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Top Yoga Stories of 2013

There was no shortage of interesting news from the yoga community this year. From milestone birthdays of legendary teachers to lawsuits against others, to a growing body of science proving the benefits of the practice, yoga firmly secured its place in contemporary culture.

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Yoga made national headlines for all kinds of news in 2013, both good and bad. Here’s a quick look of the year’s biggest yoga stories.

Yogis Preen in Selfies

2013 was the year of the “selfie”; the word has even been added to the Oxford Dictionary. The merits of yoga selfies were a hot topic following a New York Times article about the phenomenon—some feel taking pics of yourself busting out your best pose is contradictory to a practice about self-reflection.

More Research Proves Yoga Is Good for You

Anyone who practices yoga knows how good it is for you, but we really love watching the evidence mount that yoga can be beneficial for a variety of both physical and mental health conditions. And research is getting more sophisticated as scientists are now beginning to pinpoint how yoga effects our genes.

Living Legends Celebrate Milestone Birthdays

Nothing is more inspiring than seeing how yoga enriches the lives of those who have continued to practice into their golden years. B.K.S. Iyengar, who founded Iyengar Yoga, and the former Guinness World Record holder for world’s oldest yoga teacher, Tao Porchon-Lynch, both celebrated their 95th birthdays this year. They are living proof that yoga can offer longevity, health, and well-being.

Judge Says Yoga in Schools OK

Yoga was everywhere on the national news this year when parents in Encinitas, California, sued the local school district for its popular classroom yoga program claiming that it imposed religion on their kids. When the judge ruled that yoga, as taught in the school system, is secular, many saw it as a victory for the yoga community.

Smithsonian Spotlights Yoga

This year yoga got an academic nod when the Smithsonian’s Asian Art Museum hosted the institute’s first yoga exhibit, with artwork depicting the practice over thousands of years. The event heralded another first: Yoga: The Art of Transformation was the first crowd-funded exhibit for the museum, which in itself is a testament to yoga’s popularity and place in the mainstream.

Lululemon Sheer Pants Debacle

First, Lululemon had to recall its popular yoga pants because sheer fabric left women who wore them overexposed. Then company founder Chip Wilson put his foot in his mouth when he said women’s bodies were to blame for wear and tear of yoga pants fabric. Wilson recently resigned from his role on the company’s board of directors.

Bikram Founder Faces Accusations 

The news that Bikram Yoga founder Bikram Choudhury had been named in several lawsuits alleging rape and sexual harassment was a dark point for the yoga community. The charges, however, opened up meaningful dialog about the teacher-student relationship and the role of gurus in the practice of yoga.