The early reviews for Michelle Goldberg’s “The Goddess Pose: The Audacious Life of Indra Devi, the Woman Who Helped Bring Yoga to the West,” are in, and they are raves. “[T]his sparkling tale of a remarkable trailblazer should enlighten and inspire every reader,” says Publishers Weekly. Kirkus writes, “Fascinating reading about an intriguing woman.” And Library Journal calls it ” “fascinating and groundbreaking,” saying, “This painstakingly researched book is more than mere biography…It helps readers to understand where yoga, as we practice it in the West, came from and how it differs from its roots.". The Goddess Pose is available for pre-order now, and out on June 9. More about the book
Twelve years ago, I penned an essay for a Salon series called “To Breed or Not to Breed,” about the decision to have children or not. It began this way: “When I tell people that I’m 27, happily married and that I don’t think I ever want children, they respond one of two ways. Most of the time they smile patronizingly and say, ‘You’ll change your mind.’ Sometimes they do me the favor of taking me seriously, in which case they warn, ‘You’ll regret it.’” The series inspired an anthology titled Maybe Baby. It was divided into three parts: “No Thanks, Not for Me,” “On the Fence,” and “Taking the Leap.” My essay was the first in the “No” section.
So I felt a little sheepish, when, a year and a half ago, the writer Meghan Daum asked me if I’d be interested in contributing to the book that would become Shallow, Selfish and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids. I wrote back to tell her that I couldn’t: My son had just turned 1. Read more
On February 25, three University of Arizona graduate students—Kyle Blessinger, Zach Brooks, and Sarah Ann Meggison—had a meeting with Kelli Ward, a Republican state senator in Arizona. They were there to lobby against massive new cuts to state spending on higher education; the number being thrown around was $75 million. Under the state constitution, attending the university is supposed to be as “nearly free as possible,” but due to state budget cuts, tuition had increased more than 70 percent between 2008 and 2013 for in-state students—the severest hike in the country. Now it was poised to go up even more, while funds for graduate instructors were likely to be squeezed even further.
Blessinger, a 28-year-old Air Force veteran, was particularly concerned. He’d used up his GI benefits for his undergraduate education, and with a year left before he finishes his MA in higher education, he already carries $65,000 in student debt. In the past, he had worked as a teaching assistant in two classes, which earned him a tuition waiver—but this semester, because of budget cuts, the school could only afford to give him one. To make ends meet, he was working as a bartender and freelancing as a private security guard, occasionally at parties thrown by affluent undergraduates. Read More
By Michelle Goldberg
Last month, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Deepak Chopra described the usefulness of meditation for people on Wall Street. Speaking about a friend who manages a hedge fund, he said, “His entire staff meditates. I know many others now on Wall Street that we teach, actually. It makes them much more productive, because they’re centered, they’re not distracted.” Chopra was appearing on TV to promote a free twenty-one-day online meditation course that he offers with Oprah. Its theme is “Manifesting True Success.”
Debate: Hillary Clinton Sounds Populist Tone, But Are Progressives Ready to Back Her in 2016?Read More
By Michelle Goldberg
In contemporary yoga classes, teachers often speak of Patanjali’s “Yoga Sutras,” a philosophical text compiled around two thousand years ago, as the wellspring of the practice. This requires an imaginative leap, because the yoga sutras say next to nothing about physical poses; their overriding concern is the workings of the mind. Yoga, the sutras say, “is the restriction of the fluctuations of consciousness.” The total of their guidance about posture is that it should be “steady and comfortable.”
Instructions for postures, or asanas, appeared much later, in medieval tantra-inflected texts, such as the “Hatha Yoga Pradipika.” Even in those works, however, you won’t find many of the positions taught today as yoga. Fifteen poses appear in the “Hatha Yoga Pradipika,” most of them seated or supine. There are no sun salutations, no downward-facing dogs or warriors. There are instructions for drawing discharged semen back into the penis, so as to overcome death, and for severing the tendon connecting the tongue to the bottom of the mouth, and lengthening it so that it can touch the forehead.
Until the twentieth century, educated Indians and Westerners alike tended to disdain the occult practices denoted by the term “hatha yoga.” “We have nothing to do with it here, because its practices are very difficult and cannot be learnt in a day, and, after all, do not lead to much spiritual growth,” wrote Swami Vivekananda, who did much to popularize yoga philosophy in the West with his 1896 book, “Raja Yoga.” Only in the modern era has hatha yoga been transformed into a wholesome, accessible regimen for health and well-being. A central figure in this transformation was B. K. S. Iyengar, the author of the 1966 yoga bible “Light on Yoga,” who died this week at the age of ninety-five.
I met Iyengar in 2010, at his institute in Pune, a city about a hundred miles south of Mumbai, where students from all over the world travelled to study with the revered yoga master.
David Brock, the conservative journalistic assassin turned progressive empire-builder, is sitting in a conference room in the Park Avenue South offices of the MWW Group, a public-relations firm owned by Democratic mega-donor Michael Kempner. Fifty-two years old with a silver pompadour, and wearing round glasses with wire frames, he’s barely recognizable as the skinny, dark-haired operative who, during the Clinton administration, had an answering-machine message that said, “I’m out trying to bring down the president.”Read More
According to the website of New York’s nascent Women’s Equality Party, the organization was “[i]nspired by the spirit of Seneca Falls and those who came before us” and “brings together the strength of New York’s women leaders to help elect candidates who support the issues that matter most to us.” In actual fact, however, the Women’s Equality Party, which was founded by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in July, seems inspired by nothing so much as his desire to undermine the progressive Working Families Party. Cuomo’s attempt to hijack feminism for his own petty ends is such a craven move it could have been dreamed up by the scriptwriters at VEEP. It would be bleakly funny if it didn’t pose an actual danger to an organization that has always fought for New York’s women. Read more at The NationRead More
After finishing Gail Sheehy’s new memoir, “Daring: My Passages,” I revisited “Passages,” her hugely influential 1976 pop-psychology best seller about the stages of adult life. There I was surprised to be reminded that she had a brother, and that he’d been killed in Vietnam. He appears nowhere in the 484 pages of the new book, despite an early chapter about her childhood and detailed attention to her sister and parents. Of course, no memoir can be entirely comprehensive, particularly one by a person with as storied a life as Sheehy, who, in her spectacularly successful journalistic career, has written about everyone from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to Margaret Thatcher and Hillary Clinton. Still, it seems a strange thing to leave out.Read More
The purpose of Pink Meth, a notorious ”revenge porn” site, is not just to share photographs of naked women that have been obtained without their consent. It’s to destroy their lives and reputations. The pictures, submitted by anonymous users, typically include a woman’s full name, e-mail address and screen shots of her Facebook profile. Commenters crowdsource the contact information for the woman’s family, friends, bosses and colleagues, then revel in sending the pictures to them. If she’s a member of a church or synagogue, the pictures will go out to her clergy, as well as others in the congregation. The users plot to make sure that the photos appear at the top of any Google searches of the woman’s name. “I’m hoping this goes on for months and years and people keep on sending the slut pictures to everyone she knows again and again,” wrote a user on one recent thread. “It would be so awesome if someone had set it up to record her on Skype as she was having all this happen and see her cry.” Read more at The NationRead More