12/20/2013 10:47 am ET Updated Feb 19, 2014

Huffington Magazine This Week: Yoga, Inc.

In this week's issue, Carolyn Gregoire follows yoga's progression in America from an obscure spiritual practice to a $27 billion industry.

Yoga, as Carolyn writes, was traditionally a way of "stilling the thoughts of the mind in order to experience one's true self, and ultimately, to achieve liberation (moksha) from the cycle of birth and death (samsara), or enlightenment."

While the initial, New Age devotees embraced this spirit, yoga became a predominantly physical practice once it entered the cultural mainstream, riding the fitness wave of the 1970s.

"The very fact that if you ask the average person what yoga is, they immediately think of a beautiful woman doing stretches and bends, that tells you how commercialized it has become, and how limited," says Philip Goldberg, a spiritual teacher and author of American Veda.

Carolyn points out the irony that a practice meant to offer freedom from the ego has become a "vanity-driven pursuit." However, she writes, yoga in America is beginning to return to its more mindful origins. Current fitness trends are more and more rooted in mental and spiritual well-being, as many look for ways to escape the constant distractions from technology.

Elsewhere in the issue, Howard Fineman profiles a man who is trying to change the way we look at health care. As Howard puts it, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong wants "to map the molecular life of all of mankind in the service of better health for each individual."

This mapping would result in a more personalized system, one in which doctors could easily access a patient's medical information and develop an individually tailored wellness program -- a compelling idea that has captured the attention of many.

In our Exit section, Bianca Bosker explores the growing number of "selfie-help apps," which present users with a variety of ways to touch up their images before posting them on the Internet -- "eyelashes can be added, teeth whitened, smiles stretched, pounds shed, clocks reversed, genes fought," Bianca writes.

Of course, most don't want to appear as though they've leaned on the apps to look better. Getting caught editing a photo is "very embarrassing," one 18-year-old girl tells Bianca. "People are hyper aware of not wanting to seem fake in their pictures. As much as they edit them, it has to come off as natural."

Finally, as part of our continued focus on The Third Metric, we go in search of tranquility in Frank Lloyd Wright's Palmer House.


This story appears in Issue 80 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, available Friday, Dec. 20in the iTunes App store.