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Okay y’all, check this out: during a Jan 18 appearance on a San Francisco television show (which I can’t seem to embed; click here to watch the full video), Rainbeau Mars demonstrated an immunity boosting yoga routine – then shamelessly plugged her Adidas Yoga strappy shoe things. It happens during the last minute, so you have to watch 6 minutes and 24 seconds of a yoga demonstration on the two television show hosts, who dangerously attempt to practice without warming up and while wearing socks. People, do not try this at home!

It’s more than a little painful to watch. After they finish up the routine and discuss an immunity boosting soup recipe, the following conversation occurs:

TV show host: Now if i wear those yoga shoes, will my yoga moves be better?
Rainbeau: … yeah, sure… they’re like little grips. I got adidas to go sustainable, so this is my signature sustainable thing.

So what do y’all think? Is it ethical for a yoga teacher to plug her products on television? Is this a service or disservice? And will the right yoga shoes improve our “yoga moves”? Let’s hear your thoughts!


800px-Rainbow-diagram-ROYGBIV.svgYou might remember that there was a secret post from Rainbeau Mars last week, which was live for a few hours then removed on Rainbeau’s request. Well, here it is, slightly edited but in all its full glory! I thought that we were pretty much done with this Rainbeau/Adidas Yoga thing, but the comments continue to trickle in and I think this conversation can continue in more directions. So check out what Rainbeau has to say… and I’d love to hear your thoughts. What role do brands play in your life? In your yoga practice? How do you choose and take responsibility for what you consume? Let’s hand it over to Rainbeau (and y’all be nice to her this time).

Hmmm – Well many of you said you need no brand to do yoga…and I agree whole heartedly – but at the same time I question the reality of life without brands as some of the yogis here seem to be requiring.  Yoga to me is the depth of going inside so far, that we come back out again and realize that it’s all one big reflection. We get feedback about ourselves from this holographic experience and vice versa.

Branding Yoga

Some thoughts about brands when it comes to our exercise routines:  Les Milles, Pilates, Bikram, Power, Gaiam, Ashtanga (Mr Jois himself) or Iyengar (after his own name), right? This was along the same line that Adidas felt there was room for a sporty variation for those die hard Adidas fans that otherwise, may have never made it into a yoga room. Their mission is to walk side by side with their athletes and give them the tools they need to do whatever they do. How cool is it that Yoga has grown enough for even these major soccer moguls, to say “You know what? Everyone seems to be hopping on the ‘fastest growing sport is yoga’ bandwagon and we recognize it as one as well and will bring it to more people, including our very own athletes.”

Do you buy no name/brand foods or do you occasionally trust what High Country Kombucha, or Guayaki Yerba Mate, H20m, Zico, Fila has to offer? Hass Avocados, Evolution juices, Celestial, Yogi teas? Do you trust Whole Foods or choose your local Coop or grow your own? Do you drive an American car or do you trust the safety of Mercedes? If you choose to bike it (props!), is there a brand you trust more? When you wear clothes which do you choose, Prana, Lululemon, Lucy, or do you make your own? Do you go to U2 Concert and buy a T-shirt?

I totally understand and respect your right to not choose Adidas Yoga, which just happened in the last few years (it’s actually ra’yoKa which is still the name I created out of my right for free expression). I also respect your choice to do whatever you are so drawn to do or not. I feel we have to ask ourselves what’s really important about any of it, and in that, we may find many of our “need to be right” thoughts that were so justified, simply may fall away… In the fact that we are all headed in the same direction, but at different times and paces – can we try to look for and find the similarities within each other and our selected choices? I hope you can respect the people that actually feel safer about trusting a certain person or even company with what they choose to spend their time or money on. Read the rest of this entry »

Image from John Philps' doc 'Yoga Inc.'

Image from John Philps' doc 'Yoga Inc.'

So, astute readers out there may have noticed that earlier today I had posted (another) response from Rainbeau Mars. But I removed it, on Rainbeau’s request, because she was concerned about the typos and coming across as “unintelligent.” It really was just a super long comment that, at the time, I felt was worthy of being a post unto itself.

But I’ve realized that I still have a lot to say about this, and the multitude of insightful and challenging comments from readers have helped inform my thoughts. It’s unfortunate that Rainbeau and her followers felt like they had to defend themselves ~ but it’s also good to have an open venue for criticism and questioning. These kinds of discussions make teachers and high-profile yogis accountable for their actions and choices. All of us regular old yogis need to stand up and ask: What are you endorsing? And who’s endorsing you?

But really, this isn’t about Rainbeau Mars and her colour-coded yoga for pretty girls. This is about the corporatization and branding of a practice that matters a lot to me. This whole conversation has reinforced my already strong anti-corporate stance. I’ve learned that I operate from a fundamental belief that multinational corporations exist to sell things, and they are really only concerned with their products and image. If yoga can help them do this, then they will get behind the practice (and design some sexy products). Read the rest of this entry »

It’s a little alarming at first glance: Adidas Yoga. Luckily, it’s not (quite) a new brand of yoga ~ it’s just part of the title of a Rainbeau Mars workshop at this weekend’s Yoga Journal Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. “Adidas Yoga: ra + yoKa = The Integration of the Sun.” Seriously, wha?

The “Adidas Yoga” part of that equation makes sense – Mars is the global ambassador for Adidas’ line of “sustainable” yoga clothing (and shoes, of course, because you know we totally need the right athletic shoes for our yoga practice). And the rest of the calculation is a play on Mars’ own method of yoga, ra’yoKa (and which includes a colour-coded system of levels, of course).

There’s nothing new about Western teachers creating their own yoga systems or merging asanas with colours of the rainbow or being sponsored by multinational corporations. But there is something about seeing a global brand paired so closely to the word “yoga” which makes my skin crawl. What do the rest of you yoga watchdogs out there think?

[via elephant journal – who didn’t seem to think there was a problem with this ridiculous workshop and actually believed the validity of Adidas’ commitment to sustainable practices]

More Adidas Yoga:

the adidas+yoga equation

choice & responsibility: how do you live your yoga?

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