Coca-Cola, Wanderlust, and Corporatized Yoga

Thanks to one of our readers for hipping us to “Yoga Loses It’s Innocence (Or, “How Yoga has Gone Bananas / Pear-Shaped”),” an article that meanders through the now seemingly defunct Coca-Cola–Wanderlust connection that few people seem to know or care about, and some general thoughts on corporate-sponsored spirituality. None of us have had a sec to really unpack the piece, but below are some notable quotables to read. At the bottom you will find another link regarding Wanderlust-in-the-City and SmartWater (AKA Coca-Cola). But, first:


“I am not one to follow the “they have become successful, how dare they” attitude, but yoga and… Coca Cola?

The same Coca Cola that has been accused of leaving farms parched and land poisoned in India?

The same Coca Cola that has faced widespread allegations of involvement with paramilitary organizations in suppression of trade unions?


Corporate America has really done their homework on this one since Yoga and Innocent are what all the people-in-suits call niche brands, and there is another interesting similarity here: both have yet to convince consumers that they haven’t “sold out”.

And, this:

Meditators are actually one of the most difficult and less lucrative areas for a retailer to exploit simply because at the core of meditation is an obvious, anti-consumerist stance.

Meditation will provide a mind-meditated experience that offers a profound sense of sufficiency without any ties to any brands or products.

So, the virtues of having a vast selection yogified clothes, jewellery, foods, drinks, gadgets, games and accessories in the cupboard to fall back on when times are tough is anathema to the seasoned yogi, and it comes across as a mixed message albeit a less controversial one for the companies non-meditating shareholders whose interests go against the understanding of the meditator, since he or she will quickly realise [sic] that when emmerging [sic] from such rich states of consciousness – it is usually better for him or her to go without buying so much stuff in the first place?

If you’re interested in the Wanderlust–Coke connection, just click on this Coca-Cola link. Many people are unaware that this curious alliance ever even happened, which is probably due to the fact that Wanderlust presents itself as partnering with SmartWater, and not Coke. Of course. SmartWater is Coke, so, you know… same thing, different costume. Anyway, the Coke link is awesome. Click it here if you didn’t up there.

Anyway, you know…. Whatever gets people to do yoga, right? Even if it’s on the back of a company that has an entire Wikipedia article devoted to accusations against it.

Also, here’s an interview with Wanderlust founders as they try and scramble out of the Wanderlust-Coke controversy.


  1. Dyspeptic Skeptic

    Another brand is Mello Yello, which reminds me: Don’t piss on me and tell me it’s raining. BTW, 2 others are Zico and Vitamin Water.

  2. JL

    You are a little late to the game on this one. SmartWater no longer has any connection to Wanderlust. That was last year. This year, Wanderlust is providing free filtered water to everyone – as long as you bring your own bottle.

  3. Linda-Sama

    so Coke does NOT sponsor Wanderlust?

    • JL

      Correct. Last year, SmartWater (which is owned by Coca-Cola) was a Wandelust sponsor — and provided free electrolyte-infused water to all festival goers — which was certainly thirst-quenching, but not so environmentally friendly due to the plastic bottles. But not any longer. Wanderlust took a very different approach this year — providing free filtered water “filling stations” for all festival goers (assuming you have your own water bottle — which most people do bring). So I was puzzled why this article was posted as though it were hot news….

      • Thanks, JL. Wasn’t trying to infer that it was exactly current, but rather that there is more underneath/behind festival culture and yoga corporate sponsorship as a whole. That, and point to the article forwarded to us. Hope that clears it up a bit…

  4. Yogically speaking

    In defense of His Holiness, the Baba-Ganesh, I’m sure that the wellspring for this year’s water, like last year’s, was an Infinity Pool.

  5. gross

    Bhakti Fest, since its 1st year, has always had free water filling stations. Its pretty hard to be 100% perfectly eco-perfection in anything large scale, mostly b/c it requires so much participation by the festival goers. People need to take responsibility for themselves and their own footprint and damage or lack-of. But COKE is all bad, and I actually fully believe the yogalebrity thing and these huge yoga events actually makes it harder to actually teach people yoga. yoga will stand up against anything, but it truly makes the job of actually trying to teach these people, post a Times Square event, post a GLBL even that probably won’t happen, post an inane French lawn class taught by EB, HARDER. PTSD. i have a new one, PHYECS . post huge yoga event confusion syndrome.


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