This weekend there will be two yoga events of note, both of which are happening on the same day (Saturday, September 29th), which, as you’ll see, amounts to a great double rainbow of cosmic irony.
“represent students, teachers, training programs and studios—large and small—in an effort to maintain the well-being and longevity of accessible, affordable, and quality yoga in New York.”
As far as events go, this one looks pretty dope, has a fairly solid message, and with a short and sweet after-party attached, you can hang long enough to make a friend, but bounce before the conversation goes stale and things start to get awkward. The flier looks like this:
The press release looks like this:
The second event is “Yoga in the Park,” and is the brainchild of Flavorpill and EmblemHealth. This event will take place at Harlem River Park. The main teachers this time around will be Rodney Yee and Colleen “wine is pranayama” Saidman. The stated intention of the event is to take “yoga out of the studio” and bring it “into the park,” an agenda so detached from the situations of struggling local yoga studios it could only be endorsed by the likes of celebriyogis who have already made their riches off commercial yoga culture.
From our perspective, the two events have some pretty sizable differences. You’ve got one event that wants to take people out of already struggling studios, while the other wants to help studios stay open so students will continue to have a place to practice. One event has nothing to do with local studios. The other has almost everything to do with them. And yet, both events will have music. Both events will have asana. Both events will have sponsors. One event
will probably might be rained out. But, only one will have Barbara Verrochi chanting! It would make sense to want to be near that.
Soooo…. What’s to say? Well….
Last week’s “Yoga in the Park” event, lead by none other than…you guessed it…Elena Brower, happened in the hilly hamlet of DUMBO, Brooklyn. Now, for those who don’t know, DUMBO is home to exactly one bills-to-pay yoga studio. Now, wouldn’t it have been amazing if Flavorpill and Elena took all their event’s commercial weight and put it behind the one studio in the area only a few blocks away? It would have been especially interesting if they did so knowing that an event such as theirs has the very real potential of siphoning students away from studios on the day of the event. And, it’s not like both the event and the studio don’t have anything in common. Both Elena and the local studio come out of the Anusara scene.
Look. I know it can be incredibly hard to imagine that something so slathered in good vibes as Flavorpill or “Elena Brower” or “Rodney Yee” or “free yoga in a park” or “green” sponsorship could actually manifest as something very much the opposite of what its marketing suggests. But, it’s true. And, I know it stings. Unfortunately, from the perspective of The Babarazzi, “free” yoga events, complete with over-hyped yogilebrities that barge into small yoga communities under the guise of promoting that yoga goodness, act as little more than publicity stunts. They’re “pop-up stores” using their access to hundreds of eager future consumers to promote their own self; giant advertisements for the people running them.
And, it’s a bummer. ‘Cause who wouldn’t want these free outdoor events to be awesome and amazing?
Our advice? Hang around events that matter or find your fun elsewhere….