Monday, April 11, 2011

Why aren't aliens in the YJ Talent Search?

I just came across this interesting blog post by Nikki Wong about the Yoga Journal Talent Search. Wong opens her post with these words:

"Nowadays there’s yoga for everything:  yoga for stiff guys, yoga for golfers,
yoga for kids, yoga for cancer, yoga for athletes, yoga for seniors, yoga for
curvy people, even yoga for dogs… how about yoga for black people?"

I think these are very insightful and thoughtful remarks. She then goes on to observe that:

"There has been a recent controversy over Yoga Journal’stalent search for their next cover model.  Yogis of color (not white, tall,
skinny, blonde, bendy, and perfect) have been up in arms over the contest
claiming YJ is sending bad messages to the rest of the population who doesn’t
fit their ideals of what yoga is about."

I really feel that Wong's post is a commendable effort to extend issues of social justice to the realm of yoga. However, despite her best efforts, Wong has not mentioned one group of living beings that can benefit from (and in fact, are already benefiting from) yoga: Aliens! No, I don't mean aliens as in "humans who are not citizens of the United States"; I mean extra-terrestrial beings. 

Recently, our team of yoga investigators here at Yoga in the Dragon's Den (YDD) have uncovered a startling truth: The aliens have arrived! For years, they have been secretly orbiting the Earth in specially designed invisible spaceships which are invisible both to the naked eye and to the most sophisticated human radar.

But if these alien ships are invisible, how can you guys possibly detect them? You may ask. Well, there are a few yogis here at YDD whose yoga practices are so advanced that they have developed the siddhi of being able to see things that are invisible to both the ordinary human eye and human radar.

But I digress. Back to our story. Over the years, these aliens have been secretly observing and learning about human culture from their spaceships; occasionally, they have also made a few landings on our planet, and even collected a few human "specimens" (and you thought all those stories of alien abduction were just stories...).

Along the way, many of these aliens have also discovered the benefits of yoga, and have taken up the practice on their own. Here are some secret pictures of aliens doing asana, taken by our team of intrepid investigators at considerable risk to life and limb:

  Here's a female vulcan in Bakasana (pretty impressive, eh?)
[Image taken from this website]

Here's another alien from an unknown race in Padmasana. 
[Image taken from this website]

Last but not least, those of us Ashtangis out there may be interested to know that aliens have also discovered the joy of Mysore practice, as the following picture amply illustrates: 

[Image taken from this website]

Our investigators went to great risk to take this picture. They had to make a quick escape immediately after taking this picture, as they were discovered by the giant alien in the tuxedo in the background (presumably, he's the alien yoga guru). In any case, this picture provides ample proof that at least a few aliens out there have mastered the primary series. I'm sure Guruji would be very happy if he could see this, wouldn't he?
So the big question is: Why aren't any aliens represented in Yoga Journal's Talent Search? After all, if yoga really is for everyone, it should also be for aliens; if so, they should also be invited to participate in the Talent Search. And so far, to the best of our knowledge, we have yet to see any alien yogis among the YJ Talent Search entries.

We here at YDD do not know why no aliens have thus far been represented in the Talent Search. Needless to say, we feel that this is a terrible injustice to these aliens, who have been practicing so consistently all these years. We venture two possible theories as to why this is the case:
(1) Alien yogis do not feel comfortable participating in a Talent Search organized by humans. They feel that since most voters are humans, their chances of making it to the top five are very slim, to say the least. So they decided not to participate. Besides, participating would mean revealing their presence on Earth, making them possible targets of attack by human supremacists.  

(2) Some alien yogis have in fact sent in their entries, but Yoga Journal, with its usual bias in favor of skinny white female human yoginis, have ignored their entries, and simply thrown them into the trash.  Moreover, the editors at YJ may also be thinking that it would be too shocking for human yogis and yoginis to learn that aliens are also practicing yoga.

We do not know which of these theories is the correct one. Nevertheless, if we are to be the yoga practitioners that we profess to be, we should put into practice our belief that yoga truly is for everybody, human or otherwise. We should extend an invitation to our fellow non-human yogis, and invite them to participate in the Talent Search, shouldn't we? Well actually, maybe not; if it turns out that YJ has been actively suppressing these alien participants, the appropriate response would probably be for all of us to boycott this contest altogether: How can it be right to support an organization that discriminates so blatantly against yogis on the basis of their extraterrestrial origin? 


  1. HA HA HA HA, that is funny! you know I did see something close to it what about this guy?

  2. Yes, yoga bending aliens do is the proof...

  3. Interesting, Claudia. Hmm... now I'm starting to wonder if some of the "humans" who are in the Talent Search might actually be aliens in disguise... I will investigate more.

    Very interesting, Yogadawg. I wonder if these aliens are also subtly stating their opinion about their preferred yoga style with the alignment of those letters? :-)

    Christine: :-)

  4. I am not sure that this was the intent, but to me this post implies that searching for diversity in yoga practitioners is fruitless and something silly to aspire to. I like to hope that the spirit behind the YJ model search was one of trying to show the multiform and gorgeous soul of the yoga community at large, but realize that in practice it seems to have gotten a lot more of the same thing of the typical YJ cover- thin, white, female, traditionally pretty, almost always doing poses that showcase flexibility rather than strength (at least to a general audience who don't realize that they go hand-in-hand).

    I get that maybe people have reacted in ways that seem unrealistic and overly critical to what may have been a well-intentioned project (or was a deeply cynical marketing ploy). However, I think many critics are expressing genuine feelings of exclusion, exposure to elitism, and plain boredom at seeing only one kind of body repeatedly extolled as a yoga body. So going from Nikki Wong's piece that relates a common frustration about the lack of visibility for yogis of color and making it into a joke about aliens?

    I don't get what's funny about that.