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It's a girl in yoga pants! (image via girlsinyogapants.com)

In the esteemed tradition of nude yoga girls and Playboy Yoga, we now have Girls In Yoga Pants ~ a photoblog dedicated to, you guessed it, women wearing yoga pants. Most of the photos provide us with posterior views of yoga pants, thus celebrating the desirable yoga butt.

Either gleaned off the internet or submitted by readers (and girls ~ there are a lot of mirror-butt-self-portraits, as seen above), the photos fall into several categories: Big Booty, Amateur, Celebrities, Hall of Fame, In Public and Actual Yoga. According to their Facebook fan page (which has over 6000 fans), the website “was created to show appreciation for the world’s greatest trend.” Their About page claims:

Why look at just girls, when you can look at girls in yoga pants? That’s the idea behind this always funny, always sexy website. Get your backside fix, feast your eyes on the web’s best posteriors, and pay homage to the derriere. Because it beats working. Now go look at what their momma’s gave them.

Well, at least they’re wearing pants. To save y’all the hassle of looking at Girls In Yoga Pants (and if you do venture there, I urge you not to read the comments), I have curated some of the best the website has to offer, in true GIYP style, “after the jump.” Let me know what you think ~ sexist, funny, predictable, inevitable, or yawn? Read the rest of this entry »

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Prime advertising real estate (image via flavorwire.com)

Last week’s corporate-sponsored Yoga at the Great Lawn event in NYC has been attracting quite a bit of press. Yesterday’s NYT blog article took a look at the corporate angle of the event.  “This would have never happened without corporate support,” said Sascha Lewis, a co-founder of FlavorPill, the NYC cultural guide which organized the event.

It was advertised as a free class, and as such needed corporate sponsorship. The distributed mats (which every registered person was supposed to receive) were branded with the JetBlue logo, a small gesture which in fact positions yoga mats as desirable retail space. adidas, which didn’t appear on the official literature but had a presence, since the event’s primary teacher, Elena Brower, is an adidas yoga ambassador (and is apparently making efforts to help adidas deliver their sustainability yoga wear line ~ I thought their previous ambassador accomplished that task…)

On the one hand, it’s great that this event happened and so many people, especially first-timers, were able to experience yoga in a grand setting. However, given the scope and ambition of the event, I have to question the intention behind these corporate interests in yoga. They claim they want to bring yoga to as many people as possible, but I’m not entirely convinced that’s their main interest.

The event accomplished the feat of being the largest yoga class ever recorded, even though there wasn’t much of a class. The practice was cancelled shortly after it started, due to the rain, and the disappointed practitioners lugged “their soggy JetBlue yoga mats and their SmartWater bottles and their ChicoBags filled with a few goodies” (according to the NYT blog post) out of the park.

“The yoga community is now merrily two-stepping the American way, with corporate logos,” observed the NYT blog. It then went on to ask if this was even a bad thing. Given the culture that yoga has landed in, it certainly seems inevitable. But there are ways to cross the line. At the Yoga at the Great Lawn event, Well+GoodNYC noted, “A single row of Who’s Who yoga teachers like Sadie Nardini, Sarita Lou, and Duncan Wong sat like Adidas-branded Buddhas, all in matching white tanks.” The shiny yoga elite, dressed alike in their branded uniforms… it’s kind of a creepy picture.

I wonder, do we have to do this dance? We all know it’s a dance. You really can’t convince me that, other then sponsoring an event with a guaranteed captive audience of 10,000, do these companies embody yogic values? JetBlue would like to co-opt the openness and transparency associated with yoga by guaranteeing “no blackout dates, no seat restrictions” on its frequent-flier program. It’s nice of adidas to sponsor a high-profile yoga teacher,  offer free yoga classes around the world and develop a line of sustainable yoga wear ~ but its other business practices include endorsing the slaughter of kangaroos (an endangered species) in Australia and sweatshops in Asia. Can we separate these actions from its endorsement of yoga?

Elena Brower indicates that “the notion that capitalism and yoga are in conflict is old-think. ‘The companies are making it possible for all these thousands of people to have this experience. This is what we need,'” she said. I’m going to step forward and say that I’m pretty old-school in being skeptical of corporate motivations for sponsoring large scale yoga events, and I’d prefer to create community from a grassroots level, and introduce people to yoga without having to woo them with free branded mats and bottled water.

The blogosphere is bursting with stories about the tension-filled relationship between yoga and marketing – the recent NY Times article set off sparks around the yoga interwebs, and a fascinating conversation rages on  YogaDork regarding Lululemon’s latest ad campaign. However, a post on TechCrunch takes it to a whole other level.

Apparently, a new behavioral marketing target product developed by Blinkx, a large video search engine, has broken people into 9 categories – including “Yoga Moms,” women who are concerned about the environment, kids, family, and health and fitness.  This is how the product works:

Brands will be able to target specific segments by showing their ads only to Yoga Moms or Digital Dads. People are classified in the different buckets depending on what they watch. Binkx trains the system by extracting different concepts from each video and matching them to a profile. For instance, videos about children, crafts, soccer, or terrible twos are the types of things Yoga Moms supposedly watch. Advertisers can see the keywords associated with each psychographic profile to determine who they want to go after. [via TechCrunch]

So it looks like the “Yoga Mom” has replaced the “Soccer Mom” as the stereotypical (and economically powerful) middle class suburban woman with a family.  How do y’all feel about “yoga” being used as an adjective for a consumer with certain types of behaviors, along with Digital Dads, Gossip Girls and Bachelors? What does this say about the cultural perception of yoga and yoga practitioners?

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Mobile Yoga, the latest yoga hybrid which fuses together yoga and inline skating. I had actually been approached by a publicist at a PR company about the new style and I couldn’t resist questioning the validity of this hybrid (and, looking at the comments on that post, it seems that many yogis were unconvinced as well). After the post went up, the publicist contacted me again and offered an interview with Kris Fondran, the founder of Mobile Yoga. Of course, I had to take this opportunity to ask her all my burning questions, which she so generously responded to.

Mobile Yoga founder Kris Fondran rocks the asanas & the skates.

From what I understand from your bio, you have a long and deep relationship with yoga, having trained in the Satyananda tradition and received mantra initiation. Do you feel that the practice is compromised by blending it with another form of physical exercise? And what do your teachers think about this?

On the surface, Mobile Yoga looks like anything but a traditional yoga practice.  However, through my studies and experiences I have found that to be a true practitioner of yoga you need to take what you are doing on the mat off into the world. Since much of my “world” is made up of skating it was not difficult for me to recognize and assimilate yoga elements while skating or teaching skating.

The traditional approach to yoga helps us manage our lives and can inspire many different activities. The Mobile Yoga concept will hopefully attract some people to explore yoga that might otherwise be put off by the classical yogic concepts of linking breath to movement and doing meditation. In turn it may also bring others to skating because they are looking for a way to improve their overall cardiovascular health in a way that is gentle on the body.

I came to yoga to learn stress reduction techniques and to improve my overall physical flexibility. Through study and practice, I have not only managed to reduce the amount of stressors in my life and improve the condition of my physical body, I also managed to enhance my skating ability as well.

Being yoga purists sotospeak, my teachers are a bit skeptical of many of the “fusion” practices out there as the connection between yoga and whatever activity, seem to be quite weak. However, as long as my teachers have known me they have known me as a skater who has found ways to bring my understanding of yoga to other skaters. Sometimes it is important to meet people where they are and to provide them with techniques and choices that will bring awareness and balance into exploration of fitness in unsuspecting ways. This is the inspiration for Mobile Yoga.

At first glance, it appears that Mobile Yoga was the product of Rollerblade marketing efforts – but the publicist told me that you actually approached Rollerblade with the idea. What inspired you to do that?

My experience teaching a variety of health, wellness, and teacher education classes at Cleveland State University has exposed me to hundreds of students who are seeking ways to improve their physical health and reduce stress in their increasingly time-challenged lives. My recommendation has always been “more skating, more yoga,” so you could say my students were the inspiration. Read the rest of this entry »

There’s a new yoga hybrid about to hit the streets: Mobile Yoga. The art of doing yoga postures while inline skating. The Rollerblade brand is stepping out of the 90s and updating its image – by aligning with yoga! It’s so hip, so cool, so now, that perhaps some of that coolness will rub off on lame old inline skating.

YogaDork reported mumblings about the hybrid way back in July, and it looks like Rollerblade has finally got Mobile Yoga ready for the world. The website will launch on April 1. I know I sure can’t wait to see blissed out inline skaters rocking the Warrior pose on the streets of Montréal.

This is one hybrid that I’ll be avoiding. Aside from the fact no amount of association with yoga will make me think inline skating is cool, I also have no interest in doing yoga poses while moving. What about the rest of you? Or do you think this might just be the lamest yoga hybrid yet?

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