Last week marked Yoganonymous’ turn to post a GLBL YOGA apologist piece. This time it came complete with a streamed interview with celebriyoga’s most ubiquitous self-help matriarch, Elena Brower. Before the interview was a very strange pseudo-defense of GLBL YOGA by Jennifer Cusano, as well as a major verbal back rub for the teacher in question. It’s a tough read, so if you ain’t got the stomach to work your way through the massage of it all—and it will take one cast in iron to do so—we’ve cut out some of the best parts for you to read.
Below are some notable quotables followed by our short responses:
“When you put thousands of people in the same place, most of them presumably yogis, all of them there to concentrate on and physically show their humble devotion to the world and it’s inhabitants around them, you better believe that it will create a tangible force of energy.” (Cusano)
This statement is extremely presumptuous and about as vapid as a GWB speech on helium.
First, “presumably yogis?” As opposed to what? Non-yogis? I thought yoga was whatever you wanted it to be. Can’t I just show up, take a monster dump on the person next to me, and call it a day? I thought as long as I tell people I’m being selfless than that was yoga? Who the hell else is planning on showing up to this event?!
And, how the hell does the author know the inner intentions of all fifteen thousand people? You only need five minutes of a decent one-hour therapy session to realize that 99% of your acts of “humble devotion” are really veils behind which you hide your ugly self-centered ambitions. You’ll spend the rest of the session trying to not beat yourself up over it. Seriously. Did I miss the memo here?
Then there’s this bit:
“I want to take part in this opportunity to stand in solidarity and create a fathomable force of love and gratitude with the very real ability to send it’s adoration vibrations rippling out to the surrounding world.” (Cusano)
To fathom something means to measure it. That being the case, since when are “love” and “gratitude” bound to the restricted limits of the scientific method? Since when is measuring the boundless sea of uncontainable self-immolating and rapturous love something to be quantified? What kind of soul-Nazi do you have to be to want to do that?
But then there’s this following bit: What most confused me about the piece was the author’s odd assertion that in her interview with Elena Brower, she found her to be so very “clear,” only to follow this claim with a quote from Ms. Brower regarding criticism of the event stating that “There are just so many people who are writing to literally gain eyeballs.”
Now, I’m not sure about you, but I have an extremely hard time “gaining eyeballs.” It’s like, whenever I almost “gain” one, it falls out of my bloody hand onto the floor, and then I’m forced to bend over and try and “regain” it, but I can’t, because all the other eyeballs I “gained” keep slipping out of my pocket.
Oh, Ms. Brower. If you are reading this, please know that it takes more than a couple of fart jokes and nasty words to “gain” an eyeball. I know it’s hard to believe when a person spends most of his/her time navigating through a sea of puckered ass-kissing lips, but sometimes actual substance can have a readership. Perhaps, criticizing this farce of a cause has more to do with distrusting yoga hobbyists and over-hyped yogilebrities whose teachings are really just o-kay than it does with “gaining an eyeball.”
But, then there’s the interview with Elena Brower itself where we find this:
“We just want to get together and practice yoga.” (Elena Brower)
Really? That’s it? What about saving little brown children from dying of starvation, a GLBL epidemic arguably maintained by the very lifestyles many celebriyogis choose to live by? Do you even know how empires come about and how they maintain their dominance?
“We want to create a field of energy.” (Elena Brower)
Let’s see…. In 2007 an estimated 70-million people attended the Ardh Kumbha Mela in Haridwar and Allahabad, India for forty-five days. Roughly 2600 times the amount of people intended to arrive at GLBL YOGA. Many, if not all, of those in attendance were connected, largely through oral discourse, to ridiculously deep yogic traditions dating back at least a thousand years. While estimates of the event’s physical origins place its birth around 1700 BCE, roughly 4,000 years ago, when river festivals were beginning to become organized, the first written account of the event by an outsider occurred in the mid-seventh century.
And yet, yesterday another person had her face chewed off in China by a drunk guy.
Perhaps epic gatherings of spiritually-motivated people are not really about saving the world. Maybe it’s time yogilebrities aimed a little lower, and toned down all that privileged arrogance that assumes every forward fold done with “good intentions” has a positive effect on anyone outside the economic bracket of the practitioner involved. Make no mistake. The effects of large gatherings are, in my opinion, real. However, the way in which this energy will play out is governed by something much larger and more complex than your dance party in the park.
Then there’s this:
“People create controversy for no reason.” (Cusano)
In my experience this is rarely the case. From what I’ve seen, people create conflict and descent when some fundamental need is not being met. Whether it be because a person does not feel loved, heard, or seen, people will often start clamoring about in text and body due to some wrong they feel needs righting.
What’s very interesting (if not entirely insulting), however, is the complete dismissiveness of any critique of the event, how it is being funded, and how events of this kind work to fabricate community that is then used to sell product. Sites like IAYB and YogaDork have questioned the event and the motivations behind it. We Babarazzi have gone a step further and questioned the entire “culture” of simulated solidarity that GLBL YOGA and its apologists attempt to fabricate.
Although, in the end, I think Babarazzi commenter, Alex Auder, has said it best:
“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….”
I’ll make it easy for you. Try and say that to any Mexican who had to leave family and home and risk being murdered while crossing into this country so he could wash your dishes at your favorite farm-to-table fauxhemian fad restaurant. Seriously, I challenge you to look this person in the eye and say, “I did yoga in Central Park for you.” Then, learn some Spanish so you can understand the myriad of fluorescent ways in which hilarity will be made at your expense in the kitchen, you silly cholita.