Category Archives: Funk

Things that stink

Documentary: Sex Trafficking in South India

Prostitutes of god

Journalist Sarah Harris has made a documentary about temple prostitutes in south India -Devadasi girls are dedicated to a Hindu deity and spend their lives selling sex.

Interview by Matilda Battersby
Monday, 20 September 2010

Former Independent journalist Sarah Harris has made a documentary about India’s temple prostitutes – Devadasi are young girls who are dedicated to a Hindu deity at a young age and support their families as sex workers.

The first instalment of the four-part exclusively online documentary ‘Prostitutes of God’ goes live today on VBS.tv.

I first went to India after I left The Independent three years ago. I wanted to run away and do something really different, so I went to volunteer with a charity in southern India which rescues victims of sex trafficking.

On my very first day there I stumbled into a meeting of Devadasi prostitutes. I was told that they were temple prostitutes, but didn’t have any understanding of what that meant.

I began to research it and in February 2008 was invited to northern Karnataka, which is the centre of the tradition in India. I interviewed a few of the women and wrote an article about it for Vice magazine. But visiting them stayed with me, and I wanted to find out more. continue reading full article at The Independent.

watch Prostitutes of God

Yoga Now Poll


Some other answers:
-waiting for netflix to enjoy the view, but not the movie.
-I would not see the movie. Hardly liked the book.
-the book was so bad i can’t imagine wasting my time or money on the movie.


Some other answers:
-what guruji book?
-On my list, but not urgent.
-it was aight. i gave it away.
-ok, but boring


Some other answers:
-really good. will check out the other entries.
-Will read eventually


Some other answers:
-bad branding
-scam


Some other answers:
-Tank-top and leggings from any store. “Yoga clothes”? pffff…
-prana


Some other answers:
-all of the above
-too expensive and time consuming for me

On Eat Pray Love, The Movie

click to watch clip

Yoga Culture Part 2: Skin Infections

Listen up yoga peeps:

New York Times article revisits the old tale of workout warts galore…  Flip flops in showers, wipe your exercise equipment etc.  But what about completely unregulated yoga environments where a barefoot is mandatory and science project props from 1999 are as ubiquitous as incense and om?  Be sure inner peace is all you get at the…

Be Sure Exercise Is All You Get at the Gym

By JANE E. BRODY NY Times Published: August 2, 2010

When you go to the gym, do you wash your hands before and after using the equipment? Bring your own regularly cleaned mat for floor exercises? Shower with antibacterial soap and put on clean clothes immediately after your workout? Use only your own towels, razors, bar soap, water bottles?

If you answered “no” to any of the above, you could wind up with one of the many skin infections that can spread like wildfire in athletic settings. In June, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, known as N.A.T.A., issued a position paper on the causes, prevention and treatment of skin diseases in athletes that could just as well apply to anyone who works out in a communal setting, be it a school, commercial gym or Y.

The authors pointed out that “skin infections in athletes are extremely common” and account for more than half the outbreaks of infectious diseases that occur among participants in competitive sports. And if you think skin problems are minor, consider what happened to Kyle Frey, a 21-year-old junior and competitive wrestler at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Mr. Frey noticed a pimple on his arm last winter but thought little of it. He competed in a match on a Saturday, but by the next morning the pimple had grown to the size of his biceps and had become very painful.

His athletic trainer sent him straight to the emergency room, where the lesion was lanced and cultured. Two days later, he learned he had MRSA, the potentially deadly staphylococcus infection that is resistant to most antibiotics.

Mr. Frey spent five days in the hospital, where the lesion was surgically cleaned and stitched and treated with antibiotics that cleared the infection. He said in an interview that he does not know how he acquired MRSA: “The wrestling mat might have been contaminated, or I wrestled with someone who had the infection.”

If it could happen to Mr. Frey, who said he has always been health-conscious in the gym and careful about not sharing his belongings, it could happen to you.

The Risks

Recreational athletes as well as participants in organized sports are prone to fungal, viral and bacterial skin infections. Sweat, abrasion and direct or indirect contact with the lesions and secretions of others combine to make every athlete’s skin vulnerable to a host of problems. While MRSA may be the most serious skin infection, athlete’s foot, jock itch, boils, impetigo, herpes simplex and ringworm, among others, are not exactly fun or attractive.

more

Did you ever even like Kombucha anyway?

Gawker’s hilariously true rundown of the acquired taste plus the latest on why you might feel a little tipsy.

Gawker.com
Jun 17, 2010 11:52 PM By Adrian Chen

The Non-Kombucha Drinker’s Guide to Kombucha Tea

The Non-Kombucha Drinker's Guide to Kombucha TeaWhen you’re in Whole Foods tomorrow to pick up your organic free-range sustainable humanely slaughtered coconut chicken skewers, you might see some people staring forlornly at an empty shelf. Why? The kombucha’s gone! Oh, overpriced fermented tea. Where’d you go?

Today Whole Foods, a key driver of the stuff’s mass consumption, has pulled all kombucha from their shelves because testing revealed that the it might be slightly more alcoholic than permissible by law. (.05 percent.) Some extremely skinny people are extremely upset right now. But what is kombucha? Put down your Diet Coke. Place your baby in your uncool baby carrier that isn’t made out of sustainable free trade cotton. Turn down your adult contemporary music. Here’s what you need to know.

continue reading at Gawker.com

Ananda Shankar Jayant fights cancer with dance

Inspiring talk, amazing performance… gotta watch this!

The Mysore Perspective : Yoga Money

YOGA: IT’S ALL ABOUT MONEY, HONEY!
Friday, April 23, 2010 The Star of Mysore

Spend Rs. 29,000 per month in City and earn Rs. 7,50,000 in the US

Mysore, Apr.23 (JP)-It is all about money, Honey! Yoga is no longer a simple, time-tested form of exercise aimed at rejuvenating the body and the mind but one of the biggest money spinners in the West. There are a few million Yoga practitioners in the USA alone and the number is growing.

SOM found that a couple of hundred Americans with a sprinkling Europeans come here to learn yoga from the six to seven schools in the City. They spend anywhere from a month to six months either learning yoga or upgrading their skills by learning advanced techniques.

All the yoga students come on a tourist visa and unwittingly break the law by taking up yoga courses. ‘Yoga talk’ among the closely knit Western groups centre around ‘yoga visa.’ But it is found that there is no such thing as a ‘Yoga Visa’ and there is only a Student Visa for which none of the westerners are eligible to apply as, not a single yoga school in the State is recognised by any University or the State Education Board.

It was also found that the City Police Commissioner had sent a circular to all yoga schools not to admit any foreigner on a tourist visa. When SOM spoke to Sashi Kumar of Mystic Yoga School in Gokulam, it found that a Police team had visited his school. Sashi also said that Police had been double-checking on yoga schools in Lakshmipuram to see if foreigners are being taught and what kind of visa they have.

SOM spoke to Harish Bheemaiah who runs the Mandala Yogashala in city. Harish said that the Police will not admit whether the circular came from the Ministry of Home Affairs or the State Home Ministry. Harish Bheemaiah said that it is more than three months since they and other Yoga schools in the city got this notice from the Police Commissioner’s office asking them not to entertain any foreigner on a tourist visa. He said that he along with several of his students had met MLA Ramdas and apprised him of this situation and he in turn spoke to the Police Commissioner. The Police Commissioner was supposed to have had a meeting with them on April 14 at 4 pm but for some reason the meeting was put off.

SOM traced the origin of Police Commissioner Sunil Agarwal’s circular to the one issued by the Kerala State Police who had issued a special circular since that State has an even larger number of Yoga and Kalaripayat schools. Clause VII of the Kerala Tiruvananthapuram Police Chief’s circular says: “As several foreigners coming to India with tourist visas seek admission for studying yoga and meditation, as per the prevailing norms they should hold proper student visa for studying yoga meditation etc. And their venue of study should be clearly recorded on the side of the visa stamp. (The institution should be an authorized one). Moreover change of institution is also not permitted.”

Sashi Kumar told SOM that the Police circular is ridiculous and said he would file a Writ petition about the illegality of this circular. Says Sashi Kumar, “If someone comes on a tourist visa to see Mysore and spends two days learning how to make a Mysore Masale dosa, does it mean that this tourist has violated the law?”

But why this eagerness to learn Yoga in the City? SOM discovered that many student turned teachers now advertise “Mysore style” classes, or Pattabhi or Iyengar style and charge even more. The money just doubles when it is advertised as Mysore style yoga.

Michele Nichols and Steve Dwelley run the Ashtanga Yoga Centre at Santa Barbara, California. They offer a special ‘Mysore Monthly’ course in yoga and they charge $ 150.a month for twice a week classes. This means if they teach 20 students a month, they stand to make $ 3000 a month. Michele and Steve charge $ 1500 for a year’s course of two classes a week. That means even if they have 10 students for the yearly class they will make $ 15,000 or Rs. 6, 75,000 per year. And in Mysore they spend around Rs. 29,000 for six months of Yoga classes.

The School of Yoga in Croydon, United Kingdom, charges 12 pounds a week for a six week course. SOM found that with the exchange rate at Rs. 75 to a pound, a yoga teacher in the UK makes a little over Rs. 5,400 per person for a six-week course.

Kristina Karitinos conducts Mysore style Ashtanga yoga in Athens, Greece, for 90 Euros for a five week course. Govind Kai also has a Mysore Style Ashtanga yoga studio in Athens. David and Catherine Garringues of Seattle, Washington are regulars to Mysore where they spend time upgrading their skills.

Each of those mentioned above spend not more than Rs. 30,000 a month here in the City for two months and this includes their fees, food and stay. But when they get back they make five times the money they have spent.

………. End of article……….

…except that the cost of living is much higher in Europe and the United States.  And one month of study at certain yoga schools is much higher than in the west.  Hmm.

-Elephantbeans

Yoga Businesses and the Unpaid Internship

In the business of yoga, it is not uncommon for people to do ridiculously low-paid work.  Perhaps even more prevalent is the work-study or “karma yoga” student who works for free.  As yoga businesses strive to get more competitive (some actually writing business plans gasp!), we’re seeing an emergence of some new trends such as the yoga talent management agency and the unpaid intern.

With the economy as it is and the job outlook abysmal, many job seekers and employers are engaging in unpaid internship arrangements.

A great way to keep the overhead low, right?
A great way to gain real-world experience, right?

Tipped off by a recent NY Times article on the subject, we followed a link to the United States Department of Labor where we found a very interesting article on what constitutes a legal unpaid internship.

From the Wage and Hour Division Fact Sheet #71:

The Test For Unpaid Interns
There are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in “for-profit” private sector internships or training programs may do so without compensation.  The Supreme Court has held that the term “suffer or permit to work” cannot be interpreted so as to make a person whose work serves only his or her own interest an employee of another who provides aid or instruction.  This may apply to interns who receive training for their own educational benefit if the training meets certain criteria.  The determination of whether an internship or training program meets this exclusion depends upon all of the facts and circumstances of each such program.

The following six criteria must be applied when making this determination:
1.  The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
2.  The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
3.  The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
4.  The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
5.  The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
6.  The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

If all of the factors listed above are met, an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and the Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the intern.  This exclusion from the definition of employment is necessarily quite narrow because the FLSA’s definition of “employ” is very broad.  Some of the most commonly discussed factors for “for-profit” private sector internship programs are considered below.

To sum it up, unpaid internships are meant to be learning experience for the intern.  So much so, that sometimes their presence actually impedes work at times.  It is an educational experience where the intern is the primary beneficiary with loads of supervision.

Why is all that important to point out?  Because unrealistic yoga business plans are about as abundant as unpaid interns and downward facing dogs.  Case in point?  The Greenpoint, Brooklyn / Albany, California-based YAMA (Yoga Artists Talent Agency) Talent agency co-owned by Ava Taylor and Chris Cuevas strives to make yoga teachers a living.  Well+Good NYC writes:  “Like others who teach for a living, yoga instructors should have good health insurance and should be able to send their kids to college.”  Through a combined force of strategy development, touring, media, social marketing, public relations, legal help, sponsorships, and creative styling for teachers such as Sadie Nardini, Duncan Wong, Annie Carpenter, and Schuyler Grant, YAMA aims to do just that.  The problem?  When YAMA plans to utilize the talents of an unpaid intern to do the work.

Posted on Craigslist.org 4/9/2010 (we’ve noted the questionable stuff):

Who we’re looking for:
Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite, Google documents, and the Internet (FB, Twitter, You Tube) required.

-The chosen intern will be innovative, committed and will be part of the creation of a company that is revolutionizing the yoga, health and wellness industry.

-You’ll work a minimum of 15 hours, commit to a 3 month contract starting May 12th, and, of course, join us for complimentary yoga twice a week.

What you’ll be doing:
-Client Relations: Day to day liason and interface with YAMA clients. Maintaining and ensuring current client files (schedules, assessments, development tracks).

-Public Relations:
Approaching traditional print media publications/outlets gaining press coverage for YAMA clients and YAMA. Assist in the creation of media pitches, press releases, story lines, media plans, media lists.

-Social Media:
Researching social media opportunities for YAMA clients and YAMA.
Maintaining YAMA Clients/YAMA online presence on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and various blogs. Creative use of the internet to promote our clients.

-Brand Integration:
Approaching various brand alignment opportunities seeking sponsorships, endorsements and advertisement related opportunities for YAMA clients. Day to day liason with top brands in the wellness and lifestyle industry.

-Booking/Touring services:
Creating individualized travel itineraries, negotiating and booking appearances for YAMA clients. Cultivating relationships with venues (studios, retreat facilities, etc.). Maintaining booking checklist.

-Research:
Compiling a database of opportunities related to yoga, health and wellness around the world. Daily upkeep of all yoga, health and wellness related publications.

Whew!  That is one busy intern.

We at Elephantbeans are all for creative business ideas and promoting a living wage for yoga teachers and yoga-related employees.  We also stand for walking the talk.  Enough of people getting used and abused.  Enough with sleazy studio owners and unjust business practices.  Enough with lousy teacher pay and no job stability.  Enough with staying silent with being unpaid, underpaid, underemployed or overused.  Enough with yoga businesses staying under the radar with issues like this.  At the risk of being unpopular, here it is:  this is NOT okay.

-Elephantbeans

Richard Freeman + Pure Yoga

Richard Freeman’s holding a random workshop (Monday morning?) at Pure Yoga.  From Pure’s website:

Richard Freeman – An Introduction to Ashtanga Yoga
April 19, 2010
9:30am – 12:30pm

A step by step exploration of the basic thread of form, breathing, and movement upon which the classical series of postures is strung. The bio-mechanical principles of alignment and the meditative principle of awakening core breathing will be studied in context of the Ashtanga system to give participants a new degree of freedom, technical skill and compassion.

This event is open to both Pure members and nonmembers alike.

Tuition:
Members: $50
Nonmembers:$60 nonmembers

Click here to register

Richard Freeman Bio:
Richard Freeman has been a student of yoga since 1968. He has spent nearly nine years in Asia studying various traditions which he incorporates into the Ashtanga yoga practice as taught by his principal teacher, K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India. Richard’s background also includes studying Sufism in Iran, Zen and Vipassana Buddhist practice, and an in-depth study of Iyengar yoga, which eventually led him to Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. Richard is an avid student of both Western and Eastern philosophy, as well as Sanskrit. His ability to juxtapose various viewpoints, without losing the depth and integrity of each, has helped him develop a unique, metaphorical teaching style. He is the owner of The Yoga Workshop in Boulder, Colorado and the author of the forthcoming book, “The Mirror of Yoga” (Shambhala Publications).

Deccan Herald: It’s ‘money yoga’ for foreigners in Mysore

Raking in moolah

It’s ‘money yoga’ for foreigners in Mysore

Preethi Nagaraj, Mysore, Apr 15, DHNS:

An American national, Jason Thomas (name changed) comes to Mysore once in two years. A photographer and ‘certified’ yoga instructor, this 39-year-old makes the heritage city home for almost 30-45 days during his visit, as he has been doing since the last eight years.

“I come here to update my yoga skills and back home, I am associated with a yoga school where I teach during the weekends at US $ 20 – 40 per session (two classes) depending upon the kind of yoga our students want to learn,” he reveals.

While he has stuck to teaching simple yoga, his contemporaries who switched over to more popular forms of yoga earn up to US $ 80 – 120 for every session, he says. His yoga school charges him nearly Rs 25,000 as a refresher package.

While in Mysore, Jason stays at a guest house run by his ‘friend’ who is a foreigner, paying about 1,500 per day for a bed and breakfast facility. The place is managed by Alisa, a lady who traces her roots to Greece, and lives in the UK. She is one of the people who manage the place, ‘Nest’ in Vijayanagar, and by an estimate, makes a neat Rs 1.5 lakh per month accommodating her ‘friends’ who book rooms via internet. Locals are strictly not allowed inside this ‘six-room accommodation’ house. Such guest houses are aplenty on Contour Road, VV Mohalla, Lakshmipuram, Kuvempunagar, Vijayanagar, Bogadhi among other areas.

The police, who recently sent out a circular instructing the yoga schools in the city to teach only those who arrive on yoga visa or student visa, claim there is more than what meets the eye. Speaking to Deccan Herald, a top source said, at any given point of time, there are 3,000 to 5,000 foreigners living in Mysore on tourist visa, mostly enrolled with different Yoga schools.

Tracking problem

While they appear before the police when they arrive in the city, it becomes difficult to trace them afterwards. As a result, the police instructed the hotels to provide them with details of their foreign visitors. What then came to fore was the case of a mega ‘business’ being run by some foreigners who visit Mysore on ‘rotation’ basis.

Most Yoga schools are aware of this. Says Sudesh Chandra of Upanishat Yoga Kendra in Kuvempunagar: “The foreigners who come here stay together for security reasons. I am told they run guest houses too.”

The schools which enroll foreigners, certify them which is in turn used to earn more dollars back home. And this, purely, is the prerogative of the school. Yoga schools want the Government to create a central authority to formalise the teaching methods, thus adding a natural check to the system.

originally posted at the Deccan Herald