Occupy Yoga. Yoga Blogs are doing it for themselves.
We’ve been treated lately to the way the internet’s swift and powerful crowd power can make or break, inform or in some cases reform. We’re not saying the latest John Friend/Anusara scandal was the last straw that broke the virtual ustrasana, but it certainly demonstrated the strength and power of voices being amplified and actually heard. In the case of Anusara, besides being the obvious platform for the initial shock and awe, teachers and students, current and former, across the country and even the world were given a forum to converse, while bystanders took to picking up and analyzing, personalizing or completely dismissing the drips and pieces we were fed to make sense of it all.
We’re grateful for the debate and the discussion. And we’ve have watched how the recent growth in audience participation is changing the landscape of yoga media, if you will, (sounds sorta ick, but whatever) and the shape of the modern yoga conversation. And counterculture.
Which brings us to our first item, exhibit A, for Aghori Babarazzi and TheBabarazzi.com, the loudmouthed, opinionated, rabble-rousing blog, flatteringly reminiscent of a young and bucking yogadork. Anonymous, and causing trouble, the site has raised some eyebrows and blood pressure as it spouts sass and snark about yoga “star” culture, which gained special traction around the whole “John Friend’s penis pursuits” shebang. In an interview with YogaCityNYC, the “black blob” speaks on why they exist.
CK: So, you’ve brought a very sharp voice to the yoga world. Tell me about the germination of this idea.
AB: There was all this celeb yoga going on – everywhere. People even calling themselves that. We thought, wait, the other side of this is missing. Where are the tabloids, the paparazzi because the celebs types are dominating this discussion? It needs some balance.
CK: You seem to have that OWS, hactivist, Julian Assange vibe going. Are you Yoga Occupiers?
AB: We aren’t interested in hacking into anyone’s emails or private life at all. We are just looking at what is being put out there.
CK: What about the idea that you are attacking people?
AB: When people brand themselves and then sell their brand back to consumers through the media, the consumer is no longer relating to an actual person. They are relating to the brands that have been created, the products, constructs.
These branded people are selling a product, and I, as a conscientious consumer, have a right, and in some cases a duty, to critique that product.
CK: Can you talk about your philosophical position vis a vis anon because you know it upsets people.
AB: I know! We get these emails calling us creeps, and video responses calling us Mother Fuckers. We don’t want to hurt actual people. We are dealing in identities here. Celebyoga is all about image. It’s about identity. So, we are playing with an image too.
But, I don’t actually see us as being strictly anonymous. The guy who outed John Friend, created a ruckus and disappeared, establishing no dialogue between himself and the community, he was anonymous. We are here. We have a web address. We dialogue, answer our emails. We just don’t want to drag our families and teachers into it.
CK: There is a lot of dark on your site, but very little light . . .
AB: Our mission is covering celeb yogi culture. If it seems dark then maybe it is because that world is dark.
Next, we have exhibit B, for Roseanne Harvey’s It’s All Yoga, Baby blog. Roseanne has always been on the forefront of yoga’s goings on especially when it comes to supporting feminism or pointing out flaws in the presentation of yoga in the media, which brings us to her latest triumph: changing the incredibly obnoxious and disturbing “Get A Summer Yoga Body” and “Lose Weight and Look Younger with Yoga” ads on facebook promoting yoga’s rock starring Sadie Nardini by posting about it and stirring conversation. It turns out, the ads were posted by Udemy, the company hosting the 2-week course, without any approval from Sadie (according to her), who commented on IAYB’s post calling the ads “gross.”
The result? A change in the ad copy to “14 Day Yoga Detox and Empowerment Course, Get healthier and fit on all levels in just 14 days with Sadie Nardini” and a healthy and fiery debate about yoga being used for weight-loss promotion and promises a la Ponce de León. The Babs, of course, inserting a few words in the comments to prod and provoke.
We’re pretty sure yoga is an ever changing and evolving practice, and so yoga on the internets is like yoga on speed in a high-tech time-lapse video. But despite the bombardment of blogs, opinions,and approaches running the gamut, we can all come back to the one question of intention, the why. Perhaps it is bloviation, innovation or mere inspiration that brings each of us to the world wide web of yoga. Does it really matter if it keeps us talking?
- Sadie Nardini On Her New ‘Rock Your Yoga’ Show and Changing Reality TV
- Wanderlust LIVE Becomes the Magic Kingdom Anusaraland Could Have Been
- Has Yoga Become a Talent Show? YD Rates Your Best Chances at Yoga Fame
- Washington Post on Anusara Scandal: Chronicles of a Libertine Guru and the Decline of an Empire
- Elena Brower on Expanding Her Yoga, Her New Book and Having No Regrets
- Yoga in Top 10 Growing Industries Alongside Hot Sauce, Self-Tanning and Green Stuff
OK Yoga beotches, I am suing your scrawny butts. Fountains of youth belong to me.
Sadie may have changed the wording now, but her YT channel is full of “weight loss” and “torching calories” titles and I don’t think there was any third party involved back then. I guess it’s not so gross if it brings views in! If you search for “weight loss yoga”, the first page is basically a battle between her and Tara Stiles. Funny that!
Isn’t it funny that one of the yogadownload teachers who is still left hawking weight loss yoga over Facebook, also teaches other practices. So, she has diversified her market out to people who may not be interested in youth, weight loss or assorted wild purported benefits.
In addition, I took the pieces of Sadie’s YouTube videos that I liked, left the rest, and came up with my own sequencings.
I’ve nearly ignored Tara Stiles.
Maybe don’t get rid of the weight loss come-ons. Maybe just diversify. Sadie and Tara, you know you can do it!!
what a cheerleader for crass market-forces capitalism you are.
piss-poor set ‘o values.
So, you suggest I go to a cave in India to study yoga?
I can’t get away from here …
I spend the least amount of money I could, on purpose and out of necessity, on instruction …
Or maybe you’re illiterate and can’t read my intention …
I don’t adore Weight Loss yoga. I just pick their brains and absolutely do my own thing!
you could try this online course at
its called weight loss yoga too – but is a whole detox n cleansing process… and the teacher is accessible…
helps me and a couple dozen people i know…
crass cheerleading for crass consumer values.
Or maybe it will make you happy if I stop blogging on all commercial sites …
yes, Aghori Babarazzi, reminds me of ME, circa 2005, the way my blog was in the early days, before all the celebyogi bullshit wore me down….did I hear someone say Tara Stiles?
p.s. but people’s memories are short……;)
Linda, your blog and comments here on YD have always been top notch.
Leslie Kaminoff thoughts on anon bloggers. Skip to the 8:50 mark for the good stuff.
I love the idea of blogs taking back yoga! I started my own blog (along with a scientist and a medical doctor) called Yoga for Healthy Aging so I could write without the chirpy language, photogenic young women, and yoga cliches that other types of publications seem to require. And that’s my way of taking it back.
You know, there is a vast market (almost an empire) out there of people who are not hearty enough or young enough or have not the kinds of bodies for, power yoga or whatever it is that Sadie Nardini teaches – without becoming injured or frustrated.
There are alternative sources of energy to explore … in yoga as well.
There is even a cycling back of those old Richard Hittleman and Lilias Folan styles:
I went to the AB site and my impression is that the guy is a total asshole.
I find the Babarazzi site hilarious. Truly. I love it. And the response to the YJ Conference stuff? Priceless.
I’m not sure how much I believe Sadie and her “gross” statement since she was advertising yoga weight lose as far back as 2009 (her articles on Huff post and EJ are thinly disguised ads). She might just be pandering to the blogging crowd.
As someone who maintains two heavily moderated blogs on commercial sites (that have training wheels on them), I think you’re right.
It’s a matter of time before her “Detox” (or whatever euphemism it’s called by her) ad appears on the first of the two.
Please allow me to say “Gross”, directed to Sadie …
Babarazzi can dish it out but can’t take it. They have comment moderation on so a couple of my comments on previous posts never made it through. In this way, they are just like Waylon and Kate. At least the IAYB site has something constructive to offer.
Hi, Brad. Thus far, we have attempted to email any person who has left a comment that we felt needed to be clarified (AKA made a direct unsubstantiated claim against another person). In all cases, the emails given were phony, and thus we could not get in touch. If you gave a fake email, than we were simply unable to reach you regarding the comment in question.
Please see our “about’ page for clarification.
So you attack people anonymously and yet you censor anonymous comments on your site. Awesome. I call bullshit on your email “clarification”.
You can use a fake name all you like. In fact, I think 99.999% of everyone who comments on our site uses a fake name. However, if you don’t give us a working email, it makes it hard to get in touch if we need to clarify a questionable statement you intend to have us host on record. Pretty straight forward really.
Also, and I have done this myself, if you have any questions about a supposed comment, by all means send us an email.
Also, also, we have held a total of maybe TWO comments ever.
[PS- Sorry YogaDork for having to deal with our stuff over here. Will try and keep it to a minimum!]
Run those numbers again- do you even have 100 commenters? 20? haha, unsubstantiated allegations against yourself. You don’t care, you like being an asshole and have an easy target to direct your cruelty. It’s sorry and sad, you know this, you still don’t care (despite your pleading otherwise), and becuase so many are so calloused and cruel themselves, and enjoy comedic vengeful sarcasm, you find support.
Too bad a blog like Linda’s above is not featured on Yogadork. Going through her blogs, it is obvious that not only is she a yoga blog pioneer, but was serving up snark and skewing yoga celebs long before Yogadork and IAYB came on the scene. Unlike this BlahBlahBlah blogger that was featured, Linda has managed to criticize the commercialization of yoga with knowledge, class and grace and without hiding behind an anonymous website.
The Left Hand of Shiva is strong.
I love IAYB, great thought provoking posts, much like here at YD 🙂
Haven’t checked out Babarazzi yet, will do now!!
I think its fab that we have spaces to chat about yoga on the web, totally agree its an evolving practice, and so it should be.
@Lane, so many have been hurt by commercialized yoga, and I don’t mean only physically. What you think of as potshots are not taken out of thin air, you know ….
I’m surprised there aren’t more sites like The Babarazzi or even Recovering Yogi by now … and not just by old-timers who have long ago known the real thing, but also by young people with working BS detectors, like even YogaDork herself …
I hate to inject a note of sober science into the usual slanderous blog commentary here.
However, the yoga-weight loss connection has certainly been demonstrated – though not directly.
The basic skinny – haha, no pun intended – is that yoga as a rule lowers your metabolic rate and in effect, “slows” your system down, so with the same diet, you burn fewer calories, and therefore, in theory will gain weight.
William Broad in his new book insists on this point, as a way of debunking teachers like Tara Stiles.
Only one problem – research has conclusively shown, i think, that yoga’s de-stressing benefits lead to more mindfulness around food consumption, and about body self-care generally.
The result, people who stress-eat, and stress-eating has also been conclusively linked to weight gain, LOSE weight, thanks to yoga.
Here’s just one of the many high-level studies studies linking yoga to weight loss via mindfulness.
Now that said, not all weight gain is due to stress, so the jury is clearly still out. But there are many, many students – not just yoga marketers – who swear by the weight loss benefits of yoga, just as there are quite a few who claim they gained weight, after they relied too heavily on yoga at the expense of more vigorous exercise.
Frankly, hyping the weight-loss connection is no more irresponsible or exaggerated than claiming that yoga can enhance your sex drive or help you find your true calling, or become more “enlightened.”
Actually, judging from the current of American yoga, it appears to be a spiritual “placebo effect” operating on a truly massive and unprecedented scale.
And by the way,….since some of us appear to be on our high horse pretending to be the noble and self-less Yoga Truth Squad, may I ask what makes Sadie’s follow-up correction any more accurate?
“14-Day Detox and Empowerment”
Excuse me? So I can actually get “empowered” – whatever that really means – in 14 days. Sure I can feel some more core strength. Ergo, I will be laying siege to my sexist boss and my philandering husband? I will join NOW and teach white neo-Victorian feminists how to stalk and bed down Black Men?
I will yearn to write for BITCH magazine?
And “De-Tox”? Actually, the idea that yoga “detoxes” your system, at least physically, through sweating, is another one of those yoga benefit myths , just like weight loss. It’s been closely associated with the “Hot” yoga studios, and the research seems to suggest that this is pure bunk. So unless Ms. Sardini has some over “detox” effect in mind – maybe she means we’ll be less susceptible to her yoga advertising – why are so many Dorkettes suddenly so mollified?
I suspect there’s a big difference between Sadie-bashing and real myth-busting when it comes to insisting on greater truth and accuracy in contemporary yoga advertising.
you could try this online course at
its called weight loss yoga too – but is a whole detox n cleansing process… he also advices on diet n general lifestyle…
and is accessible too…
and yes, the detox is evident – and the yoga is just good old traditional yoga with none of the hot/power/nude yoga bizzness…
helps me and a couple dozen people i know…
am sure it will do u good…
I offer a 13 day detox, shape up program. If your not satsified after 13 days, I give you the 14th day free
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