adidas yoga shoe things on SF television show

Okay y’all, check this out: during a Jan 18 appearance on a San Francisco television show (which I can’t seem to embed; click here to watch the full video), Rainbeau Mars demonstrated an immunity boosting yoga routine – then shamelessly plugged her Adidas Yoga strappy shoe things. It happens during the last minute, so you have to watch 6 minutes and 24 seconds of a yoga demonstration on the two television show hosts, who dangerously attempt to practice without warming up and while wearing socks. People, do not try this at home!

It’s more than a little painful to watch. After they finish up the routine and discuss an immunity boosting soup recipe, the following conversation occurs:

TV show host: Now if i wear those yoga shoes, will my yoga moves be better?
Rainbeau: … yeah, sure… they’re like little grips. I got adidas to go sustainable, so this is my signature sustainable thing.

So what do y’all think? Is it ethical for a yoga teacher to plug her products on television? Is this a service or disservice? And will the right yoga shoes improve our “yoga moves”? Let’s hear your thoughts!

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  1. IThe whole notion of “sustainable” products, I think, has to do with lessening the harm done to the planet of things you’re going to use anyway (like food), while, to live a truly sustainable lifestyle would, presumably, involve using few if any products you don’t actually need (since the creation and transporting of practically any product involves some damage to the environment). This, however, seems to be a case of introducing a new, completely unnecessary product and convincing people that they need it. So, while I don’t want to get into the ethics of what yoga teachers do or don’t do, I’d definitely have to question her claim to be creating this “sustainable” product to make the world a better place, and say: “just admit you’re doin’ it for the money, sister…”

  2. It’s a bit….. ick isn’t it?

    And yoga shoes? Really? Because that’s what yoga’s all about. The shoes! *rolleyes*

    Don’t get me wrong I’m totally into getting as many people to do yoga as possible and to get the word out there, but I really think we need to stop the “must buy material possessions to do yoga” thing….

  3. I’m at work, so I’ll be watching the little clip tonight after yoga class… can’t wait.

    Did you see the yogis on Martha Steward?? I thought that was SUPER interesting……

  4. I agree with Rachel and YfC. Items you don’t really need are okay cuz they’re “sustainable?” And adding more supplies to a yogi/ni’s practice is not something I want to support.

    YW
    (aka: A Green Spell)

  5. In addition to the few classes I teach, I also assist in yoga classes at my “home” studio. So like most of you, I see a lot of bodies – a good number of which are under the stress of illness, fatigue, age, anorexia, rehab, overeating, grief, you name it.

    That some people are able to get to that yoga class every week despite their challenges is a miracle. When they look unsure or frustrated, I try to help them feel welcome and accepted. For many, not feeling good/pretty/skinny/rich enough is what got them into trouble in the first place.

    There are so many mental blocks to following through on your yoga practice – do we really need to make budding practitioners even more unsure by throwing flashy yoga gear in the mix? Some are already thrown off by lululemon…

    I don’t ever want students to think they need to purchase expensive, unnecessary shoes from adidas to practice yoga. As a teacher, I try to instill the idea that you are accepted as is. That may be Rainbeau’s approach to yoga, but it’s not mine.

  6. Oh good grief. No, people, you do not need yoga shoes to do yoga, just like you do not need $80 lululemon pants. You can wear your $10 Target pants and PLEASE use your bare feet! Sigh. Why didn’t they invite me to be on the show so I could set everyone straight? : )

  7. i agree with Dr. Jay and well, everyone else above. And I know this without having watched the vid yet (but don’t worry, I will watch it tonight!).

    totally besides the ethics part (I’m a little nervous about having another whole “discussion” again….!), special shoes, sustainably made or not, require energy and resources to be made… and shipped. It’s not like they magically appear on our doorstep without having been shipped by boat/truck/air….

    We are on a consume consume consume track, and encouraging individuals to be more sustainable by consuming more things they do not need isn’t the solution.

    For myself, “sustainable” does not equate “superfluous yoga gear”.

    The entire premise of the word sustainable implies a system that is self-sustaining, without need of replacement. Even if she substituted her wording for “sustainably created”- any sort of product we are creating in today’s factories require energy, that is being produced using coal and oil, which is a finite resource and extremely polluting and NOT sustainable.

    those shoes are not sustainable.

  8. Ethical? Not really, for all the reasons mentioned above. Yoga should be something you can do with the minimal amount of gear. It’s just tacky, I think. Yoga should be about the practitioner and the practice, not the gear you have.

  9. I feel like I’m watching a teacher trainee foul up her final test because she’s so nervous. Some rehearsal might have been useful.

    That being said, I find using yoga as a marketing tool for other products extremely distasteful. As various people said, it’s bad enough that people think the practice is just for the young and flexible–why does it also need to be loaded up with a bunch of expensive equipment? There was an opportunity to encourage people to practice with whatever they have available–but it was squandered in an effort to somehow bring in “green” as another selling angle.

    From a design standpoint, I question the value of all the fussy lacing. Not particularly attractive and what happens if all those ties come undone during a vinyasa flow?

  10. I think it’s cute that someone would think that a single person could have so much influence on a multi-billion dollar company that her suggestion was what got them to “go sustainable.”

    I also think it’s cute that apparently in order to justify the existence of ANYTHING, necessity or accessory, all we have to do is put the word sustainable in it’s description.

    Ridiculous. And yes, somewhat painful to watch.

  11. PS Obviously I’m not doing very good with my plan to step away from the yoga blog scene for a bit πŸ™‚

  12. ummm, ok I just watched it. that was painful to watch.

    Especially since I watched Martha’s yogis a few weeks ago. Martha practiced without her socks, AND actually had one yogi (her niece) cook a soup on the SHOW.

    In any case, after the entire conversation that was kindly hosted here a few months ago on this yogi, I am not at all surprised by this video.

    I really liked how the host guy was actually doing pretty darn good!

  13. It’s sad how “Westernized” the practice has become in so many ways. Yoga in its true essence is beautiful. It makes me sad to see things like this. As teachers, it is up to us to keep it real. Thank you for this post.

  14. c’mon, Roseanne! how cruel of you to even insinuate that Rainbeau is in any way insincere and merely shilling her products! really!! you know that anything that brings people closer to yoga is a good thing, I mean, ANYTHING!!! Y’all are just haters!!! shanti, love, and light to all of you!!! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

    (writing this from the country that is the heart of yoga where I spent one week at a very famous yoga school….and not one yoga mat, prop, or yoga shoe present….:)….god, how the hell did I practice without those?!?!?)

  15. To be fair, the women asked Rainbeau about her shoes. I don’t think there was anything wrong with her talking about them. What was she suppose to say, “Oh I can’t talk about them because there are these snarky yoga bloggers that will hang me in the morning… (how contrarian I am for once πŸ™‚

    On the other hand, I question all the toxin claims which always concerned me whenever a sick teacher shows up for class. I’d like to see someone take those claims on which would be more relevant to the practice of yoga then debating Rainbeau’s shoes. Just saying…

  16. Amen, yogis. I agree. Whether they’re made by Adidas or Jimmy Choo or whomever, “sustainable” or not- nobody needs shoes to do yoga. PERIOD.

  17. The host didn’t just say, “tell me about your shoes,” she asked if they would help her yoga moves and RM said, “yes.” Meaning this product makes your practice better than what it was. The shoes will make you a better yogi than some who does yoga in bare feet.

    But this isn’t really about the shoes. This is about a self-appointed representative of the yoga world presenting a version of the discipline that flies in the face of what a lot of us think yoga is all about. (If you think I’m exaggerating, look at her website that starts off with a picture of her posing in a sexy swimsuit…”catapulted to the forefront of the yoga community …propelling yoga across all sports”…etc etc).

    She might be a lovely person, but she embodies many awful yoga stereotypes that are very tricky to dispel: the best yogis are amazingly flexible, yoga teachers are qualified to dispense medical advice, if you teach movie stars you are a voice of authority, yoga is full of new age-y lingo, you need to purchase expensive equipment to grow in your practice. All evidenced in the above video or her site.

    So maybe I sound shrill and resentful, or snarky, but I’m sick and tired of students apologizing for being stiff or out of shape, or hearing about people avoiding yoga because they can’t do any of the poses. Where do you think they are getting these ideas from?

  18. Well said, Brenda P.!

    Something else that occurred to me yesterday as I was thinking about this is that it’s kind of sexist, in a way. I mean, many people in North America who do yoga right now are women, and many “yoga products” are marketed to women. Of course, everyone knows ALL women LOVE to buy shoes…so why not yoga shoes too!! It just plays into many stereotypes about women and consumerism. It reminded me of the blog here on Asana (TM) yogurt.

  19. I appreciate the fairness point brought up by YogaDawg. But what bugs me is that, if you want yoga to be accessible and you show up with yoga shoes, the message you are sending is that you need yoga shoes to do yoga. A teacher, whether he/she wants is it or not, is a model for the students.

    If she had answered something like ‘I like wearing those but you don’t need any shoes to do yoga’, then we probably would not be having this discussion… Actually, Rosanne would most certainly have found an angle to comment on something anyway πŸ˜‰

  20. I couldn’t agree with you more. I think the most unfortunate part of this, is that the message becomes about the benefits of the product, rather than the benefits of practicing yoga, which are monumental, and have nothing to do with the pants you wear or the type of mat you use.

  21. Brenda….you are totally right-on, girlfriend. agree 150%.

  22. You all are simply always amazing me. Thank you for your loving generous support! I did not ask them to talk about the grip shoes I was wearing, but when asked about them – most definitely they would be better then the socks that they were wearing. I had all of 5 minutes to hit the mark and try to share the information that I did. I would love it, if you all go on television, share a piece of good information and post it up here. Judge not, less he be judged. I am saddened, that this site be called “Its all Yoga Baby” and that you guys would have such a good time judging other people. God Bless you all anyway and may the yoga help breath you into the places that it has the capabilities to do. A place that is here to provide a place for all. Not just some. Be well. Rainbeau

    • hi rainbeau – thanks for stopping by. please don’t dismiss the comment section on this post as being merely “judgemental.” my hope is that you’ll take in some of the feedback and think about how you present yoga to the world. when i first watched the tv footage, i was concerned about the safety of the practice that you taught and your blatant product endorsement. even your claim to get adidas to “go sustainable” seemed far-fetched.

      in my opinion, the conversation here has been healthy and respectful. i hope that you’ll read the comments and see what everyday yoga practitioners are thinking about “sustainable yoga products” and how high-profile teachers are representative of yoga – rather than simply feeling judged, or “holier than thou.”

      this blog is called “it’s all yoga, baby” because that is how i view the world. and i believe that yoga encompasses all – not just the pretty, sweet, rainbow aspects of life. critical thinking, analytic practices, questioning… that’s all yoga. baby. and that’s what is happening here. please don’t take it personally.

    • “most definitely they would be better then the socks that they were wearing.”

      I expect that’s true…then, so would taking their socks off and being barefoot.

      While I certainly can’t speak for all of the commenters here (in fact, I haven’t read them all, so for all I know some were really judgmental), what I and most of the commenters I have read up there were doing was simply disagreeing with some things you said, in my case your use of the word “sustainable” (and, yes, I also just found fault with the logic in the line quoted above). But, then, I also disagree with the way some of your critics up there use the word “Westernized” as a put-down–which strikes me as the classic romantic orientalist view that everything in magical mystical In-dya is pure and spiritual and corrupted by any intermingling with the ideas and practices of the western world–gotta love that caste system, burning down mosques and building Hindu temples in their place just to aggravate the Muslims, widespread female infanticide, the leading yoga guru in India being one of the leading opponents of decriminalizing homosexuality, etc. Ultimately, I’m all for a vast array of different ideas practices in the yoga world, but part of respecting one another is a willingness to share viewpoints, even when those viewpoints are critical of one another. For instance, many in the anti-“westernized” camp are people who’s blogs I read, and who read mine. I like them and don’t judge them, despite our disagreements, and, as far as I know, they feel the same way about me…or at least I hope so…. And, as for you, sounds like you’re sharing yoga with a lot of people. I think that’s great and I hope you keep it up.

  23. My yoga teachers have always taught me to question everything. To not accept anything as “true” or “right” merely because someone adds the word “yoga”. My reaction to this clip was merely a questioning of whether or not this approach to yoga is “true” or “right” for me.

    In the context I live in, it is not. If that is the approach that you choose, Rainbeau, I heartily encourage you to continue on that path. But as I continue to craft my own way of living yoga, I will continue to ask questions and evaluate what comes before my eyes to understand how it relates to who I am. For me, that is yoga.

  24. Rainbeau, I appreciate your willingness to write in and participate in the dialogue. It takes a lot of guts to face your critics.

    And that is all this is–criticism. Judgment is such a loaded term and implies a condemnation on beyond the scope of the present discussion. Let’s leave that to the Higher Powers, shall we?

    As girlwarrior so eloquently put it, this is a conversation about the state of yoga in this country (continent?). As a member of the yoga community you claim to be at the forefront of, I have a right to be critical about the way is it presented. Just as anyone who finds fault with my little corner of the blogosphere has a right to comment and request an explanation.

    So, I hope you will take this opportunity to enlighten me. It bothers me that the general public tends to see yoga as only for thin, extreme flexible women in expensive yoga duds. I worry that swimsuit pictures and $60 yoga shoes only increase this misunderstanding.

    Do my complaints make sense? Am I misreading your message? Here’s a chance to set me straight. I hope you will take it…if not, well, thanks for listening…

  25. Brenda,

    I dont remember ever saying that I was on the forefront of everything. Just a human, responding to life, passion, livelihood, right action, motherhood, responsibilities and well – doing my best to serve what comes before my experience. I have been raised and taught to believe that whatever I don’t like in anyone else, is something to look at in myself and see the world as a reflection. In this state, I honor your opinion and do believe that empty consumerism can be nauseating. At the same time, I am a girl, do appreciate fashion and like to look feminine or cute, while always reinventing my experience. In this, I hope there are solutions that are environmental, more responsible and sustainable. It was a long shot and a big effort, that took place when I convinced adidas that they must be pioneers (regardless of the bottom line) and take a more socially responsible and environmental position, thus my own signature line. I am very grateful for that opportunity and experience and to be able to crete a mainstream edge and choice. Now that I am no longer with adidas, (who I am always grateful for and we will always be allies) I will continue the same as I always have and do the best that I can. Aligning my intentions of honesty, non harm and social and personal ethics by creating beautiful, healthy and holistically around my world and family and anyone else who asks me too. Thats it. Thats all.

    God Bless you Brenda. Be well.

    Rainbeau

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