In the Los Angeles area alone at least one hundred yoga teacher trainings began this month. It’s not a particularly demanding training assuming you are sufficiently expert with a number of poses. It only lasts a few weeks, save for the cost which can be quite steep—one I saw was $15,000—it can be available to a wide range of people. That’s a good thing, right? I am not sure. I began by looking at the name of those offering the training, 2 or 3 were unassailable experts, people with national recognition and as close to universal respect as one can in any given field. I couldn’t help but ask, how many are doing it out of commitment to their profession and how many are doing it for whatever financial gain? Then a bigger issue arose within me. When one reads about the history of how yoga developed and why, one ends us with deep respect, and I count myself among those. Yoga is more than making your body conform to certain poses. Yoga is a way to understand the relationship between the visible and the non, a way to achieve some understanding, however small, about what lies beyond us. That means that the teacher must be endowed with a certain wisdom to help the practitioner or would be practitioner of yoga move towards that greater goal. That is given to a few. Perhaps that’s why when I look around at the proliferation of yoga studios, at the existing number of yoga teachers and at the projected increase in those numbers I ask: Are we diluting a hallowed discipline, making it into an imitation of itself?
As an immigrant I know what it’s like to leave all you know for the unknown. We had visas, we weren’t penniless, we flew to the US and regardless I felt fear. When you emigrate everything familiar is gone and you don’t know how it will be replaced, nor do you know what will happen next. I heard and read about the caravan from Central America and I can’t help thinking about those courageous people who are willing to walk a couple of thousand miles or more in search of some safety, in search for some opportunities out of assured poverty and violence, in search of better lives for their families. They banded together to avoid the criminals who prey on migrants, Continue reading “Hail The Caravan”
A recent NYT op-ed strongly alerted readers to a study that found errors in DNA testing. The National Institute of Standards and Technology gave the same sample of DNA mixtures to 105 US crime labs and 3 Canadian ones and asked them to compare it to the DNA of 3 suspects from a mock robbery. A DNA mixture is a biological sample of 2 or more individuals from which a DNA profile could be drawn. Today’s DNA testing is advanced enough that an analysis can be done even if someone has lightly touched an object. The labs correctly identified 2 of the suspects, but 74 got Continue reading “DNA Testing and Errors”
Beginning next year in California, gun shops will be required to keep logs of ammunition sales. Gun rights groups have long fought laws on ammunition saying it is a way around the second amendment. But as Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan reminded some 25 years ago, “guns don’t kill people, bullets do.” California already has more anti-gun laws than most states and now it is going after ammunition. For people like me who do believe guns need to be restricted in order to save lives and life altering injuries, such laws are welcomed. But what is even more welcome is the Continue reading “Guns, Ammo and 3D”