[THE FRIDAY GOOD] She and the Spirit

Not to be too academic on a Friday, but….

Contemporary commercial yoga presents women with two options with regards to practice:

  1. Get fit
  2. Get famous

When such a limited body-/personality-centric scope becomes the norm, and the dominant narrative of contemporary yoga culture is written by yogalebrities who rarely suggest women engage the tradition and texts of yogic history, sometimes you just gotta look outside your own scene for a bit of inspiration.

Here, Islamic scholar and feminist, Amina Wadud, discusses the necessity for women to openly engage and respond to spiritual texts from their own specific feminine context:

Known for her Qur’anic exegesis, her 2006 work Inside the Gender Jihad: Women’s Reform in Islam, and her belief in including female-centric readings of spiritual texts into the overall religious discourse, Wadud is most famous for her leading mixed-gender Islamic prayer services, the most notable of which having occurred on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in 2005.

No doubt about it, Amina Wadud’s belief in making women’s experiences of spiritual traditions a valid standard is a force to be reckoned with. For this, we honor her as our Friday Good.

I prayed, at first, a little Girl,
Because they told me to—
But stopped, when qualified to guess
How prayer would feel—to me—

If I believed God looked around,
Each time my Childish eye
Fixed full, and steady, on his own
In Childish honesty—

And told him what I’d like, today,
And parts of his far plan
That baffled me—
The mingled side
Of his Divinity—

And often since, in Danger,
I count the force ’twould be
To have a God so strong as that
To hold my life for me

Till I could take the Balance
That tips so frequent, now,
It takes me all the while to poise—
And then—it doesn’t stay—

—Emily Dickinson


  1. cynthia

    Two of my favorite people – thanks Bab

  2. Bobcat

    Thank you. Yoga as a self/spiritual practice as opposed to self/ego improvement cultivates critical thinking. Amina Wadud is a woman seeing things cleary. Yoga texts like Hatha Yoga Pradipika were clearly written for male practioners. It is still useful for me because I don’t just follow it blindly. There will always be people attracted to the yoga scene and yoga teachers like Amy Ippolippti blinded and ignorant perpetuating the business as usual. It’s all part of the whole picture. Glad you re here TB right in the scene where we need you. Carry on lifting the heavy lidded eyes and dispelling illusion one laugher at a time.

  3. nat

    Thank you. Yes to this post.
    Thanks also for what you’re trying to do with this website, as there has been a need for it. To quote you from another thread:

    Yogilebrity performance and commercial yoga culture is a direct reflection, not of yoga practice, but of commercial culture in general. The fact that these videos have anything to do with yoga is secondary to the real message: you want to be popular and here’s how to do it.

    I also actually appreciate your anonymity. It is not about you.
    Keep peeling the fake ‘sparkly’ layers off. (Though I do like the real sparkle.)

  4. sally

    sadly, have you seen yogadork’s yoga-beauty-celeb blog in yoga journal. is she cashing in?

    • yoga_muff diver

      They are ALL cashing in — that’s the point, Miss Sally. Even, and perhaps especially, the Babrrazzi. This is Om-Ka-Ching, Let Freedom Ring! The Babarazzi isn’t a critique – it’s a diabolical giggle. Imagine a Black kid waving to a Rolls Royce as it passes through the ghetto. The Baba is the white kid in the back window of the Rolls waving back.

        • yoga_muff diver

          Or a Bentley? I often get them confused. Rock on, Baba-Ganesh! I fully expect to see your own blog somewhere, though psssssttttt, I do suspect that you are already writing elsewhere for publication — hence your anonymity here.

          The mistake Yoga Dork’s Jennilyn Carson made was going public in a big way when the New York Times came a-callin’. Now she’s trying to manage a blog site that pretends to raises real “issues” about the yoga industry while she’s serving as a full-fledged commodity whore herself.

          Doesn’t she deserve some kind of “Bleacher” Award. This kind of “service on all fours” – Cow Pose? – should not go unacknowledged. Baba, you’re just the man – I mean, woman – for the job.

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