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Major Backlash Shuts Down Vancouver’s Massive $150K International Yoga Day Event

in YD News

If you’re not from Canada, or specifically Vancouver, you might not be aware of the huge kerfuffle over an International Yoga Day event that threatened to divide the city and the local yoga community. In short, the event, titled “Om the Bridge,” was a massive yoga class planned by British Columbia Premier Christy Clark, sponsored by Lululemon, Y Yoga and AltaGas, to be held on Vancouver’s Burrard Street Bridge shutting it down for seven hours, costing the city an estimated $150,000, on Sunday, June 21, also known as International Yoga Day, also known as National Aboriginal Day, which also happens to be Father’s Day and the summer solstice.

Needless to say, many Vancouverites were not pleased. Not only did it stir up outrage from locals upset over the cost, corporate sponsors and bridge closure, there was a huge backlash over disrespect for National Aboriginal Day. The uproar, which gained traction on social media, turned political with B.C. Premier Christy Clark being thoroughly criticized for producing the heavily sponsored event and disregarding the city’s true frustrations. (AltaGas, one of the event’s sponsors bringing $10,000 in support, is a huge gas, power and utilities corporation, by the way.)

B.C. Premier Christy Clark announcing "Om the Bridge." | image via globalnews.ca

B.C. Premier Christy Clark announcing “Om the Bridge” on June 5, 2015 | image via globalnews.ca

Clark responded to the “yoga haters” on Twitter trying to make a joke (?) which did not go over well.

  By the way, the reason we’re referring to all of this in the past tense is because pressures from the people and the major boycott have forced everyone to retract their participation and cancel the whole dang thing. Lululemon, and Y Yoga made announcements Friday morning which were followed by Clark’s own non-participating Twitter announcement, albeit seeming somewhat begrudged.





Y Yoga issued a statement via their website.

International Day of Yoga is about celebrating something very positive, and it has become anything but that.

Our intention to provide yoga to the city in celebration was purely formed. We hoped that our intentions would shine through, but that has not been the case. We have had the opportunity to connect with our very passionate community over the last several days and have done a lot of listening. We have heard that the event that was presented was not what they wanted.

The importance of celebrating the tradition of yoga still rings true for us. We are working with our partners from the community to deliver something that serves them in a more meaningful way.

Please stay tuned for something that will reflect the tradition of yoga, and the wishes of our community…in a park.

Warm regards,

And that’s how it’s done, folks.

As for International Yoga Day in Vancouver, one of the biggest yoga cities in the world (and coincidentally Lululemon’s HQ), it sounds like there will still be some sort of public celebration/event (likely in a park), which will presumably not cost $150k and will not disrespect an entire race of people.



Not Everyone Is Happy About International Yoga Day (Subtitle: Indian Government Says Yoga Has Nothing To Do With Religion)

11 comments… add one
  • Asananine

    They have much to learn from Chris Christie on how to shut down a bridge.

  • VQ2

    Don’t think it’s that type of bridge with that type or volume of traffic. It’s more about hipster neighborhoods, and celebrating gentrification … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burrard_Bridge maybe the equivalent would be like closing the LIC footbridge or something … and there you have the rich hipsters and gentrification equivalent right here in the Big Apple … no two-state border involved 😉

  • Asananine

    Not sure how you arrived at that conclusion. The picture clearly shows a heavily trafficked 5 lane bridge. Hardly a “footbridge”. The article states it would have cost the city $150K to close on a Sunday no less. But don’t let facts get in the way of your narrative.

  • Steven

    I think this article needs more clarification, I don’t fully understand what the problem is, sure Canada needs to recognize first people but what’s that got to do with a Yoga event? why did the yoga studio cancel their event?

    perhaps re post this and be more specific

  • altayogi

    “As for International Yoga Day in Vancouver, one of the biggest yoga cities in the world (and coincidentally Lululemon’s HQ), it sounds like there will still be some sort of public celebration/event (likely in a park), which will presumably not cost $150k and will not disrespect an entire race of people.”

    Q. for Yogadork : Celebrating International Yoga Day disrespects Canada’s First-Nations-People, how ?

  • Harmony Eshkawkogan

    As a First Nation that practices yoga on the regular basis I have to say I couldnt have been more excited for aboriginal and international yoga day because its just a gathering to celebrate altogether anyways. I know many aboriginal elders who use sage or sweetgrass to smudge like meditating and dancers/hunters who use yoga just for their physical well-being, it can benefit us all but still honour how far we come not how far it took to get here, while in Savasana.

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