasizes practical knowledge and looking inward for strength, not toward a guru or leader for empowerment.
The article is entertaining and amusing - especially the fact that the "yoga rebel's" iPhone App is called "Authentic Yoga." So as not to confuse it with all of that fake, inauthentic, chant-y, Sanskrit-y, eight limb-y, Indian yoga out there.
The fact is, these newer American teachers and their user-friendly systems are bringing more people to yoga - not a bad thing, as long as they are not hurting anyone and are careful when teaching pranayama (which, ahem, would fall under the category of traditional yoga).
Those who want to be challenged and/or go beyond the physical will inevitably find the right teacher.
Actually, I'm far more concerned with Sirius XM Stars's decision to replace Deepak Chopra's weekend timeslot with nonstop Dr. Laura.
Now that's something to rant about.