Category Archives: Current Affairs

School Room Blues

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By Ed Staskus

In grade school there is always one kid in class who, when he has to stand up and give a book report, bumbles and stumbles around until it becomes obvious he hasn’t read the book, but the CliffsNotes, or maybe only skimmed the CliffsNotes. If he’s the class clown, it is a lot of fun. If he’s just a schlemiel in the back, it’s sad.

In college or university, you either know your stuff, the stuff your major is all about, or you don’t. There’s no use reading the CliffsNotes, because the teachers have seen it all before, and they just give you an F and move on. They don’t care if you’re an idiot, or not.

If you are at a trade school, forget it, there are no CliffsNotes. The diploma they give you is fitting and necessary. Then when you have your plumber’s toolbox in hand you have to fix the toilet. If you don’t get it right, there is a flood and instead of an F you get fired.

If you are a yoga teacher and you get it wrong, you could hurt somebody, put them in the hospital, or even, if you get it hopelessly wrong, kill somebody. The human body is supple and strong, but it can go haywire. That’s why yoga teachers have a grave responsibility. A plumber can replace a toilet, but yoga teachers can’t replace a life gone down the drain.

Pierre Bibby, chief executive of the British Wheel of Yoga, the national governing body in the UK, says, “Yoga is not bad for you, but bad teaching is.” Bad teaching is fiddling while you work.

CliffsNotes, which used to be called Cliffs Notes, are study guides. They used to only come as pamphlets, but nowadays they are online, too. It got started in 1958 when a Nebraska man and his wife set up shop in their basement. Six years later they were selling a million of their shorthand guides a year. Not reading the real thing turned out to be real big business.

Thirty years later a media and events company paid $15 million for CliffsNotes, pumped up the volume, got on the internet, and produced 60-scond videos about the major literary works of the world. “CliffsNotes lives on today,” they say, “as part of the global learning community, and its mission of changing lives by fostering passionate, curious learners.”

Sixty second bursts of passion, living on crumbs.

If you have a passion for plumbing, welding, or pipefitting, it takes considerably longer than an infomercial to fulfill your passion. It takes a long time. The reason is does take years is that there is no fooling around with those trades.

Like Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Becoming a plumber starts with about two years of training at a trade school. After finishing an apprenticeship, which usually takes three to five years, and passing an exam, you can become a journeyman. A journeyman is someone who has served an apprenticeship at a trade and is certified to work at it under another person.

Another three or four years as a journeyman gets you enough flush master experience to let you take the test to become a master plumber.

Welders attend a technical school or community college to learn their trade. Nobody wants a welder without certification because they work with extremely hot high-energy electric arcs. On-the-job experience is important. They customarily work several years as an apprentice. Certificate programs typically last up to two years. Some go right to work after that while others   continue their education, pursuing degree programs in welding.

A pipefitter is somebody trained in organizing, assembling, and maintaining mechanical piping systems that are meant to withstand high pressure. The systems are usually industrial, including heating and cooling, and involve work with steam, ventilation, hydraulics, chemicals, and fuel.

They have to get it right so that nothing blows up.

Trade schools offer courses on pipe system design, safety, and tool use. Apprenticeships are four-year programs involving work full-time and learning the trade on the job. Apprentice pipefitters work about 2,000 hours a year under the supervision of experienced fitters.

Yoga has a different spin on things.  Teacher training consists of some coursework in yoga history and philosophy, basic anatomy and physiology, and instructional techniques. Hands-on experience is gotten by observing teachers and helping teach classes. Students usually become certified in CPR since fitness centers often require the skill of their instructors.

Most teachers graduate with a 200-hour certificate. They may not be Maxwell “Agent 86” Smart, but they’ve missed it by that much, if not more. You’ve got to be quick on the uptake to miss becoming Maxwell.

Then it’s off to work we go. After the graduation ceremony, out in the workaday world, trying to make a living, networking with other teachers, getting a gig, distinguishing yourself, making yourself into a teacher your students like and respect and look to for guidance.

It is all well and good, but in many yoga studios there is always the new 200-hour Yoga Alliance-certified teacher who barely knows what they are doing. They are not simpletons, exactly, because they have invariably been into yoga for a while, taking classes, reading about the practice, and going to seminars. But when it comes to their body of skill and knowledge, it is bare bones, a skeleton not fleshed out with either learning or experience.

That’s a problem.

Some yoga moves, taught to beginners by beginners, are problematic if done wrong.  William Broad, the science writer for the New York Times who wrote a book called “The Science of Yoga,” gathered evidence that some asanas can be risky business.

“This is not anecdotal, and they are not freak accidents,” he said. “Postures like the shoulder stand, in which you lie on your back and raise your legs into the air, and the plough, in which you lie on your back and put your feet over your head on the floor behind you, that are widely performed, can crank the neck around in a risky way.’”

Postures that reduce blood flow to the basilar artery can cause strokes in some people and can be dangerous. “If the clots that form go to the brain, you can have a stroke,” said William Broad. “And one in twenty people who have these vertebral artery problems can die.”

In 1972 Oxford University neurologist Professor Ritchie Russell wrote in the British Medical Journal that some yoga postures could cause strokes in young healthy people. The New England Journal of Medicine published an article in 2001 citing yoga as something that had the potential to provoke arterial damage.

What are the chances that a yoga teacher who has graduated with only five full-time weeks of training, with a 200-hour certificate, is going to be fully aware of the hazards of shoulder stand and upward bow and all the other upside poses? There is an outside chance, but who wants to bet the bank on an outside chance? Yoga teachers should be able to get to the bottom of everything they do, not be taken by surprise.

The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine published a study in 2016 that revealed there were close to 30,000 yoga-related injuries that required emergency room visits from 2001 to 2014 in the United States. The rate of “I need to go to a hospital!” injuries per 100,000 people who practice yoga grew from 9% to 17%. There is no telling how many people got hurt and simply nursed themselves back to health at home.

“I see quite a bit of yoga-related injuries,” said Robert Chhabra, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Virginia Health System. “Mostly it’s overuse injuries like tendinitis and sprains.” He noted it was unusual for anyone to suffer a traumatic injury.

“You have to be smart about it, though” he said. “If a pose bothers you, don’t do it.”

There is a condition doctors call “yoga foot drop.” It results from staying in kneeling postures too long, which keeps oxygen from reaching a branch of the sciatic nerve that runs from the lower spine through the butt and legs. The nerve becomes temporarily deadened, causing considerable discomfort.

Yoga foot drop is rarely, if ever, mentioned in 200-hour trainings.

Experienced yoga teachers will tell you it is more important how a pose feels than how it looks. Inexperienced teachers often cookie cutter the class, trying to get everybody to look the same. Bikram Yoga classes were notorious for that approach. How you look in downward dog is far less important than how you feel. It is good if you are getting a stretch in your hamstrings. It is bad if you are getting a pain in your shoulders. It is good if your teacher can correct you at a glance. It is bad if the teacher has to think and think about it, trying to think what the CliffsNotes said.

It is terrific when teachers have the eyes of a hawk, spotting problems wherever and whenever they happen. 200-hour teachers are babes in the woods, however. That is bad if they are your teacher. Babes in the woods tend to bubble. If there was a hawk in the class, the hawk would hunt them down. That would be bad, but good at the same time.

Yoga isn’t meant to be competitive. It shouldn’t be, but it is an ambitious aggressive world we live in, since we are all competitive. Nobody wants to just be mediocre. “People push themselves too far,” said Mollie McClelland, a yoga teacher at the Alchemy Centre in London, England. “There are such huge egos in yoga that everyone wants to prove a point.”

Experienced teachers will slow it down. Inexperienced teachers are slow on the uptake and will encourage it under the assumption that trying hard is a good thing. It isn’t always, but it’s always hard to tell anybody that. The practice shouldn’t have a killer instinct, especially if you want to stay injury-free.

“It’s a myth that it’s safe to do an asana without awareness and consciousness,” says Glenn Black, a yoga teacher with forty years under his belt. He has gone so far as to say that the “vast majority of people” should give up yoga since they are getting it all wrong.

The problem with many of the 200-hour, and even 500-hour, Yoga Alliance-certified yoga teachers out in the world on their first jobs is that they are like the kid in school who didn’t read the book but has to give a book report.

They want to hit a home run, but they are second-string. When it comes to playing hardball, they’re more likely to strike out, and when they do, everybody strikes out with them. Tenderfoot classes are loads of fun and enthusiasm, playlists booming, but they come up short.

Why do pipefitters train like it is life and death but yoga teachers train like it’s a game of schoolyard ball? Why don’t yoga teachers take the same pride of professionalism in what they do as do plumbers, welders, and pipefitters? They train for years. Yoga teachers train for weeks.

Pipefitters lay weld and cement pipes, joining them together. They install automatic controls for whatever is flowing through those pipes. Yoga teachers join body mind and spirit together. They would be better served if they were better equipped to do so, so the blood of the body flowed better, enlivening the mind and spirit.

Many teachers are well equipped to do their work, but it’s only because they have gained experience in the school of hard knocks, not at a trade school or formal apprenticeship. It’s hard to say what the attitude is in Ecuador, Russia, or India, but in the United States yoga teachers get a pass because making a buck at yoga is so ridiculously easy. Five weeks in and you’re good to go. In the land of the fast buck why bother going to the trouble of cracking the books when you can rake it in with a scratch pad of jargon?

Even fitness instructors, who many yoga teachers resemble, usually have a college degree in the field before they hang out their shingles.

The men and women running industries that need pipefitters aren’t amateurs at what they do and won’t stand for amateurs working for them. An unprepared fitter isn’t going to get anywhere, so they have to be well-prepared. An amateur teacher with a bouncy personality a good voice fit good-looking perky balanced and believable can get bosom buddy with their ambition without getting too deep-sea with yoga, at all.

Most people who go to studio classes are amateurs and don’t know the difference between a chakra and a chocolate bar. They deserve a pro, but too often get a greenhorn at the front of the class. Until the standards are upgraded, and yoga teachers are required to get more training, that is what they will keep getting.

Yoga classes aren’t nursery schools. When nursery rhyme-style teachers run the classes, it does a disservice to the practice. Short cuts are taking without thinking. Yoga is a thinking man’s game. It’s the get smart game. The well-spent hard-beaten path is always the easiest in the long run.

Yoga is a long path, not a buttercup. There is no racing to the finish line. It’s more like a big bolt torque, getting it snug, slow and steady, not the latest hip hop playlist gambol. It’s like mountain men tracking dinner, not snacks. There isn’t any nutrition in Ho Hos. The good better best yoga teachers are master craftsmen who have made themselves what they are. Theirs is the shingle on the door to look for, not the certificate from the College of CliffsNotes.

Photograph: Kaylin Oligino, a junior in the plumbing program at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School, practices on an oil burner.

Ed Staskus posts feature stories on Red Island http://www.redislandpei.com, Paperback Yoga http://www.paperbackyoga.com, Lithuanian Journal http://www.lithuanianjournal.com, and State Route Two http://www.stateroutetwo.com. Click “Follow” on a site to get its monthly feature in your in-box.

 

Up in Arms

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By Ed Staskus

”There once was a union maid, she never was afraid, of goons and ginks and company finks, she went to the union hall when a meeting it was called, and when the Legion boys come ’round, she always stood her ground.”  Woody Guthrie

By mid-October last year, five weeks into the labor union strike against the car maker, General Motors was losing about $90 million a day and thousands of auto workers were losing their savings. Yet there was no end in sight for the longest bucket of bolts strife in many years. Nearly 50,000 workers were idled, picketing outside GM factories from coast to coast, squabbling about wages, retirement benefits, and the fate of a shuttered Chevrolet plant in Lordstown, Ohio.

At about the same time, teachers at New York City’s YogaWorks studios, a nationwide chain that advertises itself as “America’s #1 Yoga Studio,” asked the company to recognize a union. “It would appear to be the first in the United States to include yoga instructors,” according to The New York Times.

“Yoga teachers are poor,” said Abi Miller, feeling like the low man on the totem pole. He recently posted his feelings on the “Yoga” group Facebook page.

“This is a vibration that I lived for the first years of teaching yoga,” he said. “I did lots of free community events. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing those things, it prevented me from jumping towards my dream. It held me back because I was afraid to ask for the money that I was worth. It delayed my process of stepping into the teacher that I am meant to be. This industry is in full boom and makes a ton of money every year. If you are a teacher, why wouldn’t you be deserving of having a little piece of that pie?”

Although yoga is for everybody, everybody can’t always get to the front of the table for their bigger slice of the pie, but like Joe Hill, the songwriter and union organizer, pointed out, “Work and pray, live on hay, you’ll get pie in the sky when you die.”

“We believe yoga is for every body,” is the mantra of YogaWorks, fiddling with spelling and meaning.

“No matter your age or fitness level, we offer yoga that will work for you. Our programs remain authentic to ancient yoga tradition while seamlessly integrating today’s popular styles. Join us on the mat, we’re here to honor and empower your journey toward personal growth and well-being.”

Even though the request by their employees, who honor and empower the journeys of everybody who come to the studio, was polite, if firm, the response by the company was equally firm, if not exactly polite. It was stern, if not rabid, in the tradition of labor-management relations, which are almost always adversarial.

Unions and bosses have never exactly been baby blue meeting of the minds. They have spent most of their time since the Industrial Revolution poking one another in the peepers. When it’s gotten out of hand, which it often has, it’s ended up an eye-for-an-eye. Sometimes it gets ramped up to two eyes for an eye. It never gets damped down to turning the other cheek.

No one is that Christian Buddhist Muslim Jewish or God-fearing.

In the 1890s the Carnegie Steel Company went toe-to-toe against the nation’s strongest trade union, the Iron and Steel Workers. An 1889 strike had won them a three-year contract, but three years later Andrew Carnegie was determined to break them. The company locked the workers out of the plant and all of them were fired.

They stormed the factory and took over the company town. Three hundred Pinkerton guards, locked and loaded, were called in, but when they got there they were met by thousands of strikers, many of them locked and loaded, too. After a gun battle, the Pinkertons gave up and ran for it. In all, nine strikers and seven Pinkertons were killed. Eight thousand Pennsylvania National Guardsmen were called in and the strike was broken.

The Battle of Blair Mountain, near Welch, West Virginia, in 1921, was a spontaneous uprising of ten thousand coal miners who fought the company’s hired guns and their allies, the state police, for three days before federal troops intervened.

In 1987, while union members staged a fight as a distraction, others set fire to the Dupont Plaza Hotel in Puerto Rico. The union was in a dispute with management about pay and health care. Ninety-seven people were killed, many of them burned beyond recognition.

In New York City, the battle between YogaWorks and their working people was more in the way of a war of words. It was about hitting the bricks, not throwing bricks. Non-violence stayed the course.

A YogaWorks official sent an e-mail addressed to their NYC teachers and trainers, painting the union as an untrustworthy group simply looking to collect dues from them, and on the look-out only for their own welfare.

The e-mail, from Heather Eary, a regional vice president, ended in all capital letters: “DON’T SIGN A CARD.” The capital letters referred to cards being circulated by teachers and by the union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, stating the signatory wanted the group to represent them.

“YogaWorks does not believe that employees joining, and paying dues to, a union is in the best interest of YogaWorks, our employees or our students,” the message said. “We are surprised that the machinist union would ask us to help them possibly take away your right to decide whether you want to go running to join them.”

There was something queer about the message, as though it needed to get into down dog on both feet and both hands, to get itself grounded in the gap between the company’s principles and appetite.

“Our offer to work in collaboration with the company still stands,” said David DiMaria, an organizer with the union. “Hopefully they will see past their original reaction.”

Carla Gatza, the head of human resources for YogaWorks, said, “we believe that our company, our employees, and our students are best served when YogaWorks and its employees work together without the interference of a third-party union.”

“They often say the yoga teachers are the center of this business,” Tamar Samir, embroiled in the unionization bid, said of the company’s leaders. “But then somehow the way that teachers are supported in terms of pay and benefits and job security doesn’t match that.”

That being said, YogaWorks promptly closed its SoHo center, throwing its employees out of work and students out on the chilly sidewalk.

A union is an association of workers, often in a trade or profession, formed to protect and further their interests and rights. They began forming in the mid-19th century in response to the social and economic impact of the Industrial Revolution. National unions bubbled up in the post-Civil War era as the coasts and sections were brought together by commerce and railroads.

Labor unions benefited greatly from the New Deal in the 1930s, especially after the Wagner Act passed to legally protect their right to organize. The number of workers belonging to unions peaked in the mid-50s at about 35% of the workforce and the total number of members peaked in the 70s at about 21 million. Membership has declined ever since. In 2013 there were 14 million members compared with 18 million in 1983. In 2013, the percentage of workers belonging to a union was 11%, compared to 20% in 1983.

There are more than 50 thousand yoga teachers in the United States, and according to the Yoga Alliance there are two people interested in becoming a teacher for every current teacher on the classroom floor. At that rate, should they succeed in signing up the proletariat of yogis, the Machinists and Aerospace Workers will soon be the biggest union in the country.

Or maybe not

Do I think that yoga teachers deserve more job security and better pay? Yes,” says J. Brown of J. Brown Yoga. “Are there a lot of yoga center owners who are participating in a business model that exploits teachers? Yes. Does the Yoga Alliance 200-hour teacher training standard bear a lot of responsibility for creating this model and fueling more people to follow it? Yes.”

He didn’t stop there.

“Do I think that 100 teachers in NYC becoming part of the union, so they can attempt to negotiate the terms of their employment with Yogaworks, will do anything to change the model across the industry and give teachers more job security and better pay? No.”

There are about six thousand yoga centers nationwide. Twenty years ago, all of them were mom and pop places, independents, riding the wellness gravy train. In the past ten years venture capital has gotten its tentacles into the practice, for good reason.

There are 36 million pairs of active feet on mats nowadays, according to Yoga Journal. The number of people doing yoga grew by 50% in the past five years. Sun salutations are now as popular as swinging a golf club, without even having to go outside and get a sunburn. Popularity polls show that 15% of everybody has done yoga in the past year.

J. Brown sees “bottom line economics infecting the entire landscape of yoga centers. That is why yoga teachers have come to be paid so little and treated so poorly by both the corporate and independent operators.”

The median income in the United States is about $32,000. Median pay at GM is about $40,000. Roughly speaking, the average hourly pay for a member of the United Auto Workers ranges from $28 to $38 for those hired before September 2007, and between $16 and $20 for workers hired afterward. In 2015 yoga teaching was rated as one of the top one hundred jobs in the country, according to CNN, with a median annual paycheck clocking in at more than $60 big ones.

The compensation at YogaWorks ranges from about $35 to $100-or-more to teach classes of an hour’s length, occasionally an hour-and-a-half. The average teacher, teaching an average of 25 classes a week, working about 30 hours a week, at an average rate of pay of $50.00 a class, will make their $60 thousand-or-more a year without breaking a sweat, unless it’s a hot flow class.

One of the complaints made by yoga teachers about their jobs is the extracurricular time they have to spend cleaning the yoga rooms after class, even though the rooms are simply empty spaces with wood floors that usually just require mopping up some sweat and sweeping up some dust balls.

The pay for hotel maids ranges between $9.00 to $13.00 an hour across the country. The pay range hardly varies, suggesting there aren’t many opportunities for increased pay or advancement, even with several years of experience. The average cleaner, working 40 hours a week, vacuuming making beds disinfecting hotel rooms, makes approximately $21,000 a year, a third of what the average yoga teacher makes.

But it’s not just cleaning up after class. There’s more to it than that in the teaching racket. Hotel maids may have to mess with some messy stuff in the rooms they clean, but they don’t have to fiddle with their iPods. Yoga teachers do.

“We’re constantly having to change our playlist, constantly having to sequence, testing it out,” Melissa Brennan of CorePower Yoga said. “The expectation is go out and do all of this work and then come back and bring it back to the studio.”

The work on their digital record players is not compensated and has led to resentment, notwithstanding that teachers make about twice what the average Joe and Jane do. On the other hand, resentment is not morally superior to making money, so you might as well make as much of it as you can when you can.

Melissa and Effie Morgenstern are suing CorePower. They claim the company has failed “to pay its instructors for certain hours worked, causing their average weekly compensation to drop below the minimum wages they are entitled.”

“They hide behind the fact that you have all this gratitude and love and appreciation for yoga and your peers,” said Effie.

“In a lot of ways, they weaponize relationships,” Melissa said. “I know there is a part of me that feels really foolish for buying into that and thinking that these people did care about me.”

The suit is the fourth action with similar complaints filed against CorePower. Almost two thousand other yoga instructors have joined a class action lawsuit, claiming they are “overstretched and not being paid the minimum wages they are entitled to.”

In a statement, CorePower Yoga said the lawsuit brought by Brennan and Morgenstern is without merit and maintains there was no wrongdoing. “CorePower is proud of its practices, believes they are fair, and will continue to stand by and defend them.”

When yoga went commercial it went capitalist. Yoga is cool beans, but cool capitalism is still capitalism, no matter how many times headquarters quotes BKS Iyengar Seane Corn Leslie Kaminoff or anybody else. They might as well cut to the chase and get right to Sadie Nardini, the bright shining guiding light of yoga commercialism.

The debate about traditional vs. modern in the world of yoga is over. It’s been bushwhacked. The answer is free market capitalism. It’s about selling and winning and making money. It’s not for the faint of heart. After all, you can go broke in the yoga game, like anywhere else.

“Capitalism without bankruptcy is like Christianity without hell,” says Frank Borman, businessman and ex-NASA astronaut.

Yoga is progressive open-minded socially conscious, except when it isn’t, when it comes to collective bargaining. Then it’s status quo push back time. “The dynamic of unions doesn’t reflect who we are, how we interact, how we make decisions or where we need to go,” is what automaker corporations and venture capital yogis all say when push comes to shove. It’s my way or the highway.

There are only so many pieces of the pie.

Yoga literally means union. Yoga yoke union. It can be understood on different levels, philosophically, religiously, and psychologically, no longer living at cross-purposes with yourself. It can simply mean going to yoga class, getting in step with like-minded folks. It might soon mean a first sighting thunderbolt, yoga teachers walking the picket line, fending off glib-talking union-busting ginks and finks.

Meanwhile, Andrew Carnegie is laughing hysterically, wherever he is, while new-age union bosses are getting with the new dynamic, and Krishnamacharya and his antecedents are rolling up out of corpse pose with surprised looks, all shook up at the ruckus.

Ed Staskus posts feature stories on Red Island http://www.redislandpei.com, Paperback Yoga http://www.paperbackyoga.com, Lithuanian Journal http://www.lithuanianjournal.com, and State Route Two http://www.stateroutetwo.com. Click “Follow” on a site to get its monthly feature in your in-box.

Gone Gun Crazy

NRA

By Ed Staskus

 All in all, it was all just bricks in the wall.”  Pink Floyd

For half a century, from 1916 until 1966, when Charles Whitman, an ex-Marine, shot and killed 16 people, injuring 31 others, shooting from atop an observation deck at the University of Texas at Austin, there were just 25 public mass shootings in which four-or-more people were killed. The young ex-soldier redefined homegrown massacres. He brought to bear a Remington 700, a .35-caliber Remington, a M1 carbine, a Sears semi-automatic shotgun, a .357 Magnum, a Luger, a .25-caliber pistol, and a big knife.

During the rampage a police sharpshooter in a small plane circling the 27-story building was repeatedly driven back by return fire. The first person killed was the eight-month-old not-yet-born baby of an 18-year-old pregnant student leaving the Student Union. She was shot in the abdomen.

Finally, two policemen stormed the observation deck, one firing his revolver, but missing, and the other killing Charles Whitman instantly with two blasts from his shotgun. The policeman with the revolver emptied his gun into the body at point-blank range, to make sure. He ran to the parapet yelling, “I got him, I got him.” He was almost shot himself by the police on the ground, who didn’t at first realize he wasn’t the shooter.

It remains to this day one of the deadliest mass shootings in the United States.

In the 1980s, the FBI defined mass shootings as four-or-more people (not including the mass murderer) being killed in a single incident, typically in a single location. Since 1966 there have been thousands of them. Before 1966 there was a mass shooting about once every one hundred weeks, There is today a mass shooting about once every day.

Between 1999 and 2013 there were 31 mass murders per year on average. In 2015 there were 220 days of mass shootings and only 145 with none. In the first ten months of 2018 there were 307 mass shootings, almost as many as there were days.

It doesn’t bode well for 2019, with the White House still occupied by a crazy person, the National Rifle Association still staffed by crazy people, and millions of crazy Americans still armed to the teeth. The NRA, with reasoning crooked as a corkscrew, has re-interpreted the 2ndAmendment to suit their agenda. They and their supporters equate their success with goodness.

It doesn’t matter that rightness ends where a gun barrel begins.

There are more guns than people in the country, by far. There are almost 400 million guns in the USA. There are 12 million guns in Canada. There are 3 million guns in England. There a fewer than half-a-million guns in Japan. US citizens own 40% of all the guns in the world, more than the next 25 countries combined.

Until last year yoga studios seemed immune to the violence. Who ever saw a security guard at the front door of a yoga studio? At least, until last November, when Scott Beierle walked into Hot Yoga in Tallahassee, Florida, and shot to death Nancy Van Vessem, a physician and faculty member at Florida State University, and Maura Binkley, a student at the same university.

Maura Binkley’s father said his daughter had planned on becoming a teacher. “She truly lived a life really devoted to peace, love, and caring for others,” said Jeff Binkley. She didn’t live long. She was 21 years old.

It doesn’t take long to go packing in Florida. There is no waiting period to buy an assault rifle. In Iowa no one needs a license to sell guns online. If you plan on selling lemonade, however, even if you’re a 7-year-old and your storefront is your front yard, you need both a food license and a business permit. In Texas, if you want to sell guns, go right on ahead, partner. It is the most heavily armed state in the country.

But, if you want to cut hair in Texas, you have to log 1,500 hours at hairdressing school. Scissors don’t kill people, people do.

Buying a gun almost anywhere in the United States is easier than getting a license to drive, filling out your tax return, or talking to tech support. It’s harder to pay off student debt, which typically takes about 21 years, than it is to buy a gun, which typically takes about 10 minutes. Anyone can walk into a gun store, pass a background check in record time, and get your gun. In some states no one has to even do that. They can buy a gun from a private seller or online, no background check required.

The United States has gone gun crazy. It’s not just mass shootings, either. In 2016, there were 15 people murdered with a handgun in Japan, 26 in England, 130 in Canada, and 11,004 in the USA.

Mass shootings have happened at casinos, nightclubs, hotels, military bases, music festivals, libraries, factories, airports, malls, courthouses, sorority houses, apartment buildings, Waffle Houses, backyard parties, Planned Parenthood clinics, movie theaters, churches, synagogues, the Empire State Building, nursing homes, baseball fields, grade schools, high schools, community colleges, and universities.

In Dangerfield, Texas, a man walked into a church and killed 5 people and wounded 10 others after members of the congregation had earlier declined to be character witnesses for him at a trial.

Besides the mortally shot, four others were wounded at Hot Yoga, a neighborhood studio, and one, a young man who, among others, fought back against the murderer, was pistol-whipped.

“Several people inside fought back and tried to not only save themselves but other people,” said Police Chief Michael DeLeo. “It’s a testament to the courage of people who don’t just turn and run.”

One of them was shot nine times.

The shooting spree broke out on a Friday night as the yoga class was starting. Scott Beierle pretended to be a student, but then pulled a semi-automatic handgun from his duffle bag and started shooting anyone and everyone in sight without warning.

When the gunfire momentarily stopped, Joshua Quick took action.

“I don’t know if it jammed, or what,” he said. “So, I used that opportunity to hit him over the head. I picked up the only thing nearby to hit him with, which was a vacuum cleaner, and I hit him on the head.” The shooter was staggered, but recovered his footing, and pummeled Joshua Quick on the forehead and nose with his gun. The yoga student fell to the floor, bleeding, but got back up

“I jumped up as quickly as I could, ran back, and the next thing I know I’m grabbing a broom, you know, anything I can, and I hit him again.”

“Thanks to him,” said Daniela Albalat, who was shot in the thigh, “I was able to rush out the door, slipping and bleeding. I want to thank that guy from the bottom of my heart because he saved my life.”

Joshua Quick did what the Dalai Lama would have done, except the Dali Lama would have gone heavy. Arguably one of the most peaceable men on the planet, when asked by a child at the Educating Heart Summit in Oregon what he would do if someone came to his school with a gun, he replied without hesitation, ”If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”

By then, three minutes after the first 911 call, sirens were wailing, and the police were showing up at Hot Yoga. Scott Beierle cleared the gun’s chamber, turned it on himself, and shot himself dead and straight to hell.

He lived in Deltona, Florida, about 250 miles from Tallahassee, and had no apparent prior connection with the yoga studio or anyone he gunned down. He had lately been a substitute teacher at the Volusia County Schools, even though he had a bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University in New York and a master’s degree in public administration from Florida State University. He had been arrested several times for battery for groping women on the FSU campus.

“He just gave off a psychopathic vibe, like someone crazy,” said Samantha Mikolajczyk, who had him as a teacher when she was in eighth grade.

He was fired for unprofessional conduct, which meant he had been inappropriately touching teenage female students. Five months later he checked into a Tallahassee motel, and on November 2, 2018, walked into the Tallahassee yoga studio he didn’t know anything about, and started shooting people he didn’t know anything about, except that some of them were women.

“I really didn’t know him,” said his neighbor, Rachel Rodriguez. “He was quiet. He was like a loner.”

He was an amateur musician who posted his songs online. One was “American Whore.” Another was “Homicidal Impulse.” In “American Massacre” he sang, “If I cannot find a decent female to live with, I will find many indecent females to die with. I find that if I cannot make a living, then I will turn, to be successful, I will make a killing.”

Mass murderers are all different, except almost all of them are men. They have their reasons for doing what they do, although none of them are good reasons, and many, if not all, mass murderers suffer from baseline mental problems. Mental health is not compatible with murdering people.

Although they and their reasons are variable, the one constant among them is the semi-automatic firearms they deploy. None of them carries a musket. None of them carries a Colt six-shooter. They bring their AR-15’s. They bring the blessing and imprimatur of the NRA and our self-serving rulers, the NRA that has successfully lobbied one Congress after another for decades to severely limit research by the Centers for Disease Control into gun-related violence

A few days after a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in March 2018, then House Speaker Paul Ryan said his ruling Republican Party planned on keeping restrictions on gun research in place. “We don’t just knee-jerk before we have all the facts and the data,” said the longtime opponent of gun measures.

As long as his kneecaps aren’t getting popped, he’s not going to knee-jerk it.

“We are saddened and angered by the senseless shooting at Hot Yoga Tallahassee,” said Tasha Eichenseher, Yoga Journal’s brand director. “Studios are sacred places where we go for self-care and to feel safe.”

After Sandy Hook and Tree of Life Synagogue and First Baptist Church, it is doubtful there are any sacred places left. It is undoubtedly true there are no safe places left. If even Fort Hood, the biggest active-duty armored army base in the United States, couldn’t prevent Nidal Hasan, an Army major and psychiatrist, from going postal and fatally shooting 13 soldiers, while wounding more than 30 others, it’s doubtful there is safe and secure anywhere.

“It was only a matter of time that gun violence would touch our community,” said Amy Ippoliti, co-founder of 90 Monkeys. “This should be a battle cry to take up the charge. The only way to change gun violence is through policy and politics. If you think yoga isn’t about politics, you need to think again.”

“You have a whole generation with this being more and more normal,” said Jeff Binkley. “That cannot happen.”

Nevertheless, as long as the crazy people we elect to rule in our state and national legislatures, and the crazy people we elect to our state and national capital houses, are the same wallet-stuffing vote-stuffing people allied with gun manufacturers and Second Amendment propagandists, gun-reform legislation and public-health funding are not going to happen.

They don’t give it a second thought.

President Trump performs by way of Twitter to the grass roots that believe they need their guns to make it in this world. They put their faith in his Punch and Judy show even though his grass roots were watered at a thousand country clubs where a thousand-and more gun manufacturers dine and drink and play 18 holes. The security guards carry guns, since Orange Julius no more believes in responsible gun rights than he believes in the Constitution.

Two-and-a-half centuries later we don’t live in 1780s buildings anymore, we don’t travel in 1780s horse and buggies anymore, and we don’t turn on the lights with 1780s whale oil anymore. We don’t read one-page pamphlets and the penny press anymore. We don’t use 1780s medicine, like arsenic and leeches, anymore. There is no reason why a 1780s amendment to the Constitution, written to enable a militia, should enable mass murderers to buy whatever guns whenever and wherever they want.

But that’s the world we have made and the world we live in.

Coming Soon! to a neighborhood near you. Maybe even your own neighborhood. Maybe even your own backyard.

Gun Crazy! Not to be missed! Get your tickets to Hell soon!

Ed Staskus posts feature stories on Red Island http://www.redislandpei.com, Paperback Yoga http://www.paperbackyoga.com, Lithuanian Journal http://www.lithuanianjournal.com, and State Route Two http://www.stateroutetwo.com. Click “Follow” on a site to get its monthly feature in your in-box.

 

 

 

 

All in the Family

Top Yoga Teacher Blogs

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1. Yogacara Global | Yoga Teacher Training Blog

Yogacara Global | Yoga Teacher Training BlogAbout Blog Our Yoga Blog aims to give different perspectives on Yoga, Yoga Teacher Training, lifestyle and more! A great read for those looking for inspiration!
Frequency about 2 posts per month.
Also in Yoga Blogs
Website yogateachertrainingyogacara…
Facebook fans 75. Twitter followers 16.

2. All Yoga Training Blog – Yoga Teacher Training Tips

All Yoga Training Blog - Yoga Teacher Training TipsAbout Blog All Yoga Training blog features comprehensive articles and resources on Yoga Teacher Training and yoga lifestyle for aspiring new yoga teachers.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website allyogatraining.com/blog.html
Facebook fans 39,394. Twitter followers 5.

3. Adam Hocke Yoga

Adam Hocke YogaLondon, UK About Blog Adam has been practicing vinyasa flow yoga since 1999 and has trained extensively with Jason Crandell. He offers precise, strong, and accessible classes to physically awaken the body and develop mindfulness both on and off the mat.
Frequency about 2 posts per month.
Website adamhocke.com/blog
Facebook fans 1,594. Twitter followers 924.

4. Yoga Teacher Prep – Blog

Yoga Teacher Prep - BlogAbout Blog Yoga Teacher Prep was created as a resource hub for yoga teachers and those looking to become yoga teachers. We invite you to connect with our community.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website yogateacherprep.com/blog
Facebook fans 1,504. Twitter followers 867.

5. Yoga With Adriene | Youtube

Yoga With Adriene | YoutubeAustin, TX About Blog WELCOME to the YWA channel! Welcome all levels, all bodies, all genders, all souls! Find a practice that suits your mood or start a journey toward healing.
Frequency about 2 posts per month.
Website youtube.com/user/yogawithadr..
Facebook fans 455,320. Twitter followers 64,162.

6. Ekhart Yoga | Youtube

Ekhart Yoga | YoutubeNetherlands About Blog EkhartYoga.com offers high quality online yoga & meditation classes so that you can enjoy yoga anytime, anywhere. You’ll find classes for everyone, from absolute beginners to experienced practitioners and qualified yoga teachers.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website youtube.com/user/yogatic/videos
Facebook fans 363,779. Twitter followers 7,056.

7. Jenni Rawlings Yoga & Movement – Blog

Jenni Rawlings Yoga & Movement - Blog Santa Barbara About Blog Jenni Rawlings is a yoga teacher with an emphasis on anatomy, physiology, and movement science. Follow for online yoga classes, online yoga anatomy courses, and online movement science courses for yoga teachers.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website jennirawlings.com/blog
Facebook fans 3,783. Twitter followers 232.

8. Jayne Becca Yoga Blog

Jayne Becca Yoga BlogBristol UK About Blog Jayne Becca is a yoga instructor and healthy living blogger based in South Gloucestershire and Bristol, UK. Follow us to keep up with articles on yoga.
Frequency about 2 posts per month.
Also in Ashtanga Yoga Blogs, UK Yoga Blogs, UK Yoga Teacher Blogs
Website jaynebeccayoga.com/blog
Facebook fans 600. Twitter followers 1,436.

9. YOGA FOR HEALTHY AGING

YOGA FOR HEALTHY AGINGBerkeley, CA About Blog Information, advice and companionship on the journey through this blog. Nina is a yoga writer as well as a certified yoga teacher and a long-time yoga practitioner.
Frequency about 3 posts per week.
Website yogaforhealthyaging.blogspot..
Facebook fans 26,927. Twitter followers n/a.

10. Chintamani Yoga – Mountain Top Yogis Blog

Chintamani Yoga - Mountain Top Yogis Blog About Blog This site is dedicated to the teaching and research of yoga pioneers Gregor Maehle and Monica Gauci. After over 30 years of yoga practice in the city we decided to take the injunction of many yoga scriptures.
Frequency about 2 posts per month.
Website chintamaniyoga.com/blog
Facebook fans 7,607. Twitter followers n/a.

11. Real flow yoga

Real flow yoga London About Blog Real flow yoga is a yoga teacher training 200-hour course accredited by the yoga alliance professionals. The course takes place in Portugal and East Sussex. Our mission is dedicated to creating inspiring and adaptive yoga teachers.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Since Jun 2016
Website realflowyoga.com/blog
Facebook fans 1,944. Twitter followers 868.

12. The Yoga Lunchbox | Nourishment for Your Yoga Journey

The Yoga Lunchbox | Nourishment for Your Yoga Journey New Zealand About Blog Nourishment for your yoga journey with articles, books, audio, PDFs and lots of support no matter where you are on your yoga journey. Created and nurtured by yoga teacher & writer Kara-Leah Grant.
Frequency about 2 posts per month.
Website theyogalunchbox.co.nz
Facebook fans 6,522. Twitter followers 758.

13. Power Living

Power LivingAustralia About Blog Power Living Blog contains articles on yoga, meditation, nutrition & yoga philosophy. Power Living teachers and guest bloggers feature. It has studios in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Wellington, NZ.
Frequency about 2 posts per month.
Since Dec 2015
Also in Australian Yoga Blogs
Website powerliving.com.au/blog
Facebook fans 43,917. Twitter followers n/a.

14. The Yoga Institute Santacruz East Mumbai

The Yoga Institute Santacruz East MumbaiSantacruz East, Mumbai, India About Blog The Yoga Institute blog includes articles covering daily talks, events, and many more topics. It also provides a platform for the visitors for discussions.
Frequency about 4 posts per month.
Website theyogainstitute.org/blog
Facebook fans 44,655. Twitter followers 1,207.

15. Yoga Synergy Blog | Australian Yoga Blog

Yoga Synergy Blog | Australian Yoga BlogYoga Synergy, Australia About Blog Established by Simon Borg Olivier & Bianca Machliss in 1984, Yoga Synergy is one of Sydney’s largest and most respected yoga schools. Synergy is to teach the ancient art of yoga in a safe, fun and intelligent way.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Since Nov 2005
Website yogasynergy.com/blog
Facebook fans 6,328. Twitter followers 248.

16. The Journey Junkie

The Journey Junkie St. Petersburg, FL About Blog A journey of yoga, travel, and life inspirations. Welcome to a community of intention setting, false belief breaking & dream making. A place where yoga, travel & lifestyle mold together to form the JOURNEY.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website thejourneyjunkie.com/blog
Facebook fans 25,234. Twitter followers 416.

17. Power Yoga Blog | Tips, Advice & Information

Power Yoga Blog | Tips, Advice & InformationAbout Blog I am Bryan Kest, owner of Santa Monica Power Yoga & Meditation and poweryoga.com, located in Santa Monica, CA. Check out Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga at home or on the go and take our yoga practice with you
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website poweryoga.com/blog
Facebook fans 34,725. Twitter followers n/a.

18. Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Method | Yoga Sequences

Jason Crandell Vinyasa Yoga Method | Yoga SequencesSan Francisco, CA About Blog Great yoga teachers have the ability to give clear verbal cues. Here are some tips to immediately improve verbal cueing for yoga teachers. Get information about Jason Crandell and his method of vinyasa yoga that combines power, precision, and mindfulness.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website jasonyoga.com/yoga-poses
Facebook fans 186,638. Twitter followers 3,911.

19. Yoga with Kassandra

Yoga with KassandraOttawa About Blog Yoga with Kassandra offers free online Yin Yoga & Vinyasa Flow yoga classes, daily yoga inspiration and yoga pose demonstration! My classes are suitable for beginners as well as advanced yogis and range from Vinyasa Flow to Yin Yoga.
Frequency about 1 post per week.
Website blog.yogawithkassandra.com
Facebook fans 10,508. Twitter followers 659.

20. Little Flower Yoga Blog

Little Flower Yoga BlogNew York About Blog LFY teaches yoga and mindfulness classes in school and youth organizations in New York, and offers a yoga alliance certified children’s yoga teacher training in locations around the country. Our mission is to provide tools that help all children overcome physical, mental and emotional barriers to learning, empower them to make healthy choices and offer a space for experiencing joy
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Since Mar 2011
Also in Kids Yoga Blogs
Website littlefloweryoga.com/blog
Facebook fans 10,349. Twitter followers 1,576.

21. Buddhi Yoga La Jolla – Blog

Buddhi Yoga La Jolla - BlogLa Jolla, San Diego About Blog Buddhi Yoga is committed to providing outstanding classes taught by San Diego’s best yoga teachers. Buddhi Yoga is a premier yoga studio located in La Jolla, California. We offer daily yoga classes, workshops & teacher trainings
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website buddhiyogalj.com/yoga-blog
Facebook fans 1,758. Twitter followers 227.

22. Blissful Yogini – Yoga Blog

Blissful Yogini - Yoga BlogHonolulu, Hawaii About Blog Our yoga blog contains practical resources and solutions to your yoga questions and problems. Providing practical yogic tools, cutting edge business practices and ancient spiritual principles to catapult you into a life you love.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website blissfulyogini.com/blog
Facebook fans 1,200. Twitter followers 1,093.

23. Blog – Ahimsa Yoga Studio

Blog - Ahimsa Yoga StudioAbout Blog Through its classical yoga teachings, Ahimsa Yoga Studio is committed to improving the physical, mental, and spiritual sides of all practitioners.There are classes for all ages and levels including Beginners, Vinyasa Flow, Hatha, Gentle/Restorative, Yin and YogaKids/Teens, and a range of specialized workshops.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website ahimsayogastudios.com/blog
Facebook fans 366. Twitter followers n/a.

24. Upaya Yoga – Blog

Upaya Yoga - BlogGoa, India About Blog Yoga Teacher Training Course in India. Yoga teacher training School in India offering 200hrs, 300hrs and 500hrs Ashtanga Vinyasa TTC courses, Retreats workshops at Goa and Rishikesh India.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website upaya-yoga.com/blog
Facebook fans 5,415. Twitter followers 8.

25. Yoga For Diabetes | How to Manage your Health with Yoga and Ayurveda

Yoga For Diabetes | How to Manage your Health with Yoga and AyurvedaAustralia About Blog Type 1 Diabetic and Global Yoga Teacher of 30 years creating tools to manage Diabetes with Yoga. I have started this blog to share with the Diabetes online community how yoga has helped me to manage my diabetes.
Frequency about 2 posts per month.
Also in Diabetes Blogs
Website yogafordiabetesblog.com
Facebook fans 1,396. Twitter followers 1,728.

26. Chinmay Yoga Teacher Training in Dharamsala, India – Blog

Chinmay Yoga Teacher Training in Dharamsala, India - BlogDharmsala, India About Blog Chinmay yoga is the only yoga institute in Dharmshala opened with a pure motive of SEVA and no business of minting money.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website chinmayyoga.com/yoga-blogs
Facebook fans 1,088. Twitter followers 72.

27. Exhale Yoga Retreats – Blog

Exhale Yoga Retreats - Blog El Salvador, Bali & Nicaragua About Blog Exhale Yoga Retreats attracts positive people from around the globe that come together to unite a higher frequency of good vibes. Come join a fun loving crew and enjoy the company of new found friends in paradise for a life-enhancing experience.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website exhaleyogaretreats.com/yoga-..
Facebook fans 9,549. Twitter followers 146.

28. Noah McKenna | Yoga Teacher Training – Blog

Noah McKenna | Yoga Teacher Training - BlogGoa, India About Blog A range of interesting articles from our yoga trainers from around the world. Read our blog for more information about Yoga Teacher Training .
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website noahmckenna.com/blog
Facebook fans 4,915. Twitter followers 61.

29. Love Light Yoga | Danielle Hoogenboom – Blog

Love Light Yoga | Danielle Hoogenboom - Blog Vancouver, Bc About Blog Danielle Hoogenboom is a yoga instructor, activist, clothing designer & urban home steader. Come and leave the stress from daily life behind, quiet the mind and listen to the sound of your heart.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website lovelightyoga.com/blog
Facebook fans n/a. Twitter followers 775.

30. Samyak Yoga – Mysore

Samyak Yoga – MysoreMysore, Karnataka About Blog Samyak Yoga Blog is considered as one of the Best Yoga Blog Mysore India with its wide range of subjects from Asana practice, Pranayama, Asana Anatomy, Yoga Philosophy, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Hatha Yoga traditional Practice etc.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website samyakyoga.org/samyak-yoga-blog
Facebook fans 4,804. Twitter followers 954.

31. MM…Yoga! – Blog

MM...Yoga! - Blog Melbourne, Australia About Blog Find corporate yoga, family yoga and private yoga classes in Melbourne, Australia. We come to you wherever you are in Melbourne.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website yogainmelbourne.com/blog
Facebook fans 1,441. Twitter followers n/a.

32. Yoga Teacher Training Blogs

Yoga Teacher Training BlogsRishikesh About Blog Rishikesh yogis is a yoga organization founded by Yogi Uttam and Yogi Abhishek, Yogi Sushant in the year 2004 .After their many years of study and research on traditional they decided to share this knowledge with world with its Authentic way.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website rishikeshyogisyogshala.org/y..
Facebook fans 3,962. Twitter followers 27.

33. TheYogiMatt

TheYogiMattAbout Blog Your resource for Yoga, the body, teaching and anatomy.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website theyogimatt.com
Facebook fans 4,123. Twitter followers 4,455.

34. Yogagati | For the aspiring yoga teacher and enthusiast -Yoga Blog

 Yogagati | For the aspiring yoga teacher and enthusiast -Yoga BlogThailand About Blog Check out our Yogagati Yoga blog, updated regularly, to bring you everything they need to know about yoga teacher training and much more.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website yogagati.com/yoga-blog
Facebook fans 1,458. Twitter followers 1.

35. Paperback Yoga

Paperback YogaAbout Blog Paperback Yoga is a once-a-month series of feature stories, breaking news, profiles, humor, analysis and op-ed about modern yoga. PY is written by Ed Staskus, a free-lance writer in Lakewood, Ohio.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Since Dec 2012
Website paperbackyoga.com
Facebook fans 29. Twitter followers n/a.

36. International Yoga Teacher Training Retreats – Frog Lotus Yoga

International Yoga Teacher Training Retreats – Frog Lotus YogaAbout Blog The Frog Lotus Yoga Teacher Training Course is a professional, established, comprehensive, organised and highly effective training program. It has been successfully running for fifteen years, with 7 teacher trainings offered per year. It has been registered at the 200 Hour and 500 Hour level with Yoga Alliance USA and UK since 2001.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website froglotusyogainternational.c..
Facebook fans n/a. Twitter followers n/a.

37. YogaYin | Youtube

YogaYin | YoutubeAbout Blog YogaYin.com was created by qualified Yoga Instructor & Therapist Allannah Law. Experience the DIFFERENCE with a Certified Yoga Therapist/Registered Level 3 Yoga Instructor. YogaYin.com was created by qualified Yoga Instructor & Therapist Allannah Law
Frequency about 2 posts per month.
Website youtube.com/user/ALYogaYin/v..
Facebook fans 3,141. Twitter followers n/a.

38. Fightmaster Yoga | Youtube

Fightmaster Yoga | YoutubeDana Point About Blog WELCOME to Fightmaster Yoga, I’m Lesley Fightmaster. I believe free yoga classes can be available to everyone! If you love yoga, come do a teacher training with me!!
Frequency about 3 posts per month.
Website youtube.com/user/lesleyfight..
Facebook fans 13,694. Twitter followers 2,277.

39. Daniel Scott | Youtube

Daniel Scott | YoutubeAbout Blog Want to get better at AcroYoga? Daniel Scott can help. Daniel Scott is yogi provocateur with a fresh alternative to the traditional “yoga voice”. His classes are a lively mix of balance cut with improv, strength and flexibility– Daniel focuses on moving into postures, not through them. An E-RYT 500 globally renowned ashtanga-vinyasa teacher and Certified Level 2 AcroYoga instructor.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Also in Yoga Youtube Channels
Website youtube.com/user/danielscott..
Facebook fans 11,517. Twitter followers n/a.

40. Yoga Teaching Tips | The Driven Yogi

Yoga Teaching Tips | The Driven YogiAbout Blog The Driven Yogi is a California based brand that provides tips, suggestions, and advice to help new yoga teachers navigate their journey after yoga teacher training.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website thedrivenyogi.com/blog
Facebook fans 88. Twitter followers n/a.

41. Joe Miller | Youtube

Joe Miller | YoutubeNew York City About Blog A New York City yoga teacher and teacher trainer with a masters’s degree in applied physiology, I teach anatomy and physiology for yoga teachers and other practitioners around the country and worldwide. I’m also a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement teacher, Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach and movement science geek.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Since Mar 2013
Also in Teacher Youtube Channels
Website youtube.com/user/jm1081/videos
Facebook fans n/a. Twitter followers 125.

42. Ballarat Iyengar Yoga tips and advice by our Yoga teachers and students

Ballarat Iyengar Yoga tips and advice by our Yoga teachers and studentsBallarat, Victoria, Aus. About Blog A collection of useful articles written by our own teachers and students with tips on how to get the most out of your own yoga experience
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website ballaratyoga.com.au/blog
Facebook fans 5,570. Twitter followers 214.

43. Yoga Among Friends | Insights & Inspiration Blog

Yoga Among Friends | Insights & Inspiration BlogDowners Grove, IL About Blog We teach yoga in a safe, relaxed and open environment. Here is where fundraisers are given & friendships form. Here is community. Here is yoga… among friends.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website yogaamongfriends.com/news
Facebook fans 1,135. Twitter followers 100.

44. Aloha and Coffee | Yoga Teacher

Aloha and Coffee | Yoga TeacherBirmingham, England About Blog Zoe Woodward is a qualified nutritionalist, life and business coach, yoga instructor, and world traveller based in Birmingham, UK. Offering weekly live yoga classes throughout the Midlands, interactive online yoga videos, private one to one instruction, and international wellbeing and lifestyle retreats. Zoe also offers one to one business and life coaching and mentoring.
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website alohaandcoffee.com
Facebook fans 280. Twitter followers 532.

45. Cathy Valentine | Yoga Instructor – Blog

Cathy Valentine | Yoga Instructor - BlogAbout Blog For me, Yoga is not just a practice, but a lifestyle. Yoga means to “unite” or “create balance”. Practicing Yoga every day provides me with the tools to create balance in my everyday life. When my body and mind are balanced, optimal health and creativity flow into this amazing life I’m living!
Frequency about 1 post per month.
Website cavalentineyoga.com/blog
Facebook fans n/a. Twitter followers n/a.

And last, but not least:

SFIYI_Logo1

https://integralyogasf.org/blog

These blogs are ranked by Feedspot based on the following criteria:

  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts.
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review

Top Yoga Teacher Blogs

CONGRATULATIONS to every blogger that has made this Top Yoga Teacher Blogs list! This is the most comprehensive list of best Yoga Teacher blogs on the internet and Feedspot is honored to have you as part of this! I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world.

Ed Staskus posts feature stories on Red Island http://www.redislandpei.com, Paperback Yoga http://www.paperbackyoga.com, Lithuanian Journal http://www.lithuanianjournal.com, and State Route Two http://www.stateroutetwo.com. Click “Follow” on a site to get its monthly feature in your in-box.

 

Cooling Off the Cops

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By Ed Staskus

It’s never easy working on the slopes of a live volcano. There’s molten lava, debris-flow avalanches, volcanic gases, not to mention pyroclastic density currents, which are gravity-driven, rapidly-moving, ground-hugging mixtures of rock fragments and fluid as hot as 1700 degrees That’s why most volcanologists study either dormant or dead volcanoes.

They don’t go hiking up into harm’s way.

Policemen don’t usually work anywhere near volcanoes, either, except when some excitable dumb-ass with one of America’s 357 million guns goes trigger happy. At that point the arm of the law might as well be on the lip of Mt. Vesuvius, staring down into a maw of lava.

Your body armor best be fire-proof, your aim true.

Since 1784, the year the Revolutionary War ended and the United States became the United States, there have been 708 volcano-related deaths in the country. In that same time 21,541 police officers have been killed in the line of duty. Policemen put their badges on in the morning not being completely sure they’ll be taking them off that same night at home.

Even though only a small percentage of the nation’s nearly one million police officers are ever killed by criminals, nearly one out of every ten are attacked every year, for one reason or another. There’s a reason they wear bullet proof vests and carry guns.

It’s a dangerous beat. It comes with a lot of risk and hazard. It’s not just punching a clock. There’s a load of stress built into it. It’s a wonder more cops don’t blow their tops. Even still, the suicide rate among policemen is one-and-a- half times higher than the general population.

The thin blue line can get thin ragged worn out.

Recruits train like nobody’s business at police academies to learn their trade. They study state and national laws, computers and patrol procedures, first aid, cop car driving, and drill with firearms. They get physically fit. Contrary to the myth of the boys and girls in blue stuffing their faces with donuts, because police work is physically demanding, almost all officers routinely work out their capacity for the work.

They ain’t flatfoots, if they ever were.

Policing in the real world is physically and mentally demanding. Officers have to enforce the law of the land, but have to be flexible, as well, when serving the public. Yoga is a mind-body practice based on strength and flexibility. That’s why some police officers have been turning to it and meditation as a kind of continuing education.

It’s yoga mats in the squad room, calming down the cops.

“Police officers are suffering,” said Richard Goerling, a lieutenant on the Police Department in Hillsboro, Oregon, outside Portland. “There are so many stressors to being a police officer today. The job is incredibly complicated. The organizations are complicated. The legal climate is complicated, and our relationship with our public is complicated.”

He started a meditation and mindfulness program for his department in 2013.

“We’re driving fast, we’re riding with sirens. It’s game on. Mindfulness teaches us to mitigate the stress response. I started looking at what professional athletes and what elite performers in the military do. That led me to yoga.”

It works, which is why professional athletes from the NBA’s LeBron James to the NFL’s Travis Benjamin to the NHL’s Jared Boll have added yoga to their fitness regimens. Except when it doesn’t work. When Shaquille O’Neal, a former NBA all-star, got on the mat he wasn’t able to down dog it, much less slam dunk it.

“I’m the worst yoga student in the history of yoga,” he admitted.

He’s still trying to touch his toes.

On the yoga mat at the floor level, the practice brings together physical and mental disciplines in one place at one time. It is physical postures breathing being aware of the moment without judgment. It is improved strength range of motion fitness and reduced stress anxiety blood pressure. It’s multifunctional.

It is an ice cream swirl that feels guaranteed good.

It might be the silver bullet lawmen need in their holsters, to serve, protect, and breathe, shifting from police officers to peace officers.

“It is meant for them,” said Olivia Kvitne of Yoga for First Responders. She founded and directs the program, addressing common problems policemen face. It has been estimated 30 percent of police officers have stress-based physical health problems and 40 percent suffer from sleep disorders.

“Why is it meant for them? It’s because the original and true intents of yoga are to obtain a mastery of the mind and achieve an optimal functioning of the entire being, from the subtle nervous system to the whole physical body. They become more resilient in the face of adversity.”

When it comes to policework, adversity isn’t a question of whether it’s going to get in your face, it’s when and where. Even though crime rates are at historic lows, policemen on the street deal with people who have mental problems, people round the bend on drugs and drink, and people crazed by anger or desperation and carrying weapons that are dangerous.

The daily tour of duty can be a front row seat to despair.

“Not everybody likes police officers,” observed Oskaloosa, Iowa, Police Officer Blaine Shutts. “We see them at their worst times and we are used to that. But we have to watch out so that they can’t take a swing, punch, kick, or hit us with anything.”

Safety is the number one priority of all lawmen.

“We say everybody comes to work and everybody goes home,” said Officer Shutts.

The training intensives of Yoga for First Responders focus on tactical breathing, physical postures for fleshing out muscular stability, and “neurological reset exercises to return the system to a balanced state.”

Everyone is in a safe spot when they’re balanced, their legs under them, stretching out into Warrior Pose.

Resilience is a trait shared by all warriors. It’s a necessary aspect of the breed. But a lack of empathy is not. Policemen are prone to expecting the worst and becoming cynical, given the day–to-day rough-and-tumble they encounter every day and night.

Police officer Richard Goerling found himself questioning his approach to encounters with the public almost ten years ago. “I’d leave a radio call thinking, ‘Hmm, I probably could have been more kind’ and really questioning whether or not the abrasive approach was an appropriate response,” he said.

When he proposed a yoga program for his Hillsboro department it was because he wanted “to cultivate an empathetic warrior culture that allows a police officer to see someone holding a sign that says ‘I can’t breathe’ and instead of responding with some defensive statement, it’s really an interrogative, tell me more about that.”

Yoga is about showing up when you fit the description, about fitting the bill, standing out in the line-up. It is about listening to your body, listening to yourself, and listening to others. It is about opening your heart a little and lending an ear

“I wish the community had a greater understanding of why the police do what we do, and sometimes we have to do a better job of putting ourselves in their shoes, as well,” said Don De Lucca, the chief of police in Doral, Florida, and president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

“We’re at a crossroads, and we both need to be willing to listen.”

Yoga fosters mindful listening. Police are trained to sort out, advise, and clean up things that have gone wrong. Yoga trains us to listen with openness and your whole attention. When policemen listen actively they get things right more often than not. When they practice buddhi, which is witnessing, mindful listening, they are able to listen with less judgment and more understanding.

The same goes for members of the body politic.

“As much as police need to learn to listen, listening to police is the simplest way to avoid conflicts with them,” said South Florida Law Enforcement Officer Jay Stalien.

Listening to what the other side has to say is good all around. It is a sincere kind of respect. The opposite of talking shouldn’t be waiting for your turn to talk. It should be about being present, not rummaging around in your bag of tricks for what you’re about to say next. Listening is active. It’s about paying attention. If you’re not listening, you’re not looking at what is right in front of you and you’re not learning.

“Officers are faced with life-and-death situations daily,” said Shayleen Halloran, a yoga instructor and wife of a Chicago-area patrolman.

They are always being confronted by bad ideas gone wrong. “That kind of stress can have a huge impact on their emotional and physical health. Yoga can help even out the roller coaster.”

Whether you’re writing out a parking complaint, running after a suspect, picking somebody up for shoplifting, pointing your firearm at somebody else, you’re on the incident coaster, sharply winding trestles, steep inclines, and speedy plunges.

“It’s a good way to limber up and to bring you back down from that hyper vigilance,” said her husband. It’s packing handcuffs and yoga mats.

Lawmen often drive alone in police cars working 10-hour shifts. Sitting and driving all day is not good for your back. Not only is yoga a proven remedy for stress, it’s great for lower back pain. Rolling out your standard issue peacemaker mat at the end of a long day is like Car 54 to the rescue.

“There’s a holdup in the Bronx, Brooklyn’s broken out in fights. There’s a traffic jam in Harlem, that’s backed up to Jackson Heights. There’s a Scout troop short a child. Car 54, Where Are You?”

“As an officer, you’re supposed to go in and do your job, handle the call and leave,” said Michele Garcia, an Arizona policewoman for more than twenty years. “After a few months of doing yoga, I noticed I was nicer to the people I was dealing with every day.”

It’s like karma lawmen on the beat. If yoga makes cops better lawmen, there’s no reason for them to cop out on the next yoga class.

The next time you’re involved in toil and trouble, have need of assistance out in the wide world, or just scratched the surface of lawbreaking and are pulled over for something, like turning on red when you haven’t seen the sign saying not to, and the peace officer lets you off with a warning, try saying “Namaste” as he walks away.

If he’s a policeman who shapes himself, personally professionally, whose beat is in his head as much as it is out there, he might know what you’re talking about.

Ed Staskus posts feature stories on Red Island http://www.redislandpei.com, Paperback Yoga http://www.paperbackyoga.com, Lithuanian Journal http://www.lithuanianjournal.com, and State Route Two http://www.stateroutetwo.com. Click “Follow” on a site to get its monthly feature in your in-box.

 

 

 

Backbend Bombshell

Kim Jong-un

By Ed Staskus

Breaking with rigid societal control, secretive totalitarianism, and his own familial tradition, North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un has proclaimed his nation will cease to be a Stalinist throwback and alternately intends to adopt yoga as its ruling ideology.

“We will no longer be a Cold War relic,” he asserted while making his stunning announcement.

When asked if the unprecedented changeover would be immediate or phased in over time, he proclaimed August 15th, Liberation Day, as the day yoga would officially become the new law of the land.

Liberation Day commemorates the independence of the Korean Peninsula after the defeat of the Japanese by the Allies during World War Two. It is the only official holiday celebrated in both South and North Korea.

Several immediate changes were made public.

“We are dissolving the Worker’s Party of Korea, demobilizing 90% of the Korean People’s Army, and abandoning all atomic bomb and guided missile development,” said Kim Jong-un in his role as Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army and Chairman of the Central Military Commission.

Under the decades-long Songun – “military first” – policy of the country there are almost 6 million paramilitary personnel on duty, nearly 25% of North Korea’s population. The regimen emphasizes the military over all other aspects of state and society. Decommissioning 90% of the military and reservists will return more than 5 million men and women to civilian life.

Junta power was quickly brought to an end. The arrest and detention of numerous vice-marshals, generals, and flag officers of the ground forces, navy, air force and rocket services was reported concomitant to Kim Jong–un’s statement.

A North Korean spokesman said the Supreme Leader would brook no dissent regarding his revolutionary about-face.

“A revolutionary party is, in its essence, the party of its leader that carries out his ideology and cause, and the main thing in its building is to ensure the unitary character and inheritance of his ideology and leadership,” said Kim Jong-un, asserting his authority.

Radio and television sets, pre-tuned to government stations that until the announcement delivered a steady stream of propaganda, began broadcasting yoga philosophy lectures and youtube videos of the practice.

When asked about his prospects of success in transforming North Korea from an armed military camp to a nationwide yoga studio, Kim Jong-un replied, “It is a proud tradition and fighting trait of out people to rise up like mountains and go through fire and water to unfailingly carry through the party’s orders and instruction.”

Stepping away from the podium, he deftly demonstrated Mountain Pose.

World leaders were flummoxed.

Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who has been quoted as saying North Korea needed to “change paths” and put the interests of its people first, was speechless, deferring comment.

“We will continue to work closely with the international community to ensure that pressure on North Korea continues and sanctions are strictly enforced until Kim Jong-un matches his words with concrete actions,” said an official spokesman for Mrs. May.

“Kim Jong-un is shrewd and mature,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin. “He has stated his strategic task. He has outplayed his rivals. I think he has obviously won this round.”

President Putin recently admitted he admires those who achieve results in yoga. “Even though I prefer to look at yoga from the outside, I very much envy those who achieve some tangible results. This just shows the character of the people who achieve such results in this activity. Sometimes you look and just cannot believe your eyes.”

“Fake news, fake news,” said Donald Trump, who was recently derided as a “mentally deranged dotard” by Kim Jong-un.

John Bolton, Donald Trump’s national security advisor, who has described the North Korean state as a “hellish nightmare,” reserved response, saying the matter required further analysis.

“We all agree on one goal, a denuclearized North Korea,” said Nikki Haley, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, applauding the implications of the announcement.

The hermit kingdom’s nuclear saber-rattling had been on the rise since its young leader came to power in 2011. During the Obama administration Secretary of State John Kerry said, “What Kim-Jong-un has been choosing to do is provocative, it is dangerous, reckless, and the United States will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state.” Since then North Korea has conducted at least three successful nuclear tests and developed intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States mainland.

In late 2017 President Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” if it refused to abandon its nuclear ambitions and “totally destroy” it if pushed to the brink.

Kim Jong-un’s unexpected pivot away from launching pad politics and nuclear blackmail has made the extreme scenario of atomic retaliation moot. ”There can be neither today without yesterday nor tomorrow without today,” he said.

“It is our party’s unshakeable stand to prevent a new war from breaking out on the Korean peninsula and accelerate economic construction in a peaceful environment, thus resolving at an early date the problems related with the people’s livelihood.”

“I’ll believe the Little Rocket Man when I see it,” tweeted President Trump.

“The North Korean leader was ‘very aware’ of his image and reacted to comments made about him in a ‘relaxed manner’ by joking about himself from time to time,” according to Reuters, the international news service.

Ironically, as the United States has demanded nuclear disarmament from North Korea, it has overhauled its existing arsenal and spent billions of dollars expanding the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. On the same day the White House announced Donald Trump was on again for the on-again off-again meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore in June, the Pentagon revealed plans to both revitalize America’s weapons and create a next generation of them.

According to a report released In February the Pentagon highlighted North Korea’s “illicitly producing nuclear warheads” as grounds for the advanced undertakings at both Savannah River and the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

In “The Yogi and the Commissar” – a collection of essays by Arthur Koestler published the same year that the only atomic bombs ever deployed as weapons of mass destruction were detonated – the commissar is the man who wants to change society by any means necessary, while the yogi is the man who wants to change the individual through an emphasis on yoga.

The 34-year-old Supreme Leader with the Fred Flintstone haircut appears to have shed his commissar cloak and donned basketball shorts and a muscle tee. Dennis Rodman, who has made multiple visits to North Korea, advised the country’s commander-in-chief on proper attire for the yoga mat.

“For some reason, he trusts me,” the former NBA star and flamboyant cross-dresser said, sporting a white PotCoin shirt with images of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un on the front.

“My job is to be a human being, to try and connect us with him.”

He was unable, however, to explain the elusive leader’s taking up yoga and declaring it the national belief and value. “What makes him tick? He’s always smiling, man, with his people, his sister, his brother. Just like regular people. Maybe that’s it.”

When asked what led to the unexpected change of heart, Kim Jong-un said, ”The year 2016 was a year of revolutionary event, a year of great change, worthy of note in the history of our party and country.”

In the latter half of 2016 the Obama administration sanctioned Kim Jong-un and ten other regime officials for human rights abuses. Before year’s end South Korea announced it had elite troops on standby to assassinate the North Korean despot if the need arose.

It seems unlikely, however, that threats were the impetus for change. “I will surely and definitely tame the Trump with fire,” declared Kim Jong-un after the American election season. Nevertheless, since then he has unexpectedly met with President Xi Jinping of China, who is his closest ally, visited South Korea, the only member of North Korea’s ruling dynasty to do so since the Korean War, and parlayed with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

“Our cause is just, and the might of Korea that is united with truth is infinite,” he said.

A State Department spokesman, requesting anonymity, speculated the North Korean leader had taken up yoga as a solution for his health problems.

Four years ago the North Korean leader disappeared from sight for several months with what was described as “an uncomfortable physical condition.” At various times he has been reported to be suffering from gout, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Last year his weight appeared to balloon to almost 300 pounds. While visiting a cosmetics factory he had to be helped off his feet and onto a folding chair, his face bathed in sweat.

“Kim’s health is something out own intel community is trying to gain every possible insight on,” said Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest.

Regardless, no matter still fluffy and pudgy-cheeked, he has this year, by all accounts, looked slimmer and more active and cheerful.

There are many physical benefits to the practice of yoga, from muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility, to cardiovascular effects, to weight loss. “Researchers have found that people who practice yoga have lower body mass indexes compared to those who do not practice yoga,” according to the Harvard Medical School.

Yoga develops awareness, including mindful eating, which may have helped Kim Jong-un develop a more self-assured relationship with food and eating, according to several experts. However, whether he achieves a svelte yoga body in the next few years is both an open question and beside the point.

Whether or not he moves beyond the mat is what matters.

“True yoga is not about the shape of your body, “said Aadil Palkhivala. “It is about the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed. It is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been. It cares about the person you are becoming.”

Very few, if any, dictators have ever practiced yoga in its long history. The practice is antithetical to tyranny, or buffoonery.

In our own time the glamorous daughter of Uzbekistan’s dictator has posted pictures of herself on a yoga mat. A broadcast on Radio Free Europe pointed out her “skimpy workout clothes and the prurient nature of some of the yoga poses overstepped the boundaries of propriety.”

The children of the powerful usually believe they know everything.

Kim Jong-un making the eight limbs of yoga government policy in North Korea is anybody’s guess.  “Suddenly, the whole country is engulfed with happiness and the people endlessly inspired,” the Supreme Leader said. Observers have been hard-pressed to believe the newfound true believer yogi will be able to execute his ambitions, given the unwonted transformation.

“Kim can presume a benevolent dictatorship provided he is the dictator, and he is the ultimate dictator,” said a White House senior advisor. “However, his coterie, his family, the military, and the senior members of the government, all have to benefit, otherwise he risks being overthrown.”

Just slightly more than a year removed from the Oval Office, Barack Obama pointed out the difficulty of making wholesale changes.

“Sometimes the task of government is to make incremental improvements or try to steer the ocean liner two degrees north or south so that ten years from now we’re in a very different place than we were,” he said. “Some people may feel like a we need a 50 degree turn. They say, if I turn 50 degrees, the whole ship turns. But, you can’t turn 50 degrees.”

Nevertheless, even though Kim Jong-un has proposed turning his ship of state 180 degrees, there is a chance he can make it happen.

“There is a tremendous sense of optimism by the leadership and by the people I met with and hopes that they will be turning a new chapter in history, a new page,” said David Beasley, the executive director of the World Food Program, a United Nations agency. He visited North Korea the first week of May. He said he saw “a genuine desire to be more open.”

Former First Lady Michele Obama introduced yoga to the White House. In 2009 it became part of the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn. The Obama’s were the only presidential couple to have ever practiced yoga.

Kim Jong-un may have laid an egg with his proclamation.

On the other hand, when it comes to yoga, as K. Pattabhi Jois once said when asked what it was all about, “Just do.”

Ed Staskus posts feature stories on Red Island http://www.redislandpei.com, Paperback Yoga http://www.paperbackyoga.com, Lithuanian Journal http://www.lithuanianjournal.com, and State Route Two http://www.stateroutetwo.com. Click “Follow” on a site to get its monthly feature in your in-box.