Yoga, Inc.

I just watched Yoga, Inc. for free online, and you can too!  Just click on the little widget at the end of this post!

I was really impressed with the quality of this documentary.  There were lots of informed yogis that shared their perspectives on the history of yoga in the US as well as speculations for the future.  There are two camps of people on the commercialization of yoga: there's the "YAY! Let's go! It's the American way to make money on everything!" and there's the "Yoga is an ancient spiritual practice not to be sullied by the dirtiness of money!"  This film did a good job of giving each camp equal voice, as well as some balanced perspectives from realist yogis.

There was extra focus on the YogaWorks guys (who also founded AskJeeves.com, back in the day.  Who knew?!) and my favorite yoga don, Bikram Chowdury.  The filmmaker and some of the interviewees seemed concerned that Bikram and YogaWorks are paving the way for other McYogas that will kill all the independent yoga studios.  I don't think that will ever happen, unless there is some widespread regulation of yoga teachers, beyond what the Yoga Alliance is already doing. Anyway, it would be a long time.

Personally, I'm not that worried about it.  I get a thrill out of Bikram, I love the abundance of chic yoga wear available to me, and it doesn't bother me that yoga is super commercialized.  If any of this brings people to the practice, good can come out of it.  People come to yoga for all sorts of reasons, and because there is such diversity in instructors and teachings, there will always be room for everyone.

Your thoughts?