Media and Hindu Leader Blast Hollywood Actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s Claim That She Popularized Yoga

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Gwyneth Paltrow (Photo: Goop Facebook page)

BOSTON–“Gwyneth Paltrow’s Claim That She (and Goop) Popularized Yoga Is, Well, a Stretch” was the headline of an article published at Fortune.com.

“Since launching Goop in 2008, actress Gwyneth Paltrow has been a divisive presence in the burgeoning wellness industry,” wrote Kevin Kelleher in the Fortune article. “Her comments in a Wall Street Journal Magazine profile, in which she claimed credit for making yoga popular, may end up making that ambivalence even stronger.”

HuffPost headlined another story: “Gwyneth Paltrow Takes Credit For Yoga Boom. Twitter Bent Out Of Shape. “The Goop founder’s “You have this job because I’ve done yoga before” comment was probably a stretch,” said HuffPost.

Rajan Zed, president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said in a statement that Oscar winner Paltrow’s claims of making yoga popular is “just a delusion as the facts are quite contradictory to her idiosyncratic belief.”

Rajan Zed

Zed said that traces of yoga went back to around 2,000 BCE to Indus Valley civilization. Yoga was pioneered in the United States for long time before even Paltrow was born by Swami Vivekanda (arrived 1893), Paramahansa Yogananda (1920), Theos Casimir Bernard (1937), Indra Devi (1947), Richard Hittleman (1950), Swami Vishnu-Devananda (1958), B.K.S. Iyengar (1973), Pattabhi Jois (1975), T.K.V. Desikachar (1976); and many others.

“Moreover, Paltrow should know that humility was the main virtue of a true yogini, as yoga tended to relieve one from the perils of arrogance and pride,” said Mr. Zed.

He said that yoga, a mental and physical discipline by means of which the human-soul (jivatman) united with universal-soul (parmatman), would do just fine without Paltrow’s help.

“Yoga directed the practitioner from awareness of the external world to a focus on the inner; while Paltrow was doing just the opposite. Paltrow should be aware that yoga aimed at making mind free from anger, lust, fear, greed, jealousy, and melancholy,” said Mr. Zed.

He said Paltrow was in the habit of unnecessary pushing of expensive yoga and meditation stuff through her lifestyle brand GOOP. GOOP “2017 Holiday Gift Guide” promoted a Love Yoga Retreat for $2,400, while the typical range of single drop-in sessions at yoga studios and fitness centers around the nation was $8 to $23, with average cost running around $12.

“It was highly inappropriate for a “true yogini” to push for mercantile greed the exorbitant products related to the ancient practices of yoga and meditation, whose techniques could be successfully mastered with little or no cost,” Zed said.

On another contradictory note, Paltrow in 2011 blamed yoga for ruining her body, Zed said.

“How this world heritage and liberation powerhouse utilized by so many humans in all these years with positive results could “ruin” Paltrow’s body? Moreover, why would she promote something to others which she claimed harmful to her body?” asked  Zed.

According to a recent report of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Yoga is the most popular complementary health approach in the United States – used by 14.3% of the adult population, or 35.2 million people.”

Zed further questioned: How could Paltrow boast of her sole claim on yoga popularity, as many other celebrities had been reportedly associated with yoga, including—Ali MacGraw, Ashley Judd, Barbara Streisand, Bianca Jagger, Cameron Diaz, Candice Bergen, Carmen Electra, Charlie Sheen, Charlize Theron, Christy Turlington, Connie Stevens, Danny Clover, David Duchovny, Diane Keaton, Dixie Chicks, Emilio Estavez, Eva Longoria, Halle Berry, Homer Simpson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jane Fonda, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Jerry Seinfeld, John McEnroe, Julia Roberts, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karen Allen, Kathie Lee Gifford, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Mariel Hemingway, Martha Stewart, Martin Sheen, Meg Ryan, Melissa Etheridge, Melissa Joan Hart, Michael Jackson, Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys, Naomi Campbell, Naomi Watts, Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman, Olivia Newton-John, Oprah Winfrey, Pamela Anderson, Paulina Rubio, Raquel Welch, Ricky Martin, Russell Simmons, Sarah Jessica Parker, Shirley MacLaine, Soleil Moon Frye, Sting, Susan Sarandon, Tatum O’Neal, Thalia, Tina Turner, Uma Thurman, William Dafoe, etc. The list goes on.

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