“adidas yoga” class offered at yj conference

It’s a little alarming at first glance: Adidas Yoga. Luckily, it’s not (quite) a new brand of yoga ~ it’s just part of the title of a Rainbeau Mars workshop at this weekend’s Yoga Journal Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. “Adidas Yoga: ra + yoKa = The Integration of the Sun.” Seriously, wha?

The “Adidas Yoga” part of that equation makes sense – Mars is the global ambassador for Adidas’ line of “sustainable” yoga clothing (and shoes, of course, because you know we totally need the right athletic shoes for our yoga practice). And the rest of the calculation is a play on Mars’ own method of yoga, ra’yoKa (and which includes a colour-coded system of levels, of course).

There’s nothing new about Western teachers creating their own yoga systems or merging asanas with colours of the rainbow or being sponsored by multinational corporations. But there is something about seeing a global brand paired so closely to the word “yoga” which makes my skin crawl. What do the rest of you yoga watchdogs out there think?

[via elephant journal – who didn’t seem to think there was a problem with this ridiculous workshop and actually believed the validity of Adidas’ commitment to sustainable practices]

More Adidas Yoga and Rainbeau Mars’ antics:

the adidas+yoga equation
choice & responsibility: how do you live your yoga?
adidas yoga shoe things on SF television show

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yoga beyond the black sun

  1. also makes my skin crawl. a little too close to sports sponsorship for myself. (Rainbow Mars??? lol, I am OUT of the loop).

  2. Having visited her website and watched the videos of her being fluffed for photo shoots, what repels me the most is her whole personal yoga brand.

    She’s obviously had work done on her face, there’s footage of her being followed by a mic while practicing yoga, and every downward dog seems to be a new photo opportunity… Yet she claims on her site that “I practice so that I can keep letting go of who I’ve become, to be who I really am.”

    She has pimped out her practice for the sake of celebrity, so it doesn’t surprise me that she’s associated herself so closely with the Adidas brand. It just affords her more opportunities to put on some lip gloss and make love to the camera.

  3. It doesn’t make my skin crawl. I think commercialized Yoga is generally good for Yoga overall, even if way off track from traditional Yoga. It draws thousands and thousands of new people into Yoga every day.

    Those who just view it as a good exercise program will get a lot of benefit from that alone.

    Many people will be drawn to the more traditional and spiritual aspect of Yoga, and most of these people would never have known much about Yoga in the first place if not for it’s commercialization.

    I myself started doing Yoga to improve my flexibility for tennis, and probably would have never gotten into it if it hadn’t been offered at my tennis club!

    Bob Weisenberg

  4. It makes me feel sad. Isn’t it pretty much EXACTLY like sports sponsorship, only dirtier? e.g. I’ve never heard of Adidas Tennis. Maybe an Adidas World Tennis Championships or something, but there’s a subtle (or not so subtle!) difference here.

  5. American yoga = sports sponsorship. I predict that yoga competitions will be in the Olympics one day….yogis sponsored by Nike or whatever….

  6. Also, I was a lot more uncomfortable with the gross distortion of Yoga’s public image in the late ’60s and early ’70. Back then Yoga was deeply associated with:

    –Hare Krishnas bothering people at airports.
    –Swami Satchidananda incongruously opening Woodstock.
    –The Beatles hanging out with the Maharishi.
    –The Haight-Ashbury drug culture. (Teachers like Ram Dass were openly touting LSD as a path to enlightenment–a drug alternative to the Yoga Sutra.)
    –Transcendental Meditation.
    –Cultish Ashrams.

    So you can see why I don’t mind today’s relatively benign and positive association of Yoga with celebrity fitness, ecology issues, sports, and new age philosophy.

    Bob Weisenberg

  7. Hi bloggers,

    -Thank you for your consideration.

    Did you actually come to my workshop, ask me a question or know anything at all about my story?

    I was born in a teepee from a flower child mother who has 15 books on natural medicine, Rainbow Harmony Mars was my given name. My GodMother owns an Ayurvedic college…

    I have been doing yoga my whole life and sharing it, not because its a profession, but because I have been asked time and time again to do so. I teach workshops at home, develop media (especially in the realm of yoga service) and consulted with adidas to do a sustainable line of clothing, which they did.

    I had evolved my own dimension of yoga (ra’yoKa) which is applying my serious understanding of yoga asana with martial arts movement- which I study.

    I a student, a person a mother and am a girl – who loves clothes, life, celebrating people and supporting people to exist and their optimal glow as I do my best to shine to in my own life.

    I will ask that you take this picture down of me and my image use for your own gossip about how yoga should be and how you feel I have misrepresented yoga – you are welcome to talk about me – as you know I was in the People Vs. larry Flynt, which is about the 1st amendment – but using my picture from my website, is actually illegal without our permission.
    Its all yoga – we are all one.

    My godmother taught me a long time ago, that what you don’t like about someone else is what you don’t like about yourself.
    adidas approached me and asked me to consult and be there global spokes person – like most people who also need to make a living, I not only was eternally grateful for the opportunity, but also for the ability to use the global mogul as a place to support in walking their consumers hand in hand with the tools they need to so what they do, but even in a better, perhaps yogic (UNIFIED/ALL ENCOMPASSING) way.

    Yes – most people – even yogis have makeup on while doing television or photo shoots – would you not, same goes for all magazines – it just is more likely to get used and printer. I was modeling and acting many many years before I was asked to share my practice (as an offering) with others – and I agreed to do it, as I knew what a support this practice is in my life.
    What would be wrong with more people then before seeing what the hype is about yoga – would you not want more and more people to get into it? Although most days I wear no makeup, including when I am out and about.. producers and all jobs requires that we do so.

    I celebrate my body and all its dimensions and colors and even lip gloss – I practice yoga – I have developed my own dimension of it. My teaching is part of my practice, which I will continue to do, as long as I am requested to do so.

    God bless you and may you forgive me for making your skin crawl. I forgive you for not taking the time to actually ask any questions or get the story behind what I feel is not the whole picture perspective.

    Hi Linda – yes – i feel that spiritual leaders – as other professional leaders have every right to support themselves, their activism in the world and their passion rather then be poor healers that never receive back.


    Rainbeau Harmony Mars

  8. Please forgive the many typos and spelling errors – I sent before reviewing – I felt very passionate and I guess, very unseen and judged, when reading this which was actually attempted to be posted on the new http://www.rainbeaumars.com website.

    Thank you Bob so much for your perspectives and support!

    WE ARE ALL ONE – EVEN THE CORPORATIONS, Movies Stars and all thats commercial – We need each other!

    Peace and Blessings,


  9. wow. well thank you, Rainbeau, for your update. I was actually a little excited when you mentioned sustainability and a huge corporation-wouldn’t that be fantastic? Unfortunately I can’t seem to find anywhere on the Adidas website (nor on shop adidas) what exactly your ‘signature’ clothing is made of… other than it was made sustainably. which actually tells me nothing. I looked on the corporate website, checked out their sustainability report. Have you tried to read that thing??? ugh. it’s so long and cumbersome I have no idea how anyone could get through it.

    I am quite disappointed… it would be better for adidas to post exactly what and how their clothing is ‘sustainable’ since that word has no meaning nor is regulated. Perhaps I missed an essential link on their site? Any info you could provide would be fantastic 🙂

    Thank you and it is wonderful how passionate you feel about yoga 🙂

  10. “Hi Linda – yes – i feel that spiritual leaders – as other professional leaders have every right to support themselves, their activism in the world and their passion rather then be poor healers that never receive back.”

    I don’t understand this comment at all! if this was directed to me, somehow I don’t equate “spiritual leaders” with someone performing in the Olympics.

  11. ps: I apologize, Rainbeau, for my snarky comment earlier re: your name. It was immature. It’s not something I like to see in myself.

  12. –Hare Krishnas bothering people at airports.
    –Swami Satchidananda incongruously opening Woodstock.
    –The Beatles hanging out with the Maharishi.
    –The Haight-Ashbury drug culture. (Teachers like Ram Dass were openly touting LSD as a path to enlightenment–a drug alternative to the Yoga Sutra.)
    –Transcendental Meditation.
    –Cultish Ashrams

    Damn hippies! I myself am waiting for Alpo to sponsor my brand of yoga. Alpo Yoga, I like the sound of that!

  13. pps (oh my): re: sustainable fabric. Finally found it… in a German Press release.

  14. Hi Ecoyogini


    Is a good link for more information.

    Hopefully this will explain more about the adidas expanding there awareness into the sustainability regions of the world.

    Yes – its always exciting when we find ways to become better versions of ourselves – from the micro to macro – cosmos of the world – we all “get” to move in the right direction.. either together, separate or with big events, that translate into brands, such as the Olympics…

    Linda – honestly – jet lagged and definitely charged by seeing my name attached to what I feel was a blog that was not addressing a “complete picture” or story. – I may have misread your comment and I apologize for many things about what I posted being clear…
    But what I am trying to say… Is bring it all on… Every little bit of it on! Let yoga be in the Olympics and let countries like India finally teach us a thing or two about body, mind mastery… We may have different perspectives on this, but I was seeing what you were saying as positive. i feel that abundance is for everyone – spiritual, physical and material alike.

    I don’t care – what it looks like – as long as we all respect the ultimate – which is – Every single person in existence towards the ultimate experience of integrated, illumination. Supporting each other on our mutual goals of becoming more of who we really are – beneath the veils of judgment, for underneath it all – its all GOD. Maybe there is a reason we love competitive sports – does it not strive for us to become better, expand, reach beyond, overcome limitations? To each his own…

    We are only as strong as our weakest link and therefore, need to look at the soul medicine that we are receiving not just for some, but for everyone. How do we achieve such goals. Yoga in all forms – health tools, happiness, sustainable products, even yoga (in all its forms) being accessible to all.



  15. Interesting discussion, especially because Celebrity Yoga is a pet blog topic of mine. See http://yogaspy.wordpress.com/category/teachers/celebrity-teachers/.

    As this discussion illustrates, we cannot generalize about a person’s character merely by glossy magazine spreads and endorsement deals. But I can see the dilemma, especially for longtime practitioners and teachers. It must be rather mystifying (to say the least) to see young yogis in their 20s suddenly be hailed as the face and body of yoga.

    It is hard to know who is truly evolved as a yogi. With athletes, we can see by their talent and success who is a champ (it is quantifiable). In other words, Tiger Woods and Roger Federer might land lucrative endorsement contracts, but it’s clear why. They are remarkable and superior athletes.

    With yoga, there is the physical aspect, certainly. But that is only part of yoga. The mental/spiritual/ethical aspects are not quantifiable. So those hailed as yoga icons are not necessarily most deserving.

    Thus it’s easy to find fault with all who “go commercial.” And, of course, fame is insidious and can mar even the purest of hearts…

  16. YogaDawg,

    Sponsership by Alpo is a natural. I’m sure they will want you immediately when they see your blogs. I can see your own line of dog foods specifically formulated for dogs who do Yoga.

    I would have your agent look into it immediately. You may want to get a competitive bidding process going with other dog food companies. Don’t sell yourself short. (But of course, don’t be attached to the results either.)

    Bob Weisenberg

  17. While a bit disturbed about the corporate sponsorship, I’ve gotta admit to failing to see much meaningful distinction between Adidas and Lululemon, other than Adidas selling products that people who aren’t part of the well-off yoga yuppie elite can afford. And I agree with Bob that if people are becoming healthier from a purely physical yoga practice, that’s a good thing, just as it’d still be a good thing that I’ve saved my knees, stopped my tension headaches and gotten in the best physical shape of my life overall even if I hadn’t experienced so many other benefits, mental, social, and spiritual, from practicing yoga. I should mention, though, much as I hate to disagree with Bob, that it was before he got into yoga and became Ram Dass that Richard Alpert was touting LSD…and, in fact, he was one of many, many people, including myself, whose interest in yoga, meditation, Zen, etc. originally sprouted from hearing that these could be better, more natural, healthier ways to achieve mental states experienced through psychedelic drugs (and, in fact, they are).

    As for yoga as an Olympic event, Bikram is actually trying to make that happen, and that is something I’m truly horrified by–not because of commercialism or corporate sponsorship, but because, in my humble opinion, nobody should ever come out of yoga feeling like he or she has “lost” for not doing asanas “as well as” somebody else.

    Then, as a very modern, highly agnostic yogi who has as many problems with the old school religious aspects of “traditional yoga” as I do with the movie stars and brand names of “American yoga,” I don’t want to throw stones. If people benefit from Adidas yoga, that’s great, and if they benefit from kissing the feet of an old school guru in a rural Indian ashram, that’s great, too. Namaste, y’all.

    • I’m with you, YogaforCynics. Good thoughts, all.

      By the way, my statements about Ram Dass are based on his book “Paths to God–Living the Bhagavad Gita”, which is an edited transcript and syllabus for his 1974 lectures at the Naropa Institute in Boulder. At that point at least, he still thought LSD was a pretty good way to achieve instant samahdi. (Perhaps he did some life history editing in later things that you have read?)

      There’s actually a chapter called “The Yoga of Psychedelics”, which starts with, “First off, I want to say that I would never recommend to anyone that they use psychedelics to alter their consciousness”, then goes on to pretty much do just that. Elsewhere in his lectures he speaks about his own initial rapturous cosmic awakening using LSD.

      Really fascinating stuff, because Dass is also a brilliant interpreter of the Gita, however infuriating he can be with his absolute guru worship, embrace of paranormal powers, belief in predestination, and broad sweeping generalizations about Western society. Highly recommended anyway.

      Bob Weisenberg

  18. Thanks for the support Bob. Now if only I can get a celeb Dogi to show up at a yoga conference wearing my hot new line of Doga wear…

  19. I agree with yogaspy and YogaForCynics.

    as for yoga in the Olympics, I think that would be the ultimate devaluation of yoga, i.e., yoga only as a physical practice. we are supposed to applaud when the judges hold up their score cards for Yogis #s 1, 2 and 3? why not give points for who is the “most enlightened” or who can do kapalabhati a thousand times?

    how about giving a prize to the naga babas (Shiva devotees) in Haridwar who wrap their penises around broomsticks to show tapas? (see the movie Shortcut to Nirvana for that one.)

    I want to see Bikram do that! now that would be a yogic accomplishment!

  20. I agree that there is a disconcerting feeling with ‘Adidas yoga.’ Primarily I think it spits in the face of one tenant of the practise – release from material binds. The practise of someone wearing Stella McCartney is no different from one in a ratty t-shirt and boxers. The benefits of the practise are measured in the discipline we take towards it. Though this may open yoga to more people, it is also marketing at its most shameless. The equation they are trying to create is Adidas = health. We can pretty much replace the right side of the equation wit everything we value and gain from yoga. Whatever we replace it with, I reckon it’ll still sound odd.

    The difference I feel between yoga and other forms of physical activity (No I will not call yoga sport because it isn’t.) is that there is a solid connection with one’s spiritual growth and the physical means to achieve it. That is very personal and as such has no place for the dictates of someone who thinks he knows better – let alone a company that is primarily driven by profit.

    I cannot stop them from doing so but I feel people should be more aware of what the practise can give them – devoid of any corporate shenanigans.

    Lastly, Bikram holds an international asana competition. It is not a travesty of Adidas proportions but I feel it misleads from the point of yoga. By seeing this as a sport, and yes there was talk of forming a movement to have it in the Olympics, the deeper lessons to be learned may be lost by newer practitioners. I shudder at the thought of someone “training for yoga.”

    It is and never should be seen as a competition. Sadly, moves like these push it close to being so.

  21. ubermensch6696, I second that.

    The yoga practice is different for every person because we are all different creatures with different bodies, different capabilities and different experiences.

    When brands get too mixed up with the practice, it feels as if that personalization gets lost a little because the brand begins to take ownership of the practice.

    For me, yoga is about the personal relationship you have with your body and not about striving to look like the yoga athletes in advertising, etc. You should be challenged and motivated – yes – but that comes from your inner discipline and not from Adidas.

  22. Whatever big company that takes on the YogaDawg dogfood account should just call it “Doga” because that way dog owners would no longer feel obligated to spend their time actually helping their dogs practice…

    One of the dangers of yoga branding is that it can confuse. I might start to think that I have yoga if I just buy enough “yoga style”.

    Making yoga another thing you can buy is definitely confusing. However placing it in the marketplace also communicates to more people. And yoga celebrities have a big platform–may they use it well.

  23. I gave ya some link love today, girlfriend….;)

  24. Hello all…. I don’t think the spirit of yoga is about judging others including corporations like Adidas and certainly not individuals like Rainbeau. We are all here on this planet to experience our own version of yoga, or “union”… and what it means to us. We are all moving so fast in today’s American society that for anyone to simply slow down for an hour or even a few minutes to do their version of yoga is a blessing. If those few moments bring them closer to introspection and to clearing the mind, than mission accomplished. We cannot simply live up on a hill and meditate all day long. The true meaning of yoga is to find the calm and peace while in the midst of the turmoil… Yes, we are “Americanizing” yoga a bit… If something this good gets to the masses through clothing, videos, and the like, does it really matter? I say more power to you Rainbeau—and to Adidas as well.

  25. “I don’t think the spirit of yoga is about judging others including corporations”

    let’s take off the rose-colored glasses, shall we?

    corporations can absolutely be judged about their practices….practices such as using child labor to make clothes and jewelry — do you know where your yoga clothes are made? while many big companies pay lip service to not using child labor because it looks good in the annual report to shareholders, child labor is widespread in India.

    corporations that pay women less than men for the same position or who bust labor unions….(WalMart….where do you buy your yoga mat?)

    corporations that destroy and pollute the environment….

    and let’s not forget corporations like Halliburton and Blackwater.

  26. A few bits of information for your thoughts.

    Thank you all!

    My relationship with adidas

    1. I was hired on a multi year contract to be the global spokesperson and consultant for adidas. That contract ends at the end of this year and I will still say this about them.

    A. They honestly did their best to take in all the advice that I gave them, which is huge.

    B. The word adidas (A german name) actually was the name of their founder Adi Dassler who made shoes for soccer players – the whole corporation was originally built around his home. The headquarters is in Germany.

    C. Look up the sanskrit name of this word and you will find that ADI means supreme being and DAS means servant… we all know their are ultimately no coincidences, so I felt pretty good about my alliance with adidas.

    D. This is a place where I have never met more happy people that work for them – athletically driven and proud about their integrity and founding principals – I truly love this company even if they have room, for improvement, which we all do.

    E. i am so excited that they supported my vision of going sustainable even if it lived with them for only the 2009 year, I feel that we have forever had an effect on each other.

    ra’yoKa – which adidas yoga is only based on why I am their Yoga Pro.

    2.ra’yoKa, – I founded my own unique “style of yoga” based on the root principals of yoga and hybridized, to meet my own needs – Hey I drive a Prius as well. 🙂

    A. ra’yoKa means integration through the sun – This is why – Ever present, illuminating and the core of our planet and our bodies – (solar plexus). Our naval points are the heart of 72,000 channels/nadis that run from the naval to the skins surface.

    B. I was ten years into a serious yoga practice and I had studied Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa and Partner yoga when John Friend/Anusara mentioned the inner and outer pulsing of the core.. AHHH HAAA!!:))) I needed much more inner pulsing – or muscular energy towards my center.

    C. I was studying with an x – olympic speed skater and dabbling in many different forms of martial arts (jeet Kune Do, Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Chi Gong) and movements – I realized that I could be true to the basic/root principals of yoga that I could also practice some movements that worked on my fast twitch muscles as well as my slow, my cardio as well as my zen.

    D. I began sharing what I was teaching – ra’yoKa – Even if someone is pregnant – i thought, if you get nothing else, you can always visualize expanding light from your core on your inhale and hugging back towards your center on the exhale. I did not want people to wait 10 years or even 20 to 25 to learn this. i want this to be front, center and core for everyone.

    E. So far my new DVD (which rocks) is an overview, but ultimately its broken down into a seven part system with an innovative blend of movements that helps give one the tools to move beyond current plateaus in whatever you do!

    So far I have taught teachers training’s on Level Orange for Detoxification/water and Level Yellow for Core Power/fire and two basic and intermediate foundation and flow of the overview.

    adidas liked my system and called it adidas yoga, during our time together as they are doing their best to find the best teachers and standardize fitness academies within their brand (adidas mission is to help give people the tools they need to walk along side them in their sport and enhance it.)- in places where they are sponsoring and or footing the event bill. they were cool enough to allow it to still be my authentic and unique system. It was a good match because as an athlete myself, i wanted the most for my time on the mat as possible.

    My intention for ra’yoKa is that it will help you do whatever you do only better – it increases, balance, core, focus, coordination and endurance. It helps us stretch beyond plateaus and can give one the body alignment and internal clarity that can help one avoid injuries and increase performance.

    We are and have been good partners – in teaching each other how to to best do this.

    I am sharing my life’s work with whoever is interested – corporations and friends alike. I will continue to share my own unique expression to those who find it of value and as long as people are requesting that I provide a service to them.

    My name Rainbeau Mars is one thing – this is the small I – but Rainbeau Mars Lifestyles (hopefully my big i) and place that I can connect to more and more people – This is my way of separating this companies identity from my personal self. its not just the practice, but the foods, thoughts, products and content that we as a company believe should be also offered to those who are interested. This is my life work and understanding. As a product of the natural foods industry and

    Yoga=UNION/to yoke – Integration

    Whatever we do, whoever we are – If we are headed towards ourselves – we are doing yoga/yoking/integrating.

    The sun is my ever present teacher – As is all the planets, stars and reflections that are in the universe. Surya Namaskara – Salutations of the sun – not without but within. Guayatri Mantra – invocation to the sun.

    I focus on the light – “The Ha The masculine – source and the solar – In reflection – comes the moon “The Ta the feminine- the chill time –

    ra’yoKa known in some places also for now as adidas yoga – is a Hatha Yoga that we hop you use the elements of the mind, visualizations and the core and balance muscle enhancement to in whatever other sport you do…

    May we all integrate and illuminate infinitely.




    P.S. – Yoga is a sport that measured in breaths and millimeters – its a sport where you break your own records, where you are captain, coach and cheer squad. Play a sport on your terms…

    check out the second video down on this link


  27. Hi Roseanne & Rainbeau & the others discussing here. My name is Juniper, and like Rainbeau I have stunning raised-by-hippies credentials! So it is certainly not a person’s name that bothers me. But, truly, Adidas Yoga does. To me, it is like saying I breathe Microsoft Air or that I live in the WalMart Universe. I just don’t understand the need to brand yoga, which, as Rainbeau says, is about bringing forward the best in ourselves.

    So let’s bring it forward, this “best”, this inner light. Let’s practice in barefeet. Yes, if we feel a passion for yoga, we can share it with others, as long as we are strongly seated in our own practice and self-awareness. I sense this passion and sincerity in what you say, Rainbeau, I believe you.

    However, we also have to demand integrity from each other as yogis. By having so much focus on yoga celebrities’ bodies and faces, this alienates some newcomers to yoga. I have overheard a number of people say, “Oh I can’t do that’ seeing an image of a slim person in a difficult pose, and they think that this is Yoga. So Yoga is not for them.

    Many people use the argument that as long as yoga is becoming popular, it’s all good -because at least more people will practice it. But what are they practicing? As a teacher I have seen nearly every new student struggling with the challenge of going inward, focusing on their experience instead of the outward appearance of a pose. It is a challenge under any circumstance to keep re-focusing on the inner truth of oneself, and I honestly think that the images of yoga popularized in North America over the last 2 decades (physical perfection & outward beauty) make it all the more complicated.

    It is a lie that we need certain clothes to do yoga. My goodness, we don’t even need a mat much of the time! And we certainly don’t need “the adidas Rainbeau Mars Yatra 75 five-star training shoe built from sustainable materials to help make the world a Better Place.” I know it is difficult to receive criticism, but if are going to try to one-up the good ol’ barefoot, Rainbeau, you have go to expect some dismay from other yogis.

    If I sign up for your online newsletter, I will receive your “40 beauty tips” but happily I have already received the only outward-beauty tip I need, from one of my teachers: “Let the Light shine through your eyes.” For me, Yoga is the long and gradual practice of letting this Light, this best, live through and guide my choices of what I do with this lifetime. What I do to make my living, what I do for others, how I care for myself.

    Om om,

  28. I believe yoga teachers have a right to earn money.

    For me, the question of a giant corporation branding a form of yoga is one, at least in part, of ethics. What is adidas’s relationship with yoga? They have created a line of eco-clothing, which has its positive aspects, but do all their workers receive fair wages, equitable employment? Does adidas consider the environment in the production of ALL their products? Are they interested in spreading the teachings of yoga or in turning profit in an expanding market?

    I don’t know the answers to these questions, and likely whatever answers there are are complex. I’d like to know more. But a few things are clear: The world cannot sustain unlimited material abundance for every person and every person does not have access to such material abundance despite our good wishes for this to be so; adidas is not a yoga organization, it’s a corporation with a mandate of making profit whose roots are in competition.

    There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition, but let me draw this parallel: as with professional athletes who make outstanding performances, often at the cost of their own health and well-being, so with multi-nationals, they are often performing with outstanding fiscal profits at the cost of human life quality and that of the environment. Part of yoga’s power is that it teaches us to relate to ourselves and each other differently, more humanly, with more care and skill, and moving away from destructive habits, which requires a very different perspective than traditional models of competition. I think that’s why people who come to yoga for exercise often stay with it – because they see the quality of their lives changing and improving in a way that is not inherently material.

    It seems to me that in calling a class “adidas yoga,” the content of the class aside, is a semantic bringing together two things that don’t have any real relationship except selling product. I appreciate the fact that Rainbeau wishes to bring yoga to many people, but corporate branding of yoga in this way is not something I would personally want to stand behind.

  29. This is one of the deepest and most meaningful discussions I have ever seen in the Yoga blogosphere. I’m thrilled to see everyone feeling comfortable expressing their unvarnished points of view.

    I’m sure we will all learn a lot from the experience. Thanks for taking time to contribute such thoughtful entries. What a range we’ve covered!

    Bob Weisenberg

    • I second that!! I’ve been watching all the action from the sidelines and have been amazed at the depth of thought and passion that y’all bring to the table. Thank you thank you thank you!!

  30. Juniper – We have been giving the 40 beauty disciplines away for free on that website – for three years, its in every one of the yoga for beauty DVD’s where it is also for free- people love them so much that we have decided it can be like a gift, when one decides to join our email list. This is not something that inundates one boxes, or urges sales, but instead, shares when its necessary and fun and pertains to our every growing and exploratory gifts of service and community education. If you don’t want to sign… all good.. But my old website had way to much content on it and we have decided to clean it up and keep it simple, I hope thats okay with you. Also no need to come to the site either unless you want to be a part of what we are up to… To each his own. 🙂

  31. I’m going to have to side with the “more yoga = more better” camp on this one. I also think it’s wonderful that Rainbeau Mars is so beautiful and presents herself the way she does. What is wrong with inner beauty reflected on the outside? I don’t think we should judge people (or companies) for making a profit promoting yoga. In yoga, we experience an exchange of energy. Many people associate money as an equitable exchange. I think if you’re going to help make yoga popular, it’s important to know your audience. If making yoga more mainstream means giving more people the opportunity to experience it, bravo!

  32. Wow. After reading Roseanne’s post on Monday, I too wrote a few words about this topic over at http://www.namasteknitting.blogspot.com. The deep, thoughtful, and passionate responses here have offered me quite a lot to think about.

    As a yoga teacher in a small rural community in the Midwest (one who really has no desire or plans to make it big on the yoga scene, but who just wants to help her family pay their modest bills) what’s happening in the bigger yoga world does concern me. While partnerships such as Rainbeau’s with Adidas does bring yoga into the greater public’s eye, it can also create an image and expectations that don’t always jive with their own local yoga scene.

    I agree that people should be welcomed into the practice for whatever reason they choose to explore…spiritual enlightenment or physical exercise. I myself came to yoga simply for the exercise 10 years ago. If it wasn’t for that I maybe would have never come to learn that the practice is actually so much more, so much deeper than stretchy hamstrings and broader shoulders.

    My worry is this, if the images and partnerships we choose to represent the practice we are all so obviously passionate about turn people away (because they don’t feel they themselves reflect that image) rather than invite them in with open arms, shame on us for not sharing this gift to the best of our abilities.

  33. I find this whole conversation fascinating, and respect each person’s right to their own views and opinions. To me, it seems like this whole issue crystallizes over the question: what *is* yoga? at what point does a practice cease to be yoga and become simply a physical exercise?

    As yoga becomes more and more widespread, extending beyond ashrams and yoga studios and into gyms, community centers and church basements, the teachers and students are going to be more and more diverse, approaching yoga with different expectations and intentions. While many are introduced to yoga because of its physical benefits and learn to appreciate the philosophy, values and lifestyle of yoga, many others have no desire to go beyond the asanas and get a tight “yoga butt”.

    This is where I believe the Adidas sponsorship comes in …. they are jumping on the bandwagon because they are identifying a particular audience, a group of people who are expressing interest in yoga because of its fitness benefits. As a sports/fitness brand, Adidas wants to associate itself with these physical benefits of yoga. As far as I am concerned, you can’t blame a corporate for seeking out additional ways of making a profit – that is the mission. I guess the conundrum arises when the yoga community is faced with whether we accept this connection between yoga and fitness as a “legitimate” yoga practice.

    It also seems to be a natural human impulse to try and create meaning and interpret our own experiences for ourselves, including yoga … which leads to many different styles and practices of yoga – including yoga as sport or for fitness. Yoga for sport/fitness seems to be one way of meaning making for a certain group of people – for them, they interpret yoga as a way to attain their health goals without delving into the spiritual side of yoga.

    So, to me, as a person relatively new to the “serious” yoga world, it appears that discussions such as this thread point to the desire to name, capture, categorize the concept of yoga … which is, by its very nature, an elusive process as yoga tends to be inclusive of different viewpoints and adaptive to different situations.

    I don’t have any answers by any means … I am enjoying reading others’ opinions and left wondering …. where does yoga fit into the fitness world, if it does?

  34. Wow,
    I feel like I just entered Jr. high school ( middle school ),
    I can’t believe that I just read the negativity dished out against a fellow yogini!
    If you don’t like corporate domination of anything don’t live in a capitalist society!
    As long as you choose to live somewhere where beauty and money are valued above all else, then this is what you are going to have to deal with.

    Rainbeau Mars is A yogini and a gift, who also has to make a Living like everyone else! The first few entries in the discussion ( from a bunch of catty childish girls) makes my skin crawl!
    Maybe you should get back on your mat /meditation cushion to remember what Yoga is about, instead of bashing someone in a chat forum that you have never even met, childish and bad Karma!
    If you don’t like the clothes or believe in the company don’t by them, but they are not the first or the last company to create a “yoga” line.
    Even Lululemon is making their clothes in china now but I bet you have some of there clothes or some other “yoga line ” also made in china in your closet
    and what is wrong with lip gloss anyway?

    I can’t believe that this much time of was spent Bashing Rainbeau ….I am going to go practice to get rid of this vibe
    Now I know why I have never bothered with these chat forums and never will again!
    don’t let them get you down Rainbeau, you are a radiant light keep on shining 😀 !

    • Thanks for adding your voice and standing up for Rainbeau. Some of the early comments were a little impassioned, it’s true. We’ve all had an emotional reaction to this whole deal, and sometimes we’ve spoken before thinking.

      But I need to address two of your comments here:

      1) “If you don’t like corporate domination of anything don’t live in a capitalist society!” Well, where am I supposed to live, North Korea? If not living in a capitalist society was an option, I would totally take it (unless it meant living in a totalitarian dictatorship). Unfortunately, I’m stuck with what we’ve got.

      2) “As long as you choose to live somewhere where beauty and money are valued above all else, then this is what you are going to have to deal with.” I’d rather not ‘have to deal’ with this, actually. I’d prefer to question and try to subvert it, and live my life according to my own values.

    • I agree with girlwarrior:
      I’d rather not have to ‘deal’ with sexism, racism and classism thank you very much. change doesn’t happen from complacency.
      I think what the vast majority of commentors here (myself included after I apologized- which you would have read) have been debating and discussing the corporation that has become yoga… not exactly ‘bashing’ (as many of us have pointed out she is obviously passionate about what she does).

      Yep- Lululemon definitely makes their clothing in China, but then we weren’t discussing ‘Lululemon Yoga’, we were discussing ‘Adidas Yoga’….

      I truly hope your practice helped decrease the ‘negative’ vibes that you have interpreted here in this wonderful blog.


  35. as ram das has said, “it’s not this or that, it’s this AND that.”

  36. Be the change that you want to be …. I believe that was Ghandi. And with all this discussion I think many need to go work in the garden and get their back aching and do real labor and remember what yoga really is…. does it really matter who does it and what it represents…. Turn off the Screen …. and take a breath and bend down reach back … down dog … up dog …. breath …. we maybe don’t need to concern ourselves with how other chose to promote their lifestyles….. how they do yoga how I do yoga … it just don’t matter….. Just do your yoga ….. turn off the screen and breath. I like all the views but it all seems petty … so I will add my petty view …. breath and go out in the woods and be the change that you want to be . It don’t matter how yoga is promoted just how it is lived out …. Be the change that you want to be.

  37. And what would we read in the blog world….what would I do with my 15 mins at the screen with out engaging blogs. Maybe avoid gossip.

    Well I would bog about …. what exactly are companies doing to support the change that needs to happen …. I would blog about the changes actually happening. The specifics. I would love to see action and the blogs about action.

    Not just fluffy stuff , we changed our lightbulbs and recycle our paper. Real action where profits are not the most important factor but how the product is made and who makes it. How much oil is needed to produce that product and where and how far are materials being shipped. Where is the product grown. Lets get dirty ( I mean that in a earth dirt sort of way).

  38. Hmm start a blog … well after I milk the cow and ride the horse, weed the garden, homeschool my kids…. then I gotta do a bit of yoga …. can’t I just read yours and make short quips back.


    and this from Lightasmass is so good.. i could not have said it better myself. BRAVA!
    Be the change that you want to be …. I believe that was Ghandi. And with all this discussion I think many need to go work in the garden and get their back aching and do real labor and remember what yoga really is…. does it really matter who does it and what it represents…. Turn off the Screen …. and take a breath and bend down reach back … down dog … up dog …. breath …. we maybe don’t need to concern ourselves with how other chose to promote their lifestyles….. how they do yoga how I do yoga … it just don’t matter….. Just do your yoga ….. turn off the screen and breath. I like all the views but it all seems petty … so I will add my petty view …. breath and go out in the woods and be the change that you want to be . It don’t matter how yoga is promoted just how it is lived out …. Be the change that you want to be.

  40. I actually live in Los Angeles and have seen the nauseating, childish, copy-cat antics of Rainbeau Mars personally – and yes, it is skin crawling. Of course the words on her website contradict her – she simply copies them from other people. I am relieved to see that so many others also see through her facade.

    • Hi, Jodi.

      If you have some specific comments about Rainbeau’s work or commercial relationship with adidas, I encourage you to tell us. That’s what this great discussion is all about.

      However, a comment as vague and personal as, “Rainbeau makes my skin crawl because she is childish” is not very helpful, in my opinion. I suggest we all follow the Golden Rule and criticize only in a manner we would want to be criticized ourselves.

      I only know Rainbeau because she has personally taken the time to respond at great length on this and 4-5 other related blogs to every criticism that has been made of her and her work.

      I don’t know many other people who would have jumped into this hornet’s nest of derision and responded with such Yogic patience, warmth and intelligence, just calmly telling her side of the story with not the slightest hint of malice toward her critics.

      So unless Rainbeau has a ghost writer so clever as to write in broken grammar and apologize for it just to make it seem like it really came from Rainbeau, I think she deserves to be judged by what she has written at least as much as anything else. I personally was deeply impressed.

      Bob Weisenberg

  41. wow.

    and wow.

  42. Thanks Bob. There are those who buy words and those who live truth. Do you enjoy Scrabble?

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