Some good stuff this (and last) week: yoga for those who can (should) afford it, for those who can't, yoga for everyone. I am especially inspired by the discussion following Roseanne's post on mobile yoga and Linda's on donation yoga --are the hybrid yogas and cheap yoga a good thing, as long as they bring new students to the practice?
My comment to Roseanne was that strategies for getting-everyone-on-the-mat strike me as similar to those of trying-to-get-everyone-to-read. The reasoning seems to follow that it doesn't matter what people do, or the quality, but just that they are doing it--60 people crammed in a studio, rollerblade yoga, graphic novels. Who am I to say what kind of yoga/books people should enjoy...maybe these will lead them on the path to "harder" stuff and that these are the gateways to a more intense yoga or literary experience.
But maybe they won't.
And that's where my enthusiasm for the hybrids ends. I certainly don't have a problem with other forms of exercise borrowing from yoga or other reading material being considered a part of literature (and I think some graphic novels are brilliant, but you don't read them like you read a page full of words) . I think both approaches miss the point--that these should be activities that force you to leave the external world and enter an interior one. Asana should help you get out of your body and books should challenge your imagination. It's hard work to exercise the brain, but that is what doing yoga and reading the printed word is to me.
So if the class stays focused on cost-cutting (meaning the factory-farm model, to borrow R's analogy) or trying to do the "best" arm balance or tightening your abs and glutes, I'm not particularly supportive. If the book feeds you all the visuals or dumbs-down the language or draws its characters from a TV show, I'm not thrilled. If that's really all some one is looking for, she's missing a lot. Maybe the whole thing.
But that's just my opinion. Maybe these options do create awareness for some people, or maybe they will want to seek a more challenging approach some day. However, it seems that if you offer people an easier way, they rarely decide to try something harder. And, since the easy way is usually the profitable way...well, you know how that story ends.
(BTW, this is in no way to denigrate the awesome, generous spirit in which most pay-what-you-can yoga classes are offered. There are many wonderful teachers out there sharing their knowledge for free or on the cheap...not with an eye on the bottom line, but on spreading the love. I am grateful they can do that, and I hope people realize that this is a gift and not something to be taken for granted.)