Sunday, October 26, 2014

Animal Yoga Calendars -- Cute or Ridiculous?

This is not a serious post -- just my little rant about animal yoga pose calendars.

I enjoy putting up a yoga pose calendar each year at Harmony Yoga of Ann Arbor.  For a number of years I bought the Yoga Journal wall calendars, and each month we'd be treated to a nicely executed asana that could inspire us for those few weeks, even if it was something that most of us might never be able to do.  Sometimes I'd plan a week's sequence around the "pose of the month".  Granted, the models were all very young and excessively thin and flexible, but the poses were works of art in my opinion.  Unfortunately, Yoga Journal hasn't put out a calendar for the last couple years.

Other calendars that I also used and enjoyed were made by local Iyengar Yoga teachers who photographed "real" yoga students and teachers in realistic and accessible poses.   Those are inspiring because we know some of the people who are featured.

Another of my favorite calendars was put together by the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Greater New York, with edgy black-and-white photos of people doing poses in various places in Manhattan, including a photo of a bald-from-chemo Mary Dunn, looking radiant (as always) in Padmasana.

yoga cats and dogs
Yoga Cats and Dogs I also loved a "Yoga Cat" calendar...but wait, not like the ones you might see in the stores now.  Each month had a photo of a woman doing a yoga pose, with her cat in the picture as well.   My favorite photo was of the woman doing Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-stance standing forward bend) with the cat perched on her sacrum.  That was artistic and cute!

But a few years ago, I started seeing some other... rather silly... yoga calendars crop up in the stores.  It started with Yoga Dogs calendars and Yoga Cats calendars, each month with a photoshopped image of a dog or cat in an asana.  Kind of cute, I thought, but not at all what I was looking for in a yoga calendar.

Then came Yoga Puppies and Yoga Kittens.  Wasn't that taking things a little too far?   I want to see real people do real poses, not animals doing photoshopped poses.  Or do I just lack a sense of humor about my chosen passion?

But now, when I'm looking under the Yoga Calendar section on or on Amazon I find very few calendars of people doing yoga, and many, many animal yoga calendars.

Out of the 27 yoga calendars that I found on, 19 were animal yoga calendars.  That's 70% of the total!  Along with the dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, there are yoga horses, yoga cows, and other assorted animals doing a variety of asanas.  I don't really get it, but obviously they strike many peoples' fancy :-)

Here is a Farm Yoga calendar, created after the success of Cow Yoga (yes, this is an ad).

Farm Yoga 2015 Wall Calendar - $14.99

The success of the best-selling Cow Yoga calendar was not lost on the other farm animals. Now the pigs, chickens, sheep and nearly all the critters in the barnyard are getting into the act with myriad poses and postures that you would deem impossible if you were not witnessing them with your own eye

Here is Zoo Yoga.  Again, not my thing AT ALL, but I have to admit I laughed over the blurb in both of these calendars (yes this is an ad too).

Zoo Yoga 2015 Wall Calendar - $14.99

In 1896, elephants at the New Delhi Zoo were observed practicing rudimentary yoga poses within their enclosures. Their astounded keepers encouraged this remarkable behavior and before long the pachyderms were demonstrating up to seven distinct postures. 

But no, I'm not going to cave in and get one of these silly calendars.  Just not my cup of tea, but they might strike your fancy!   If I can't find a yoga calendar that fits well with my sense of aesthetics, I'll get an Audubon bird calendar instead for the studio... and no, I haven't seen a Bird Yoga calendar yet.  Maybe next year.

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