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Gordon Kaplan's Comments

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huffingtonpost entry

Stop Judging and Read

Commented Jan 17, 2012 at 23:06:48 in Healthy Living

“To be clear, the discourse is on asana not Yoga. This should be in the bone marrow of a teacher of yoga and blatantly obvious to any student studying seriously for more than a few years.

From the perch of Yoga there is only one germane question; does an action move that practitioner closer to or further from light/source/spirit/soul. And ONLY that practitioner can determine that for themselves. This is the most valuable tool given by Yoga and it goes by the name of discernment.

To master the aforementioned discernment a (Yoga) student would need to have an understanding of the obstructions to clarity, otherwise their self-view is colored by a powerful and crafty mental force (Ego) which can masquerade as the spirit. A student who understands the Kleshas, addresses them in their practice and maintains a diligence of both, that person is more likely to act appropriately (for them) and grow on the path.

Point? Only the two teachers here get to determine what is appropriate for them. We have enough to do in finding our own life purpose then living it. Otherwise this, for us, is merely a distraction away from far more important work. Their "stuff" may not suit YOU (or ME) but that is as far as we can go. Remember, discernment is about "me" while judgement is about "you". It's a very sound litmus test.”
huffingtonpost entry

Hey, Yoga Teachers: Quit Bullying Me

Commented Aug 14, 2011 at 21:03:57 in Healthy Living

“When we patronize and support a construct where one can "earn" the title of "yoga teacher" in the span of a 21-hour weekend we should not be surprised to learn many "teachers" lack all the right stuff for the tasks at hand. We have literally voted with our dollar and continue that process by seeking out cheap classes which must either be inherently poor in quality or depriving the teacher of fair compensation for a job well done.

Add to this the proliferation of a pop-culture definition of Yoga and we have a dangerous combination; improperly trained teachers and misinformed consumers. It is a formula for disappointment, alienation, and injury.

Please do not reject Yoga itself merely because you've selected (consciously or unconsciously) a poor teacher or an expression of Yoga that only sees value in posture and perspiration rather than pedagogy. Instead, try shopping for a well trained teacher who offers so much more than whatever it is you exchange (pay) for services.”
huffingtonpost entry

Open Letter to Yoga Teachers and Fitness Instructors

Commented Jun 8, 2011 at 13:22:48 in Healthy Living

“Hello Laurie,

I am unsure why you've lumped fitness instructors in with yoga teachers. To me it seems to further ratify the illusion that "yoga" is fitness. With any deeper look into both it is quite obvious that one is a 9,000 year-old system for human evolution, the other a method for "toning" the gross physical form.

As such, I don't believe there's a higher bar for fitness instructors (though they are welcome to one). For the most part they do as they are expected - though every field has ethical issues.

More to the point, a great yoga teacher should be taught accountability, integrity, and complete responsibility in their teacher training. Unfortunately some consider a 200-hour teacher training as an end while others acquire the title "Yoga Teacher" in a 21-hour weekend. The former merely scrapes the surface and is the bare minimum while the latter is laughable and dangerous.

As for integrity...
Just as it is inappropriate for a yoga teacher to teach something they are not practicing, so too is it inappropriate to not teach something they ARE practicing. In other words, both "fraud" and "withholder" are the same animal.

The process of Svadhyaya or self-study is foundational in yoga's applied philosophy. I say "applied" because philosophy alone is useless to humanity unless it is also applied. So we, as teachers of yoga should be looking at ourselves minute by minute. That is part of the commitment of being a yoga teacher.”
Yoga In The U.S.: Should There Be Stricter Licensing Standards?

Yoga In The U.S.: Should There Be Stricter Licensing Standards?

Commented Mar 12, 2011 at 21:39:36 in Healthy Living

“Ahhh statistics, how they leverage. There were 455,000 football-related injuries in emergency rooms nationwide in 2007. That's 75 times more than the 6,000 yoga injuries cited. And where is the clamor for licensing football coaches?

I would absolutely prefer the propensity to find a poor teacher reduced, especially for the neophyte student who may not know one from another. And it would be wonderful if we, as teachers of yoga, could muster enough collective integrity to self-police our own faculty. However this doesn't seem to be the current reality. The current reality is that capitalism trumps integrity and in some corners there's very little (if any) yoga left in yoga.

Yoga needs to be held and it needs to be supple enough to grow. The issue is who is doing the holding and how is that holding being managed. While I'd like to see teachers take teaching seriously enough to BE teachers, I do not particularly fancy the idea of someone who doesn't understand Yoga licensing it. But we clearly need something.

For what it's worth I've taken a two-year 2,000-hour yoga college program, am certified by the State of Washington, and have continued my studies with my teacher for eight years. I can only hope other current and potential teachers will consider their responsibility to self, others, and the cosmos and do likewise.”
The Commodification of Yoga: The Perfect, the Good and the Spiritual

The Commodification of Yoga: The Perfect, the Good and the Spiritual

Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 21:56:19 in Healthy Living

“I've had at least two close friends forward the link to the NY Times piece on Anusara. Neither time did I click, neither time did I investigate further. Generally speaking I find the media's coverage of anything yoga to be superficial topsoil at best and often a gross waste of time to engage.

But of course there is a way to provide spirituality in a market economy, Ethan. However it mandates a certain level of caveat emptor (lets call it "shopping" or discernment) AND opens the door to exploitation by those confused about our very purpose for being. Where there is money to be made there will always be charlatans.

When a person relies on a periodical for their yoga education, a DVD for their alignment, confuses asana with yoga, and is able to "earn" a teaching certification in 22 hours of study...what nectar can we reasonably expect?

Sadly, as my teacher so eloquently states in his book, "yoga is everywhere and no where at all".
My job, as a teacher, is to help students toward the light within, to guide them as best I can in the process of exploration and discovery so that they can live from their purpose AND do so with the respect and integrity for the self, for the student, and for the yoga. The rest, I must let go.”

sandalwood on Jul 31, 2010 at 10:28:19

“Gordon... well said. For the same reasons that you've mentioned I do not speak of Yoga with anyone unless I've first placed it within the context of the 4 aims of Life and the 6 Darshanas.”
huffingtonpost entry

Eight Ways to Save the Gulf's Endangered Species

Commented Jun 1, 2010 at 20:03:08 in Impact

“A powerful article Sarah, thank you.

My tendency is to be outraged. And that outrage likely would be directed externally, toward everyone but me; to the politicians who place finance over function, to the companies who rake in billions of dollars without a quick-draw of accountability from their holster, to the locals who seemingly allow such things.

Howeverrrrrrr...I still drive a car. My car uses gasoline. That need for gasoline creates demand. That demand, magnified by the populace creates a yellow brick road for off-shore drilling, among other things. Furthermore, where was my voice when opportunities might have been present to speak up about the environment and its handling? True those opportunities may be few and far between. True my elected officials may not reflect my personal position. But I still drive a car.”

hp blogger Sarah Newman on Jun 2, 2010 at 13:32:48

“Yes, we are all responsible-at some level-for what happened b/c we all rely on oil (and not just for our cars). Visit climatecrisis.net for ways to cut your energy consumption.”
FDA: Get BPA Out ASAP

FDA: Get BPA Out ASAP

Commented Jun 7, 2009 at 02:09:40 in Green

“We have a consensus. The FDA doesn't seem to get the job done when the job equals protecting American consumers from dangerous, suspect, or deadly products.”

AngieMom57 on Jun 7, 2009 at 21:18:17

“Try singing this 'ol tune and you will have some idea of where the FDA is coming from....

"We're in the money, we have a lot of what it takes to get along..."”
ABC and the ADL Don't Represent Me

ABC and the ADL Don't Represent Me

Commented Mar 18, 2009 at 00:18:14 in Media

“Wow, your comments have so much anger it is palpable.
Unfortunate that you can't muster a more viable contribution to the thread.

You make a statement about rights to have an opinion, then spread a thin veneer to give Sarah her right, disagree blatantly, but don't offer anything more than "she's wrong". It is, for most, thinly veiled.

Clearly the very topic incites you. When we are ruled by emotion our view is often clouded. When speaking from hate it is very difficult for anyone to hear you.

If that is your intention, you are right on the mark. If you hope to be persuasive I'd suggest an approach that actually achieves that goal.”
ABC and the ADL Don't Represent Me

ABC and the ADL Don't Represent Me

Commented Mar 13, 2009 at 22:37:49 in Media

“The point holds - that the diversity of opinion (amongst Jews in the U.S.) may not be accurately reflected by political action committees or lobbies, however I'm not sure the conclusion holds - that the diverse opinion is a rubber stamp for the President based on the number of jews voting for Barack Obama.

If two sides in any "dispute" cannot come to a point where they are able to let go of a clearly dogmatic position of "right" and "wrong" there is little, if any, hope for true peace. Peace cannot exist in an environment of dogma. When one is wrong another is right. When one is right another is wrong. It is this very concept that is at the core of all conflicts.

Ergo it is only the ability to see that there may be several truths, several layers, and several viable positions which can ultimately facilitate an authentic peace.

My personal position would be that Israel repeatedly and consistently negotiate, bend, flow, and give, in ever-heightened efforts toward peace. If that results in peace then what a beautiful life. If it results in suicide bombings in Tel Aviv then something else must be done.

It is however very difficult for anyone to broker a peace with any group when that group embraces a charter advocating the extermination of jews. It is a mountainous hurdle not so easily scaled.”

nochaos on Mar 14, 2009 at 01:42:44

“It will never be scaled!”
Can You Spare a Drop of Water?

Can You Spare a Drop of Water?

Commented Feb 4, 2009 at 22:51:32 in Green

“When you're right, you're right.

We're careless wasters, over-consuming at every turn, with little or no regard for our behavior. Then, oddly, we put on a stunned countenance when the effect is exactly the one aligned with the cause.
When we live in a desert it's tough to find water.
When we live near a river it's tough to stave off the floodwaters.
When we commute alone in our car it is tough to find cheap gas and fresh air.
When we allow pesticides in our food supply it is challenging to find edibles without poison.

When....will we learn? If history is any indication we will learn after the crisis reaches apogee.”
huffingtonpost entry

Flexibility of the Mind

Commented Jan 29, 2009 at 13:26:28 in Healthy Living

“As a yoga teacher I live as an advocate for the tool box it provides. More people would do well to experience yoga in the very marrow of their bones.

And as you so aptly point out Sarah, a yoga that lives only on the mat is likely no yoga at all. If it is not well wielded in one's life then it's merely gymnastics, pretense, or both!

It is for this reason that we consider the intention of our practice, its purpose, and the efficacy it has on our daily lives.”

hp blogger Sarah Newman on Jan 30, 2009 at 13:33:17

“my sister loves to remind me to be the same in the world as I am on my mat!”
From King to Obama, the Arc of Justice

From King to Obama, the Arc of Justice

Commented Jan 21, 2009 at 12:14:54 in Politics

“Clearly the milestone of having a person of color as President is incredibly significant - even if that person does nothing at all. It marks a new level of "willingness" and maturity in the electorate. Whether we are actually more mature, we are ready, we are willing, those things remain to be seen.

And while I voted for this President and support him, I also realize there's no benchmark to determine what sort of leader he is - though he is clearly one who can string together words in our native language in a clear and concise way (for which I am eternally grateful).

What remains to be seen and experienced is whether there will BE new politics and new decisions and new priorities and new directions. If that is the case - and I hear all around me that it is - we had better be prepared to deal with the discomfort that comes with change, growth and transformation. Please do not leave a new direction up to the President. Stop quoting Gandhi and start living Gandhi. Our talk cannot be heard over the volume of our actions.

Start your change today. Begin your transformation right now. Begin it by making the choice - the choice to stay on the path of growth, not look back, and keep at it especially when it feels as though you can't take another step forward.”