Category Archives: Books & Articles

Written word

Make Kony Famous?

via boingboing

African voices respond to hyper-popular Kony 2012 viral campaign

By at 11:55 am Thursday, Mar 8

(Updated with additions, March 10, 2012. Here’s a Twitter list, so you can follow all of the African writers mentioned in this post who are on Twitter.)


The internets are all a-flutter with reactions to Kony 2012, a high-velocity viral fundraising campaign created by the “rebel soul dream evangelists” at Invisible Children to “raise awareness” about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and child soldiers. As noted in my previous post here on Boing Boing, the project has many critics. There is a drinking game, there are epic lolpictorials, and a chorus of idiots on Facebook.

There are indications the project may be about stealth-evangelizing Christianity. The Invisible Children filmmakers have responded to some of the criticism. Media personalities and celebrities are duking it out as the campaign (and now, backlash) spreads.

But in that flood of attention, one set of voices has gone largely ignored: Africans themselves. Writers, journalists, activists; people of African descent who live and work and think about life on the continent. In this post, we’ll round up some of their replies to #Kony2012.

read more

Another Yoga Scandal

In case you’ve been living under a rock, here’s the latest via Yoga Dork on the John Friend/Anusara scandal… wicca, adultery, and money — oh my!

Leslie Kaminoff – Review of “The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards,” by William J. Broad

http://yogaanatomy.net

The Dark Side of Apple

http://cnettv.cnet.com/av/video/cbsnews/atlantis2/cbsnews_player_embed.swf

Working conditions at Apple’s Chinese factories under fire

January 29, 2012 6:41 AM

Questions are beginning to be raised about the factories where Apple products are manufactured and whether the company is ignoring reports of abusive working conditions. Martha Teichner hears from labor watchdog groups as well as from a company hired by Apple to oversee compliance of its rules to find out how the products are made.

Leaping Lanka’s in Ink

While we aren’t sure about this Crossfit hooey pooey, LL is hilarious and now published.
From Leaping Lanka:

‘ASHTANGA YOGA: Stories from Beyond the Mat’ IS OUT NOW


Friends,

‘Ashtanga Yoga: Stories From Beyond the Mat’ is now on sale at Amazon: http://amzn.to/wQsTsL

It’s a collection of stories, essays, sketches, how-tos, and comedy bit-lets, all written during the last 10 years, and all relating to the practice of Ashtanga Yoga.

It’s one of the first of its kind in the Ashtanga community: no asana photos or “Intro to Yoga Philosophy 101,” just writings about Yoga filled with reverence, humor, and the occasional artfully employed f-bomb.

(Also, perhaps the occasional gratuitously employed f-bomb.)

The practice of this Yoga has profoundly changed my life — I hope I shared a glimmer of that in the pages of this book.

QUICK UPDATE:
1. International Amazon

Unfortunately, at the moment I’m unable to list it on Amazon’s international sites. This means it’s still available to those outside the U.S., though you have to pay shipping.

HOWEVER: I have just found that Amazon UK does print-on-demand, and so I’m gonna get this ball rolling.

Please note: I am not changing any “whiles” to “whilsts” for my UK audience, though maybe I can work in “havin’ a slash” or “dogs bollocks” somehow.

2. Kindle, eBook, Versions
There will definitely be one. But not until March.

Amazon:
Publication Date: January 11, 2012

ASHTANGA YOGA: Stories from Beyond the Mat is not your typical “Yoga” book. Jason Stein skips the posture photos and Intro to Yoga Philosophy to explore personal topics in this frank, revealing, and often funny collection. The essays, sketches, notes, and how-tos contained here all address with reverence and humor the many ways a daily Ashtanga Yoga practice saturates life both on and off the mat. All content newly revised and rewritten, including: “White Elephant Versus Termite Practice” “How to Start a Mysore Program” “Ashtanga Yoga and Crossfit” “What First Series Taught Me” “The Agonies of Yoga Photos” “6-Pack Abs with Ashtanga!”

Studies: Ashtanga Yoga and Injuries

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF YOGA THERAPY – No. 18 (2008) 59
A Survey of Musculoskeletal Injury among Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Practitioners
Jani Mikkonen, Palle Pedersen, DC, MPhil, DPMSA, Peter William McCarthy, PhD Welsh Institute of Chiropractic, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, CF37 1DL, Wales, UK

Introduction
Recent research on Yoga has concentrated on its health benefits and therapeutic effects.1-4 Although there has been an increasing amount of research on the physical and thera- peutic effects of Yoga posture and breathing practices, it ap- pears that the musculoskeletal risks of Yoga practice have not been well studied. There is an increasing awareness of Yoga-related musculoskeletal injuries in the popular press, mainly in the U.S. However, most of these reports have been based on a smaller number of teachers’ personal views and individual cases.5-11
Yoga has become increasingly popular in the Western world in the past ten years,12,13 with Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga becoming one of the most popular Yoga styles. This style of Yoga emphasizes the importance of standardized physical posture practice with synchronized breathing.14ˉ18 In recent decades, teachers have been certified and/or authorized by the director of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Research Institute, Sri K Pattabhi Jois. Certified or authorized teachers in Europe can be found in 15 countries, including Finland.19 The Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga School of Finland is lead by certified and authorized Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga teachers, and the documented and traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga method is followed in the Yoga schools that were involved in this study.
The rigid adherence of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practitioners to a standardized and documented posture series makes it a strong candidate for scientific study. However, research into Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga appears to be limited to two re- cent studies. One study concluded that practitioners benefited from statistically significant improvements in muscular strength in the upper body and core, endurance, flexibility, and health perception, as well as decreased diastolic blood pressure and perceived stress, in a six-week period of regular practice.3 A second study reported that heart rate during Ashtanga Vinyasa practice can be compared to heart rate during moderate exercise, and therefore possibly leading to improved cardiac and respiratory fitness.4
The Present Study
The primary objective of this study was to survey the in- jury rate among current Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practitioners in Finland, and, further, to determine the rate of injuries per 1,000 hours of practice. We chose to limit the survey to musculoskeletal injuries with at least a one-month dura- tion, to place more emphasis on longer duration injuries. Short-lived “injuries” from Yoga practice or other activities can change presentation and come and go without an obvious reason. We also wanted to exclude from the study short-term overuse pain such as delayed onset muscle sore- ness (DOMS), which is a regular occurrence in any exercise program.20 The secondary objective of this study was to determine the location, type, and outcome of musculosk- eletal injuries in this population. We conducted a survey of participants’ history of musculoskeletal injuries during the previous three years, irrespective of cause. The survey speci- fied that all injuries listed should be musculoskeletal injuries of more than one month duration and have occurred during the participant’s period of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice. The survey questionnaire adhered to the guidelines stated in the Epidemiology of Sport Injuries categorization sys- tem.21 The study was ethically reviewed and approved by the research project module team at the Welsh Institute of Chiropractic (WIOC), University of Glamorgan.
Methods
Participant Recruitment
Retrospective reports of injuries were collected from students at the Yoga schools of Helsinki and Tampere dur- ing the period of January 6, 2006 to May 20, 2006. We also posted advertisements about the survey in the areas around the Helsinki and Tampere Yoga schools. The poster included contact details, stipulated the voluntary and confidential nature of study, and stated the aim (prevalence of musculoskeletal injuries incurred by Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice) and target participants of the survey. The posters and information section attached to the questionnaire explicitly requested that all practitioners complete the survey “whether you have or have not suffered any injuries.” The questionnaires were anonymous, and the Yoga teachers at the centers were not aware of who had completed a ques- tionnaire and who had not. There was no time limit or pres- sure placed on participants, as the completed questionnaires could be placed into a collection box in the communal areas at any time during the collection period (16 weeks).

[link to full article below quote]

“The results from this survey appear to support the conclusion that Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice under appropriate supervision does not dramatically increase the risk of injury to its practitioners. The most commonly reported injuries (hamstring strains and sprains) may be related to the posture sequence of the primary series, and appropriate instruction and practice may reduce this risk. As Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga includes standardized series of postures, a greater emphasis on individual needs and the importance of relaxed non- goal-oriented practice could prevent some injuries. In the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga schools in Finland, the trend has been towards emphasising the importance of the internal experience and mind-body cooperation during practice.”

www.selkakuntoutus.fi/julkaisut/IJYT-Article.pdf

Yoga Alliance Approved, My Ass

I was shocked to notice that they advertised their yoga teacher training programs as “Yoga Alliance Approved.” Misrepresentations like this are the dirty little secret of the yoga industry. No one really wants to admit there is no accreditation for Yoga…What no one ever seems to acknowledge or mention is that the YA provides no oversight whatsoever. No one checks to see if anyone is actually doing what they say. Everyone is on the “honor” system. Consequently, the registry amounts to a digital rubber stamp or paid advertising. Not to mention, the YA does not disclose what they do with the money they collect from the Yoga community.  read full article

-J. Brown

 

Some other percentage of the student base is unaware of the ruse. They mistakenly believe that a YA certification creates a minimum standard of competency on which they can rely. In other words, they may think they are eating Certified Organic peaches when, in fact, they are not.       continue

-Kerry Wills

 

Independent Yoga Educators of America

How to be a yoga blogger (just fill in the blanks)

Friday, May 26, 2006 via Leaping Lanka

Dear Ashtanga Yoga Blogger,

Thank you for subscribing to Ashtanga Yoga BlogBot™!

We’re the automated ashtanga yoga blog creation service that makes it a snap to generate those exhausting blog entries, leaving you with more valuable free time to do your yoga practice, think about your yoga practice, talk about your yoga practice, and obsess about those difficult asanas.

We ask you a few simple questions to determine your blog’s overall content, tone, and look, and then we feed your answers to our Blog-O-Matic™ supercomputer, which generates candid, interesting, and utterly unique blog entries that are specifically tailored to you!

 

 

 

3. It was so _____ at the yoga studio this morning!
1. nipple-hardeningly cold
2. heat-rash inducingly hot

4. My body felt so _____.
1. stiff
2. open
3. sore
4. achey
5. strong
6. weak

5. The _____ practicing next to me was so _____.

Noun
1. guy
2. girl

Adjective
1. stiff
2. flexible
3. bendy
4. floaty

6. Their _____ looked very _____.

Asana name
1. jump-backs
2. janu sirsasana C
3. marichyasana D
4. supta kurmasana

Adjective
1. floaty
2. bendy
3. stiff

7. I did _____ and it was so _____.

Asana name
1. jump-backs
2. janu sirsasana C
3. marichyasana D
4. supta kurmasana

Adjective
1. floaty
2. bendy
3. stiff

Continue reading at Leaping Lanka

The Men Who Stop Traffic

Oct 22, 2011 via The National by Helena Frith Powell

Parashu ML, left, and Stanly KV started rescuing victims of trafficking more than 20 years ago.
Sitting across a table from these two softly-spoken, unassuming middle-aged men it’s hard to imagine them picking fights with pimps or collecting court summonses with a shrug of the shoulders; but Stanly KV and Parashu ML have been raiding brothels and private homes to rescue girls, boys and women for the past 20 years. Sometimes with the aid of the police, sometimes in spite of the police, these two quiet men of Mysore have kicked in doors and traded blows with traffickers to help free more than 2,000 victims across southern India.

The pair run Odanadi – meaning “soul mate” – an organisation that provides refuge, counselling, education and rehabilitation for up to 85 victims of trafficking at a time. They have taken in scores of domestic slaves and bonded labourers. They’ve raided 60 brothels and secured the convictions of 137 sex traffickers.

Impressive figures. But then the problem is on a massive scale. The Indian government’s own figures put the amount of people in some way involved in human trafficking – the illegal trade in people for the purposes of slavery, commercial sexual exploitation or forced labour – at around 100 million. Of those, 1.2 million are children.

But this fight did not start as a crusade against seemingly insurmountable odds; instead, they were shamed into it.

In the late 1980s, the two young friends worked together as newspaper journalists so closely their byline read simply ‘Stanly Parashu’. It was while conducting interviews for a piece on Dalits – members of India’s strict hierarchical system born below even the lowest caste – that they were challenged by a woman in the street.

 

“Her name was Radhamma,” Stanly says. “She was a prostitute, lower in social standing than even Dalits.

“She asked us: ‘What do you do with the story of these poor people? You write about them, get yourselves a good name, but these people get nothing in return. They think you are a saviour but you don’t come back.’ That really pricked our egos,” says Stanly.

Stung by the criticism, the men turned their attention towards one of India’s greatest taboos – prostitution – starting with Radhamma herself.

“Radhamma had been a housewife,” Stanly says. “But her husband took her to Bombay and sold her to a brothel. When he returned home without her he explained to her family she had run off with another man. He then married his wife’s sister.”

After two years Radhamma managed to escape the brothel and return to her village, now with a child fathered by a client. But her family believed her husband’s story and she was cast out, ending up living on the street working as a prostitute, depending on 10 clients a day to earn enough money to live on and send her son to school.

 

Radhamma had been working the streets for 10 years when Stanly and Parashu met her.

“We wanted to help, to give her financial support, and look after the boy’s education,” says Stanly.

Although they gave her a little cash and arranged for local restaurants to feed her son, Nanjumda, Radhamma found resistance to her change in circumstances too much to bear.

“When we returned a fortnight later, we found her again on the street in the same filthy condition,” Stanly says. “She said: ‘You gave me money but money is not changing my life. No one is accepting me, people are bothering me, police are harassing me.’ “

Prostitutes coming under the police spotlight are treated with little sympathy.

“Women were dragged by their hair; there were no policewomen in those days,” Parashu says. “The male officers would drag them to the police station half-nude. “No one would ask the authorities about this violation of their human rights. We told the police that these ladies are citizens, human beings. We asked them to treat them humanely.

“We started questioning this ill-treatment and dragged chairs into the offices for the women to sit on instead of being forced to stand in the corner of the police station,” says Parashu. “This started the gap to open between the police and us.” Next page

 

USA- It is easier to get richer if you already are

NPR: Economy

“Making it in the US: More than just hard work”
September 15, 2011
listen