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Take Two – World’s Largest Yoga Class Set For August 16th, NYC (they just need $675,000 of your help)

in Events, YD News

Great Lawn Yoga 2010

It took two years from their soggy first attempt, but now the organizers are back to tackle NYC’s Central Park August 16th and create the world’s largest yoga class!

With some of the most popular yoga teachers today – Elena Brower, Seane Corn, Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman – surely it will be a hit. The promo video (below) features the new GLBL yoga project from organizers Sascha Lewis (co-founder, CEO of flavorpill) and Mark Holz (marketing guru, founder, CEO of Matter) and the support of every A-list celebriyogi you could name, including the wealthy likes of Sir Richard Branson, fashion designer Donna Karan, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, activist Christy Turlington and actors Adrian Grenier and Naomi Watts.

What more could they need? Well, just $675,ooo of your money! Indeed, the team has set up an indiegogo campaign page requesting donations in exchange for swag so they can put on a yoga event costing over a half a million dollars.


Our mission is to build unity and foster community in cities around the world, tapping the collective energy and human spirit of the urban environment to create large-scale, crowd-funded yoga events. First New York, then the world.

We believe that yoga is for everybody – novice and master alike – and we’re convinced that the world would be a better place if we all learned to take a moment to breathe, connect, and experience the peace and well-being that yoga provides.

It’s just not for free. Well, the actual event itself is free, and they won’t make any profit from ticket sales per se, but we almost choked on our chai yesterday reading that these wealthy business folk who can get Sir Richard Branson to act in a silly skit for their promo video would ask everyone else to pay for their massive yoga event. These aren’t your average pipsqueak yoga enthusiasts looking to put on a lil gathering.

We get it, though. Crowd-funding, it’s the internet age, everybody’s doing it. Let’s just see what they’re asking us to pay for. Here’s the breakdown from the indiegogo page:

100% of the funds raised via indiegogo will be used to pay these expenses and to support the GLBL YOGA mission.

Staging, sound, video screens, signage, permits, site
cleanup and restoration, photography, video production,
project management, stage management


Marketing, promotion, website, merchandise


Talent (teachers, MC, music)




Indiegogo admin / credit card fees (7% of funds raised)




The first part is the big bulk of money: a whopping $453,000 for all the equipment, fancy tech, pesky NYC permit stuff, staffing and such, because you can’t rely on volunteers for everything.

The next $112k they need us to pay for is all the GLBL swag, web advertising, fliers, postcards, promotional items which are of course necessary for a major event such as this. We’re talking about breaking world records here. That’s gonna cost ya.

The next bit: The Talent. Let’s see, there are 4 teachers tag-teaching for a 90 minute class. Then there’s Reggie Watts MC-ing the hell out of the mic. Of course all those few hours of work is worth at least $7,000 each. Even if they include other talent, like the obligatory slackliners and such, and Questlove, DJ Drez and “other top artists” mentioned on the official website, that’s still a ton of dough.

Insurance and fees are just added nuisances. $74,500 worth.

The grand total: $675,000 of crowd-funded donations. What gets a bit more confusing is that the breakdown does not include the 50% of net proceeds that will go towards global charities (Off the Mat Into the WorldLineage ProjectHarlem GrownUrban Zen, and Enterprise Community Partners.) If the event is free, where do the proceeds come from? How will this benefit everyone again?

Don’t get us wrong, bringing yoga to the people is awesome, and if asking people for money will spare us from in-your-face corporate sponsorship (ie Jetblue yoga mats and a sea of Smartwater bottles from events last year), then praise the heavens. And maybe we don’t quite get this new world of yogapaloozaville, but it’s just weird to us that we are all asked to donate our money to a free event at a free park where we can go do yoga for free any day of the week.

Then again, it can’t hurt to ask. Our guess is a few heavy hitters, like those featured in the video, and other angel investors will donate for the Full Lotus and Namaste packages, $2,000 and $5,000 respectively.

This thing is making yoga history one way or another. Wanderlust, your move.

Will you donate?



87 comments… add one
  • Their website is broken, it won’t let me give a 1¢ donation…

  • This is gross commercialization of yoga practice on the extravagant side! The “world’s largest yoga class” is a glamorization of excess waste. The real “largest” class already happens everyday when yogis tune into God on consciousness in their daily practice and meditations. This is more akin to the “world’s largest corporate aerobics class”.That money could be raised and spent for feeding 100,000 people – which is the highest blessing of service (Karma Yoga) anyone could do. No thanks.

  • I’ll give to the Africa Yoga Project or some other organization first.

  • wondering

    the “Hosts” illusions that this is anything other than full on self promotion is incredible. How much attention and glow of the spotlight do these “yogi’s” require?

  • Cyndi

    BOYCOTT! BOYCOTT!! BOYCOTT!!! This is outrageous that these rich yogis won’t fund this from their own pockets to advertise themselves this way. Shame on Elena Brower, Seane Corn, Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman and anyone else begging for this amount of money to only profits themselves. Put that money towards underprivileged people who can’t afford yoga. Somebody needs to put a website that will shame these freaks.

  • Halpen

    And for only $5,000 you get
    The Namaste Package
    All the perks of Full Lotus level + 1 private yoga class with Elena Brower and Russell Simmons (time and location TBD) + a five-year supply of Fearless Chocolate (2 bars per month)

    CLAIM THIS PERK ▶0 out of 1 Claimed

    They also have a VIP area for those who don’t want to rub asanas with the common people.

    I’ve seen some pretty offensive things in recent yoga scene, but this is the most blatant exploitation of yoga people to date. Everybody should leave a 1 penny donation with a love note attached.

  • the moment already came

    Someone in their $112,000 marketing department should have realized that when you just say “GLBL” as if it were a word, it sounds like “gullible.”

    Which is an ironically perfect description of this event.

    • occupied

      Somehow i think they are probably aware of that … despicable. $675,000 is chump change to these folks – esp. “collectively” yet they are looking towards others to fund their big EGO party (a collection of narcissists – who would want to do yoga with or “in” that energy .. except for other narcissists?)
      I wouldn’t give them a penny. Yoga is a personal, intimate discipline with the self – something inspired and attuned from within stillness and silence. How will that work with hundreds of thousands all around squeezed in like sardines? The throngs which make up the contemporary yoga “market” seems to take of their thinking caps when they lay their mats down. Boycott and Occupy Yoga – (is the new black) … 😉

  • Just as an example, Occupy Yoga already teaches a free yogic meditation class in Union Square every weekday eve. If you think the commercialization of yoga is a big thumbs down, we invite teachers and students to join us in teaching real practical and authentic yoga styles for free, in public, to anyone in need. Just connect with us. Sorry for the slight “adver-comment”, but we urge you to take your classes out of the studios yourself, teach in the parks and your homes where ever you are. Teach what you know – don’t worry about certifications. And if you are in NY and are looking for support, contact us. Connect and build. Blessings.

    • occupied

      I like that!

    • Christy

      Love this. Thank you so much for your work.

  • Emily

    Yuck, yuck, yuck! These GLBL yogis want yoga to be all about corporate sponsored navel-gazing, under the guise of “changing the world.” What a load of crap. No thanks!

  • Great Yawn Yoga

    I suspect John Friend would be eager to replace all those teachers for free. There’s a big cost saving right there. Otherwise, I wouldn’t even give him a penny.

  • Mahangun Kaur

    @ occupy. wahe guru!

  • Yoga Mama

    You said it Emily – yuck, yuck, yuck. Why don’t the organizers get talented, local NYC teachers, not “celebrities”, to lead this event? That would be real and honest but then it wouldn’t give the fame hungry yoga celebs and the entrepreneur sponsors more spotlight. It’s all about the spotlight baby and it’s kinda sad. I hope no one shows up and finds Occupy Yoga in Union Sq. instead.

  • this is not yoga “for the people, by the people.” this is celebrity yoga culture co-opting the concept of crowdfunding for their own personal gain.

    they forgot to mention one other “yoga myth” in their video: that yoga is an excessive, elitist, commercialized passtime for the rich and beautiful. they’re not making any effort to dispel that myth. no matter how many thousands of people turn up to do this “crowdfunded free yoga class” in central park.

    • Emily

      Yes, exactly! Thank you for saying it

  • “world’s largest yoga class”? horse manure.

    I was at the world’s largest yoga fest when I was at the Kumbh Mela in 2010, that was millions of people . I didn’t see too much asana but lots of people meditating, doing pranayama, and some wild Shiva babas running naked into the Ganges on MahaShivaratri. you know those babas…those real yogis that come out of the Himalayas….;)

    • honomann

      Excellent Linda! Many at Kumbha Mela are real yogis, not Lululemon clad vegan white chicks. Hell, many at Kumbha Mela don’t have any clothes at all!

  • Earth Energy Reader

    If I donate 1¢, is there a refund policy?

  • Padma

    This is a disgusting display of ego from Bower. That the two adulterers, Rodney and Colleen would ride with this is no surprise, but I am bitterly disappointed in Seane Corn because I felt she was one of the few yogalebtities that had any integrity. I wonder why Sadie Nardini wasn’t invited since she seems to fit right in with this kind of pop yoga idiocy.

  • arnaud

    I wonder how far the watering down and commercialization of the Yoga tradition will go?

    What s next? A Yoga disneyland ?

    Is there anyone in America standing up against that or everyone is just too busy trying to make money out of Yoga?

    • Janet

      Yoga Disneyland, where all the rides and roller-coasters are named after poses – will probably be in Wildwood, New Jersey or Ocean City, Maryland.
      Won’t stop there either. Eventually Rodney Yee hair accessories will be vying for shelf space with Baron Baptiste bandanas at a Lululemon store near you!
      Let’s also not forget the new High Def, YTV, Yoga Television channel only available to Comcast subscribers where you get to see all your favorite yoga celebrities travel the world and stay at posh spas, cook up gluten free, macrobiotic vegan recipes, find 50o uses for almond milk, and preach the benefits of coffee colonics to the Real Housewives of New Jersey or drop in on the Big Brother set as surprise guests!

  • Yoga Disneyland? I thought that’s what Wanderlust is about? 😀

  • Hmmm

    I think the money that Elena Brower gets for modeling and Rodney Yee gets for starring in commercials selling mattresses should be donated to support programs that bring yoga to poor people. And vets. And prisoners. And foster kids. And people who live in group homes.
    But we’re all supposed to pay up instead for …. THIS wank?
    Piss. off.

    • exactly. I’m trying to start a consistent yoga therapy program at the domestic violence shelter where I teach. how ’bout some of these people putting their money where their mouths are and throw some dough my way?

  • Given that NY yoga studios are in the process of dealing with three important issues–taxing of yoga classes, independent contractor status of yoga teachers, and space permits–and that Yoga for NY.org, which represents NY Yoga studios, teachers and students, depends entirely on membership and donations to function with a tiny, unpaid staff, it would be great if some of the these big backers and yogis made a contribution!

    • Great Yawn Yoga

      As accomplished as you undoubtedly are at pranayama, don’t hold your breath.

      • Vision_Quest2

        LOL …

        • 🙂

          • Donna

            May I just give a shout out to the great Alison West. I learned SO much from you those first few years of my practice in NYC. Perhaps a kickstarter campaign for YogaNY?

    • 108

      hey, i like the sound of that alison. and hold breath comment is HILARIOUS. i seriously can’t stand YOGALEBRITIES – or wanna-be’s like Donna Karan or “Russel”. at least rodney can teach a solid class, can’t even say that much for elena b. her class is awful and i know that she texts when she takes other teachers’ classes. what a LOON. art of attention my tail-feathers.

  • Laurie Tucker

    It just seems unbelievable that they would ask for money for a free event. Big events in central park are traditionally free. If we start paying for these type of big events other companies will start charging too.

    • occupied

      Elenas boyfriend/husband (?) bentleymeeker.com is probably handling all the special effects, lighting, etc. therefore its just a front for them to make a cool half a million. Anyone know whos got that contract?

  • Beth

    It’s not the event I have a problem with, just that the famous yoga people are shrilling to fund it when they should do so from their own pockets as a thanks to all the yoga people that supported them and helped make them wealthy. BTW you can leave a comment on their site. I just did but don’t know how long they will stay up if they are critical.


    • sasha d

      THIS a million times, lets take the conversation over to the official site. If they want everyone to contribute money, they had better be ready for everyone to contribute ideas as well. I wish we could copy this whole over there.

  • Tanya

    Absolutely not. I’m starting to think the way I did yoga for a decade, in my basement to video tapes, was the best way. I’m also starting to think it is time for someone to take the piss out of yoga. What would be more amazing is if this was a Yoga Flash Mob. Everyone could show up with their own mat, their own water bottle, and do sun salutations together. Then afterward they could all donate a few bucks to the charity of their choice, if so moved.

    • Vision_Quest2

      You go, girl!

      Thing is, many people are not falling for the same old circus act.

      Another watershed moment for commercialized yoga.

  • Grandma

    This is just sad. It seems that more and more, the yoga community is as out of touch with people as are the politicians. I know people who have had to make choices between seeking medical attention or buying groceries. $675,000 could help a lot of folks.

  • Great Yawn Yoga

    It is less about being out of touch as it is not even caring about being in touch.
    Let them eat Kale!

  • Ms Mai


  • simply yoga

    No one’s brought up the real possibility that a first-timer could get injured at this event. The teachers heading the bill are pretty hard-core. Very irresponsible idea, overall. Just thought I’d mention it.

  • Yoga?

    Bottom line – more people practicing yoga means more money spending on yoga stuffs. This is what corporate America does best. This is what created the meat industry and Monsanto and yes, the largest Yoga show in Central Park. Stay at home, watch YouTube videos and or practice yoga and or feed the poors in your community. Excess, no matter what kind creates poverty. Don’t go along with the crowds/clowns and contribute to the business as usual.

  • Chris

    Yoga :
    Ancient Hindu science, designed to help individuals liberate themselves from the trappings and tugs of the Rat-Race, and embark on the Higher-Journey towards Wellness, Awareness and Enlightenment.

    Yoga, Inc. :
    Driven by financial-greed to convert the ancient and sublime Hindu science of Yoga into a commercial, pedestrian trinket, via a process of persistent McDonalidization.

    Happily, Yoga will endure, and will triumph over Yoga, Inc.

    • Chris

      What we are seeing now, where a group of people are taking something holy and sacred, like the ancient Hindu science of Yoga, and turning it into a commercial, profane, profit-making commodity and enterprise, is very similar to what the Unholy Roman Empire did, with the sacred teachings of JC, via the Empire’s Marketing Department, the Vatican.

      JC never said, ” I am the ONLY way”, because, being a self-realized soul, he was fully aware that there are several different paths to Enlightenment and Liberation (Moksha).

      It was the Vatican which, after JC’s passing, inserted into the Bible that peevish slogan ” I am the ONLY way”, and disingenuously attributed these words to JC, as part of the Vatican’s “Harvesting-of-Souls” and Empire-Expansion-Strategy.

      Thus, did the Vatican take a beautiful, awesome thing like the teachings of JC, and perverted it into a marketing-campaign for the Unholy Roman Empire.

      The true Yogi should carefully distinguish between Yoga and Yoga, Inc.

      True Yoga is quietly taught by selfless, humble, committed Gurus, whereas Yoga, Inc. is shamelessly marketed by larger-than-life “Superstars”.

  • Jodi

    I find this incredibly sad. People all over the world without water or a safe place to live….and we, the yogis who are supposedly working towards enlightenment spending half a million dollars on a huge party in the park. Maybe they can invite JF and he can roll the doobies for people

  • honomann

    My yoga teacher said it best.

    “I don’t care about the size of my class, I just want students who are dedicated and here to learn yoga. I don’t much care for students who go to this teacher and that teacher and then come to me like I am part of their smorgasbord.”

    • simply yoga

      I so don’t agree with what your teacher said. Students should be encouraged to explore and learn yoga from as many teachers as they like. That’s what I did when I started out. I’ve never heard of a teacher dissing this approach!

      In the beginning, especially, you don’t know what type of yoga you might resonate with the most. You might like Iyengar, or Ashtanga, or Forrest, or… whatever. How do you know if you don’t feel free to try?

      No one should be shamed for studying with various teachers of various traditions. To me, that’s borderline unethical crazy talk.

      • honomann

        Maybe your yoga is not very deep. I wasn’t soliciting your opinion, btw.

      • Lena

        Well simply yoga, whether you like it or not; a 1-on-1 long-term teacher-student relationship is how REAL yoga is taught. When we call it yoga we mean those spiritual practices that lead to soul-liberation, enlightenment, self-actualisation, whatever you like to call it. If you feel like going to different asana-flavored work-out classes go ahead. But deeper knowledge can not be shared by hopping around.

        Of course, if it’s all new to you, try some things out. But when you find a teacher you like, stick with him/her. You will learn so much more that way.

        P.s.; for those who choke on the REAL yoga statement; here in Europe we like to call things for what they are. Real yoga contains all the 8 limbs, but most so called yoga classes are nothing more than asana classes. This is totally fine and serves it’s purpose, but stop pretending it’s something more by calling it yoga.

        • honomann

          Thanks Lena. Simpy Yoga’s experience is quite typical of Yoga, Inc. yoga. It’s hard to accept responsibilty when a teacher calls you on your stuff and tells you that you are not perfect. Most abandon and go to another teacher who strokes their ego. Those are the kind of teachers you see at this Central Park event. How can you correct poses of 10 thousand students?

          Also using psycho babble words like “borderline” and “unethical” are common cyberbully techniques. My teacher is not perfect, but he has heart and teaches with more that 20 years of experience. He shows up to teach consistently which is what is also lacking in Yoga, Inc. yoga. If teachers can’t pack a class with 20 plus students, they quit and teach Zumba or Figure 4 or whatever the hell trend is hot this month.

          One further, I believe it is unethical to rely soley on yoga as a paycheck. You should have a job and teach. Otherwise you make decisions based on finances, not on what is taught in the sutras.

  • uninspired

    From the looks of it – someone just bought the $5K package…so over 70% of money raised so far has come from one person…

  • Sam

    tens of thousands of people practicing yoga on the great lawn, all for the miserly cost of $675,000. If 20, 000 people show up, that’s just $33.75 each. The cost goes down to $22.50 if 30,000 people show up. That’s still more than almost any single class drop in rate. All for what? That’s also before you even make a penny to send to any of the charities listed. I can only speak about DK, but when the charity I volunteer for contacted her for a donation, she snubbed us. There are plenty of great yoga teachers and yogis out there who make a real difference every day. I’d rather see Donna, Russell, Richards, and the whole gang go to some non-celebri-yogi taught classes and get a taste of real NYC yoga. See you at Dharma’s master class!

    • Vision_Quest2

      You’re going to have to go a lot less high profile than that … how about some Indian run studio that goes in for the old-school stuff?

      And is not food phobic?

    • occupied

      yAy Dharma! 🙂
      (they couldn’t handle it) …. no mirros ….

  • Angela

    The tuition fees at the Iyengar Yoga Institute in Pune :

    US $ 40 for 150 Hours of Intermediate-Level-Yoga instruction. That works out to 27 US cents per hour of Intermediate-Level-Instruction.

    Just BYOB. All mats, props, etc. provided by the Iynegar Yoga Institute. And the Instructors are ALL top-notch.

    The Iyengar Yoga Institute in Pune, India is clearly operating as a Not-for-Profit-Institute, carrying out the noble task of disseminating Yoga, for the good of all Mankind, and is continuing the Noble Tradition of imparting education for free at the Ashram of the Guru, to all sincere and interested Shishyas (students).

    Meanwhile, Stateside, we have the the Pirates of Yoga, Inc. sticking it to us, with their US$ 20 per hour Yoga-classes. And we have to bring our own mats and props to class.
    And the quality of the instruction is patchy, some good, some not so good. And why can’t my Yoga instructor Stateside learn the Sanskrit name of the Asana ? It’s not that hard to learn to say ” Adho-Mukha-Svanasna”, is it ?

    Hmm, maybe I should just brush up my Hindi and relocate to India already.

    • The price you mention for a month in Pune does not reflect what I paid when I was there about five years ago. It was more like $150 a month for a US citizen, plus $100 to observe classes on an unlimited basis, or $250 total. The cost of living is about 1/10 of the US cost of living. If you multiply out by a factor of 10 the amount one pays to be at the Institute in Pune, then $150 (for just the classes without observation of classes) is = to about US $1500. That’s a lot more than a month unlimited in NYC at most studios. They run to about $200 in most cases or the equivalent of $20 in India. One entire year of unlimited classes in NY is often about $1500-2000, or what one pays proportionately for one month in Pune. So the fact is that Pune, in terms of the Indian economy, is very expensive indeed. No Indian is asked to pay that amount.

      While I understand that you may feel the price of a class is high in NY, I offer you this. It’s very low compared to what it is in Paris, for example. Teachers in Paris charge reasonably with the expectation of making a reasonable living. Yoga, of course, is always free, just as Justice or Health are “free.” But the time, expertise and cost of teaching must be covered, just as we must pay lawyers or doctors. Studio owners in NY have high rents and loans for the build out of the studio to repay, in addition to paying teachers and covering the cost of insurance, utilities, websites, newsletter, desk staff. Studio owners must also pay for their own rent, health insurance and so on, and for their children’s education, if they have children. Teachers work hard to develop their teaching practice, study, take workshops and bring the best of themselves to their teaching at institutions that value fine teaching, as we do at Yoga Union. They deserve to be paid a working wage. All of this put together represents a substantial cost. No small stand-alone Yoga studio is making it big with $20 classes. What has happened is that we have a glut of teachers, studios and a tendency, in fact, to charge too little for classes due to overwhelming competition from studios sprouting up right and left. Our students in the backcare classes at the Yoga Union Center for Backcare & Scoliosis regularly tell us that we should be charging more ($30) for the small-sized classes taught by seasoned yoga therapists.

      It is important to see beyond the cost of class to the enormous cost of running a business and running a life that relies on that business. I hear regularly of the struggles fellow studio owners are having, and of course, some are closing because the cost of doing business is just too high.

      • wondering

        there is indeed a glut of teachers, studios etc. I think a part of the trouble is that far too many people think they “deserve” to make a living from teaching yoga. I really don’t think most teachers should be trying to make a career out of teaching. Unfortunately just because someones loves, studies, is dedicated to, feels a calling for teaching yoga etc., doesn’t mean they “deserve” to have a career out of it. I Think of all those poor struggling actors etc, that’s how I see these yoga teachers. maybe they have a dream or passion, but that doesn’t mean it’ll pay the bills, nor is it the students responsibility to further the teacher’s “dream/calling”..

        • True, students aren’t responsible for a teacher’s “dream” calling. Moreover, not all teachers are good, and not all excellent teachers are rewarded with large student bodies. But if a studio offers sound teaching in a clean, lovely environment, it should charge a reasonable price for class. That’s all.

          • Vision_Quest2

            You absolutely GET it …
            Teachers have become greedy for privates, etc.; but many yoga students do vote with their wallets. The cream will tend to rise to the top in this field as in many of the other arts.

            Then, of course, yoga mandates that the teacher “speak their truth” – whatever THAT is …

            But, you know, I’m used to dealing with actual commercial interests, partially because I have a “straight” unglamorous, un-granola day job where I deal with figures and suppliers all day — I know the value of being good with the P.R. Complimenting your student (even if, and ESPECIALLY if, you consider your student your client), and treating them right, is highly underrated in the yoga world.

            It’s been a few years, and I’ve reconciled with a studio I left, without apology, years ago … but I’m also less of a yogini than I had been, too … not practicing quite as frequently …

      • Course fee update: it is now $425 a the Iyengar Institute in Pune, which would be = to US $4250 if one estimates the cost of living difference as one of 1:10. I.e, very, very expensive by Indian standards, and expensive by US standards too.

        • Angela


          The cost-of-living-factor of 10 that you are applying — not sure how valid that is.

          In actual Rupee terms (with no conversion-factors) :

          Rs. 2250 is the tuition-fees at the Iyengar Yoga Institute for 150 hours of Intermediate-level-Instruction = Rs. 15/ hour of Instruction.

          To put this figure into perspective, Rs. 15 is the price of a cup of Tea ( Chai ) at the famous Vaishali (vegetarian) restaurant in Pune.

          Rs. 15 (US Cents 27) seems to be within the reach of MOST Indians, going by the vast throngs of patrons at Vaishali, and the fact that it can take up to an hour to snag a seat at Vaishali ( Flashing white skin at Vaishali will not get you a seat any sooner, as we learned, for the Maitre-D’s haughty expression seems to indicate that he is going, ” Puhleeze, we’ve seen it all !” 🙂 ).

          So, I would have to disagree with you , when you say that the tuition-fees are “very, very expensive by Indian standards”.

          It’s true that the Iyengar Yoga Institute is indeed giving it away for free, in the Noblest Hindu Tradition of Guru-Shishya-Ashram, wherein dedicated students (Shishyas) arrive at to begin their stay at the Guru’s Asham, receive an education at the Ashram for free, offering only a humble graduation-gift to their Guru (Guru-Dakshina), as they leave the Ashram to step out into the World.

          During their stay at the Ashram, the Shishyas are, in addition to their studies, expected to carry out Seva (unpaid service) at the Ashram, in order to make the Ashram self-sustaining in terms of resources such as food, shelter and clothing. Thus, the Ashram generates neither profit nor loss, instead sustaining itself, while providing valuable education to the Shishyas.

          It would be so nice to have some not-for-profit, or at least, quasi not-for-profit Yoga Institutes in the US too !

  • As much as I enjoy a good bashing of Celebri-yogins… I have to bring attention to something… It is SO much easier to criticize… So easy… But what do we do to correct it?

    It’s obviously a shame about the event and “Yoga Inc-ing” of Central Park, plus whatever back-deals are part of a $675,000 event… But as we all can easily critique from home, it’s much harder to make a difference…

    Here’s an example of what it might take as a group to make a difference:

    1) Organize a similar free event in the park, free, nearby, on the same day. This means coordinating dozens of people, supplies, literature, banners, signs, and a program of events. (That alone is 10 people working for 10 days part-time.)
    2) Coming up with a plan to offer an alternative to the event. As Mother Theresa said, she’s “not against war, but for peace”. In the same way, it’s easier to criticize, but how do we as a group gather to create an alternative? Is it education, demonstration, a petition, literature?
    3) A web site, blog, forum, or other online event page, including facebook and twitter and raising awareness.
    4) Fliers, design, printing, etc…

    This is just a start, really… but this is an example of how to begin to mount a successful protest and “counter-event” to showcase an alternative to the event. And it’s obviously MUCH HARDER, yes?

    So, I’d call on us not to speak ill of other, neither to speak ill of ourselves, be kind to all, and let’s organize a little around this, if you are interested, and give people an alternative, which comes not from a place of negativity, but as a way to uplift, educate, and give people a higher vibrational alternative.

    Something pure, classy and graceful respectful of the roots of yogic tradition and commitment.

    If interested, please visit Occupy Yoga on Facebook, and hit us with a message, and if we get enough traction, we can begin a pro-spiritual and pro-authentic event ourselves. There’s certainly interest in that, as we can all tell from the level of sophistication in the responses so far from the great yogis on this board.

    Or just write and say “hi”. We’d love to connect with you and invite you to join us teaching in the parks in public, every day.

    Occupy Yoga is a pop-up studio that takes place everywhere, free for the people and by the people. Thanks.


    • True–much harder to avoid harmful speech than to criticize, alas, and a good reminder. At the same time, it’s appropriate to observe with an intelligent, dispassionate eye the events unfolding around us and, if need be, to ask probing questions.

      As head of Yoga for NY, I can attest to the sheer work involved in making something happen. We would like to have people hand out post-cards at the Times Square Solstice event, letting everyone know about the existence of Yoga for NY.org and the three issues confronting studios, teachers and students: class taxes, the threatened Independent Contractor status of Yoga teachers, and hefty space permits for yoga studios that dance studios, for example, don’t have to pay. Getting 5000 cards designed and printed for as little as possible, getting 20-30 volunteers to hand out the cards–you name it–, is a serious job. And we need to be sure we’ll be allowed to distribute the cards!

      As you suggest, Fateh, there is nothing to stop anyone from organizing a fabulous, free event for the joy of human fellowship or to celebrate the spirit in all things, with no money involved at all.

      Namaste, everyone.

  • Anonymous Coward

    Why didn’t Kickstarter accept the project? Was it because of the shady budget?

    They were making that video for Kickstarter. One of the star yogis tweeted about it.

    Indiegogo is a second tier crowdfunding platform.

  • Hello Occupy

    Please post your web address so that we can contact you about volunteering for the event.


  • sasha d

    It’s obvious that this is being seen as a marketing opportunity by the celebrities in the video:

    – Richard Branson slyly plugging his airline with the stewardess “yoga class”.

    – Russell Simmons is launching a new “Lifestyle Yoga Brand” (http://www.complex.com/style/2012/03/russell-simmons-plans-to-provide-all-your-yoga-needs-with-new-yoga-lifestyle-brand)

    – Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation is one of the “charity partners” listed.

    A marketing firm, Matter Unltd, is one of the co-founders. According to their website (http://www.makethingsmatter.com/), “We designed the branding, directed the launch film, and developed GLBLYOGA.com as the hub of an integrated brand and project launch.” And they label the event a “brand and international event property”. Huh?

    It’s clear to see that they are salesmen, shilling their wares to everyone they can, and they see the well-heeled “yoga demographic” exploding in popularity and want to capitalize on it.


    • Chris

      Yet another outrage by Yoga, Inc. is what it is.
      Patanjali would not have approved !

  • I think it’s a great idea to bombard their funds-raising website with critical comments. We should not be silent on this one. Besides for all the obvious egregious behavior on the part of GLBL YOGA I want to bury my head in the sand when I see the words VIP and YOGA next to each other. If you donate a few grand you get a VIP ticket. Really? Will there be a red carpet? As I told the GLBL folks: I’d rather go to the boom boom room and hang out in a forward bend for a while if I want to be anywhere near a VIP/YOGA scene. At least at the Boom Boom room I can then drown my sorrows in a stiff drink. On the GLBL site it says that If you donate $5,000 you get a VIP ticket plus a private yoga class with Elena AND RUSSELL SIMMONS! At the same time? Wow, like, four VIP hands on me at once? Wait, hold, on…I’m getting my check book out….I guess my donation to the fight to end world hunger will just have to wait until my hunger for yoga is satiated by Russell and Elena…W00ps, that VIP ticket is sold out! What lucky fool snatched that up? Okay, now should I go for the year supply of FEARLESS CHOCOLATE GLBL YOGA ticket…or….donate the money to fight hunger?….Hmm…I will have to sleep on this one. AS one of the pro-GLBL Yoga commentators said: “Keep on Rockin’ in the free world.” I guess she doesn’t know of the ill effects of NAFTA. Sometimes the “free world” can really f-things up.

  • holierthannone

    So just to be clear – you can look at a lot of the donations and who made them on the website. The people that bought the $5k ticket is 1 Giant Mind – http://www.1giantmind.org/?page_id=440

    I wonder if their supporters would like to know what they just spent 5 grand on.

  • Chuck

    Everyone should take a second to read GLBL YOGA’s response on Elephant Journal (http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/06/the-675000-question-what-is-the-glbl-yoga-project-about/) to some of the questions raised by Chelsea of Intent.com.

    They just tweeted a pretty informative Q&A and I think it makes the whole project a bit clearer. Now that I understand what it’s all about, I think it’s kind of a cool and innovative thing if they can pull it off.

  • april gold

    such a joke. they are asking the yoga students to pay to practice with teachers they can pay 20 bucks to practice with if they are even worth that. what a hoax. should totally be boycotted. i can’t believe they have the audacity to ask for money outloud. what non-celebrity would donate to this. please don’t. please tell them to pack it up and go home.

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