Is Yoga in Times Square a Symbol of Arrogance, Super Sexy Up-Dogs, or Both?

Anyone check out the full-pager in this month’s Yoga Journal:

Let me get this straight. According to “Solstice in Times Square“:

Anyone can find tranquility on top of a mountain.

Let’s think about that.

I’d like to see anyone, let alone some “yogini” who can barely squeeze in two hour-long “restorative” classes a week between her Liquiteria fixes, last ten minutes on top of a mountain. Most people I know can’t last ten minutes on the toilet without having a heart attack ’cause so-and-so didn’t “Like” their latest post on Facebook, let alone hang out on top of a mountain reconciling that well-nourished inner demon they so skillfully hid between the folds of their small intestine. I guarantee you, the second that last Sherpa peaces out and leaves your white ass with a bucket—a BUCKET—to eat out of, you’ll be down that mountain faster than you can say “I secretly dream about having Tantric coven sex with John Friend.”

I love you, Fleet Week.

In fact, the whole concept of “finding tranquility in Times Square” is both irrelevant and disingenuous. First, anyone who’s actually had the pleasure(?) of spending five minutes people-watching during Fleet Week knows exactly how to find tranquility. New Yorkers are professionals at tuning out the 5am “You’re gonna burn in Hell” subway screamfest while reading The New Yorker. We’re frickin’ champs at maintaining one-pointed pratyaharic “withdrawal of the senses” when we end up on a subway car where a homeless man has decided to emit that classic bouquet of “sour rotting putrid fecal foot” stench we are all so accustomed to. We’re New Yorkers for God’s sake! We deal with this shit on the daily.

But worst of all is what a yoga-as-facade commercial venture such as this (and this is a commercial venture) seems to imply: that the chaos of this city is caused by some force other than that caused by the participants themselves. Truth is, the very people who will be attending this event—you, me (nah), them—are the same people who prop up and maintain the very insanity they wish to meditate through. As a New Yorker—as someone who participates in and benefits off of the “freneticism” of New York City—we, by our simply living and working in the city, are the very insanity we so arrogantly want to avoid. In short, we are the chaos.

Knowing this to be the case, it comes across as slightly sad to see chaos itself pretend to be the silent mind, knowing full well that practicing yoga asanas in Times Square in an effort to display some sense of inner calm ends up simply being an act of public self-gratification—a form of guilt-driven masturbation. It’s like buying up a $6.6 million mansion and then expecting people to be impressed when you mow the lawn. That just ain’t gonna cut it.

Our suggestion: just calm down with all these acts of yogic “endurance.” From the looks of it a lot of y’all started practicing yoga last month….

Get it together, front row!

Careful with those knees, mommy!

And, that’s great! We’re genuinely psyched that the yogic tradition has found a way into your heart. But remember, your ability to float with impeccable silence in a toilet of your own making does not a dharana yogi make. Most likely it’s a manifestation of your slippery self, eager to remind the world of its existence.

So, as far as we’re concerned, you’re better off splitting a concealed beer with a friend while watching the wonder that is Fleet Week 2012 descend onto the streets of Times Square. Who knows? Find the right sailor, and you might find yourself in a state of nautical absorption. I’d take that over some lame form of commercial samadhi any day.


Non sibi sed patriae! Ahoy!


  1. amphibi1yogini


    Are New Yorkers the change we wish to see in the world?

  2. Greenpoint

    There really is NO reason to be in Times Square, let alone practicing some asana…ever

  3. Linda-Sama

    caption under first photo: “Where are all the black people?”

    I’ll take Fleet Week anyday…. 😀

  4. OccupyTimes Square fooling the police into thinking it is a commercial yoga stunt solstice operation! No? I thought it had potential. Full disclosure: When I first started practicing 4+ years ago I thought of trekking down to something like that because I was so infatuated with the practice, and I thought of “taking over” such a commercial space as march or demonstration on changing values. hahaha

    • Eh, you know…you go, you don’t go, you go, you don’t go. Who doesn’t love a Spectacle? It’s how they frame it that’s such a bummer. But, damn, should be another hilarious demo.

  5. Whatever is going to get more yoga to the masses, beautiful; just get on the path, practice practice practice ~ Yoga happens…

  6. Jen C.

    “We’re frickin’ champs at maintaining one-pointed pratyaharic “withdrawal of the senses” when we end up on a subway car where a homeless man has decided to emit that classic bouquet of “sour rotting putrid fecal foot” stench we are all so accustomed to. We’re New Yorkers for God’s sake! We deal with this shit on the daily.”
    Hah! As someone who moved to the city in the past year, I can attest that it is a unique NYC skill to learn and it took me months to develop. However I don’t think I could handle some self satisfied lululemon wearing Brooklyn Heights resident doing yoga right next to vomit encrusted homeless guy on the subway. I’m not quite there yet.
    I’m just grateful that the babarazzi is here to point out that the ’emperor yogi has no clothes’ … I was beginning to think I was going crazy or being mean spirited/cynical doing yoga in this city until I started reading this blog…. many thanks and much love babarazzi!

  7. earthenergyreader

    Is this hygienic? I don’t want people’s spit germs on my mat

  8. J

    Babarazzi, you sometimes make it difficult to comment on your posts by so thoroughly (and yet succinctly) taking apart nonsense such as this. So I’ll offer a heartfelt YEAH… WHAT THE BABARAZZI SAID.

  9. sally

    There is kind of a mean creepiness to these comments. You seem really attracted to this stuff.

  10. Sandy

    Don’t be hating on Kacey. She’s just a rich kid trying to play grownup though not very convincingly it seems. Her company tag line is “We make short videos intended to increase your HAPPINESS!! Get your WISDOM ON!” So take that all you meanies.

  11. sally

    Oh I could believe that you could get creepier – you could become the yogi-celeb of creepiness. So far I’ve seen sexism, homophobia, intense aggression – go for it!

    • It’s certainly possible that some of our language slips into the terrain of (for some people) unsavory -isms. But, we’re gonna need some specifics to cede you nods to such a claim. Before you do, however, remember, studying the ins and outs of said -isms, while simultaneously working their nefarious margins is our bread and butter. So make it good.

  12. sally

    Ahh the judge and jury. Check out your own remarks — especially about women who aren’t famous, don’t have blogs — just trying to do their yoga as well as they can and not worry about the packaging . . .

    • Wait, are you commenting on the right blog? I’m not sure I really get what yre saying. We’re willing to meet yr critique, but yre gonna have to put something of substance down. Design a thesis, support it with examples, make it air tight. If yr claim holds water, we will DEFS meet you there. If yre just throwing accusations around, it’s too nice a day. Spring has frickin sprung!

  13. sally

    It is Sally Bowles, just the dancer. The Grand Inquisitor wants to slice and dice but he’s not looking at his own work . .

    • We gave you the opportunity, Sally. You had our attention, but ya wasted it. Now you lost our attention. Oh well.

      In any case, we love being taken to task by anyone who’s got the chops to do so. If we are persuaded to think differently, we’re more than happy to give credit where it’s due. Unfortunately, you missed an opportunity to do so.

      Off to the setting Sun!

  14. Beasley Borden



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