We Love You /// Commercial Yoga Culture is Square /// Our Fond Farewell Message!!!

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Hello, readers of The Babarazzi! And, welcome to our first ever goodbye post!!!!

But, before we get into it we’d like to direct your attention to Aghori B’s new project, Simply Aghorable!. 

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Whether it be Beyonce to Destiny’s Child, Justin Timberlake to N’Sync, or Nick Jonas to The Jonas Brothers every super group has an angel whose creative wingspan exceeds that of the collective. For The Babarazzi that being has always been Aghori Babarazzi. Thank you, B, for time and time again pulling yourself out of your self-imposed hole in order to whip us (and you!) into shape. The Babarazzi was an ecstatic ride you so very skillfully set into motion day-in/day-out.

We highly recommend that our readers begin migrating over to Simply Aghorable! as it will pick up where The Babarazzi left off, taking you places The Babarazzi couldn’t. We’re already giddy to see you all in the comments!

And, now our goodbye!

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☠ ☠ ☠ ☠ ☠ ☠          ☠ ☠ ☠ ☠ ☠ ☠          ☠ ☠ ☠ ☠ ☠ ☠

FARE THEE WELL, LOVERS OF LOVE, READERS AND DETRACTORS OF THE BABARAZZI

The Babarazzi was never intended to last very long. In the beginning we imagined the site would remain online for roughly a month. If people didn’t sue us (which some did threaten to do), maybe three months. Then again, six months always felt like a good number, as it invoked the first of Crowley’s “666,” the number of the beast, the devil, the inversion of cultural norms. In the end, we remained live for two years, and, while the delicious blood of yogilebrities has kept us fit and able, the time has come for us to move on to other delicacies.

Why Are You Stopping, Babs?
There has already been some speculation as to why we are shutting down the site, most of it missing the mark. Let us say that we are not stopping the site due to “burnout,” “external pressure,” or “stress.” We haven’t “had it” with Commercial Yoga Culture, nor have we been convinced by outside forces that what we have been doing is wrong. We love and stand behind everything we’ve done. The truth is, we feel we have completed our task. As Aghori said in a recent interview with It’s All Yoga, Baby, “Now, when you google “YAMA Talent,” our articles verbally spanking that entity come up on the very first page. I think we can call it a day.” And, so, that is what we are doing. Calling it a day.

The Website Known as The Babarazzi
Over the course of two years we published two-hundred-seventy articles on the ins and outs of Commercial Yoga Culture. At its most intense writing pieces could take upwards of six to eight hours a day, which does not include the days where we were generating and crafting new ideas and pieces that didn’t go anywhere. To give you an idea of what we’re talking about, here is a list of pieces that did not make it onto the site because they were either unfinished or underwhelming when completed:

  1. Free Giveaway from The Babarazzi!!! /// This 6-Pack of Budweiser
  2. Shamu vs The Lotus
  3. Yoga + Voguing = Progress
  4. WERKSHOP Yoga Pants /// Why not TWERKSHOP
  5. Kelly Morris’ Day
  6. Spiritual Bypassing
  7. YogaGlo Patent Thing /// Are We Supposed to Have an Opinion on This?
  8. 10 reason I dont care what science says about yoga
  9. Stupid Righteous People
  10. Interview: Yoga for Bad People
  11. Pampering in Commercial Yoga Culture /// “But what can yoga do for me?”
  12. What is a Yoga Body? /// It’s Really Very Simple and It’s Really Very Hot!
  13. Another Travis Eliot Piece
  14. 10 Ways Tara Stiles Sounds Like a Tool Shed
  15. Discussing Commercial Yoga Culture
  16. Yogilebrities are Memes
  17. NIYAMA YAMA #: Baby’s and Yoga
  18. Key Distinctions of “Commercial Yoga Culture”
  19. The Diversity Games /// Who’s Got Those Talkin’ Diversity Blues Chops?
  20. Thoughts on the Body Toxic
  21. BEST WEEK EVER: Sadie Nardini Gives Us Poor Fucks Some Success Tips and Then Shows Us How to Become a Geisha
  22. Yoga Has Opened Me Up to Satan /// And Now I Am Happily Carrying Satan’s Spawn
  23. Yoga is More than Spirituality /// When a UFO Lands, Greet it With a Handshake
  24. 10 Reasons Why Yogilebrities are Really Just Celebrities in Training
  25. NIYAMA YAMA # Crumple That Shit Up
  26. This Week on The Babarazzi I Learned That….
  27. Yoga in Public is for Begging
  28. An Uber-Subjective Review of “21st Century Yoga”
  29. Our Interview with “Fifty Shades of Yoga”
  30. The Problems With Kelly Morris’ “Masculine/Feminine” Binary /// An Aghori Babarazzi Talky Talk
  31. Facts are or Will Eventually Be BS /// So, Try Not to Be a Total Cock Knocker About What You Think You Know
  32. [THE FRIDAY GOOD] Greatest Youtube Tribue to an Artist? /// Obvies….
  33. Yoga Personalities as Garbage Pail Kids
  34. Just Because You’re a Hot Mess Doesn’t Make You a “Shaman”
  35. People aren’t Props /// Unless They Wanna Be /// In Which Case Be Quiet Whitey
  36. Ignoring “Power-Over” Does Not Make it Go Away
  37. Boycotting John Friend is Hilarious
  38. Maybe Yoga Journal is a False Idol Sent Down to Lead the Stupid Astray
  39. Why “Kindness” is Great, But Only One Aspect of Life
  40. Feminism is an Evolving Process ///
  41. Please Keep Yr Yoga “On the Mat” So I Can Hang With a Non-Lame Person Once in a While
  42. [THE FRIDAY GOOD] I AM RICH App
  43. Yoga Entrepeneurs Say the Darndest Things ///
  44. From “Corporation as Person” to “The Situationists” to “Yoga” /// Say, what?
  45. Think Positive and You Will Eventually, Well, Think Positive About Stuff
  46. Is Imagination Necessary to Teach Yoga
  47. Are Women and Men Opposites?
  48. Boredom
  49. [SHORT SHORT POST] The “I” as a Plurality of Becoming /// Quick Baba Mash-up
  50. Facebook Yoga School Shooting
  51. [THE FRIDAY GOOD] Presidents With Boobs On Their Faces
  52. [ANNIVERSARY WEEK 2013] Comment Awards!
  53. Zombie Boy
  54. [RESPONSE] What Would a Perfect Yoga Teaching World Look Like?
  55. [ANNIVERSARY WEEK 2013] (Real Paparazzi)
  56. Altars
  57. Politcal Yoga
  58. So You Wanna Do More Than Just Asana Yoga /// The Babarazzi Guide to “Other Yogas”
  59. Hasid Yoga
  60. [THE FRIDAY (PRETTY) GOOD]
  61. Being Anti-Sanskrit in Yoga is Probably Racist, Right?
  62. Positive Thinking Doesn’t “Work” /// Neither Do Protests /// Check Yrself and the Height of Ye Horse
  63. Titans of Yoga Movie
  64. Yogi iPad Thing
  65. [THE FRIDAY GOOD] Balancing Rocks
  66. The Importance of Creating a Language to Speak About Yoga Commodity Culture
  67. Who Wants to Make a Wikipedia Page for “Yoga Bleaching?”
  68. More Things You Do Not Need To Practice Yoga
  69. Words “Yogis” Should Stop Using
  70. Yoginis Frickin’ LOVE Flip Flops
  71. Interview With a Corporate Yoga Teacher /// Shelley Adelle on Money, Meaning, and Getting Defensive
  72. Focusing on the Money is a Waste of Time! /// GLBL YOGA and Money
  73. 100,000 Dollars!
  74. Would You Eat a Man’s Face if it Meant More People Would Do Yoga?
  75. Om Mani Padme Hum Necklace
  76. So You Wanna Be a Critic? /// Advice for the Disenchanted
  77. Simple Alternatives to Celebriyogi Culture are Boring /// New Paradigms Need More Passion
  78. Yoga Apps
  79. What Else Besides Drunken Blackouts and Orgies Happened This Weekend?
  80. The Summer of Thousand Petals
  81. Some Stuff We Came Across
  82. A Note About Tradition
  83. The Marriage of Fashion and Yoga /// A Lie Fit to Buy
  84. Strike a Spiritual Pose
  85. Dana Flynn /// Did Say Coulda Said
  86. New Banana Axis Mundi “YOGI” Wallpaper /// Peel It
  87. Yoga Studio Names /// Have We Run Out Of Sanskrit Words Yet?
  88. Yoga Does Not Need The Babarazzi
  89. Let’s Talk About Love
  90. Reading “Gurus” From A Hyper-Capitalist Vantage Point Is A Bummer

Each one of these pieces had a potential future that never was. To this day they remain sitting in the Green Room waiting for the big call.

Yogilebrity Culture
While there is quite a range of themes that can be pulled from the above list, the tie that binds them all is the culture of the yogilebrity.

The intention of The Babarazzi was to critique that culture, out, proud, loud, and with a great sense of style. Our agenda was quite simple: isolate yogilebrity culture to such a degree that it would be forced to respond as a unique entity within the greater culture of yoga, officially outing itself as a separate thing among many things.

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Up until now Yogilebrity culture had woven itself into the greater fabric of contemporary yoga culture to render itself almost invisible, making it difficult to engage any aspect of the culture surrounding the yoga tradition without finding oneself mired in a sea of sensationalist advertising and bound-for-the-trash-heap (or the ever-mystical “recycling bin”) merchandise. It has been pervasive to the point of being absent, so much so that even people with independent yoga practices unknowingly define yoga in the terms given to them by yoga commerce. People find “their” Truth. They “rock their asanas.” They “get fit” for summer. This, however, is a language passed down. Where, we wondered, was a language that spoke back up?

A Language of Our Own Making
Once a community has a language that can describe, pick out, and discuss a phenomenon (i.e Commercial Yoga Culture), then that community can use it to facilitate discourse and a greater understanding and appreciation of the world around them. Basically, in a society prioritizing language, if you can’t speak about something, you will have a hard time identifying that something.

1. Yoga Bleaching
Yoga bleaching was our first attempt to provide new words and concepts that could be used to spotlight aspects of Commercial Yoga Culture. As we defined it in our piece, “What is ‘Yoga Bleaching?’”

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.”

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2. Commercial Yoga Culture
The other term we came up with was “Commercial Yoga Culture” (CYC), which we define as an environment in which the signs and symbols of yoga practice are used primarily as a way to maintain the relevancy of the market of Commercial Yoga Culture (working definition). In effect, CYC is a tautology. It is a commercial enterprise developed solely to reinforce itself. CYC is the buying and selling of CYC.

3. The “Yogilebrity”
While we’re fairly certain we did not coin this term, we definitely pulled a lil’ Japanese engineering on it, and made it into something grand. We (loosely) define the “yogilebrity” as a yoga instructor who consistently, while resting on a business-centered platform, places in the foreground his/her own personality. Yogilebrities sell as their primary product themselves. Something called “yoga” is merely the context within which this exchange occurs.

4. Entertainment Yoga
Entertainment Yoga is the yoga most often identified within the culture of yoga commerce. It is a branch of yoga that prioritizes the making happy of its students and the avoidance of boredom. It may look like any number of “styles” of yoga, but will always have at its core an interest in making sure yoga students “like” yoga. The customer is always right in Entertainment Yoga.

Yoga Does Not Need Saving
Some of our readers and detractors misconstrued The Babarazz as a site that was out to “protect” yoga from the evils of commerce. This could not be further from the truth. We, The Babarazzi, are vehemently anti-purist.

Many would like to believe that we as a collective are unanimously against consumption, or somehow anti-commerce. The truth is, some of us are, and some of us ain’t. Our attack was based primarily on what we believe to be Commerical Yoga Culture’s hypocrisy, the perception that it existed as both a facilitator of commerce, as well as a commercial entity beyond critique. Founder of YAMA Talent, Ava Taylor’s article “It’s not a revolution unless everyone is part of it” is an explicit example of this hypocrisy.

It is our belief, however, that Commercial Yoga Culture is no different than any other aspect of commerce. It probably won’t “shift the consciousness” of the world toward something more “elevated,” “mindful,” or “aware.” It probably won’t make life on planet Earth less hard for people. Why? Because, the ill conditions of the (not really post-) colonial world have more to do with access and the way in which access is made impossible by the very “lifestyle of abundance” Commercial Yoga Culture so vehemently proselytizes.

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This does not mean that we ever felt yoga to be “threatened.” We believe the culture of actual yoga practice, that wily and diverse psycho-somatic cacophony of intentional self-knowledge, to be far too vast and integrated into world cultures to be harmed by weekend workshops on “How to Become a Shaman.” In fact, we find it entirely arrogant to assume that thousand-year-old traditions need protecting from the Great White Hope that was John Friend. Douglas Brooks’ hissy fit over the John Friend scandal is a prime example of such silliness:

So, as far as we’re concerned…

Yoga does not need saving.
Yoga does not need protecting.
Yoga does not need police.
Yoga does not need a codified system of “standards.”
Yoga does not need an insurance plan.
Yoga does not need a better yoga mat.
Yoga does not need better marketing.
Yoga does not need more blogs.
Yoga does not need The Babarazzi.

The evolution of humanity through body-centered practices is not one. Yoga is not the “answer.” Yoga is a method. One of many. And, there are many. What yoga needs is you and your enthusiasm to practice and practice often, your humility to learn from those more practiced than you, and some basic understanding on how to teach others who seek to be taught.

It doesn’t take much more than that.

Thank You Thank You Thank You
In closing we would like to speak to a few people. But, first, we would like to speak directly to our commenters. Are you paying attention? Are you reading this? Are we looking into each other’s eyes? Good. Now listen up. YOU made The Babarazzi what it is. So often we would talk amongst ourselves about how hilarious and insightful our commenters were. In a way writing articles was more about getting you bunch of psychopaths to say crazy shit than anything else. Really. I mean, who actually gives a fuck what Sadie Nardini is up to, or what stupid uninformed BS Kelly Morris is spewing from her frozen mouth? We were always more interested in what you, our daily commenters had to say, and, most importantly, HOW you said it. That’s right. We’re speaking to you, amphibi1yogini, the moment already came, Greenpoint, jorge, Chai Fan, alex auder, knittinginnc, novecho, The P, Garuda, Linda-Sama, Earth Energy Reader, Yoga_Dude, Lalalala, greatnorthsky, kashi kid, silki, Kit Kat, gross, DimensionYoga, PeggyB, stacy, Luber, Narayan Chaitanya, Zodiyack, Thaddeus, Think Again, itstrue, Wondering, ckling, giggity, LilaBlog, Lola/Dakini, Emily, Helga, 2littlewings, Bryan, Tulasi-Priya, et al. The comments that were shared on The Babarazzi were by far some of the most funny and witty blurbs we have read online. So, we say with extreme honesty, THANK YOU. Thank you for being awesome, and thank you for being there bright and early.

As for those of you who read the site, but did not comment, we know you are out there, and we love you all the same! We saw the numbers rise throughout the day. We know you were checking in. Thank you for consistently visiting our site. Your interest in our work and what we had to say was a daily reminder that people were reading, and it’s because of you that we kept the site live as long as we did. So long as we could tell people were paying attention, we felt it right to keep entertaining you.

As for the yogilebrities whose egos we damaged day in and day out…. Ah well. It’s probably for your own good. We’re certain at least some of you aren’t awful. Unfortunately, it’s more or less impossible to tell, as that silly yoga personae you keep dragging around like a water-logged corpse dangling from your yoni makes you look and sound like a colossal fucktard. Aside from that, and, in all honesty, we hope all goes well for you. Like you’ve always said, you deserve to be a success! Don’t let anyone tell you any different. You DESEEEEEERVE it.

As for the few yogalebrity business folk who felt so burnt by our razor sharp, though very much within our legal right, verbiage so as to threaten legal action against us, we’d like to extend a warm Yogi Tea “fuck you” to you and your absurd sense of self-importance. You are devastatingly lame, and wonderfully ineffectual in your threats.

Finally, we’d like to thank Waylon Lewis at Elephant Journal for posting and then un-posting our first “big piece.” What better way to make a distinction between Commercial Yoga Culture and any critique of that culture that contains actual teeth! Thank you for taking the advice of one particular yoga instructor who who liked to get angry at us, and who soon after the Elephant take-down emailed us to inform us of his influence in your decision. Without this minor controversy, who knows if we would ever have stayed around!

To all those beyond and in between—friends, foes, and the disinterested—we wish you a life of health and happiness, and that you will know true love in all its terrifyingly unpredictable forms.

And now, we, The Babarazzi, go back to the cave. Good luck out there.

With great big love,

—The Babs

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28 comments

  1. Mark

    You can’t see it (or maybe you can), but I am giving you a “slow clap” right now.

  2. cynthia kling

    I second that Mark. I will miss you too Babu – you were always more of a Babu than a Baba, thank god. (our first fight). And you always did interesting work.

  3. PeggyB

    Bye Bye Babs!

  4. Zodiyack

    Your work brought a necessary dose of critical thinking and irreverence to the yoga community. Thank you for a job well done.

  5. itstrue

    Hello, It’s me. It’s true. Even though I didn’t get a mention in your dedicated reader section. I am in fact a Baba fan to the last breath. So that you and I love you and I will be reading your next blog for sure. I am sure everyone agrees that you are the best!

  6. itstrue

    Whoops. I did get a mention. I am ESL after all.

  7. Like I posted elsewhere, The Babarazzi reminded me of that one school bus every elementary school seemed to have, the one with the most disruptive, loudest reputation but was always the most fun to ride on.
    Thanks for the insight, the laughs and the wit!
    Big, juicy bear hugs from my bend in the river,
    EER

  8. Cheers to the Baba crew. You will be missed.

  9. Maha Garuda

    Well Shit!. How long are you gonna stand in the doorway?. Go on then Rhett. What really matters is Tara (Yoga). Deaths suck. I friggin hate crying so early in the morning though. I am going to miss y’all for sure. I have made some friends in this sand box though. A sandbox that not only seemed to enjoy thinking outside the box, but actively destroyed the box itself.
    I apologize for my spelling, punctuation, illiteracy and grumpy demeanor. I thank you all for the same.

  10. Greenpoint

    So long and thanks for all the fish!

  11. Chai Fan

    Woke up at 5:30 am today and started reading this post. Fell back asleep eventualy and had a dream that we all had a party and got to meet eachother. We had a toast and I drank to much. Drove off after the party (which was awesome) and got pulled over by a cop for DUI! (And in reality I don’t even really drive).
    Perhaps the dream signifies we gotta keep ourselves in check now, continue to stay vigilant, and smartly call out the bullshit on our own. Sadly, without you as our guide. But thank you thank you for sending us on the right path. I will miss your posts greatly and look forward to the new blog.

    • Chai Fan

      Also just want to add that the list of pieces that never made it onto the site had me laughing to the point of tears. Damn I gonna miss yooos…

  12. novecho

    best of luck with simply. I’ll be lurkin

  13. Namastellen

    Namaste! ♥♥♥♥

  14. The P

    Farewell, Babs!! It’s been a great conversation and a great contribution. I will miss you and my fellow commenters from whom I have gained much wisdom and shared many laughs. You’ve fostered something really good here. Looking forward to the next incarnation..

    Indeed, I hope you have gone surfing and not to one of those namby-pamby yoga/surf vacays down in Costa Rica. No, I imagine you strapping on the 5/7mm and heading down to Far Rock to grab some icicles-forming-on-your-hoody winter swell. Or better yet, flying out to North Shore to fling yourself, balls-to-the-walls into the raucous, raw mayhem of Peʻahi. Now that’s some righteous tapas right there.

  15. voxygen

    Babz, of all the yoga blogs out there, yours was the one I loved the most, both the posts and comments. Thank you for this most excellent farewell.

  16. Thanks for all the laughs. You never cease to amaze with those horrifyingly imaginative similes.
    Looking forward to the next incarnation.
    Fuck you (aka love you (I don’t deal well with abandonment) sorry),
    A

  17. Thaddeus

    Well played Sir, well played. All things must come to pass…until we meet again.

    P.S. That other Travis Elliot piece might prove to be a fitting P.S. all its own.

  18. From a regular lurker, I will miss you. Anything that drops into our system is going to get monitized – no way around it. And the undiscerning will think all the flash is all there is. You have done a great service to all by calling out the self-promoters who might not even realize that they are self-promoters so thoroughly commercialized is our culture. Thanks for some serious shit done with style.

  19. I’m really going to miss your posts. It’s true, I see the same things you see, so I don’t need you to regularly alert me to the inane examples of yoga bleaching and celebrity yoga “culture” that surround us. But you are funnier and sharper in your discourse, and your posts always reminded me that beneath my cynicism, I wasn’t completely crazy or alone in my dismay after all. Best of luck to you, and thank you.

  20. (sigh)

    WAIT!!! My website critiquing the culture of blogs that critique commercial yoga culture was just about to go live!!! Damn it.

  21. jorge

    So sad to see this site go. It really was an amazing resource and hub of thought in this strange little corner of the world we tend to inhabit. Finding Babarazzi was the first time I haven’t felt crazy for feeling out of place in yoga culture and the rampant consumerism, soft racism, classism, and plain old goofiness that has become so common place and so often the norm rather than the exception these days. It was also the first time I’ve seen genuine and well thought out critique of the tendency for non-engagement in the “material world” amongst even more serious yogis and more embarrassingly, political “engagement” disguised as a sales pitch and liberal feel goodiness. And damn, a touch of punk rock and all around hilarity to boot?!? I think you stole my heart before I even knew it had gone missing. Thanks so much to all the writers and commenters of this site, you’ve all helped me clarify my own thoughts on these subjects and have said it much better than I ever could. May we all meet again someday over a skull full of blood in the Charnel Grounds……

  22. Babs, I was so sad that you were going to stop writing, that I went back to the beginning and reread tons of your post and most of the comments. I have to say: Damn you are a genius.

    I was also struck by the irony that most of the teachers who responded to your criticism seemed to be completely unwilling to entertain the thought that their point of view might be wrong and to actually engage in a conversation (one exception is the adorable Lucas of the “I am My Own Guru” bracelets, who came off as sincere, humble and fully willing to hear criticism…he won me over…i digress). Anyway, it seems a bit odd for “spiritual” teachers whose “spiritual lineage” teaches that one of the major obstacles to achieving a higher state is misapprehension and that the practice that they are teaching are to lead to deepen the capacity of self-examination. And we won’t get into how they seemed to confuse The Seer and the instrument that does the seeing (or in this case the personality who receives the $$ and the personality marketed to make the $$).

    You know, I have come to understand this blog as one big meta lesson in the sutras’ teachings on the difference between The Seer and the other stuff.

    Oh, and thanks for the shout out. You will be missed.

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