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Yoga Year in Review 2013

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Updated December 30, 2013

As the year comes to an end, let's take a look at a few of the biggest yoga trends, scandals, and news items of 2013. Lululemon loomed large in the news, as did a few lawsuits. Yoga was in museums and laboratories, as well as on Instagram. Destination yoga is still a major trend, and growing all the time. Here is the year that was:

1. Yoga Selfies

The Oxford Dictionaries made "selfie" the word of the year, and yogis did their fair share to contribute to this trend. Yoga Instagrams proliferated, as did celebrity public displays of yoga, often beachside in bikinis. Super model/super mom Gisele Bundchen ticked all of the above boxes, plus charmed us with her adorable toddler daughter, so I'm naming her the official yoga selfie spokesmodel of 2013. 

2. Yoga Lawsuits

Yoga was in court quite a few times this year. In Encinitas, CA, yoga programs in public schools were at issue, as some parents worried that their children were receiving religious indoctrination along with their downward facing dogs. A judge ruled in July that the yoga prgrams could continue, but the decision was appealed in October and has yet to be settled. 

Bikram Yoga founder Bikram Choudhury has often litigated in the past, mostly in relation to his attempt to copyright the 26-pose series he created. This year, Bikram was on the receiving end of three pending lawsuits brought by former students and employees alleging rape and sexual harassment

3. Hot Yoga

Despite Bikram's legal/ethical troubles, hot yoga continues to be a hot ticket. For those fed up with Bikram, CorePower and Modo continued to expand their studio empires. In addition, several new studies on hot yoga were published. Researchers at the American Council for Exercise measured heart rates and core temperatures of participants, while a study at Colorado State University also determined the number of calories burned in a hot yoga session.

4. Lululemon

The adage that any publicity is good publicity is about to be tested by Lululemon, whose bad press was impressive this year. In the spring, the scandal centered around a bad batch of pants that became sheer when stretched, as in when you bend over. As longtime customers complained about the decline in quality of the pricey pants, founder Chip Wilson took to the airwaves to assure us the problem was not the pants but rather the shape of women's thighs. Though Wilson resigned as chairman in the wake of the resulting brouhaha, he will remain on the board. 

5. Yoga Festivals

Yoga and music festivals, with Wanderlust at the vanguard, continued to go hard. Wanderlust now has some 10 events on its roster for 2014, including festivals in Australia, Chile, and Hawaii, in addition to its North American summer happenings. Bhakti Fest is also expanding its schedule in the coming year.

6. Yoga at the Smithsonian

The U.S. government shutdown this fall ended just in time for the opening of the first major museum exhibition focusing on yoga. Yoga: The Art of Transformation opened at the Smithsonian Institute's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on October 19th and will close on January 26th, 2014.

Onwards to 2014...

Looking ahead, what will 2014 bring to the wonderful world of yoga? Hopefully more scientific research on yoga effects and less scandal. More festivals are already on the horizon, and not just in the summer. Expect the debate over whether selfies are narcissistic or inspirational to rage on. Through it all, here's wishing you a year filled with lots of yoga!
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