Open Letter To Douglas Brooks /// Please Calm Down

[Ed. This letter was considerably longer, but, in the end, it didn't make sense to yammer on. So we chopped it down to its most essential bits. Below is what we left in.]

Let’s get right to it. Douglas, you need to calm down.

You state,

“John’s actions and statements further establish a pattern of behavior that one senior teacher describes as having created “irreparable harm” to the reputation of the community. I believe this to be a fact beyond reasonable dispute. However events in the press portray the situation, the conversation about yoga’s benefits, the history of teaching and teachers, and the study of Indian spiritualities, especially Tantra, has suffered a significant setback due to John’s actions. The Anusara community and the yoga community at large suffers that degradation by association, implication, and public perception.”

“I offer, as Thomas Paine put it, “nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense.” But let me not be disingenuous either. Paine fomented a revolution. I am recommending nothing less than that.”

To this we must say:

  1. You are not starting a “revolution.” You are trying to save the face of an imaginary community of Western yogis, most of whom can barely stand one another (unless their agents suggest they act otherwise [you know who you are, EB & DTF]), and who should have been smart enough to not buy into the branding of a discipline as beautiful as yoga to begin with. Shame on them.
  2. John Friend’s fall from grace (pun intended) will not have an effect on the tradition of yoga, and it is completely Euro-white-centric for you to suggest it will. Shame on you.
  3. Anusara’s tarnished name will not effect any means toward personal and authentic Tantric practices and inquiry by serious students of the path. All those who would be swayed by the distractions of this silly cocktail party you call the “yoga community” should probably go right ahead and dismantle that Shiva-Shakti mantle right now. Shame on them.

In light of that, know this:

There is an alternative to this miasma of red-carpet yoga culture, and we at TheBabarazzi.com represent only one small not-so-humble fraction of it.

We do not care about saving the face of yoga or the yoga community. We do not care who likes yoga. We do not care who does not like yoga. We do not care how its image rests upon the blistered iris’ of the public eye. We do not care what writers in the New York Times have to say about yoga. We do not care what people think or feel about yoga. We do not care if people think you will break your back practicing it. We do not care if people think having sex with a donkey is integral to it. We do not care which teacher slept with which student under which full moon on which equinox. We do not care what happens to yoga businesses who trade in the likes of such stupidity as yoga image, yoga fashion, or yoga lifestyle. And, we certainly do not care what happens to Anusara, Inc.

We care about our teachers. We care about our practice. We care about the practice of those who practice with us. Because, no matter what happens to your rich friend’s business, when the sun rises, and most self-proclaimed “yoginis” are still drooling on their Ralph Lauren pillows, we will have already long begun nourishing our deep and sordid love affair with one of the greatest traditions the world will probably ever see.

We will be practicing.

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14 comments

  1. ethrelke

    Hear, Hear!

  2. Brooke

    “We care about our teachers. We care about our practice. We care about the practice of those who practice with us. Because, no matter what happens to your rich friend’s business, when the sun rises, and most self-proclaimed “yoginis” are still drooling on their Ralph Lauren pillows, we will have already long begun nourishing our deep and sordid love affair with one of the greatest traditions the world will probably ever see.

    We will be practicing.”

    Bravissimo!

  3. Brilliantly written! We WILL be practicing.

  4. Thanks for all the kind comments, you bunch of lovelies. We really do appreciate the encouragement.

  5. michael kaplan

    Now that’s some righteous shi*!

  6. here’s the deal w/Prof. Brooks, of course he’s going to presume that actions or enterprises he assisted with will have a broad affect on the yoga world when they fall apart. His letter is not the first time he’s had to speak for a guru embroiled in a sexual scandal. I’m speaking of Siddha yoga in India. Their work with archiving and translating ancient tantric texts in India may have been legitimated by him and few other western academics. And surprise surprise, this controversial marginal yoga organization ends up gaining the “scholarly” legitimacy to be allowed to do this work, which, in part, ends up “uncovering” that indeed those texts do support their organizational lineage claim, even though this organization was only formed a few decades ago. In other words, in the future when your yoga teacher speaks of ancient yoga tantric texts saying such and such, that interpretation/translation may well have been one legitimated by the westerner Brooks in the service of specific organizations.
    listen to this audio, and take note of the numerous times he says “scholarly”, “scholarship”, or “academic”.
    littleprof

  7. practice on! it really IS about the practice, that is ALL it is about. you and the practice. the practice and you. then the residue of the practice is what lingers after you’re done, that’s what you carry around when you walk the streets. the residue will make you a kinder, gentler, more compassionate, more embodied person. I am so grateful I started practicing yoga before it was a cool thing to do. In fact, it was often very un-cool: not pretty, uncomfortable, the space was too cold/too hot, stinky, you had to do breathing and meditation and chanting and scripture, you couldn’t opt out of that with a “lunchtime quickie” class, and it was hard to hear the whispers of the teacher in a big, cold room without a “madonna microphone.” Thank God/dess! My karma must’ve been in check…anyway, great blog. Love it. Let the sacred cows fall where they may, to mix metaphors….

    • Thanks for the comment, Lola! You are one of the lucky ones having been able to experience yoga in its less “privileged” form. Thankfully, there are still people out there who simply teach the good teachings and let all the social comforts that most people are obsessed with come and go as they may. May all those who wish to find such gems find them.

  8. John

    You are the Christopher Hitchens of the Western Yogic world. Keep going and spread the word. If I could write you a check I hope you would refuse.

  9. Tammy Faye

    If you’re in the mood to wade through a scatophilic orgy, request entry to join the Kula Without Borders Facebook group. A bunch of former Anusaris excreting into a pile then taking turns playing with it. DB only happy to contribute in an obvious self-promoting grab to pick up the smelly pieces the JF scandal left behind.

    • Oh, the gods! I don’t think any of us have the stomach for it. Peeped it a while back. Can’t imagine it’s gotten any better!

      Also, hilarious comment, and stellar use of the extended metaphor! Really!

  10. Pingback: an alternative | slow foodea

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