A few weeks back John Friend of Anusara Yoga Inc. was caught skyclad with nowhere to run, his penis rocking the yoga world like no other could. Every goji berry snorting prAna fiend was happy and willing to be the first to hammer nails through his wrists in what was to be America’s finest public execution. All the while, rumors came fast and furious:
“I heard John Friend has sex with dead people!”
“I heard John Friend grows pot between his butt cheeks to stave off the Feds!”
“I heard John Friend injects the semen of adolescent yoga boys into his arm in order to conquer death!”
Every work-from-a-coffee-shop yogi with an iPad had a glorious opinion, and every opinion made me want stick a rabid porcupine up my urethra so as to remind me what pleasure feels like.
And yet, while John Friend was tapping a few sexy ladies on the possible sly, and according to a letter posted on Elephant this morning, admitting to as much, right out in the open was this total mess—The Paris Hiltoning of yoga lifestyle culture—that continues to pass into the shadows without creating more than a few raised eyebrows, proving once again that while America (and the American “yoga community” Douglas Brooks is so keen on saving) is still totally frightened of sex, this “scene” still gets the hardest of all jolly wet hard-ons every time there’s a chance to sell your soul for the all mighty green dollar. From the New York Times:
[Ed. Below is the March 2011 article. We know you have busy lives, so we went right ahead and read between all those tiny lil' lines for ya while cutting out all the useless bits! Enjoy.]
MAJOR-LEAGUE athletes have agents who negotiate multimillion-dollar contracts with provisions like private planes and Rolexes. Hollywood actors have agents who scout for their scripts. Now comes Ava Taylor, whom one blogger has called “the Ari Gold of yoga,” trying to make a business out of managing the careers of yoga teachers. Yes, yoga teachers have careers.
Now, this pretty much sums it up: Yoga teachers are in the same business as the embarrassingly rich athletes and Hollywood performers we all make fun of. Well, that was easy!
Ms. Taylor, 31, is well manicured, all but attached to her mobile device and confident of her place in the stratosphere.
“I can contact every yoga teacher of significance on the planet in about an hour,” Ms. Taylor wrote in an e-mail sent at 2 a.m.
Wait. This is a good thing?
Her company, YAMA Talent, which stands for Yoga Artists Management Agency, handles bookings and strategy for 45 teachers trying to put a price on the work they do in an industry valued at $5.7 billion.
How many zeros are there in a billion? I don’t know ’cause my calculator doesn’t count that high.
One of Ms. Taylor’s first clients, Sadie Nardini, is a former journalist and founder of the now-defunct Fierce Club in SoHo who aspires to become another Anthony Bourdain, the brash chef-turned-star of his own television series, “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel.
“He’s the bad boy of food, and I am the black sheep of yoga,” Ms. Nardini said in a telephone interview.
So, you can see where we’re headed with this turd-fest. “Brash,” “bad boy,” “fierce,” “star,” “television,” “yoga,” and if there is indeed a lingam watching over us in the sky, “now-defunct.”
Currently, she is working with a television producer on a series based on her 2008 book, “Road Trip Guide to the Soul,” which she will pitch this month — with the help of Ms. Taylor — to national outlets like the Oprah Winfrey Network. The show would trail Ms. Nardini with a crew as she engaged pedestrians in a dialogue about relating to their inner selves. Ms. Nardini is unapologetic about seeking material rewards for her spiritual endeavors. “My landlord doesn’t take karma,” she said.
Remember that time you were in India during your Indian Rite of Passage where you simultaneously had explosive diarrhea seeping out of your anus and vomit spewing from your dehydrated mouth, all the while waiting on a train station platform for a train that never seemed arrive, the same train that was intended to take you to the US Embassy ’cause your passport was stolen by a guy who only three minutes earlier whipped out his penis in order to jerk off onto your exposed ankles? Remember when during that moment you looked up at the smog-polluted sky and like Jesus Christ bellowed out your seemingly final Whitman-esque barbaric yawp, “Father! Why have you forsaken me?!” Remember that? Spiritual endeavors are fun, right? Hey, Sadie. Put that in your pitch to Oprah. Cha-frickin-ching!
Ms. Taylor started YAMA in 2009 after quitting her job in marketing for the apparel company lululemon athletica. Her yoga teacher at the time happened — “cosmically,” she said — to be Schuyler Grant, the owner of the Kula Yoga Project studios in TriBeCa and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and the wife of Jeff Krasno, the co-founder of Wanderlust, a roving festival that combines rock musicians and the rock stars of yoga.
We already discussed what Wanderlust is good for, so we’ll just leave that.
Now, this is where it really gets good. See, Ms. Taylor used to work in a profession infamous for using people’s psychological weaknesses against themselves in order to make a profit (that is, marketing) for a company whose seemingly sole purpose is to profit off the dumbed-down vapid branding of yogic lifestyle (that is, Lululemon Athletica). However, the “cosmos” had a different plan (as it always does for those with dollar signs on the brain), and cavorting with let’s-make-yoga-frisky entrepreneurs was clearly written in the stars. That is to say, on the backs of willing “rock stars of yoga.”
Mr. Krasno, who is a co-owner of Velour Music Group, not only helped her expand her roster of connections, Ms. Taylor said, but also to understand the infrastructure of the yoga business and its parallels with the music industry.
See, this is strange. Anyone who has ever spent half a second in the music industry knows it to be a place fit only for talentless blood-sucking vampires. This is an important point, as it being compared to “yoga businesses” makes a whole ‘lotta sense. ‘Cause the music industry produced this pro-life girlfriend-knocker-upper….
Who knows what yoga businesses will produce? Oh, right….
YAMA rents office space in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, but Ms. Taylor prefers to meet clients (including a reporter) at a local gastro-pub, Watty & Meg, or at other spots in the city. And by living with roommates in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, she’s keeping costs down.
Now, we’re not one to proselytize vegetarianism (we believe diet to be naturally prescribed by a person’s environment), however, here’s what Watty & Meg are serving up this week:
Braised pork shank, parsnip & fennel mashed potato, swiss chard, raw tomato “confit” 23
Pepita crusted fluke with barbecued baby artichokes & jasmine rice 27
Only $27 bones for pepita crusted fluke??? Get BKS Iyengar on the phone. We. Are. Going. Out. To. Nite!
Ms. Taylor would not reveal her income or the details of her fee structure, but said she invested about $30,000 of her own money in the business. Last year, she said, YAMA arranged more than 100 “gigs” — speaking engagements, workshops, modeling spots — and already has that many on the books for the first quarter of this year.
I’m not suggesting it, but when I think of all these upcoming “speaking engagements, workshops, [and] modeling spots” this starts to make a lot of sense:
Another of Ms. Taylor’s clients, Leslie Kaminoff, who founded the Breathing Project, an educational nonprofit organization on West 26th Street, said that even with three decades of experience as a teacher, he was not sure how to value his products and services in the current marketplace.
Three decades in the biz and you didn’t know what to charge for a hoodie with your name Bedazzled on it??? Come on. That is just plain insane!
Dear, Leslie Kaminoff. This little thing called the “internet” has become very popular. On it you can research everything you need to know about what things cost, and how to promote yourself, and how to make a website. All for free! I mean, if all you needed to know was how much to charge for one of your workshops, you could’ve just emailed us!
“I have every right to be rewarded for my work,” said Mr. Kaminoff, who recalls his early days making “next to nothing,” waiting for students in an empty studio. “This is not cashing in on work someone else has done.”
You tell ‘em, Leslie! Waiting for students in an empty studio is just BS. All these silly saps busting their yonis trying to get three of their friends to show up for some noon flow class are just plain suckers. The obvious answer to this conundrum is to get an agent with the bottom-line stitched to the inside of her Lululemon sports bra to exploit the yoga market for you. Very punk.
For now, he is glad to pay Ms. Taylor for her services and believes he is working more efficiently, he said. But as she expands her business, Mr. Kaminoff isn’t so sure he will continue to benefit. “The busier she gets, the less attention she can pay to me,” he said.
Well, it’s rare, but the NYT does from time to time make a mistake, as that last quote obviously had a typo in it. Allow me to repair it:
“The busier she gets, the less
attentionshe can pay tome,”
So, really! I’m really curious…. Where’s Douglas Brooks‘ above-it-all open letter to the public? Where’s Kelly Morris‘ I’m-cool-’cause-I-say-“fuck” take down? Where’s all the teachers jumping ship in order to save their hides? Where’s the fury? Where’s the fight? Where’s the condemnations?
Oh, right. It’s stuck in their wallets….
Pooh pooh on all y’all.
Anyway, here’s a list of all the teachers YAMA represents: