Yoga Journal

Yoga Journal is a magazine on yoga as exercise founded in California in 1975 with the goal of combining the essence of traditional yoga with scientific understanding. It is associated with a website and regular conferences, and produces materials such as DVDs on yoga and related subjects.

Yoga Journal
Yoga Journal sample cover March 2008.jpg
Cover of the March 2008 issue
The model is in Vasishtasana, Side Plank Pose
EditorLindsay Tucker
Managing Director of DigitalTasha Eichenseher
Former editorsTasha Eichenseher, Carin Gorrell, Kaitlin Quistgaard
Frequency6xs a year + 5 SIPs
PublisherSharon Houghton
Total circulation
(December 2014)
Year founded1975
First issueMay 1975
CompanyActive Interest Media
Based inBoulder, Colorado[2]

The magazine has repeatedly won Western Publications Association's Maggie Awards for "Best Health and Fitness Magazine".

Yoga Journal has been criticized for representing yoga as being intended for affluent white women; in 2019 it has attempted to remedy this by choosing a wider variety of yoga models.


Yoga Journal was started in May 1975 by the California Yoga Teachers Association (CYTA), which included William Staniger, Chairman (aka William Golden since 1982), Rama Jyoti Vernon, President, Janis Paulsen, Secretary/Treasurer, and board members Ike and Judith Lasater, Rose Garfinkle, and Jean Girardot. Staniger was the founding editor. Judith Lasater was Copy Editor, Paulsen, Elmer Brunsman, and Girardot were Assistant Editors, and Ike Lasater was Business and Advertising Director. Their goal was to combine "the essence of classical yoga with the latest understandings of modern science." The journal grew from the CYTA's newsletter, which had been called The Word. Initially, the journal was staffed by volunteers, and contributors were unpaid. The first issue's 300 copies were personally distributed by the founders.[3][4]


By the mid-1990s, as yoga's popularity in America grew, circulation for Yoga Journal reached 66,000. During these years, key figures at the magazine included Michael Glicksohn (as publisher), Stephen Bodian and Rick Fields (as editors-in-chief) and Linda Cogozzo (as longtime managing editor). In the fall of 1998, John Abbott, a former investment banker at Citicorp and a yoga practitioner, bought the magazine and brought in Kathryn Arnold as editor-in-chief. In January 2000, they redesigned and relaunched the magazine. Since their arrival, the paid circulation grew from 90,000 to 350,000 by 2010; the readership reached over 1,300,000.[5]

Yoga Journal has won major media awards including eight Western Publications Association's Maggie Awards for "Best Health and Fitness Magazine," and the Award's top honor for "Best Overall Consumer Publication."[6][7]

Forbes magazine has called the Yoga Journal website "the Web's most expansive and impressive Yoga site."[8]


A display of Koundinyasana at the Yoga Journal Conference, 2011

Yoga Journal runs features on the themes of yoga, food and nutrition, fitness, wellness, and fashion and beauty.

Early in the journal's history, in 1976, it published the guru Ram Dass's confession.[9]

The journalist Stefanie Syman calls its language that "of science and physiology, of diet and blood pressure".[10] In her view, the journal uses "highly clinical-sounding language"[10] even when covering "more mystical topics";[10] it stresses the use of yoga as therapy.[11] Syman notes that the journal's coverage was "eclectic", especially noticeable in its calendar and classified advertisements.[12]

Yoga Journal's 2012 survey, Yoga in America found the yoga market to be worth more than $10 billion per year. The data, collected by the Harris Interactive Service Bureau (HISB), shows that 20.4 million people practice yoga in America.[13]

Yoga Journal has 12 international editions, published in Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Thailand and Turkey.[14]


The social historian Sarah Schrank records that co-founder Judith Lasater "made waves"[15] with her public criticism of the magazine in 2010; in Lasater's view, "photos of naked or half-naked women ... do not teach the viewer about yoga practice or themselves. They aren't even about the celebration of the beauty of the human body or the beauty of the poses [asanas], which I support. These ads are just about selling a product."[15]

The journalist Rosalie Murphy, writing in The Atlantic in 2014, stated that Yoga Journal and similar yoga magazines are illustrated in "nearly every spread" with a thin woman, nearly always white; the image of yoga that is conveyed is, she argues, that yoga is intended for affluent white women. Murphy notes that the apparent stereotype is grounded in reality: in a 2012 study by Yoga Journal itself, over 80% of American practitioners of yoga were white.[16]

In January 2019, Yoga Journal exceptionally published two covers for the magazine, one showing a slim white woman, the other showing a larger black woman, both accompanied by a headline "The Leadership Issue", intended to examine the evolution of yoga and the part played by "lineage, social media, and power dynamics."[17] The pair of covers drew a strong response,[18][19] leading the journal's brand director, Tasha Eichenseher, to respond with an apology that "we caused harm"[17] to "communities that have been disproportionately excluded from yoga",[17] and an explanation that she was "working to make Yoga Journal more representative—regarding age, race, ability, body type, yoga style, gender, and experience."[17]


  1. ^ "eCirc for Consumer Magazines". Alliance for Audited Media. December 31, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  2. ^ "Yoga Journal". Active Interest Media. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  3. ^ Syman 2010, pp. 244–245, 262.
  4. ^ Schneider 2003, p. 88.
  5. ^ "Yoga Journal". Yoga Journal. Archived from the original on 24 January 2010.
  6. ^ "WPA - Western Publications Association". 24 April 2010.
  7. ^ "Yoga Journal Wins Eighth Maggie Award for "Best Health and Fitness Magazine"". Yoga Journal. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Best of the Web". 2005. Archived from the original on 1 September 2005.
  9. ^ Syman 2010, pp. 257–259.
  10. ^ a b c Syman 2010, p. 248.
  11. ^ Syman 2010, p. 278.
  12. ^ Syman 2010, pp. 350–351.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 31, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "International Editions". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  15. ^ a b Schrank, Sarah (2016). Berila, Beth; Klein, Melanie; Roberts, Chelsea Jackson (eds.). Naked Yoga and the Sexualization of Asana. Yoga, the Body, and Embodied Social Change: An Intersectional Feminist Analysis. Lexington Books. p. 157. ISBN 978-1-4985-2803-0.
  16. ^ Murphy, Rosalie (8 July 2014). "Why Your Yoga Class Is So White". The Atlantic. “You can look at all those journals and you'll not see one woman of color,” said Raja Michelle, herself a white woman, who founded the studio. “We associate yoga with being skinny, white, and even upper class.”
  17. ^ a b c d Eichenseher, Tasha (11 January 2019). "Yoga Journal's Response to the January 2019 Covers". Yoga Journal.
  18. ^ For example: Bondy, Dianne. "Jessamyn Stanley and the Yoga Journal Debacle". Yoga For All. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  19. ^ Reported on, for example, in: Howell, Allison (13 January 2019). "Conversation Starters: Why Can't Yoga Journal Get it Right?". Bad Yogi Magazine. in 2019, and still not learning our lessons. In the latest wave of criticism of the magazine, Yoga Journal is facing heat over the cover of the January/ February 2019 issue shared by Maty Ezraty and Jessamyn Stanley.