GLBL YOGA Response /// The New Tribe Requires Celebrities, Corporate Sponsorship, and a Butt Load of Dollars /// Or, Does It?

Lightning Bolt mixin’ it up
By dat’

Last week, the organizers of GLBL YOGA decided to do a little damage control in the form of an article on Elephant Journal after it turned out so many people were not “buying” the GLBL YOGA pitch for huge funds and celebrity yoga back patting. The article attempts to smooth out some perceived financial, motivational, and intentional wrinkles in the project by alluding to a return to “the tribe” and a growing “revolution” in community funded endeavors. We The Babarazzi thought we’d write a short and sweet rebuttal to some of what was said in the piece, which begins thusly:

“Since GLBL YOGA kicked off, we’ve been asked some great questions about corporate sponsorship, the involvement of celebrities, and why we’re producing this event in the first place. We get it—the crowd funding revolution is just getting off the ground and so the dialogue is not only expected, but welcome! Let us explain.”

Here, right out of the gate, is where the article takes a wrong turn.

First, “crowd funding” is not a “revolution.” It’s called “charity,” and has been alive and well since grandmothers had access to a check book. One need only look to Judaism’s concept of tzedakh, or Islam’s zakat, which mandates a certain percentage of one’s earnings to go to charity or the poor, to find historic examples of world-wide community support for causes beyond the directly immediate. What Rob Holzer, Founder of Matter Unlimited, is referring to is new-ish methods of giving money, like Kickstarter, which, rather than creating a new form of giving—a “crowd funding revolution,” if you will—redefines the means by which people give, magically tapping into a previously untapped cache of potential donors. (Namely, people who are not grandmothers and have possibly never even seen a check book).

So, no, we are not experiencing a “revolution,” but rather a rerouting of community funds through new digital channels.

Next, after falsely defining what community giving actually is, Holzer then goes on to attribute the dismissive nature of people’s comments to the GLBL YOGA project to a simple lack of understanding. Apparently, the reason people are so upset about a “free” yoga event in a park (that’s already open to the public) featuring over-hyped celebriyogi teachers, a bloated budget that could be used otherwise, and yet another mega-event that serves only to further commercialize an already super-saturated market is because these simple-minded out-of-the-loopers are just so darned unfamiliar with this new-fangled revolution taking place. Obviously, snubbing the event could have nothing to do with a general sense of boredom with yoga celebrities, a feeling of disinterest in “mega yoga events,” and a smart-mouthed and well-defined critique of consequentialism—the philosophy upon which events such as this rest—which basically posits that the ends must inevitably justify the means.

As Holzer states:

“[I]f by throwing an event like GLBL YOGA, we spark just a handful of newcomers to begin a serious journey towards spiritual awakening through yoga, we believe the project has done its job.”

First, there’s simply no way GLBL YOGA will go on if after raising over a half million little green slips of paper “just a handful of newcomers begin a serious journey towards spiritual awakening through yoga.” I can say with almost certainty, that if that were the outcome, this event would be in the trash faster than you can say, “Let’s invent a new yoga mat instead.”

This hyperbolic feel-goodery also demonstrates a rather poor business model. Why go through all this trouble to get only a handful of people to want to start practicing yoga? If you raise $675,000, fly in a bunch of mediocre yoga celebrities, set up a killer sound system, and 10,000 people show up, but only five decide to start taking regular yoga classes, that sounds like an epic failure in my book.

Not to mention, but what kind of yoga practitioner have you really “sparked?” Do we really need more Lady Gaga‘s of yoga floating around? Is this what we’re looking for? My experience is that if my intention is to try really hard to “get people to do yoga,”—a really weird huckster-ish intention—I have a better chance of sparking a long-lasting commitment in a person when I am able to have a one-to-one connection (or as close to it as possible) with the potential student in question. I don’t have much of a chance when I am so far removed from my potential “target” that it takes a nice pair of binoculars to catch a glimpse.

crickets

This normalized distance, however, is not only familiar to the GLBL YOGA team, but also embraced as a foundational and motivating factor:

“As a musician, I have experienced firsthand the power of large-scale concerts – both from the stage and from the audience. There is simply nothing like the energy of a crowd singing and dancing together. Its primal and fundamental to our DNA and most people who go to concerts know what I’m talking about.”

As someone who has participated in a seemingly infinite array of underground punk music and art scenes, I can attest to the utter disconnect that is felt when attending large-scale concert events. In my experience, and we’re talking decades of direct participation, it is not the experience of sitting one-hundred yards away from a rock concert stage that motivates young people to pick up a laptop, guitar, banjo, or trumpet and start making crazy insane music, but rather the realization that s/he can actually do what the performer is doing, if not better, by being directly in front of them and seeing as such! Nowhere else is this more apparent than at small-scale, DIY, events where bands (for example) directly interact with the audience in basements, VFW halls, living rooms, and even in parks.

Observe Providence, RI noise punk band, Lightning Bolt, manifest bhavic samadhi in audience participants by deconstructing the large-scale event (which I believe this concert was part of) by eliminating (as much as possible) the disconnect between performer and voyeur:

Small-scale tightly-knit underground communities have always been the vanguards of Western culture. People gathering around one another out of an un-commercially-mediated common interest. Events like GLBL YOGA, on the other hand, act as fabrications of culture. They are “media events.” They invent culture and community alongside already existing and flourishing culture’s and communities by standing on the foundations built by their visionary predecessors. In order to lighten the load, the swollen event is often referred to in terms intended to evoke intimacy, direct experience, and connection among people:

“I was just talking with a yoga teacher friend of mine this weekend about how our culture is shifting increasingly back to a sense of tribes. I think there’s something to that.”

Does “Entertainment Yoga,” which this event is a direct aspect of, really speak to a new form of tribe-centric communalism? In my opinion, Entertainment Yoga is, to borrow a term from the French critical theorists, a simulation of community. It is the marketed appearance of community reflected back to potential donors and buyers. It exists alongside communities that, because of common interest, naturally spring forth from seemingly disparate parts of the world. It is this natural wish to bond and connect that allows an utterly niche US punk band to show up to a packed rented hall in Belize almost entirely by word of mouth.

Make no mistake, all a community needs to grow is an experience that touches people in a profound and deep way, a piece of paper, a marker, some tape, and a space to gather to experience the Love. If it costs you close to a million dollars, *paid* celebrity endorsements, give-aways, and enticements of being in the front row to make such a thing happen, perhaps what you’re offering just ain’t that great.

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65 comments

  1. Jack

    The ad at the bottom of this post is as disturbing as the thing you wrote about.

  2. Yoga Observer

    Thanks Baba for your hard hitting and accurate thrown punches. Your target is a good one.
    On a side note: We have always been a country of tribes…from the Native Americans to the Pilgrams to the Laotians who come here to pursue economic and political freedom. The idea of a manufactured community is an nteresting and recent development it does seem to be more and more prevalent. Perhaps the use of social networks accelerates this. It’s the same as everything. Instant friends, instant community, instant accpetance, instant pleasure…..
    We need a lot more slow cooking (or the process of finding yoga) in our culture.

  3. Yoga Dude

    I think this is your best to date.

    Many thanks. Keep up your good works.

  4. Chai Fan

    Great piece. I agree with Yoga Dude, this exemplifies what you do at your best. Great Lightening Bolt clip, its been years for me, feeling a little old!

  5. Mark

    manufactured communities…very sad and very prevalent. manufactured spirituality, spirituality businesses as exemplified on EJ where they have free advertising disguised as blogging. All of it is dependent on the Internet these days…

    • Rhonda

      Glad someone feels the same way about Elephant that I do. Posts there are thinly disguised ads with Waylon and Kate censoring comments that they feel are threatening to that enterprise. I can’t believe that people still go to that site but the one time I did recently, I notice that there are few or no comments that tells me people check it out and move on quickly. It’s all about the traffic in their mind.

  6. Excellent and insightful rebuttal.
    I’m with Mark and Yoga Observer on this idea of “manufactured communities”, it’s like Noam Chomsky’s ideas around “Manufactured Consent” using the media as propaganda tools to get the populace to buy into an idea which doesn’t benefit the populace in any way, shape or form but does benefit corporate interests and specific elitists.
    Magic happens when there is an element of spontaneity, usually when the blind are leading the blind. I think of Live Aid back in 1985 and how crazy Queen and U2’s performances were and despite playing Wembley Stadium, still managed to create intimacy with 100 000 people (youtube “Queen Live Aid Radio Gaga” to see what I mean.). Sometimes the energy literally blows the roof off the house. These things can’t be planned or orchestrated and if they are, you always walk away with a feeling of either being let down of that the whole things was contrived.
    I dunno. I’m starting to get the feeling that the whole corporate yoga scene is already faltering before it really takes off, as much as it wishes it could. The moment has passed.

  7. Namastellen

    Supported. You have this right about a manufactured event & celebrities trying to impose themselves on things other people are already doing & claim credit for a “movement” and/or a “result.” That silly Yoga Votes “campaign” also reminds me of this.

  8. the moment already came

    Does anyone else feel like when a company responds by saying, “We’ve been asked some great questions,” that’s corporatese for, “We’re total shitbags, and you seem to have recognized this. Let me see what I can offer to make it up to you. I have this bag here with… oh, more shit… How about that?”

    GLBL Yoga, you have made milk come out my nose. A joy I have not experienced since the third grade. For that, I wish to donate my middle finger to your sheep-sourced sparkle-fuck.

    • yogaweed

      Awesome… Sheep-sourced sparkle fuck – unreal!!

      Happily most of the sheep seem to have woken up – only 10K raised to date, they need to make 20K per day for the next 33 days just to make it happen…

      Blaze on

      • Dyspeptic Skeptic

        Love “sheep-sourced sparkle-fuck”. Flocking great.
        Maybe they can pass the hat around at Wanderlust. Plenty of fleecing to be had there.

  9. Greenpoint

    a contrived event promoted using pseudo language, a Spectacle in a Society of the Spectacle (please see Guy Debord)…
    “But certainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thin signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence…illusion only is sacred, truth profane. Nay, sacredness is held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of sacredness.”

    couldn’t have said it better myself…I mean I really couldn’t, no way…

  10. gross

    sheep-sourced sparkle-fuck. that is AMAZING. i love how they think making a personal profit on this makes sense. i have no personal issue with people making money from teaching yoga, otherwise only the already with money could teach it, or the already married to money could teach it… and that would suck…. but these guys are such pompous fucks & not yoga teachers, but yoga promoters. i noticed that Yama Eva Talent Taylor donated to the event. awesome. … i wonder what kind of self profit they were hoping to take home? they want the public to fund their paychecks, that is basically the gist, and people are eating that shiz up? i’d also say that when you make things free or “donation based”, only a few actually pay up anything. so all the people not going to pay is awesome. should i start a kickstarter seeking out my tribe who would like to contribute to my 401k….?

  11. Yogically speaking

    I felt alienated from the start by the use of an acronym that I couldn’t easily decipher.– GLBL? I still don’t know what it means. “Good Lesbian, Bad Lesbian”?

    I also love the home page with the glam photos of the headliners: Elena Brower, Seane Corn, Colleen Saidman and Rodney Yee.

    This as close as it gets to the “Four Salesmen of the Yoga-Lypse”

    Let’s see……Brower flaks for Nike, Corn for Lucy Active Wear, Yee for Gaiam Life, and Saidman, well, she began her career as a student on Yee’s “casting couch.”

    No wonder she calls her outfit. “Smart Start Yoga”

    I keep thinking “Moolah Banda” must be a deliberate double-entendre, but no one else seems to get it.

  12. brilliant, as usual….

  13. Agreed. This is one of your best yet. Nothing to add, really.

  14. Sad, maybe even tragic, that for so many, this shite passes as real “community making” or “community experience.” As you point out, it’s all manufactured simulacra!

  15. J

    As so many have already said, this post is amazing. There are so many brilliant ideas and well worded arguments, but I want to focus on one thing in particular:

    Punk shows at VFW halls?!

    Hell fucking yes. I am now officially in love with the Babarazzi… and feeling very nostalgic for being 17 years old and discovering that even my shitty little town had a scene.

    thank you thank you thank you…

  16. Mark

    You know it dawns on me that this so-called reality we experience everyday with “manufactured communities” and “manufactured spirituality” and the inadequacies of making a living may have a positive effect afterall…the only place to retreat to is inward.

    • :)

      These kinds of productions happen everyday for reasons far more vain, destructive and artificial, for prices far more outrageous. In the end, people will be experiencing yoga. It’s what’s actually happening, however illusory the spin around it… can’t help but be grateful that it’s not just another get drunk and f*cked up party.

      Baby steps.

      • Mark

        I Am That…It’s the illusory spin, which from the starting point, creates the insincerity which creates the confusion of the purpose. The Baby Steps you profess are creating spoiled brats and little monsters wanting to consume more and more.

      • I Am That: I thought this event was about “getting drunk and fucked up.” Just without the alcohol.

  17. jorge

    agree. the most energy and connection i have ever felt was seeing citizen fish after the original venue canceled their show an hour before it was supposed to start. new plans were hatched and a caravan of about 75-100 people headed 30 minutes outside of town together to an infamous DIY punk show spot in the middle of the desert. with just a generator, a couple flood lights, bonfire, and a whole bunch of dust kicked up in everyone’s teeth from the dancing and flailing, the line between where the band ended and the crowd started was always an ever changing and breathing organism. never had i felt like i was such a part of a community.

    there are very few people i would make an effort to go see live in a big venue, but last year i saw bob dylan for the first time. maybe my all time favorite poet and musician. i was probably about 40 yards away, which for a concert, was probably considered pretty damn close. he still looked like just a spec to me. its hard to find the connection and i left there feeling like im not sure if i was even really there with him? kind of empty. once you experience true community, its hard to ever settle for anything less.

  18. Thanks for all the swell comments, people! We’re going to touch on different aspects of manufactured communities and Entertainment Yoga in upcoming posts. Again, really, thanks for reading. It is very much appreciated.

    Tomorrow we take a look at a box.

    • wondering

      true community strikes me as the people you meet at jury duty, in line at the dmv, post office, grocery store etc. people who live/work in your community. not just like minded people who one agrees with and relates too for whatever reason that’s different, that’s friends, peers your clique etc ie. anusara community

  19. I keep trying to figure out witty ways to get the organizers of GLBLf-ing-lol-tots-Yoga-Events to read this post. I’ve added it into the “comments” section of the in Indiegogo website they are using to raise the money…but I so much desire to watch them as they read this post. And the beat goes on….

    • Thanks for throwing our dirt around the interwebs, Alex! It’s so nice when people like our stuff enough to share it. We started out doing that a bit, but got shy. Thanks for helping us get out there! You are much loved.

  20. Pingback: yoga for the people: GLBL YOGA co-opts crowd funding & "collective spirit," receives collective criticism

  21. Brian

    So – let’s suppose you happen to be strolling through central park one day, you turn the corner and suddenly notice that 15,000 people have gathered to do yoga. Your response is . . . pissed off? I don’t understand the vitriol here. This would be cool if it actually happened.

    • Brian: It’s hard to say how I’d feel. I’d probably look at it for a minute and then just keep walking as big giant yoga entertainment events don’t really have anything to do with what I’m interested in. But, the promotion and context in which it is being sold is very interesting!

      • Brian

        Given that every day, millions of people do yoga: sometimes in small classes, sometimes one on one, sometimes alone, there seems to be space on the spectrum of yoga experience for a big event. Maybe not your preference, but some people would dig it.

        So, for the people who *would* dig that kind of thing . . . crowd sourced funding doesn’t seem like a bad production approach. It’s that or big corporate sponsors.

        • Hey, Brian. Let’s see…

          Of course, you’re right! Some people would dig attending this event. I’m not sure our piece suggested otherwise or was in any way suggesting the passing of legislation to prevent such a thing from occurring.

        • wondering

          though I have no interest in either, somehow I think I can stomach the concept of a” big corporate ” yoga event more so than a nebulous sounding crowd funded yoga event…though I still don’t quite understand what c.f. actually means in this present context.. Actually what’s the differtence here? The “sponsors” seem to be profiting and the stars are pretty much corporations unto themselves. at least with a corporate funded event there seems to be less blurry lines and intentions.. either way someone is succeeding in profitting, which seems to be the point …as usual. Corporate seems to have clearer “intention” as the yoga speak likes to say .

        • Brian

          Yeah – the crowd funding approach is new. IndieGoGo has never had a project this size on their site, and seems like people have sticker shock. Might not work.

          @wondering – $575K +$100K for charity isn’t a profitable price point for an event of this magnitude.

        • @wondering: Kinda like how back in the day Malcolm X preferred relating to the overtly racist KKK over internalized-racist liberals, ’cause at least he knew what he was getting himself into.

      • Brian

        (full disclosure – i work at Flavorpill, so I’m biased)

        • Well, this is interesting. See, on Flavorpill’s site, Flavorwire, there’s an article suggesting that ten bands should throw in the towel and call it quits. One of which is The Eagles, who some of us feel should be allowed to remain on this planet playing music until each of their heads falls off if only for their ability to write the eeriest dueling guitar solos known to humanity!

          We stopped well short of telling GLBL YOGA to “stop” what they are doing. We just don’t buy the schtick.

          But, The Eagles?! I could listen to that guitar tone on “Victim of Love” on replay for the rest of my life:

        • Brian

          If you go mining for controversial positions on Flavorwire, you’ll find plenty more. We have lots of opinionated writers.

          Back to the point: the yoga in central park event would be cool. I bet you’d like it. You should consider stopping by if it happens, or even contribute to help if you’re so inclined.

        • You don’t know us enough to assume such a thing. I can say that I would almost definitely not care about it. Not out of some crotchety anger-induced rebellion, but because I (and the rest) already have a daily yoga practice that I am committed to, so I’ll have moved on by then. Getting into trouble, etc. By the time this starts I’ll be wanting to take a nap or streak a college campus or something. Also, this sort of big hoo-ha is just more hoo-ha to me. Whether someone enjoys it or not is no big deal. I like Mad Men just as much as the next person.

  22. obviously

    brian: “obviously”

  23. wondering

    forgot to add, LOVE THE EAGLES, who will continue to glow long after flavorpill..what’s that again)disintegrates into a is a pasty bitter mess.

  24. jackiestar

    Just yesterday was a HUGE yoga gathering in times square. According to the event organizer, 14,000 people registered to take part. I guess GLBL yoga isn’t so innovative. Apparently the times sq gathering has been happening on the solstice for the last 10 years…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/yoga-takes-over-times-square/2012/06/20/gJQAx1VxqV_video.html

  25. Pingback: How Much Is Yoga Worth? |

  26. jorge

    this all reminds me of a lesson i learned about the difference between a safeway/kroeger/etc/ and whole foods when i worked at there a few years ago. they’re both big corporate grocery stores who pay shitty wages, expect a lot of work from you, will threaten your job if say for instance you have a sick child and need to stay home with them, hurt or destroy local businesses, and have strong anti union policies. but at least at safeway you know what you are getting….”you want this crappy job buddy or not?” whole foods has this facade of good neighborly planet loving eco hippie togetherness….which costs double of course, we didn’t call it whole paychecks for nothing but it’s essentially a safeway with wood beam ceilings instead of fiberglass. ill take the safeway any day, at least it’s honest. if this yoga event was just an event with a price tag that said, “hey, you want to come take a big class with xyz teachers in the park? it will cost you x. let us know, kthx.” then i could just decide whether or not its worth it and either go or not go. but to try and be sold some place in this “revolution” gives me the same queasy feeling i got when the “team members” were told the good news during training that we didn’t need a union because our jobs were already so great! or the same queasy feeling i get when i see the poster size pictures sprinkled all over whole foods of happy farmers baking in the sun and happier rich families enjoying some blueberries by the lake. i’m not bitter whole foods, i swear.

    • Chai Fan

      You know that’s a really good point. They would need to charge $45 a person to raise the 675K (assuming 15,000 actually came). That’s the cost of a lot of 2 hour workshops. Take a class with these teachers if you dig them, and pay $45. Nothing revolutionary, not creating some kind of “tribe”, don’t have to make some big pretentious speech with celebrity appearances, just pay to take a big ass outdoor class if you are into that sort of thing. Exactly, at least thats honest. Good analogy with the whole foods…

  27. Brian–did you actually read The Babarazzi’s post (above)? The part about “a simulation of community”? and “the utter disconnect that is felt when attending large-scale concert events” ? IF so, well, then I am just so curious as to how you could “bet” that The Babarazzi would like this event. Maybe you are not too good at gambling..which isn’t something to be ashamed about. If you didn’t actually read the post you should give it a go…it’s very well articulated and makes pretty clear how a lot of us feel out here. While this GLBL thing is going on I’ll be getting into trouble, too….making some prank calls, teaching my kids some wicked curse words, and entertaining myself by trying to suck my own teet. Then, a few days later, I may go do ankle to knee pose under the trees on the north east side of the Meadow where I used to hang out after school watching time pass on that clock on the facade of a building on CPS and my mother couldn’t call and tell me to come home because we didn’t have cell phones back then…tick tock tick tock….

    • 108

      i already liked you, but now i might love you. you are also so weirdly delicious aa. god is good, god is great. thank you for this blog, amen.

    • Brian

      Scale is its own thing. If you’ve ever pressed your belly to a redwood, or stood on top of an Egyptian pyramid, you know there’s something awesome and different about *big* things. More than the sum of their parts. The feeling will certainly be different from small classes or private yoga practice, which is the whole point.

      • Wait, what’s the whole point? That there is a difference in “feeling” between a “big” yoga class and a “small” one? Brian, no offense, but your comments don’t really contain much substance. You basically state over-generalized whimsy-truths…

        • big things are awesome
        • small classes and big classes feel different
        • the yoga in central park event would be cool
        • people are “shocked” by crowd funding
        • there seems to be space on the spectrum of yoga experience for a big event
        • some people would dig it

        …and pretend they are rebuttals. It’s like you just keep saying, “Paris is the capital of France” over and over.

        You should take this opportunity to clarify what it is you are trying to state here. You being someone who works for one of the two major backers of the project, Flavorpill, please tell us what “the whole point” really is.

        • Brian

          So first to clarify – I don’t work in PR, I’m not one of the organizers and frankly I should stop commenting on this blog because I’m not close enough to it. Hit up the organizers directly if you want “the point.”

          That said: My responses probably appear simplistic because this event is, in my mind, pretty simple: it’s a big ass yoga gathering in Central Park. Bigger than anything ever done. A few celebrities for drawing power. Raising funds using the newfangled “crowd-funding” internets rather than selling tickets or selling corporate sponsorship. It will be different and interesting and probably awesome. So if enough people like that kind of thing, they’ll give money and it’ll happen. If they don’t, it won’t.

          These meta-narratives people are weaving about mega-egos and profiteering and distorting yoga culture seem cynical. At $675K and this scale, only the porta-potty guys will make money. It’s a straightforward event with no villains.

        • gross

          brian, i just think you are slightly misguided. its sad to think that one day you will realize how pollyannaish you are.

      • wondering

        there are plenty of “big” things which are neither different nor awesome. I’m with Babarazzi…clarification is helpful

  28. itstrue

    Aaaaand, When you have 15 000 peeps doing yoga to celebrity nonsense you are actually pulling 15 000 people out of local studios and classes that day. Well done.

  29. itstrue

    Annnnnnd we all know it’s about the celebrity yoga scene getting more boost for their ego’s and penny’s for their wallets. As well as the promoters thinking they are doing something “spiritual and good” by calling this a yoga event. There is such a hierarchy set up here too, the more money you have to give them, the closer you get to have your mat on stage next to Elena Brower!!!!! Barf in my mouth!

  30. gross

    does elena blink?

  31. justbehonest

    yuck. most things about this event from day one of announcement just leaves me with yuck.
    ive come as far as understanding my loathe for it. intention. the intention is not aligned with the wording or plans. using charity streams for funding. flip flopping from giving “50% of proceeds” in the vid, to “50% of profits after costs” in rebuttal reply, to then restating “50% of proceeds” in comments section.
    and is anyone the slight bit curious that the “talent” also happen to be the heads of the “charities” that are getting the “donations” that are finally made?
    gross gross gross. i know from experience that more then one of the “talent” are egomaniacal maniacs. (does double maniac cancel it out, i hope not)
    i wish they would just advertise their event properly. its a big brand profit event for self titled “teachers” who are happy to share their time with celebrities and vip paying students. and the brands that are leeching themselves onto that. whats the name of those fish that follow the sharks butt?

  32. This is the latest thing I wrote on the Elephant Journal’s comments section for the GLBL piece:

    In 2010 925 million people were hungry in the world.
    According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”
    I was looking today at the comments on the Indiegogo site today (the website the organizer are using to raise the money for this event) and one of the commentators said: “..the world needs this”.
    What I would like to ask her (the woman who said this) and the organizers and the yoga teachers is: what part of the world needs this?
    I often fear that in my teaching I might be contributing to the potential complacency (my own included) of us middle/upper class practitioners. Keep in mind that although my bank statement places me in a seriously lower class segment of our population, I live as though I have much more–which, I think, is common–and perhaps a new category of “class” : no money but living the “rich” life. But let’s just say that there are not many people who come from truly poor segments of our country or of the world, let alone that many people of color in your average downtown asana class.
    So what is meant by THE WORLD NEEDS THIS?
    Would all of us who attend the GLBL event feel comfortable standing in front of a starving mother from Somalia and her three starving children and saying to her: “We did this for the world. We raised half a million dollars to practice something we love, YOGA, something we already do every day, in a big group, with like-minds, in NYC… to help the World.”
    Can we lay in the dark alone and truly believe that days practice on the Great Lawn contributed to finding a cure for the diseases of the world: poverty, famine, war, and political corruption?
    I don’t know, but I think it’s something to talk about.
    Best,
    Alex

  33. Pingback: GroupThink = Colossal Failure (usually…) « The Shift Has Hit The Fan

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