We Love This Leslie Kaminoff Interview

Roseanne over at It’s All Yoga, Baby interviewed Leslie Kaminoff regarding yoga therapy and government legitimacy. You tell ’em Leslie!

For the record:

“Leslie Kaminoff is a yoga educator inspired by the tradition of T.K.V. Desikachar. He is an Internationally recognized specialist with over thirty-one years’ experience in the fields of yoga and breath anatomy. He has led workshops for many of the leading yoga associations, schools and training programs in America.”

Sooooo, right…. Ok…. Well…. As you know, The Babarazzi and Leslie Kaminoff have not always gotten along. First there was the time we poked a little fun at his quote in the NY Times piece on yoga talent agency, Yama Talent, that got us into all sorts of trouble. Then there was the time he said “Fuck you” to us and called us “motherfuckers.” Then there was our awesome rebuttal to that where we made it known that we’d consider the offer to, in fact, F-. Then we called him out on his unfortunate admiration for the bad side of libertarianism.

And yet, despite all that, we’ve always tried to at least hint at the fact that we know the man has got serious yoga cred. Kaminoff has been around a long time with this stuff, and his take on yoga and yoga practice is typically solid ground to stand on. Although, he’s a wee bit obsessed with the diaphragm, me thinks. I mean, come on. What about lonely little platysma? What about her? Like, if it weren’t for her…

…we couldn’t make this face….

We’re also happy to see someone—anyone!—discussing how legislating yoga (or any alternative practice) sucks a fat chodey one. Yeah, maybe if yoga “therapy” becomes a legal construct, you’re mom will finally accept your chosen career path as a yoga teacher, and then you can finally stop projecting all that “I’ve never been seen” baggage onto your students. But, ultimately the big man upstairs—The State—is gonna have his naughty little small-penis way with your naughty little not-paying-your-taxes yoga studio if the giv’ gets its slime lil’ hands on this racket we call yoga. And, trust me, he ain’t gonna send you flowers the next day.

Now, here comes the political left-libertarian -vs- right-libertarian part that you can just ignore if it’s not your thing:

What’s really special about this video, however, is that you can see where both left and right leaning libertarians can find common ground, and where they potentially start having a food fight. Leslie rightly, in our opinion, stands firmly against government involvement in legislating/regulating yoga practices and alternative therapeutics and education. Most people you come in contact with are so googly dumbfounded over what a government actually does and how insurance works that they still think that “validation” by an overgrown oafish juggernaut of misery (AKA the gov’) will actually work on the behalf of alternative medicines.

However, if you pay attention, and your ears are tuned to this sort of anarcho/libertarian debate, you can hear the conservative-ness peeking through, specifically in Kaminoff’s comment about “socialized medicine” and Canada, which Roseanne unfortunately let slip by.

Bad naughty interviewer. You will now be forced to perform burlesque as your punishment….

Oh, right….


  1. Yoga Whelp

    I love how all these right-wing libertarian anarchists keep talking about the dark “outside” forces” that are trying to destroy yoga?

    Really, the only dark forces trying to destroy yoga emanate entirely from within. They reflect an industry and a movement’s abject failure to embrace collective self-governing structures for self-regulation and accountability.

    So we end up with gurus, yogi-lebrities, yoga injuries, yoga “junk” science, and the widespread abuse of yoga for crass commercial purposes — all blessed by the complicity of major blog sites – read marketing platforms – like IAYB, Body Eclectic, Elephant Urinal,Yoga Dark, and Yoga Pusilanimous — operating in their ever more cozy, connubial cunnlingual bliss with their fellow feminist travellers at Yoga Journal.

    All these people have raised the specter of “government regulation” because they simply don’t want anyone fucking with their Snake Oil Carnival Show.

    So while we’re at it, let’s deregulate oil and abolish the EPA, because this government jackboot is fucking oppressive and threatening the sacred free “spiritual” enterprise system.

    And dammit, while you’re at it, leggo my eggo, too. No one can tell ME what to do with MY yoga body. I am woman Hear my whore.

  2. I apologize but this will be a long one…

    Health economist speaks:

    First off Kaminoff, clearly doesn’t know his ass from his armpit about health care systems outside of the United States. We do not have “socialized medicine” in Canada, we have a MIXED system. Some services are public (family doctor visits, referrals to specialists if needed, emergency medicine), some services are private (dentistry, eye exams, specialists, visits to private clinics) All employers must provide private health insurance to all full time workers, mostly for medication and prescription plans and plans may or may not include things like acupuncture, massage therapy, osteopathy, naturopathy, even dental may not be included.

    Some governments (Norway, Sweden, France, Japan, Switzerland) actually do a kick-ass job of managing their health services unlike the United States, which by every index and metric imaginable has one of the worst health-outcome cost and cost containment models in the world. This is a directly due to physician fees, physicians over-prescribing (because they make more money that way) and the absolute power of private insurance companies which are unregulated. In that respect, government regulation and capping is good because it forces insurance companies to watch it or else, and therefore costs are lower which are then passed on to you, dear citizen.

    (To anyone who wants an EASY read about why some government intervention is actually good in services which are considered to be basic human rights and NOT privileges, like health and education, have a look at
    “The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better” by Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/resource/the-spirit-level)

    OK, yoga. What it boils down here, is your definition of “health” and by extension, health services and if yoga falls into that or not. Right now yoga is considered to be, by many authorities, a form of fitness. So most studios and such will fall under the same rules as gyms and swim clubs for tax purposes. They do not look at the therapeutic side or spiritual side of the practice, for the moment, even if the community does or eventually wants to. This is where national political cultures are going to come into play. Some countries have watchdogs in place to protect their citizenry (i.e Health Canada and EU wouldn’t allow bovine growth hormone be used but the FDA in the US did) . For other countries, they are a headache. Countries like Germany have very strict but outstanding standards in alternative health practices, particularly in naturopathy, osteopathy. Credentialing bodies are regulated, you have to take rigorous state exams, but once you’re licensed, you’re home free and it keeps the charlatans out. I’ll also add that their environmental standards and organic product labeling are one of the strictest in the world in large part because it was influenced by eco-anarchist writer Murray Bookchin, even if he’s been ignored and forgotten in his own country.

    As for these Ayn Rand free-market sympathizers like Kaminoff or Chip Wilson at Lululemon, I’m with Jeffrey Sachs on this one (esp. from 2:39 until 4:59)

  3. I haven’t even looked at the videos but I am so pleased at the witty lead in banter that I hit “like”. I may hate it later but damn you’re a good writer and I love anyone who has the nerve to speak his mind despite all.


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