Yoga: Hippie Nonsense or True Zen Portal?

Jessica Hoppe
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Yoga: Hippie Nonsense or True Zen Portal?
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Last week (the always hilarious)Gawker published an article calling yoga “hippie bullshit” that isbasically just stretching, “but in a room full of people who get on your nerves.” After letting out an audible laugh in the office, I promptly forwarded the article to my sister — a yoga believer.

She argued that the study conducted by theWSJ did not consider that people who choose yoga over other methods of exercise are frequently seeking benefits other than those directly related to physical pain relief (e.g. relaxation, mental clarity, etc.). She challenged me, a yoga skeptic, to test theWall Street Journal’s claimsthat “the benefits of yoga are attributable to the physical benefits of stretching and not to its mental components” at YogaWorks with her.

I am not a yoga devotee. I go sometimes — maybe once a week. But the heavy breathers, awkward moaning and crunchy space invaders easily annoy me. I can never block out my surroundings enoughto give in fully tomy practice; it’s just exercise for me. But last night I had a breakthrough.

The moment we arrived at the spa-likeYoga Works studio on Broadway and Grandmy immediacy-addicted internal time clock shut down. It must have been the soothing smell of eucalyptus rather than pungentpatchouli and body odor. We took our places for class and although I wasn’t sure I could hack it after a long Halloween nightI needed something tostop the wheels in my head from spinning.

I decided to commit fully to the experiment and stood front and center tall as tree with my arms reaching, reaching, reaching. And as I brought my hands together in prayer pose and pulled them down to myheart my mind finally went blank. I don’t know if it was the music, the sound of the instructor’s voice or the need in mebut all I could hear was the sound of my ownbreathing. I finally found my portal and my body followed suit.

I must say after my experience last night and re-reading the study conducted by theWall Street Journal, it seemed more intended for doctors looking for the proper recommendation for patients with lower back pain rather than a true overall analysis of yoga. The mental benefits are real for those who believe in them. However some, like me, cannot tolerate the crunchy non-bathing, hyper moaning, aspiring acrobats that can frequent most studios which is when Yoga Works comes to the rescue — providing the best conditions to tap intoyour practice.

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