“It’s All Yoga, Baby” Keeps up the Pressure on Sadie Nardini “Lose Weight” “Yoga” Course

Way back on April 19th It’s All Yoga, Baby (IAYB) ran a piece questioning the language used in Sadie Nardini’s seemingly viral weight loss course, which included an ad placed on Facebook that looked like this…

as well as the homepage copy for the course that looked like this…

…but, after much stink was made, was changed to this…

…and prompted a follow-up piece by IAYB on April 30th clocking the changes and the responses by Nardini.

Today is Monday, May 7th and the discussion is still going on with Nardini again throwing out her journalistic cred in weird places (what do the five W’s have to do with writing ad copy?) while at the same time defending the language in her course by defining “weight loss” as “getting rid of what weighs one down on ALL levels.”

Now, I can get into that. I get it. But, come on….

As one commenter stated, “IMO, NO ONE in North American culture thinks of this when they hear ‘weight loss’, except, apparently Ms. Nardini. The phrase ‘weight loss’ immediately taps into the widespread judgement and fear that surrounds body image, primarily for women.”

With regards to the Facebook ad Nardini states, “Once again, I did not get to see nor approve the Facebook ads that you took issue with.” While it is of course possible that Sadie did not “see nor approve” the Facebook ads in question, we find it very hard to believe Nardini did not see them post-publication and simply “approve by silence” the copy and tone of the ads until people started making a fuss about them. But, we aren’t lurking about Nardini’s head, so who knows? What is interesting, however, is Nardini’s follow-up statement which reads, “They were drawn from part of the copy that I wrote for the course, which was always a mind-body detox and empowerment course. But the part did not reflect the whole, and I agreed that they needed more depth and context.”

This suggests that aspects of the copy either spoke to or directly stated (even in part) what ultimately became the final language used in the ad(s). Of course, Nardini being a “trained journalist” using language carefully is all part of the game. We should know, having (in previous lives) collectively conducted, transcribed, edited, and published more interviews than we can remember. In short, we know a smoke-screen when we see one.

But, let’s be real here for a moment: Nardini is a smart business person. These courses are largely about promoting a product (Sadie Nardini) through a course (Lose Weight and Look Younger with Yoga). As a smart business person whose objective is (even in part!) to promote one’s self, there is hardly any chance that ads and copy baring the name of (and purchased by?) “Sadie Nardini” are not being checked by Nardini herself. You simply do not make hundreds of thousands of dollars off peddling so-called “self-empowerment” courses by not noticing a frickin’ viral Facebook ad and course copy baring your own name that you intend to teach.

Anyway, feel free to jump in either there, or here. We suggest looking into the following themes:

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13 comments

  1. Greenpoint

    well the problem here, for me at least, is that the whole subject matter, including the person behind it, is infinitely boring…

  2. hotforteacher

    Ok, so I’ve held off on the Sadie-hating because she came to my class once and was very sweet, but now… no. Just no. I’m going to leap-frog over our argument that this is yet another really gross way of preying upon people’s insecurities to get them to buy a product (even if you change the name of it to “detox”), which is soooo not yoga, because A) I could go on forever, and I’ve got shit to do today, and B) I’d be preaching to the choir on this site. What I do want to ask, and maybe Sadie will chime in, is what exactly are her credentials for guiding people through a weight-loss or detox program? I just checked her site where I was hoping to see that she was an RD, but no. Is her ersatz qualification that she’s skinny?

    • amphibi1yogini

      So few yoga teachers are actually even garden-variety nutritionists.

      They “prescribe” detoxes all the time.
      Of course, to women of well-below-average starting weight.

      Their only qualification is that they are badly managing recovery from a restrictor eating disorder ..
      I guess that’s enough for many people …

  3. I think this game is over, I think you won, let’s play something else…
    P.S. Well done over here and over at IAYB This is one way things change for the best.

  4. Yoga Dude

    Send up a flair to the FTC.

  5. Pranama Red

    First let me be up front and say that I have known Sadie for many years and considered myself a regular student of hers for a time.
    I have no problem calling out people on their actions but I believe she is being singled out unfairly. To quote from William Broad in “The Science of Yoga”, regarding Iyengar and “Light on Yoga”:
    “For every posture, he noted a number of invisible health effects, often using medical terms.”
    Why the ruckus about yoga leading to weight loss? Is the objection to the valid medical claim or the fact that Sadie is advertising at all? If you object to the advertising and the commercialization of yoga, then why lionize Maty Ezraty, one of the founders of Yogaworks, before it was sold to Highland Capital Partners which is also an investor in Lululemon. If you are going to criticize, then be fair about it.

    • Hey, Pranama. The issue we have on this end has less to do with “weight loss” and more to do with using yoga to promote “summer yoga bodies” and “looking younger.” Personally, I feel certain asana yoga lineages (Ashtanga/Iyengar) are perfectly suited for lightening the body, which I also believe to be a very important benefit to be gained from the practice, one that helps allow for a freer range of motion (which can allow for a greater sense of comfort and energetic movement in the body in general). However, “summer yoga bodies” and “looking younger” speak only to conditional aspects of the fearful self and inadequate self-image conditions promoted by contemporary commercial society.

      Also, we did not “lionize” Maty, but spoke to her qualities as a teacher and role model. That said, I’d vote for Maty’s lionization. She has been a total force of authenticity, humility, and character in this contemporary yoga world. She is one of the greats. A true gem.

      • Pranama Red

        http://blog.accidentalyogist.com/2005/12/its-my-birthday.html

        At the center, the fallout from the sale to Yoga Works — considered the new Starbucks of yoga in some devotees’ eyes — was fast and furious. Teachers made warning announcements in classes, staffers quit, notes sprouted on bathroom walls, and rumors flew: When it takes over an existing studio, Yoga Works lowers many salaries (true). Yoga Works asks that its teachers sign a non-compete contract (true). Yoga Works is now fronted by two Internet entrepreneurs who have told teachers to jump aboard now because “soon, students will have to choose between us and Bally’s,” and it intends to spread nationwide (true, true, true).
        Under Ezraty’s and later her partner Chuck Miller’s keen business eye, Yoga Works
        developed two popular studios and a flock of star teachers….

        Then, just as yoga’s taut-bellied bodies began to seduce mainstream audiences, several stars left on negative terms. Some departed because their teaching styles conflicted with Yoga Works, others over compensation, and one because he was forbidden to have a romantic relationship with the general manager. They launched their own operations — Sacred Movement, Maha Yoga, Forrest Yoga Circle, L.A. Yoga Center and others — each settling in painfully close proximity to Yoga Works.

        “That tremendously increased Chuck and Maty’s concern and paranoia,” says Mark Stephens, the former owner of L.A. Yoga Center, now Yoga Works’ Westwood location.

        Stephens claims that as teachers and their students started to peel away, Yoga Works’ business practices began to change. Yoga Works was the first and still one of the few studios to force teachers to sign non-compete contacts that restricted them from teaching at competitors’ locations within a strict radius. (When he sold L.A. Yoga Center, Stephens signed away his own right to teach at any Los Angeles studio, gym or private class of more than two people for two years.) The chain also required that every teacher take the same training with a standardized approach that blends three main traditions — Ashtanga, Iyengar and Viniyoga — includes an emphasis on basic safety, and uses the same language to describe the asanas, or postures.

        Finally, in 2003, Yoga Works passed the business operation into the hands of George Lichter and Rob Wrubel, two guys who made their first marks in business during the ’90s Silicon Valley boom. A collective that Yoga Works folks collectively keep mum about now owns the chain.

  6. I did a coupon promotion with a company called crowdsavings last year. I asked specifically for them to let me see the copy before it went live, they promised of course they would, but they didn’t. I haven’t heard of Udemy , but the feeling I get is that these internet ad guys feel they are giving you some cheap, great coverage and damn, their gonna sell you! They don’t care what you think, or want to say.

    • This has not been my experience with online voucher promotional companies. Perhaps I’m just more tenacious about it? I made sure that I had full approval on everything before it went live on the web site, and it was written into the contract that if I did not, the whole contract would be rescinded with a clause itemizing damages (penalties that they would pay us).

      Know the people with whom you are doing business. I make sure that I have a relationship with the company. I worked with one company for one year (until it was sold and we were mishandled, in my opinion), and now I work with another company because I have a relationship with the one sales guy there who used to work for the former company. I trust him, and we work well together. But he also knows that I’m tough, and no one is going to mess with my brand.

      I’m fairly certain that anyone creating a brand would be clear on this from the outset. That’s not assuming too much, is it?

  7. amphibi1yogini

    Most social buying sites seem to feature the too-cute poetics of failed comedy writers ….

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