I’ve been reading past issues of Yoga Journal from the 1970s and 1980s on Google Books. Looking at the covers alone is fascinating commentary on yoga today. The Yoga Journal that I received in my mail box around 2005 always had an attractive woman in a yoga pose on the cover. It made sense because they were selling a magazine about yoga. However issues from the 1970s and 1980s do not have covers with fit women. A male author who had written about masculinity, the Dalai Llama, “Healing Ourselves” with a photo of people holding hands, and a cartoon about healing the child within are a few examples of past covers. It was refreshingly not me-centric.
Magazine covers of fit, athletic women in yoga poses are fine, but it’s selling a lifestyle around a body image and that’s not what yoga is about. Yoga is about you and your relationship to everybody and everything on this planet. When yoga becomes me-centric we lose its true meaning. It’s easy to get caught up in how your body looks when selfies abound and no one wants to be the fat American. Yoga is about union of mind and body and how our collective consciousness and awareness can change the world for the better. With the recent passing of BKS Iyengar, I keep asking myself: where is yoga going? Is yoga lost in America today?