Elena Brower and Co. Need $60K for Yoga Book /// Wanna Pay For It? /// GLBL YOGA Take Deux

Most things that become “cool” in the mainstream world…

Snooki demonstrating Sukhasana w/ Gyan Mudra circa 2011

…are first crafted and made awesome in the underground subculture world.

James Hay-Kellie demonstrating Ardha Matsyendrasana circa 1942

Skinny jeans, pointy-toed shoes, surfing, trucker caps, tattoos, yoga, dreadlocks, vegan/vegetarianism, recycling, fixed-gear bicycles, beards, Andrew Weil (‘s beard), “health food,” ayahuasca, New Thought, Gurdjieff, charm bracelets, any music that’s worth listening to. You name it. If you’re into it, some weird little marginal scene was messing around with it about a decade before and have probably moved on to inventing cars that run on kombucha.

Science guy holding giant kombucha “mother” that looks more like a hearty slice of Christmas ham

Now, remember when community-funded projects were for weird people who had no real access to the dough it took to make “a short film about making a short film?” Or when some kid, too young to work, wanted to build a time machine and needed a couple hundred dollars worth of duct tape to keep the thing from falling apart, and so set up a lemonade stand [!!!] hoping we’d all help a brother out? Oh well. Looks like peeps with probably a lot more money than Lemonade Stand Boy are getting in on the community-funded scene too….

Right on the heels of GLBL YOGA‘s belly flop into the world of community-funded projects, comes a new book by mama/teacher/coach, Elena Brower, and designer/artist/teacher Erica Jago. The book looks like it’s gonna be ridiculously pleasing on the eye (like, please send me a copy!), and with fifty-three days and $47,000 still to go, I’m guessing this should be fully funded in…………..just under 72 hours.

Unlike Mark Singleton and James Mallinson’s potentially über-comprehensive Roots of Yoga [<–video link] source book ($50K needed), which A. sounds like the best possible thing ever, B….

“will be arranged thematically and highlight the major historical moments of yoga’s evolution within the Indian subcontinent (from about 500BCE to 1750CE), showing the continuities, disjunctions and developments that have characterized its theory and practice across the centuries….”

…and C. could really use the funding in order to even see the light of day, I’m guessing the Brower/Jago book will make it to the shelves regardless if you lift a finger. Although, don’t quote me on that. I actually have no idea. However, if you do decide to reach into your pockets, (and again, the book does look like it’s gonna be beautiful) here’s what’s in store for you:

What do you get for a $25 donation?

“THANK YOU for your support of our magical project. For your contribution, you will receive our Vision Board, with outtakes and personal pics from us, as a printable digital PDF depicting the creative evolution of our project.”

What do you get for a $10,000 donation?

“It is my privilege to design and teach a full-day, 6-hour workshop at your studio; together we will arrange an offering that will best serve your community. Special fun for studio owners, you may sell this as a workshop for your community [thank you Darren Rhodes for such a brilliant idea]. And we’ll send your signed copy of ART OF ATTENTION, and our Vision Board as a printable digital PDF depicting the creative evolution of our project.”

Where does the money go?

“Your funds will help produce, print and ship our book to teachers and yogis everywhere, including more than five hundred copies donated around the world to organizations training women, and specifically yoga teachers. Teachers in trainings from the Africa Yoga Project in East Africa to the Lineage Project in New York City will have the imagery and instruction in ART OF ATTENTION in order to create beautiful practices, both for themselves and for their students.”

What might happen to the world if the project doesn’t get funded?

What might happen to the world if it does get funded?

Anyway, if you too would like to print something awesome about yoga and share it with the world, but don’t wanna ask your friends for $60,000, here’s a link filled with other links providing all the information you’ll ever need to make a fancy yoga fanzine, send it around the world, and become super famous:

How to make a ‘zine


Thanks to one of our readers for the initial link and another for the Kobyashi vids.


  1. cynthia kling

    Hey Bab: Thanks for twigging me to Roots of Yoga. I’d love to see a whole bunch of people kick in $10 or $25 b/c it could be a valuable book and writers get paid zip these days.

    Kickstarter can be hard to wade through, so I’d love seeing your selects because I trust your judgement – except, of course, when you make me look like Sarah Palin on your site. Come on, can’t I be Huma Abedin?

    • No, *I* was supposed to be Sarah Palin. You interviewed me, remember?!

      PS- I can’t imagine wading through Kickstarter stuff. We need someone to help find stuff for us, and then we can wade through that.

  2. Yoga Observer

    I don’t think that selling books on these sites is a crime. Doesn’t matter to me if it’s Roots of Yoga or Art of Attention. Could be the next Fifty Shades of Gray…which apparently the world needs in billions of copies. As Cynthia says, it’s the way that authors can get their work seen these days.
    The difference between this and GLBL Yoga is that they are not saying that they are offering something for FREE and then using your money to market to you. They are saying…we are trying to sell a book and if you want to buy it here it is. And, if you give us more than the book is worth then we will give you some nice perks and we’ll give some books away to organizations that can use them.

    • Agreed. We’re thinking more about the difference between wealthy artists having others pay for their projects and struggling artists doing so. Not that that’s *exactly* what’s going on here, but it definitely comes to mind.

  3. Itstrue

    Ummm, It drives me nuts when people say they will be donating to Africa as if they are being so helpful. If you read what they say, they are donating their BOOK to YOGA TEACHERS in Africa etc…. How many Yoga teachers are there in Africa that need these yoga books? How many yoga teachers are there in Africa at all? How about some cash for food and water etc…

    Also, I guess Elena doesn’t need weathy backers when you can have her be paid $10 000 for her to teach at your studio.

    I have taken Elena’s classes many times and the woman has checked her cellphone messages many times throughout class and is very, very, very easily distractable during her classes. Funny its called the art of attention, I guess you teach what you need to learn.

    • gross

      exactly. i’ve seen her “teaching” with her back turned to her students while she’s busy doing something she’d rather do. its amazing how good of an actress she is. she has got this FAME thing down. im in awe. but kind of a barf in my mouth awe. there is no way elena brower doesn’t have plenty of cash sitting around. and why would 500 books cost 60k? i am sure PLENTY of books will sell why not just let some percentage of the profits be given to these organizations, rather than more dead trees for people to “play with sequences” on? really? the teachers these days don’t need more spoon fed ideas on how to create sequences. they need to learn how to develop their own voices, find THEIR personal way into making a practice. its just garbage. i DO like some of the pictures. i love that hood-thing elena is rocking in the desert. i’d like one for me. just make a pretty book with cool pics. that seems way more honest.

      in truth, i am sure elena just wanted to put herself in a video and thought she may as well ask people for 60k to kill two birds. oh well, i’ll be taking a yoga class this afternoon with a true gem. and happily not a famous gem.

      • Thaddeus

        I couldn’t agree more with your point that the last thing teachers need is more opportunity to “play with sequences.” In fact, I think a great option would be for more “yoga teachers” (not to mention students), to actually follow the practices and methods passed down through thousands of years of tradition. Long live parampara…that’s what I always say.

    • Hey,
      Paige here from Africa Yoga Project! We have trained 53 yoga teachers from informal settlements in Kenya who are not only contributing to their communities by teaching 5000 people weekly yoga for free at orphanages, prisons and various support groups but who are also bringing “water and food” home to their families through the income they make teaching to the middle class (yes, we do have a middle and upper class in Africa…*sigh*)
      What we do not have in Kenya are a lot of yoga books and other such resources to offer our teachers for continuing education. A great book on yoga that will empower and inspire these young yoga teachers (and Elena has offered to come to Kenya to teach these teachers as well) may be a much more sustainable solution to poverty alleviation vs. giving them some cash to buy food and water. Yoga is fundamentally about spiritual as well as physical strength. Encouraging hope and empowerment, INDEPENDENCE, community and self-responsibility is what young African youth (as well as youth across the planet) will benefit from. Not enabling factors such as hand-outs and momentary “cash”.

      • gross

        we know what yoga is about. and i assume you are the expert when it comes to yoga and kenya…. but i am sure your work with them will be more long lasting than a book. and really, what will 500 momentary hand-out books really do long term? and do you think those 500 books will be what gives people the taste of yoga? esp when its shows an example of rich white chicks doing yoga as celebrities in atmospheres that people who can hardly find water will probably NEVER find themselves in… meaning, a unattainable utopia. sigh is right. i doubt anyone in africa needs elena’s teachings. paige, i think you are doing it really right and grassroots and longevity and heart connected to your work. i agree with your premiss, but don’t think that the small copies of the books meet your needs. also, its not that books don’t help, its that why do they need the public to give 60k so they can look good “giving” books away? why not make it like TOM’s shoes. you buy a book and we’ll GIVE a book? this do-gooder crap that the random public pays for is just non-sense. that is the main point here. not that books can never help…. although i doubt this book would really help. its like giving seventeen magazine to a bunch of normal girls and having them never be happy b/c its impossible to ever have 10k for one evening outfit, impossible to look like a perfectly photoshopped photo, impossible for the average person to look like a super-celeb w/ stylists, make-up artists, etc……

  4. Thaddeus

    One of the interesting things about this project is that it using the flexible funding model, which means that Ms. Brower and Ms. Jago will get whatever amount of money is pledged at the end of business (11:59 PM to be exact) on September 15th. Which, of course, means that the book is already completed which is different than the Kickstarter campaign for “The Roots of Yoga.”

  5. Somehow, I can’t help but feel that we’re all being profoundly had. As noted, the book is already made so we’re not supporting a spectacular endeavor that won’t see the light of day without us. Second, flapping off to magnificent worldwide vacation spots to do yoga sends exactly the wrong message to my students about what yoga is: that yoga is for privileged white people to avoid the messiness of the world and can only be performed correctly in beautiful peaceful clean surroundings away from every day life.. why do i get the impression we’re just funding her publicity campaign? paris, La, Sf, NYC? really? Where is the actual giving something to the community? I work with homeless people and those in risk situations. The last tbing on earth i would do is use

    • Why not a book on yoga in the slums of Dhaka, the villages of Haiti, and the shanty towns of Nairobi or Lima? I would love to see a National Geographic-esque beautiful book on yoga reaching people in the hinter lands of the earth and showing how it has helped them (and not as exotic photographic accessories), not more affluent westerners doing yoga in Richard Meier-inspired buildings and spas. the roots of Yoga project does sound very interesting.

      “Most things that become “cool” in the mainstream world are first crafted and made awesome in the underground subculture world.”

      Damn straight. I’ll add to that, John Fluevog shoes, dragon-boating, gay dance clubs and music, tango, burlesque, sushi, acupuncture, homeopathy, punk, goth, Tarantino flicks, composting, community-based agriculture, co-op credit unions, piercings, Harvey Pekar, Noam Chomsky and Bauhaus (the band and the school)

      • gross

        i’d love a national geo book. like i said, just straight up pics w/o this BS “art of attention” crap would be SO MUCH BETTER. elena is a pretty lady (from the outside i mean). probably a big mess on the inside, just finding a way. @buffyproj…..i TOTALLY agree w/ you!
        i actually have taken many classes with BRAND new teachers who have MORE attention and presence in the room than elena. oh well. she’s a smart girl for knowing how to pull the wool…..

    • yogaweed

      being had… 100% spot on, great post…

  6. David

    Singleton is bogus. His first book was just his ill-researched PhD thesis, un-edited and heavily marketed. This new one sounds like a re-cash re-hash.

    • Thaddeus

      I’ve heard this about Singleton. I don’t really know myself. However, it seems that his partner in crime is pretty legit…livin’ with babas and cutting his tongue what have you…that’s hardcore.

  7. Yogically speaking

    Is it just me, or is the photo of Snookie in seated yoga pose really just saying: and a double “fuck you”! I still can’t figure out how this miserable little troll ever made it out of the backseat of a Chevy in Hoboken.

  8. Bobcat

    A yoga book for privileged yoga teachers who want to live, work and travel at glamorous and exotic places. Written by two gorgeously glam yoga teachers to benefit poverty stricken communities (though, it is unclear how). You can draw stick figures while practicing yoga and come up with super creative sequences to share with your students using the super creative wave lines and many blank pages in the book. Most of the content is done by miss Jargo. Though there are gorgeous photos of the supermodel looking Elena in sexy yoga wears doing poses at the most gorgeous settings that only female yoga teachers at the bottom of the pyramid can dream of (in the meantime you make do with local parks and beaches). Also, studio owners can cash in on this. With only $10,000 investment Elena can give a 6 hour workshop. For real! Who makes $10,000 in 6 hours? Well, it’s a supermodel of course. At this point nobody is making a mistake of identifying Elena as a yoga teacher especially Adidas, Yoga Journal and any commercial suckers willing to pay her the fees. She is an IMAGE and illusion of a perfect commercial yoga model – white, skinny and rich.

    Can we please make this eye candy yoga femme fatale money sucking monster go away already? May be you need to devote another babarazzi blog just for EB.

  9. Yogically speaking

    You mean, can make up your own yoga sequences? Whee! It’s like BYOB – “Be Your Own Bikram.” I really loved the music that accompanied the video. I had this image of a yogi floating motionless in an Infinity Pool. The paramedics hadn’t yet been called.

    • In my opinion, it’s important to remember that this book, and other teachings of this nature, consider “self expression” as a primary aspect of the yoga tradition, which I personally find to be problematic, to say the least. One could also say that it’s an utterly misguided and counter-productive interpretation of yoga practice, but, you know how old “One” is when she gets on her soapbox.

      Anyway, self expression has become such a pervasive trope (largely promoted by practitioners and teachers severed from any quantifiable lineage) that it largely goes unchecked. This is, I believe, very unfortunate.

  10. The P

    I had frequented EB’s classes on and off a couple of years back and I enjoyed her quirkiness. I think she had something of value to offer at one point – well, to me if not others. But over the past year or two (since the whole life coach thing) there seems to be less and less substance there combined with more and more sell and hype surrounding her. This book simply feels like another vacuous offering. I, too, can look at yogaglo and use that for inspiration to come up with some cool new sequencing for a class. I don’t need a book that shows me how to do this or restates 5 sequences already readily available on yogaglo (lazy!).

    Her wave model for the sequencing and the 3 sections of the class (getting into the body, peak pose and cool down) is a gross simplification of what was taught in Anusara teacher training (and I’m guessing a whole lot of other teacher trainings as well, pretty simplistic). Asana glyphs are stick figures – I drew those too at one point (no break through invention there either) and then went back to words because it was quicker for my mind to process than trying to decipher what that damn stick figure was supposed to represent. But these ladies are visual artists so maybe it makes sense the pictures would appeal to them and not so much me (a humble scientist by trade).

    There just isn’t anything there but a lot of pretty as far as I can see – again very weak on substance. Which makes the gesture of donating a number of these books to underprivileged sectors in the world seems more like giving a pretty framed picture of chocolate bon-bons to a person who has no access to chocolate and couldn’t afford it if they did. Once again I’m left feeling a little uneasy and embarrassed, Elena.

  11. Em

    I think the question everyone should be asking is: why couldn’t they just get a book deal? Is it maybe because it’s a vanity project that’s too expensive and indulgent? Oh, and the stick figure thing has already been done– and better– by Cyndi Lee

  12. Yogi

    I’ve known erica for years and understand how much hard work, time and energy was spent on this beautiful book. She gave up her job in corp america a few years ago to live a very modest life and pursue her love of yoga. I couldn’t disagree more with all the nonsense stereotype posts above.

    • Though you should realize at the outset what privilege exists (nest egg, family money, alternate means of support; and in New York City, a rare reasonable monthly nut) in order for someone to just walk away from a regular salary and a regular life, particularly in a time of low interest rates and recession … I am writing something about yoga (and pilates), too; but only in my spare time …

  13. gross

    dear yogi, lots of people love yoga and walk away from their corp am life. that is a PRIVILEGE, NOT an austerity. she seems like a nice girl. her stick figures are AMAZING. she seems like she has a nice practice, and her “very modest” workspace is really beautiful and doesn’t even VERGE on MODEST in comparison to 90% of the world’s population. but whatever, if you want to make a book, make it, sell it, and then use the profits to give donations of money or books. the book does look beautiful, although not very inventive with the STICK figures “asana glyphs”. but WHY OH WHY do they need 60k from the public? and what yoga teacher in africa needs a “wave” line to make a sequence? i’ve been teaching for 10 years making up my classes w/o the use of a wave line, a “PRE-drawn” wavy line! but beautiful book, just let it be at that. and sell it to make your money.
    hey everyone, i want to start a for-profit yoga studio, will you all pay me for it? should i do a kick-starter to pay back my investment on my new MACBOOK so that i can write about yoga on the internet?

  14. Peggy

    Elena kinda looks like an asana glyph, maybe that’s where they got the idea.

  15. Bobcat

    I teach yoga full time and it’s no where near what people in the corporate world I left behind must endure. Teaching yoga is an absolute privilege. I make little money compared to supermodel teachers like EB or if I were to continue on the corporate path. But I have a great lifestyle. I don’t need to ask people $60,000 to suppliment my lifestyle and propel my fame. I help out local homeless people (literally living in obscurity near my house) and donate to charities with the little money I have. Teach locally, help locally, live simply and give without asking. That’s an honest and simple life – a foundation for yoga practice. Forgive my critical mind but I hardly see simplicity being promoted by famed yoga teachers. The key word for them is MORE. That is why their projects are complicated and large. How are EJ & EB helping out the Africans? Oh yes, through the $60,000 they ask others to donate to the publishing of their book. How stupid do they think we are?

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