Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

I’ve been bothered by something that has been buzzing online and in the media.  There is a video that went viral recently showing a woman named Lena Fokina swinging around an infant and calling it “baby yoga.”  I’ve been seeing it all week and debating whether or not to post it here. I have decided that I’m not going to post the video here, because I think it is disturbing, but I’d like to invite discussion about it. The photo above is one of the least disturbing images.  Initially, there was some question as to whether or not it was real or fake.  Apparently, it has been determined to be genuine.  TIME magazine’s blog posted the video in its entirety and you can watch it there.  You can read an interview with Lena over at DadWagon. Lena’s argument is that her practice strengthens the bodies of the infants and makes them more courageous…?

Check it out and decide what you think.  If you watch it, post your comments here.  Let me know what you think.


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This weekend the first annual Iowa City Yoga Festival will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in beautiful downtown Iowa City. In anticipation of the festivities, the Des Moines Register profiled native Iowan (is that what people native to Iowa are called?), Sadie Nardini:

The rock star of yoga is from Iowa, which is a mind-bender for those who didn’t know there was one, or that Iowa could produce her.

Sadie Nardini travels nearly every weekend to yoga festivals, a recent trend.

“It’s like being in a rock band on tour,” said Nardini, appearing with other national yoga experts at the Iowa City Yoga Festival starting Friday. “They always say, ‘Sadie is the rock star of yoga.’ I live out of a suitcase. It’s not that sexy.”

This is Iowa’s first yoga festival, said James Miller, owner of Tree House Studio in Iowa City. Its 42 workshops are designed to share methods in a diverse group, outside the typical private or tribal yoga class experience.

Nardini’s rise in the burgeoning yoga field was a result of the modern daily double – a traumatic personal story and a YouTube video.

Nardini was diagnosed with leukemia at age 13 while in junior high in Iowa City and was told she had two weeks to two months to live.

“I was walking the hallways like a zombie, saying goodbye to the world,” she said.

It was a misdiagnosis. That didn’t stop the mystery illness, which she suspects was a nervous system virus, leaving her home bound with troubled breathing and limited movement.

“My mom practiced some yoga and she helped me do some light stretching and moving. It helped give me a sense of control over the illness,” Nardini said.

Her symptoms eventually waned after two years and Nardini’s family moved to Cedar Falls. She attended the University of Northern Iowa, then the University of Washington for journalism.

She charged forward with intense workouts and left yoga behind. Miller said that is common. We train for the outside look, not necessarily for overall health.

But one day Nardini spotted a yoga teacher who looked great and decided to pick up yoga again. By the late 1990s she was leading classes and attracting big crowds in Seattle.

“I refound yoga in a new way. I’m a rational Midwestern girl. I don’t fall for gimmicks,” she said. “It is not some guru experience for me. My yoga is not religious; it’s a personal path to improvement.”

After moving to New York City to do freelance writing and lead yoga classes, she had an idea.

“One day I woke up in my shoebox apartment and thought, hey, I want to make a video. I turned over a lamp for lighting, put my couch on end and put up a YouTube video,” she said.

“That started a huge online studio with 190 videos and 15,000 subscribers. The Yoga Journal called for me to do a conference and somehow it snowballed.”

She’s delighted to see Iowa City join the growing festival trend.

“Coming from Iowa, I didn’t think Iowa would be one of the first to have a regional conference,” she said.

At festivals, she said, people can experiment in various classes, from slow and gentle to hard core, and find what fits.

“Yoga hooked me on the level of the body. At first, I was like a rusty tin man on the Wizard of Oz. I couldn’t move at all,” she said. “It was also de-stressing. I was a nicer person if I did yoga. It’s really calming as an exercise.”

Sadie Nardini is one interesting lady. I first came across her when I was too broke to afford yoga classes.  Unfortunately, I was so broke that I couldn’t afford an internet connection to watch the YouTube videos at home online (I ended up with some Seane Corne DVDs instead).  When I first saw this girl posting videos online from her small apartment, I thought she had real chutzpa. She was really putting herself out there and sharing her knowledge with the world. And let me tell you yogis can be a surprisingly critical crew. To her credit, she kept at it. You can read a really fantastic interview posted on YogaDork, but written by the fabulous and talented Nancy Alder of FlyingYogini fame.

Anyone out there attending the Iowa City Yoga Festival? Tell us how it was!

Go Buckeyes! (…Buckeyes, right?)…

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