On September 2nd, 10,000 yogis dressed in their uniform white, marched to Central Park’s Great Lawn, took their designated spots on their regimented yellow mats, sipped their sponsored Fiji water, and saluted the sun for the cameras. It was a glorious day, and man is it one creepy way to advertise your yoga clothing brand. Welcome to the fourth annual Lole White Tour. “Relieve the magic” indeed.
“White: a symbol of purity, elegance and peace” the Lole website implores, their “white kits” providing everything you need to “look and feel amazing all in white” and even a commemorative souvenir t-shirt for $45, or a $90 long sleeved version for the chilly late summer nights.
This is the new yoga according to Lole: bigger, better, whiter.
The event that happened on Wednesday evening is not the first time a massive yoga class has been organized in NYC (or organized and failed). But even the Times Square Solstice event, set in the most commercialized of blocks in the world, somehow doesn’t come off as creepy or cult-y as the hordes of white-wearing yogis ready to share their bliss. It’s not so much that they’re all wearing white, it’s that they’ve all bought into the marketing campaign.
Are we over thinking this? Isn’t a bunch of people practicing yoga together unifying enough without a required color-matching dress code? Why can’t you just show up as is? This is what happens when a yoga clothing company organizes a massive yoga event.
Heavily sponsored massive yoga events with branded yoga mats and swag bags seem to be the new norm. There’s a race to beat Lululemon at their own game and it’s not certain yet who’s winning, but Lole sure are trying hard. (Athleta, sponsor of the Times Square Solstice Yoga event AND yoga in Bryant Park, are feeling the heat.)
We believe we’re supposed to feel some sort of inspiration, like yoga teachers Colleen Saidman Yee and Elena Brower say they felt. Some sort of “magical” (Elena) sensation or getting “goosebumps” (Colleen) from the “epic life changing event” (Colleen, again), but we just don’t. It’s not because of the teachers or the yogi practitioners who attended. We’re sure their intentions were of purity, elegance and peace…and there is something beautiful about a bunch of people joining together in the singularity of a massive yoga practice. We’re all one, etc. But we’re also individuals, and yoga teaches us that, too. Unfortunately, some yoga clothing brands don’t.
Elena Brower, who’s led yoga classes at Burning Man and the Lole White Tours for several years, explains the mass yoga events create a “palpable energy” with “the vibration of intention to heal, the resonance of love, and the sensation of being amongst community.”
She told MindBodyGreen:
We’re part of an intentional gathering of minds and hearts dedicated in practice together, and the symbolism of wearing all white only adds to the sweetness. It’s a way to bring us together in peace and purity, and with potency — to engage with an ancient primordial call to be together, to rise together, to get strong together, to rest together, and to listen together.
We wonder if Lole has a line called “Primordial White” coming out soon.
Colleen Saidman Yee (and Rodney) bring it on par with the Beatles.
The Beatles said it best: “Come together right now.” This is exactly what practicing with thousands of yogis feels like. It is time to come together in peace. This is demonstrated by the wearing of white as a surrender of personal armor, and forming a sea of bodies breathing and moving together, as the brothers and sisters of this planet that we are.
Yes, that is sweet. Did you come together in unity to show the world you stand for…anything? Maybe we’d feel differently if the event had a purpose besides being a sea of bodies (which, if you’ve been keeping up with the news regarding Syrian refugees of war, would have been something to come together about). It’s probably near impossible to put on an event of this magnitude without corporate sponsors, but that doesn’t mean it has to be solely about corporate objectives. Try adding some real sense of purpose. Until then, we have to say it feels as empty and glaringly white as a blank piece of paper.
This year’s Lole White Tour will reach up to 30,000 yoga practicing people in six different cities.
all images via lole.com
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