Leena’s recent blog post on our Inversion policy has received a lot of attention from the online yoga community. The post currently has over 7,500 views. Matthew Remski, who is part of QSY’s Yoga Teacher Training faculty and is currently teaching a course on Ayurveda here at the studio, has written a thoughtful response to Leena’s post, citing his own research into the intersection of yoga, injury, pedagogy and medical research.
Matthew’s response was published on Yoga International and had over 40,000 views in the first few days. We really appreciate the research Matthew has been doing in his WAWADIA project, and the greater context he is able to place this discussion in.
Here is a quote from Matthew’s article. (Click here to read the full article on Yoga International.)
“Cressman may have been making some rather simple studio policy statements about a few postures, but the response to her post has revealed the epistemological turmoil at the heart of modern postural yoga, not to mention the strain between serving the hyper-individualism of modern practice and the necessity for sound group exercise policy.
Numerous Facebook commenters on the various shares of Cressman’s post rejected her reasoning outright. They spoke of their enjoyment of the poses, and how they’ve reaped great benefit from them. “I love these poses.” “They’re the most important poses in yoga.” “I wouldn’t go to a studio that told me what I could and couldn’t do.” “Aren’t we all adults? I know how to take care of myself. I listen to my body.”
I think: Well, maybe you do, and it’s great that that’s worked out for you so far. But how about everyone else? How about those who listen to their bodies and are still injured?
It’s worth noting that most pushback to Cressman’s plan offers little but personal testimony and anecdote. This is to be expected, since yoga’s most immediate gift seems to be the enhanced subjective awareness provoked by the revelation of intensive self-care and inquiry. This is the same gift, however, that seems to elevate motivated reasoning and confirmation bias into the lingua franca of modern yoga. And we’ve seen subjective claims taken to absurd conclusions as entrepreneurial teachers copyright and evangelize personal epiphanies into commodified methods (cf. John Friend’s “Universal Principles of Alignment”).”
We were definitely surprised (and a little bit cowed) that our initial blog post got so much attention. We appreciate the conversations that have occurred in the past few days between members of the QSY community around these ideas, and continue to welcome various perspectives on it.
Emma Dines is the manager of Queen Street Yoga. She loves writing, visiting thrift stores and going for walks in the woods. She also loves cartwheeling, sewing and making her own kimchi.