YOGILEBRITIES, PLEASE READ /// Commercial Yoga Culture In a Nut Shell


You have to believe me when I say that I don’t spend much time wanting to “change” the minds behind the personalities we discuss on this site. I have no real interest in “getting to” what lurks behind the facade of Sadie Nardini, held up as some sort of beacon of progressive yogic enterprise by shitty yoga blogs. I’m not interested in convincing the neurons behind the Amy Ippoliti image that basically everything that she sells is kooked out.

And yet, once in a while I do totally wish I could get one of these materialists in a room in order to discuss quotes like the one below. Maybe just for fun. Have a chat over some tea. Ask difficult questions. Talk about statements made by one of the biggest Buddhist representatives in the West, whose hand in fashioning contemporary spirituality is felt every day by thousands.

Quotes like this one by the man who crashed into a joke shop only to drop the Buddhist cloak and put on the rainbow suspenders. From The Mishap Lineage: Transforming Confusion into Wisdom (2009):

“We would like to use spiritual discipline and traditional wisdom to fit into our own particular pigeonholes, our own desires. We usually want to glorify ourselves by collecting stories and wisdom from every worthy person. We would like to meet lots of people who are seemingly worthy people according to our own judgment, and we constantly collect all of those stories and re-edit them according to what we want. When we begin to do that, we develop our own version of freedom, which is, “I would to become a greater version of myself, spiritually uplifted, and so forth. I might even have a special place in social situations, be known as an important wise person, so that people will come to me and consult me.” We have those kinds of desires. We are not really interested in developing spiritually; we are more interested in evolving politically in the name of spirituality. Such a situation is known as “spiritual materialism.”
—Chogyam Trungpa

Oh, good Lord of all that is Righteous, please have all of contemporary commercial yoga culture read this quote, and may it quicken their hearts in such a way as to bring about laughing tears—the kind that occur when one sees oneself as if for the first time and the nervous system goes whoosh!


  1. Yoga_Dude

    I read this and all I could think of was, “Down goes Fraizier!”

  2. amphibi1yogini


  3. Garuda

    This friggin snake oil won’t sell itself people. We’ve got to protect our phoney baloney jobs. I dont want to go work at JC Penny again. I dont know who Trungopapa is, but Chogyam Buzzkill is going to bring down my house of cards and the magic beans that I have planted and sold have yet to sprout into a retirement account .
    Reducing my delusion to a punchline (Spiritual Materialism), then selling the whole mess at Barnes and Noble seems just a tad hypocritical to me, but then I read the fob from my Yogi Tea and let that pearl of wisdom influence my being as well …Sigh…
    “In the Field of opportunity, it’s plowin’ time again”~ N.Young

  4. Padma Kadag

    Yes that quote “cuts” to the matter and severs the aorta. However, everyone reads it and sees the wisdom in it but does not see it as themselves. It only gives them more opportunity to fake it even better using the subject to their advantage. To quote Trungpa and never to internalize it. Trungpa sells.

    • Yoga Whelp

      Ding, ding. The truth is, though, many of these yogis are so shameless and self-serving — and desperate for cash and prizes — that they proudly extol the virtues of “spiritual materialism” — while ridiculing Chogyam for the vagaries of his personal life. As if to say, he’s a hypocrite, so we can do it, too! At least, we’re not hypocrites about our materialism. So there! Indeed, you’re not hypocrites. You’re just whores.

      • Padma Kadag

        Yep Yoga Whelp…”he’s a hypocrite, so we can do it, too!” Exactly!! Once that we have all crowned ourselves “Yogi” we are at liberty to do as we please. Because afterall “Crazy Wisdom” is our justification. “Tell me about the good life Eldon..it make’s me want to puke.”….Jack Nicholson, Five Easy Pieces.

      • Garuda

        I think it may bear mention that these whores are breeding students, teacher trainees and, dare I say, devotees to them. I guess the lessons of the Anu-saga have been forgotten or at least co-opted to the benefit of those in the sphere of John Friend’s umbilical placenta. Icky.

  5. kashi kid

    You could have had easy pickin’s and fed full if you had only gone KMorris’ Shala workshop. Was there a snowstorm or subway strike or something??? Opportunity missed!

    • We should be attending these thing, but we don’t. Any recap?

      • kashi kid

        Fortunately still in Kashi so I missed it.

      • Yoga Whelp

        I’d love to see Stay-Puft go 10 rounds, mano-mano, with the Chubby Chogster. Can we do some kind of X-Box on this? I have several tapes of his lectures at Naropa in the 1970s, and they are all quite righteous. He basically tells these adoring New Age egomaniacs that they don’t have the mental or spiritual discipline to handle serious Tantric training, so he’s not going to offer them any. You’ll only use it to exploit and abuse each other, he says. Very concise, and stated in a way that the flock didn’t even realize he’d just dissed them for all eternity. A bit like the Inscrutable Dr. No telling James Bond: “You’re nothing but a stupid policeman.” .

  6. gross

    oh yea, good quote.

  7. Dyspeptic Skeptic

    Great quote. Not sure how Sadie is germane to this topic. She is more on the spectrum of those not publicly preaching spirituality in her classes.

  8. Babs, just curious but do any of these yogilebrities, to the best of your knowledge stop by here :-)?

    • You know, we get word from people that so-and-so heard about this or that. I think the cool modest smart upper tier teachers in the city check in now and again, which is nice. Otherwise I only know who’s reading based on which boyfriend threatens to sue, or who comments on the site, which, sadly, few do these days.

      • As for the cool teachers, you know a lot of these people all came up the same time. They studied together back in the day, even if they took different directions, so they remain a little quiet. But, we know they check us out now and again. And, we’re elated when we find out they do.

        • Harri

          I think yoga bloggers think they are more influential then they really are as no one really cares what they write except the 5 or 6 people who leave comments. Just look at the delusional dweeb who runs elephant journal. I’ve seen only a couple of blog posts that really influenced anyone of which the John Friend scandal broken by Yogadork is one of them.

        • Garuda

          Well Harri, As a delusional dweeb myself, I resent being shuffled into the same class as Waylon

        • Dyspeptic Skeptic

          Harri, influential or not, most yoga bloggers likely know the correct use of “then” and “than” in a sentence.

  9. Yoga Observer

    Yoga pants at Costco in a bin for $12.99. No spokespeople or posters. Feel great…look great. Yipee!

    • Yoga Whelp

      That’s nice, but it’s still hard to find the yoga pants with the Velcro crotch flap in the remainder bin. They’re perfect for quickies between class, especially when the bathrooms are full. And you’re no longer limited to “downward facing doggie.” Yoga is supposed to expand your life choices? Wheeeeee!


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: