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