A dozen years ago the original idea for YogaCity NYC was generated by Minna Proctor and me at a now defunct bar in SoHo. After many fits and starts, we went online in the first weeks of 2009 and have been publishing original stories every day since.
Together with my partners Cynthia Kling and Katie Jehenson, we featured stories about the “cult” of Dahn Yoga, the Lululemon Murders and the death of Ian Thorson at Diamond Mountain. We wrote about the battle with New York State to license yoga teacher trainings which lead to the creation of Yoga for New York. We also reported on the sexual harassment case against Jivamukti and the other troubling “guru” issues.
We’ve interviewed hundreds of teachers about the difficulties of social marketing and relentless self-promotion. In more positive stories, we’ve written about, the use of philosophy in teaching and the utilization of other important modalities from Reiki and cupping to supportive cancer therapies.
YogaCity NYC has captured the challenges of teaching veterans, people with disabilities, elder citizens and traumatized children. We’ve gone to anatomy, Sanskrit and Yantra workshops.
We’ve reviewed nearly 1,000 classes on Yoga Sleuth, highlighted many, many new studio openings, talked to both master teachers and those starting out. And, we’ve tracked the changes of yoga from a deep spiritual to purely athletic pursuit.
And over these years we witnessed the passing of three omnipotent gurus…K. Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar and T.K.V. Desikachar, in each case talking to their senior NYC students about how their teachers influenced a much larger community.
We are proud of what was created on a shoestring budget with a band of enthusiastic editors, writers and illustrators.
We’ve also watched the yoga business change. Teachers are being minted by the thousands in TT mills, then going out to lead classes with scripts that they barely understand; students are getting hurt; and yoga in NYC is becoming more and more about the beauty of the physical vs. the metaphysical body.
The price to market ourselves in an ever increasingly-crowded space has spiraled upwards. It’s expensive to stand out in the social media crowd.
YogaCity NYC has always had a strong loyal audience of “yoga enthusiasts” and we have always paid our writers and illustrators, but the advertising dollars go to sites that feature glamour shots of yoga teachers in $250 yoga pants plugging everything from green juice to energy crystals.
We came to a crossroads and had to make a difficult decision…invest more and change our focus or be happy with what we’ve accomplished and call it a day.
We chose the latter.
So, May 8th will be the last week of YogaCity NYC. The site will remain up for a while so you can still read past articles. We hope you let us know what you thought of our work on FB. We hope to continue our Deeper Learning Series about yoga in some form next fall. But, as of next week our online operations will wind down.
To our incredible editors, illustrators and writers…thank you so much for all your contributions. To our advertisers, especially Integral Yoga, Yoga Union, Karma Kids and ISHTA who have been with us from the very beginning…we have been bolstered by your support and thank you for believing in us. And, most importantly we appreciate everyone who read a story we posted.
YogaCity NYC was a true labor of love and as we all know the vibrations of love never end.
They just change shape.
Here’s to shape shifting,
Illustration by Sharon Watts, to see more of Sharon's work, click here