Friday, September 30, 2005

Dear Yoga Chickie,

Why so hostile, about me and the wife, yo? Me and Demi, we had a Jewish wedding and followed all the traditions, right down to the breaking of the glass at the end, a'ite? That's more than I can say for you, yo, you dis da Ganesha puja, bending instead, you know what I be saying, dat be true, Yoga Chickie, yo.

Signed,

AK from LA

Dear AK,

Actually, my post that talks about you, Demi, Madonna, Esther and Hamentashen (I left out Britney because she put on 65 pounds during her pregnancy - GO GIRL! - and she might be really sensitive to being made fun of right now...) as being examples of "appropriation of culture" was intended to be tongue in cheek. It was supposed to be so OVER THE TOP that it would illlustrate what it is that Yoga Chickie finds to be absurd about the notion of claiming "ownership" over Indian culture, Hindu culture and the Eight Limbs of Yoga, including the Asana limb.

Even as a Jew, Yoga Chickie is not particularly upset or even moved by the idea that non-Jews are aping Jewish ceremonies and traditions. They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. If there was anything to "steal" from the Jews and the Jewish religion, perhaps Yoga Chickie would feel differently. By analogy, Yoga Chickie is not really upset or moved by the idea that non-Indians (etc.) are aping Indian (etc.) ceremonies and traditions. And Yoga Chickie freely admits that she is one of those who does the aping: she teaches yoga, including quoting and interpreting passages from the Yoga Sutras, including chanting in the Sanskrit language. Like the non-Jewish Kabbalists, Yoga Chickie does not adhere to every aspect of Judaism, nor does she adhere to every aspect of yoga tradition. That being said, Yoga Chickie is quick to acknowledge that the traditions are important, and that changes from the tradition be recognized and given context. As such, she ends each of her yoga classes with the following request: that her students bow forward in a gesture of honor to the traditions of yoga practice.

If anyone thought that I was angry about Hamentashen, let me just dispense with that notion here and now. The more Hamentashen I can find in the spring, the better. I don't care if it's baked by rabbis or by nuns. I often bakes some in my own non-Kosher kitchen.

As for my "monkey mind" - first of all, I really dislike the negative reference to monkeys. I am a huge fan of Hanuman, the great monkey God-warrior of Hindu mythology. He was brave, and he was patient, and he loved his master, Rama so much that he was willing to spend, literally YEARS on a quest to save his life and to bring back his love, Sita (who Hanuman may or may not have been in love with, himself). Hanuman did what was thought to be impossible: he leapt across the sea. He did it out of love, he did it with devotion, he did it with perseverance. It has been said that from the moment Hanuman began his leap until the moment he touched down in Sri Lanka, years passed, and during that time, Hanuman's hair went gray. I think that we all could benefit from being a bit more like this particular monkey, Hanuman.

Putting aside the word "monkey" and just focusing on what is meant by "monkey mind" (the term, "monkey mind" refers to a mind that is distracted, a mind that is spinning and leaping jumping like a monkey), I don't think that writing in a journal, or a public journal like a blog, is the sign of a monkey mind any more than writing a novel, poetry, music or engaging in any form of creative expression is the sign of a monkey mind. And if it IS, then bring on the monkeys. The world would be a terribly boring place if we all became too blissed out to engage in creative expression.

What I write here is, for better or for worse, creative expression. Like it or not, like me or not, if you are reading this blog, it is because I entertain you. If using my mind to spin creative riffs on whatever happens to be flitting around in my fertile mind is wrong, then I don't want to be right.

YC

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

YEA HOOOOOOO!!!!!
Right on. Write on.
Susan

Anonymous said...

wow-- this post was definately borderline offensive.
comparing your blogging to fiction writing, poetry or music making is obscene!!!! it doesnt even come close my dear. Creative expression it is not--creative therapy it is. I'm glad you have it-- we all need something--myself included. Thats one of the reasons I practice yoga. Hope your book deal comes through at some point. It would certainly allow all this writing to make some sense to someone even if it's not me or some others who have responded in recent days.

and don't pat yourself on the back too hard. Not everyone reads your blog because they find it entertaining. they read it because they need to be reminded that everyone who devotes some part of thier life to yoga are not really true to the practice-- But i guess that goes to show you don't really have to be. Everybody's path is never the same.

Anonymous said...

I actually see this particular blog as more of a tabloid. It grabs my attention, but then I have to remind myself that my attention is better spent elsewhere. It's kinda like watching a multi-car crash. Only instead of cars, the wreck is made up of "I," "me," and "mine."

Anonymous said...

that is so right on. couldn't of said it better myself.

k said...

u guys better watch out. these are the kind of comments that gets YC on a very "high horse". It's sad to see.

Anonymous said...

You people really practice YOGA? Here's hoping your going to start working on your yamas soon, like as in ahimsa, as in nonharm.

Anonymous said...

To My Dear Lady "Anonymous,"

You are "definately" wrong.

If you don't like the blog, then don't read it. Obviously, you are atrakted to it, and it stimulates your own tinking and hostility. A good outlet for you even though you miss have missed the bote. Keep trying and, expecially, please trying to be posative.

k said...

too bad YC doesn't take ahisma in to account towards some of the things she has posted on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but we don't have to participate. It's starting to make me feel dirty...

Anonymous said...

would you people stop reading this blog and stop writing comments? don't u understand that Lauren Cahn gets off on this kind of stuff? It fuels the fire for her to write more self centered, self righteous "yoga" essays. YOU CAN NOT SAVE THIS WOMAN. One day you'll stumble upon her writing in some yoga rag because she is getting so much practice. Don't encourage this. there are much better blogs out there if u really want to read some real stuff where there is focus on just practice and not "practice envy", celebrities, botox, and plastic surgery.


try KJS, Elephants belly or Neti's blog--just to name a few.

k said...

hey anonymous, You are right, we don't have to particpate. My apologies YC. I am just so dismayed for you.
The most dismal part being is that you will never really completely understand why.


good luck with your practice.

Anonymous said...

"Too bad YC doesn't take ahisma in to account towards some of the things she has posted on this blog."

I never have heard YC post anything on this blog that was mean to anyone or harmful in any way, even when someone says something mean to her, like the stuff written by by "K" and others today, which makes me cringe as a yogi and as a human.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of yamas, the comments here today literally stench of envy. Asteya, aparigraha ---- so what she gets a book deal. So what she writes for a yoga mag. Good for her. I read this blog because YC shoots from the hip, she doesn't try to be unoffensive or say the "right yogic" thing, like some other of the bloggers. She questions things just like we all do. Only she writes it instead of keeping it churning in her mind, just a bunch of unexpressed vrittas. I feel like I get to hear the REAL DEAL here, not some piece of self censorship that doesn't sound convincing. Your attacks on YC sound like petty jealous teenage girl stuff.

Anonymous said...

What? I don't think anyone here envies Lauren. In some ways she's had a hard life folks, whats to envy about that? But does anyone here really read some of the things she writes? She is king of the teenage jealous tendencies you speak of--especially when it comes to writing about yoga. It's practically leaking through almost every other entry I've seen.

I don't think any of the bloggers i have read censor thier work either. But I have never seen any of those guys offend people with thier writing on an almost weekly basis. If you think you are getting the real deal as you say then you are just as disillusioned as I think she is sometimes.

I support Lauren's right to practice free speech but that doesn't mean I support what she decides to "shoot from the hip". There's a way to do this with a lot more tact than she has ever used. She doesn't really care who's feelings she hurts as long as she gets her whiny opinion out to the masses.

I am sure she is getting a kick out of seeing all of these entries though. She'll probably use one of them to formulate her next rant for all to see.I'm just glad that I am not the only one here who really knows what the "real deal" really is.

I won't be commenting here anymore, because it's just not good for my soul, but I guarantee you that someone will take my place.

Anonymous said...

speaking of which-- has anyone ever seen her "bitch this blog" thats even worse than this.

He's Dead, Jim! said...

Lauren's website is well-written, funny, touching and diverse. I never know what to expect, which is why I enjoy it.

She does not claim to be the world's expert on yoga or on anything. In fact, if any of you "critics" who refuse to identify yourselves read this post, she admits that she borrows pieces of traditions from various disciplines. The bottom line is that nobody "owns" yoga. That is as silly as saying that somebody "owns" enlightenment.

YC writes about yoga for those of us who have other things, besides yoga, going on in our lives. Not everyone can devote their lives to practice. The beauty of this is that we have a choice. We ought to applaud anyone who tries to bring the messages of yogic texts to the public, no matter how they are clothed.

Also, to you who accuse Lauren of failing to practice ahimsa" the mere fact that you believe you have the authority to write this flies in the face of your own adherence to the practice. Why does this make you so angry? Why are you allowing your feelings of envy or pride interfere with your chittam?

Namaste.
~HDJ

annie p said...

My housemate has just showed me all this craziness.

I think everyone-- including Ms. Kahn's defenders-- here are being way too mean to each other. Ms. kahn has the right to write whatever she wants and readers have the right to voice thier dislike anonymously if they want-- she gives them that choice. She chose to make this a public forum. If she doesnt want it to be a public forum she should should just write it up in a electronic newsletter format and send it out to subscribers.It seems some people really like her writing, some people really dislike it. Thats just the way it is. No need for anyone to grandstand about what her good or bad attributes are- remember this is only a blog-- you can't really know how someone really truly is through a blog that is edited to entertain your reading sensibilties.

To her detractors and defenders-- focus on your own self development and let Ms. kahns remain between her and her creator. Whatever wrongs you think she might be doing she will answer for on her own judgement day. As will you.

God bless You,
Annie

Anonymous said...

What a fascinating blog! The comments say so much about the writers, both positive and negative.

Ms. Kahn? Who is she anyway?

She does have a flair for promoting controversy. I think we will soon see her with her own TV show. You will all line up for tickets to that!

yoga chickie said...

Ms. Kahn is Ms. Cahn, actually. Thanks all. Very thought provoking!

Namaste,

Lauren

Anonymous said...

This is interesting. It reminds me of the whole Howard Stern debate. As much as Lauren touches nerves those nerves are reading in order to be touched. JUST DON'T READ. If you do (like me) admit that you love it!

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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.

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