Warning: This is the latest of a series of recent posts in which I shamelessly piggy-back upon Claudia's posts. Gosh, am I running out of ideas myself? Am I glad I don't do this for a living...
Anyway, I read with great interest Claudia's latest post and accompanying poll on the popularity of Ashtanga yoga. If you haven't already done so, please fulfill your Ashtangic duty and vote. Stand up and be counted! :-)
So the question the poll asks is, "Is Ashtanga Yoga increasing in popularity?" As of right now (1:05 p.m. CDT), 14 people have voted "Yes", 7 have voted "No", and 1 voted "Maybe."
Honestly, I'm rather surprised by the results (I'm one of the seven who voted "No"). But maybe I shouldn't be so suprised. Here's why. Poll questions by their very nature have a certain element of ambiguity built into them, and this one's no exception. When one asks, "Is Ashtanga Yoga increasing in popularity?", one could mean one of at least two different things. One could be asking,
(1) Are more people getting exposed to and coming to know about Ashtanga Yoga (through popular media, celebrities, etc.)?
Or one could be asking,
(2) Are more people starting to practice Ashtanga yoga? (By "starting to practice", I just mean attending an Ashtanga class somewhere somewhat regularly (maybe one or twice a week). I don't mean that people have to commit to a 6-day-a-week mysore practice.)
(1) and (2) are of course related: It may very well be that more people are starting to practice Ashtanga Yoga as a result of getting exposed to and coming to know about Ashtanga Yoga. But the two questions are distinct from each other.
Why am I bringing this up? Well, to dazzle you with my not-inconsiderable powers of intellectual perception and acuity, of course! But jokes aside, I have a hunch that of the 14 people who voted "Yes" so far, some of them have (1) in mind, and others have (2) in mind. Whereas when I voted, I had (2) in mind. My opinion is that, even though more people may be getting exposed to Ashtanga, the number of people who are starting to practice or already practicing hasn't increased, but has stayed more or less the same, or may even be decreasing. I have my own reasons for this opinion, but I don't have the time to go into this here. I need to go prepare for class now. Maybe I'll write more later.
In the meantime, if you have any thoughts about this, I'll love to hear from you.