Yoga news Sunday (Vivekananda, lululemon)

(At least) two yoga mentions in the weekend New York Times:


1) How Yoga Won the West tells the brief story of how Swami Vivekananda popularized Hindu and yogic philosophy in America. Vivekananda was India’s delegate to the 1893 Parliament of World Religions in Chicago. His talks about Hindu philosophy were a smashing success–among his admirers, according to the article, were Leo Tolstoy, Gertrude Stein, Aldous Huxley, Henry Miller, and JD Salinger. He remains a household name in India but less so here. If not for my parents, who were born and raised in India and have mentioned him on more than one occasion, I’d have never heard of him before.

According to the article, among his most important teachings were: “all souls are potentially divine”, “you are not your body,” and “you are not your mind.”

He taught Vendata, the founding philosophy of Hinduism. Yoga meant just one thing to Vivekananda: “realizing God.” The SoCal Vedanta Society, founded in 1930 by Vivekananda’s followers, describes the connection to Hinduism this way: “Vedanta is one of the world’s most ancient religious philosophies and one of its broadest. Based on the Vedas, the sacred scriptures of India, Vedanta affirms the oneness of existence, the divinity of the soul, and the harmony of religions. Vedanta is the philosophical foundation of Hinduism; but while Hinduism includes aspects of Indian culture, Vedanta is universal in its application and is equally relevant to all countries, all cultures, and all religious backgrounds.”

2) From the What I Wore column, a first person account of a fashionista’s daily outfits over the week. This is from Lola Burstein Rykiel, 25, the granddaughter of fashion designer Sonia Rykiel. Lola grew up in Paris and now lives in NYC.

I religiously go with [my friend] every Sunday to Dechen Thurman’s yoga class at the Jivamukti school. I recently discovered this brand Lululemon. It seems super-popular here. The leggings are so comfortable, and I wore them over a white Repetto unitard. I have so many unitards left over from when I studied at the Martha Graham dance school. I was going to be a professional dancer. Then I realized what I loved most about dance was the outfits.

Questions for class discussion: 1) What does Lola mean when she uses the  word “religiously”? Do you think what she loves most about yoga is the outfits? If so, why? 2) What is the relationship between yoga as taught by Vivekananda and yoga as practiced by Lola?

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