Thursday, July 05, 2007

imagining the Home of the Great Oom

My landlord, of all people, unearthed this little gem for me, an Utne article called "Fear of Yoga", a fun little piece about America's slow, uncertain embrace of the phenomenon of yoga through know-nothing nativists, rich housewives, celebrities, and swamis. To wit:

"In the 1920s, when tabloids became part of the journalistic landscape, yoga became part of the tabs' new "love cult" obsession. Reporters found love cults from France ("Rich Worship Love Goddess Along Riviera") to San Francisco ("Orgies of Super-Love Cult Send Five to Jail"). Hearst's New York Journal gave the tabs a run for their money with takeouts like this: "Latest Black Magic Revelations About Nefarious American Love Cults," which included Bernard, who had combined yoga with baseball, vaudeville, and circuses in Nyack, New York, in the process convincing members of the Vanderbilt family to bankroll his efforts."

And my personal favorite:

"(in the 1950s), Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India, prompted by Cold War worries, denied reports that his nation would supply the Soviet Union with yogis to help cosmonauts breathe easier in outer space."

The more recent the article gets, the less reliable I find it- it manages not to mention Iyengar or Ram Dass at all, two of the people most responsible for yoga's visibility in the 60's and '70s. (Though Iyengar's pupil Mehudin does get a photo) And it's read of the current scene is a little shallow. But I guess that's not the point. How could it be when you have yogic sex slaves and the great Ooom?

1 comment:

Katie said...

I was looking for info about the GREAT OOM.
I also found this article amusing.
The yoga is good but lets face it, the gurus leave much to be desired...

Peace and Best wishes,