Elena Brower Takes the Self-Righteous Path /// And a Documentary on the The Source Family is About to Blow Your Lid


It’s rare that we find anything on Facebook worth mentioning on the site, but yesterday Elena Brower posted on the “Elena Brower” Facebook page a sweet little reflection that we just had to mention:

“Yesterday after a sad and strange exchange with a fellow mama in Central Park, who’d chastised Jonah and me for Jonah mistakenly having walked on her kid’s sweatshirt, we both apologized to her. She kept on saying that we had this whole park and we chose ‘her’ rock. So we calmly and slowly packed up our things to move away, and as we walked away, Jonah and i talked about how sad she must be to be so strong with her words like that, and how important it was that neither of us got mad at her for it. Both Jonah and I have come a long way temper-wise, and in acknowledgment, Jonah said “I wanted to make my mean face too. But neither of us did!!! We’re doing great. Mama, YOU’RE doing great.”

The speed at which the above status update passed across the screens of Babarazzi computers and handheld devices was almost unprecedented. There was something about what Elena said that sounded so….so….”that.” Irked by a statement like “as we walked away, Jonah and i talked about how sad she must be,” Aghori B felt compelled to write this:

“Wait, so instead you taught your son that it’s ok to judge a woman’s personal experience (“how sad she must be”) based on a thirty second interaction? At least you both didn’t make your “angry face.” Seemed like a great opportunity to speak against entitlement, and reflect on one’s own sense of self-righteousness. Ah well….”

Seriously, what ever happened to recognizing that “anger,” much like “sadness,” is simply one of the many emotional responses a human can have to stimuli? Yes, there’s all that business about increased heart rates and arterial tension (frustrated arteries), but we all know there’s nothing cooler than gettin’ mad at some entitled cock knocker in NYC and then telling your son, “It’s OK if you get angry sometimes. Just don’t be a jerkoff about it.” Of course, the lady in Elena’s post above may have had a point. I mean, Central Park is pretty f’ing big. Give a gal some room, know wha’mean?

Any hint of the above was drowned out by over 1,300 validating”Likes” and a bunch of commenters on the EB Facebook page who wrote things “like”:

“Wow! How amazing to have that profound understanding of each other and how to better interact with the darkness in people.”

“Reading your post actually brought tears to my eyes.”

“Too bad that bitch isn’t as mature,as Jonah

You both found true peace. For others and for yourselves.”

But, then a spider found its way into the posi-fest and ruffled a few feathers:

“why is it inspiring? you judged a woman, sent some un-compassionate energy her way… face is external, you called her sad on facebook and ignited some people here to call her names; that means that’s how u felt too. inspiring? …”

However, this sentiment was no match for the overwhelming chorus of parrots dropping “mama” bombs like it t’was a going out of ye olde style:

“Waw that is a beautiful story mama”

“Jonah is very fortunate to have this Mama”

“Keep up the love, mama!”

“Way to go mama!”

“What a goood mama”

“Thank you for sharing Mama!”

“he is right that anyone who tells a mama and a son that they can’t hang on a rock in a public park must not be feeling so happy – happy people are usually generous!”

I know it’s, like, Elena’s thing to call herself a “mama,” but it really sounds pretty played out when people throw this tag around like it’s some sort of secret password that lets you into the yoga “mama” speakeasy. It’s actually starting to sound a lot more like Uncle Joe saying “Not!” after all his quips at Thanksgiving.

Anyway, you know what’s a million times better than caring about any of the above? Checking out this boss muthafuckin’ documentary on The Source Family that’s screening today from 4–6pm at Columbia University’s Gottesman Library at Teachers College.

If you need more to go on, here’s from the website:

“The Source Family was a radical experiment in ’70s utopian living. Their outlandish style, popular health food restaurant, rock band, and beautiful women made them the darlings of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip; but their outsider ideals and the unconventional behavior of their spiritual leader, Father Yod, caused controversy with local authorities. They fled to Hawaii, leading to their dramatic demise.

Years later, former family members surface and the rock band reforms, revealing how their time with Father Yod shaped their lives in the most unexpected ways.

THE SOURCE provides an intimate, insiders’ view at this incredible group of people through their own archival photos, home movies, audio recordings, and contemporary interviews with members of the family. Serving as a highly personal, insider’s guide to the counter-culture movement of the early 70’s, the film is inspired by the cult-classic book The Source: The Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wa 13, and The Source Family (Process Media) which was written by Isis Aquarian and Electricity Aquarian and edited by director Jodi Wille.”


  1. amphibi1yogini

    “Yoga mama” belongs in that great big pantheon with all those words and acronyms such as “mamalicious”, “MILF”, and “little baby bump”. It is sizeist, classist and demeaning imho …,

  2. fascinated

    Gosh, I find the whole thing vulgar. Especially the 1400 people who observe this behavior and applaud, while the sane 4 or so that try to offer counter argument and opinion gets chastised and accused if being simply wrong. Yogis are such an opinionated bunch.

  3. The best reflections are always self-reflections, not critiques of other people. Yeah?

  4. Yoga_Dude

    I feel bad for Jonah.

  5. Greenpoint

    She is just sadly out of touch, and moving further away, from her feelings/thoughts…she’s just not really processing anything, while at the same time thinking she is on a righteous path…frightening really

  6. Mark

    Unfortunately I do not recall the meditation documentary but it was recently on EJ regarding “Meditation” and celebrities. Ms Brower was featured alongside and actual monk from somewhere in Asia.

  7. Garuda

    Pity and arrogance are a tad more ignorant than anger. At least my body knows when I am angry. Seeing the other in the park as pitiful, separates, if it separates, it aint yoga-Mama

    • Pity’s a crime/and it ain’t worth a dime/to someone who’s really in need/ Just treat ’em the same/ as you would your own name/ the next time that your heart starts to bleed.

      I find that John Prine is correct for most occasions.

  8. The P

    Oh, to be a bump on a log next to that rock in Central Park. I am guessing the actual events and interchange between “mamas” was a bit more, hmmm, shall we say nuanced than what was presented in the one-sided, self aggrandizing post. Boundaries are only important if they are your boundaries and they serve you, little Johnny, and anyone who tells you different is sad and should be pitied but, ya’ know, with compassion.

    The brown-nosing, enabling sycophants are really tiresome.

    • No better said than this … aside from the insufferable “yoga mama” image … she, of all people, could afford to turn off that guru persona long enough to give a sister citizen and parkgoer a break …

      • The P

        Exactly. The majority of time we move around this city with people constantly in our space and up our ass (figuratively ;)). It is a kindness and good city manners to give a bit space to our fellow city dwellers when we find it on occasion available to us. The rock crowding in the park brings to mind the annoying person who enters a sparsely populated subway car and chooses to cram themselves into the seat right next to you despite plenty of open seat options. Sure they have every right to sit there but c’mon, man, I get that twice a day at rush hour. Let’s give each other some breathing space when we can, OK? Of course, I may be just a sad, pitiful person for thinking so …

    • sakoyoga

      I am guessing the actual events and interchange between “mamas” was a bit more, hmmm, shall we say nuanced than what was presented

      I mean, isn’t it always though?

  9. Garuda

    I need to start me a commune, Man. Ya know…black nikes, Marie Calendars, Comets,,,Of course I wont actually live there. I will be in the mansion on the hill overlooking my flock. Nothing but obedient followers as far as the eye can see. Just me and my-opia

  10. Yoga Whelp

    “I’M OKAY, YOU’RE NOT OKAY: Living Comfortably with Narcissistic Projection.”

  11. why couldnt she just let it go then and there.. instead of glorifying it all like a dog with a bone.

  12. What a crock of dogshit, the whole point of doing something “good” (and I even question the usage of that word in the context of this story since both EB and J come across sounding like brats) you do good because it’s the right thing to do, not because you can go and brag about it and post it on your FB or Twitter and collect “likes” and have Joe Blow high-five you in cyberspace.
    Isn’t there that line in the Bible somewhere which goes something like when you do merciful deeds, don’t let
    your left hand know what your right hand does?…
    Pure, self-indulgent sanctimoniousness. Nothing more.

  13. Goodtimesfriscowilly

    Ipecac for the soul

  14. sakoyoga

    Hmmmm… as I started reading her post, I was expecting something on a more macro rather than micro level– something more thought-provoking sociologically. What if she had set up what could have been a fascinating discussion of why in some densely populated places (e.g. cities in India or China), people are far less attached to personal space. Therefore, people would most likely be unfazed by a kid and his mom unconsciously stepping on their sweatshirt, and probably not react by accusing Elena and Jona of usurping their rock. Instead of judging that individual (especially not knowing what her context is), maybe she could have turned her critical eye to our society. She could have asked Jona what makes us cling to our personal space and get so territorial about how much of the subway pole someone takes up, having someone bump us with their stroller, or positions the back edge of their mat too close to the front of ours in NYC? Why do we tighten up and get more defensive while in many other densley populated places, they just accept it?. That is where I expected her post to go. I thought maybe she’d tell Jona a story involving her experience with lack of personal space in Mumbai (or wherever) and how she watched people roll with it, and maybe give him some insight as to why it’s that way there and this way here. And not in a, “they’re good, we’re bad” way, but just to explore the differences and maybe bring it full circle to the similarities and, shit, maybe even talk about that oneness stuff we yogis are so fond of. I’m not going to bash her as a teacher or mom. I don’t even know her. But I do think this micro story could’ve segued well into a macro story about us, quirky humans, instead of about that one lady, the sad meanie.

  15. Itstrue

    There is no more self entitled teacher than EB. She obviously needs constant validation of her mothering skills. She is constantly telling us on Fb, how successful she is at mothering her child. Who cares what you teach your child Elena?! And why do you have to constantly be affirmed by your blind devotees?? Her kid may grow up being a self-righteous, little douche bag judging anyone who acts shitty as “sad”! Barffff!!!

  16. novecho

    she could’ve offered the upset woman a free Lions Hyde sweat shirt…with a calcutta hoodie

    • The P

      Oops, wrong yogilebrity .. Elena does the scented oils and mala beads (or she did for a while). Or she could offer $50 off a Handel life coaching crash course weekend, just drop her name!

  17. Yoga_Dude


    What would a Rock Star do?

  18. Wondering

    The pride many of these yoga celebs take in having given birth (usually just that one time) is bizarro too.


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