Yoga Journal's Response to the January 2019 Covers

Tasha Eichenseher, Yoga Journal's Brand Director, responds to the comments about the two covers.
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split YJ cover, Jessamyn and Maty

I know this statement is not enough. It’s not possible to have a complete conversation about complicated topics via social media, or through a single article or magazine issue.

But we hear you.

Thank you for letting us know how the January/February issue made you feel. We are sharing the following response and reflection in order to acknowledge that we caused harm. With a dual cover, my team and I hoped to spark a conversation about leadership in yoga—to examine, to the degree we are able, the evolution of the practice over the past several decades and explore the roles of lineage, social media, and power dynamics. To us, both cover models—Jessamyn Stanley and Maty Ezraty—offer important perspectives in the context of that conversation. But I can see now how communities that have been disproportionately excluded from yoga, and Yoga Journal, may not have experienced it that way. Our intention didn't align with the impact and we are sorry.

I am working to make Yoga Journal more representative—regarding age, race, ability, body type, yoga style, gender, and experience. We are committed to doing better and more, and to reaching out and understanding the ways in which systemic oppression plays out at Yoga Journal and every institution in this country. As we listen, absorb, and figure out how, we are bound to make mistakes, such as the unclear way in which we rolled out our recent issue.

Thank you again for speaking up, sharing your feedback, and engaging with us. Constructive engagement is how we will learn and grow. We will do the work to find clear, mindful ways to move forward. This may take time, but we are fully committed.

Please read below for the editor’s letter that accompanied the issue, introducing and explaining our choice to release dual covers.…

And here’s more about the dual cover strategy: Equal numbers of the issues are printed and they are delivered randomly; every other subscriber got every other issue. And you should see both on every newsstand that carries Yoga Journal.

In the spirit of peace, unity, and love that this practice inspires,

Tasha

The January 2019 Editor Letter

According to the United Nations, there are an estimated 2 billion people worldwide who practice yoga. That means there are 2 billion different ways yoga expresses itself and 2 billion different ways a yogi can look. At Yoga Journal, we want to honor everyone’s yogic path. Whether your practice is rooted in movement, breathwork, service, mantra, devotion, meditation, or study, you are moving toward awareness—and we want to support you along the way.

That’s why we’re making a few changes this year. We want to bridge old and new, the past and the future, in an effort to find common ground, to celebrate the benefits of the practice, and to help lead the community toward solutions to some of modern yoga’s biggest challenges including, but not limited to, accessibility, safety, abuse of power, and the best way forward. When you turn the pages of this redesigned magazine, scroll through our social feeds, visit our refreshed website, or listen to our new podcast, you’ll start to see (and hear) a more representative Yoga Journal—one where master teachers such as Maty Ezraty, who started YogaWorks, are paired with new yogapreneurs such as Jessamyn Stanley; one where you can find inspiration regardless of where you are on your yoga journey.

In 2019, you’ll find two different covers on most issues. We’re going to take more opportunities to share what yoga looks and feels like. To us, both Maty and Jessamyn represent important perspectives on leadership—our theme for this issue. Maty helped to popularize yoga, but she avoids social media and is worried about its ripple effects. Jessamyn is a relatively new teacher and rising social-media star. Her message of deep body acceptance is pioneering a new way of reaching people with the practice.

By bringing their voices together, along with the voices of other popular teachers and thought leaders, we aim to spark conversation about leadership in yoga: What form does it take? What form should it take? What roles do lineage and tradition play? How can the community chart a course forward that fosters respect, integrity, and inclusivity?

In the January 2019 issue, we also work with beloved Yoga Journal contributors Annie Carpenter, Sally Kempton, and Judith Hanson Lasater to offer up rock-solid asana, philosophy, and anatomy lessons. Plus, you’ll find yoga retreats that dovetail with leadership training to help you step into your own power. There’s also a chance to learn from the work of Exhale to Inhale, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing trauma-informed yoga to survivors of domestic and sexual assault. Finally, find freedom in ecstatic dance and parting words of wisdom on moving your practice off the mat and into the world—for the benefit of all.

About the Author
Tasha Eichenseher is the brand director of Yoga Journal.