FROM THE ARCHIVE: Vanity Fair Ranks the Top 20 Yogis

Vanity Fair devotes 20 pages to The World’s Greatest Yoga Masters

SOUL’S CODE — The currency of America’s highest-end celeb zine is, in a word, power. Vanity Fair’s entire franchise is to portray power as A) good looks, B) political status and C) financial bling. Now they’ve discovered D: power can show up, even in their dimension, as prowess of the spiritual kind.

Among Vanity Fair’s top 20 masters, BKS Iyengar we get. Approaching 90 years of age, dude completely invented the style of yoga practiced in America —  and learned at the feet of a yogi in Pune, India in 1937.

And we’ll give the magazine a free pass for spotlighting super-model Christy Turlington, in the image above, in their pantheon of adepts. She owns the yoga-wear brand, Nuala, studied religions and philosophy at NYU —  and is married to Ed Burns.

But Donna Karan? We’re (sincerely) sorry. The bright young things at VF are playing the age-old game of making an editorial stretch —  ’what famous person can we remotely attach to a fad for our shoot?

If you want to dive into the who’s who of spiritual teachers, here’s a highly idiosyncratic — but exhaustive —  online directory. A former disciple of the Baby Boomer guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, has been building this Zagat-like rating service for years.

But don’t let that put you off. The webmaster is an American ex-pat in Vancouver, B.C., and he lards the site with enough self-deprecating disclaimers to make it worth the price of admission. There’s about 1,500 entries, compared to Vanity Fair’s 20. An excerpt:

Gangaji F b1942
aka Toni Roberson,
Toni Varner

Media Gossip Sangha Gossip

“Be absolutely still. Recognize what is already present, what is already here. This recognition is the end of desire, the end of need of the ‘other.’ It is fulfillment itself.” After 18 years of search and meditation, met her master Papaji in 1990. Not so unusual any more in a field of mostly older men. Most prominent of Papaji franchise. Seems to have inspired many, but now dragged down by Eli’s problems.

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