If it feels like you’ve had several heaping doses of Gwyneth Paltrow lately, then your hunch is probably correct. She’s been on a tear recently while trying to convince the New York Times that her GOOP lifestyle brand is legit, despite getting into hot water over “vaginal eggs” and potentially harmful prenatal vitamin supplements. And Paltrow is still on her big publicity tour for GOOP, which now includes a Wall Street Journal profile in which she claims to be a major reason why yoga is so popular in the United States.
Presumably, she’s referring only to the physical (hatha) practice of yoga that finds roots in the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture that sources back to around 5,000 years ago. Yet Paltrow’s claim that she’s the reason that people hit the mat in America is truly baffling — especially for obsessed folks (*cough* like me) who practice yoga every day and remain generally aware of Paltrow shenanigans but never connected the two. Here’s what she told the WSJ:
“I remember when I started doing yoga and people were like, ‘What is yoga? She’s a witch. She’s a freak.’ Forgive me if this comes out wrong. but I went to do a yoga class in L.A. recently and the 22-year-old girl behind the counter was like, ‘Have you ever done yoga before?’ And literally I turned to my friend, and I was like, ‘You have this job because I’ve done yoga before.'”
Yes, it’s silly, but Paltrow does believe that she’s that much of an all-important influencer to have Americanized the practice, even though her GOOP suggestions aren’t affordable to the masses (not to mention that many Americans were doing yoga prior to Goop’s founding in 2008). Her brand has always catered to the high-end of the price point, and most people probably simply turn away. She’s often harmless, but then again, her company has the aforementioned (alleged) practice of shilling harmful prenatal vitamins in its recent history.
Anyhoodle, this argument won’t be settled overnight or at all, but Paltrow’s probably most familiar with the Hollywood-endearing studios, which were brought to America in the 1970s by Bikram Choudhury, who founded Bikram Yoga and is now in hiding over a sexual misconduct scandal. Arguably, the sub-type of yoga that both Bikram and Gwyneth are selling has little in common with any spiritual, mental, or physical benefits that practitioners worldwide gain from the highly variable discipline. In other words, Goop’s gonna Goop, and she’ll move onto another outrageous claim soon.
(Via Wall Street Journal)