yoga bleaching: 1. a form of marketing in which yoga or an image of yogic lifestyle is used to make an otherwise unrelated product appear to be in line with yogic principles. 2. the act of using yoga or an image of yogic lifestyle to sell an unrelated product. 3. a form of spin or marketing intended to deceive consumers into believing that a product is related to yogic practice or theory when in fact it is not.
And, just like that! A new term is born!
First there was whitewashing:
“to gloss over or cover up vices, crimes or scandals….” (wiki).
Then there was greenwashing:
“a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization’s aims and policies are environmentally friendly” (wiki).
Then there was astroturfing:
“a form of advocacy in support of a political, organizational, or corporate agenda, designed to give the appearance of a ‘grassroots’ movement” (wiki).
Now there is yoga bleaching!
Celebriyogi culture has begun to permeate every last crevice of contemporary yogic culture to the point where some people think both yoga and commercial yoga culture are one and the same, or, at the very least, attached at the hip. In actuality, they are not! And, they certainly do not have to be!
Asana. Meditation. Gyan mudra. White clothing. Mala beads. Ganesh. Raag Bhairavi. All of it used to sell not only products, but an idea—an image—of yogic lifestyle. The whole lot of it a great big rummage sale whereby people and agencies sell off their product while bleaching the dubious content with “Brand Yoga”©®.
But, we can draw it out into the open.
The first step in creating a distinction between yoga practice and the culture of yoga commodification is to call it out. IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING!
Unfortunately, many people feel that commercial yoga culture is simply an aspect of yoga that uses commerce to promote its positive message to a wider audience. We disagree. To us:
Commercial yoga culture is a form of commerce that uses yoga to broaden the reach of commerce!
- “Loose weight fast” schemes
- “How to make more money” workshops
- Trendy yoga mats
- Trendy “health” foods
- Yoga fashion
- Music festivals
- Yoga cruises
Some of it useful. Some of it interesting. Some of it fun as hell! All of it commerce.
Now, we’re not saying people shouldn’t do or buy any of these things. We’re not saying people should become cynical luddite hermits living in a cave (although we are very intrigued by the idea). We do, however, believe it high time we stopped trying to convince ourselves that any of this commercial culture has anything whatsoever to do with yoga practice, all in an effort to sleep better at night.
It’s time to call it like we see it.
Here’s how you can help:
- Freely pass along and share our yoga bleaching infograph.
- Start a Wikipedia and/or Wiktionary page outlining a working definition of yoga bleaching.
- Use the term “yoga bleaching” on your Facebook page when you come across a piece of marketing that reminds you of yoga bleaching.
- Tweet to your heart’s twitter when you come across yoga bleaching that makes your stomach turn.
- Start a discussion group that investigates aspects of yoga bleaching in the media.
- Design beautiful posters and infographs that highlight the commercial aspects of our contemporary bleached yogic tradition.
- Teach your students about the difference between yoga and yoga bleaching.
- Tell your friends and family about how to spot shameless acts of yoga bleaching.
Of course, as “yoga bleaching” is a new term, naturally there will be a number of different takes on what actually constitutes an act of yoga bleaching. Around the BabaHQ we’ve each got a varied take on what does or does not constitute yoga bleaching. Remember, there is no closure in language, so let’s keep the swinging door swinging.
Tell us what yoga bleaching means to YOU in the comments.
Now, who’s gonna write up that Wikipedia page???