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Many in the yoga community were “disgusted” and “appalled” by the “over-sexualization” of yoga in a recent ad for Equinox gym. These people, I think, are being ridiculous. The video clip is beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, the clip obviously plays upon its sexual appeal (the woman is just painfully gorgeous), but what’s amazing is how quickly sex is transcended by the grace of her movements, the presence which she brings to the practice—even though it’s never hidden from us. She’s still almost naked; we still get the intimacy of her usually hidden tattoos, the unkempt blankets of yesterday evening’s love-making in the background; and yet what starts off as a sexual movement (the wave of her body as it falls from down-dog to up-dog) almost immediately gets lifted up into the spiritual, becomes beautiful in a new or deeper way—perhaps gets lifted just at the exact moment when she picks herself up off the ground. The camera still caresses her, teases the viewer to think about sex, but it’s now this elegant composure, this complete control over oneself, that entices. And when we see her lover on the bed, we feel a strange sadness for him—as if all he got was last night. He’s missing out on this day, the moment, the view, the quiet.

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