Year in Review: Top stories of 2013

This time around we’re using a complicated metric to determine the top Confluence Countdown stories of 2013. It goes something like this:

(number of views * number of comments) * social media shared – comments we had to delete / newsworthiness of the story

Running 2013 through that, we get the following:

10. How Derek Ireland got introduced to Ashtanga. A nice tale from first-hand sources.

9. Non-Ashtanga: The Bikram lawsuits. (Remember, we’ve always thought Ashtanga was better.)

8. The year Russell Brand seemed to get some serious clarity.

7. The Greenwich Jois shala closes. It caught some people by surprise and spawned rumors that the remaining two shalas — in Encinitas and Sydney — would follow. They haven’t.

6. Our Yatra to India. And we’re planning another for 2014.

5. The New York Times and yoga’s hurting people, the ongoing saga. A few different stories over the year, including responses.

4. Ashtanga as a woman ages. We’re heading into uncharted territory:

If you wander into any given Mysore room in the West, the vast majority of practitioners are also women. So as those Senior Western teachers age, they are discovering how to evolve and grow the practice, how to integrate it into our changing lives as we grow older. My teacher Tim Miller goes before me, and shares his wisdom about age and the practice in an open and honest way, and I feel much gratitude for that. But he is a man.

3. Injuries.

2. “The war on yoga,” aka the Encinitas yoga trial. Not just one story, by any means. And one that isn’t over yet.

1. Why Ashtanga won’t ever be popular. Our most shared story of 2013. A sample:

It is the great blessing of the practice that once the body is stronger, pain appears in the context of strength rather than weakness. This frees the mind, even in pain, to see beyond the pain—to the larger purposes of the practice, to the other seven limbs, and to gain a greater quality of life.

It  requires dedication, application, discipline, and also (and I think this is key) humor. This is a pretty rare stew of qualities, and it’s why I think Ashtanga won’t ever be a popular form of yoga, why it will always be a quirky little corner of the many forms we have today.  If it stays true to the way Guruji taught.

There even was a Part II.

Have a happy new year, all. Maybe do a 108 sun salutes tomorrow…

Posted by Bobbie and Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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