The Paradox of the Yoga Shooting

Yoga shooter appeared to have made misogynistic videos
Photo by Associated Press

Among all the shootings this year, the recent yoga shooting is the most sadly paradoxical. This is because yoga teaches people to calm the mind, to control their reactions to feelings and emotions, and to see and appreciate the small kindnesses in life.

The man who perpetrated this crime had a long history of misogyny and it is not entirely clear why he targeted a yoga studio, but it probably had something to do with his anger towards women for not sleeping with him (he identified as an “incel” – involuntary celibate). He did not even know any of the women in the yoga class that he targeted – it was a completely indiscriminate killing. I am hypothesizing that, if he had only gone to yoga class, practiced breathing with awareness as they teach in yoga, and worked through his anger issues, he might have gotten a girlfriend in addition to the larger issues of repairing his mental health and lessening his anger towards the world.

You could say the same thing about the recent synagogue shooting or the Charleston church shooting three years ago – the (male) killer came to the right place to address his problems, but he unfortunately chose to bring to life his anger and resentment and to blame his problems on a class of people slightly different than himself, and to do it with guns.

Yoga is related to mediation to the extent that, in the midst of a conflict, the calm state of mind that will help you express yourself without (verbally) attacking others is the yoga state of mind. Yoga makes it easier to achieve this state of mind by combining physical exercises and stretches with breath work and awareness of the body – for most people, awareness of the body is easier than awareness of the mind. Any exercise in general, regardless of whether it is yoga or not, helps people to get through tough emotions. So if you are dealing with a big conflict in your life, get some exercise and come back to it later.

News about the Yoga Shooting:


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