catching up on the blogosphere: barbie yoga, co-opting crowdfunding & a (final?) public statement from john friend

Which came first: Barbie-fied yoga or yoga-fied Barbie? You decide.

I spent the weekend immersed in my own yoga community, as part of the first ever Yoga Festival Montreal. I’m still emerging slowly from what feels like some kind of alternate yoga reality where people practiced, talked, debated and celebrated together. It’s a lot of work to organize and co-create a community endeavor and for three days I had to pretty much disconnect from the outside world, including the yoga blogosphere.

I’m still catching up on what I missed, but here are some highlights:

‘Yoga Teacher’ Barbie Takes on the World – This was inevitable. Yoga culture has been increasingly Barbie-fied over the past few years, so it’s no surprise that Mattel would clue in. ‘Yoga Teacher’ Barbie is one of the “I can be…” series which include Barbie in career roles such as Track Star, Architect, Babysitter and President.

GLBL YOGA “Movement” Has the Nerve to “Crowdfund” a $675,000 “Free” Yoga Class in Central Park – When the promotional video for the “World’s Largest Yoga Class” includes Richard Branson and Russel Simmons asking me to contribute money for a celebrity-studded “free” yoga event in Central Park, I really can’t take it seriously.

This is obviously a response to Flavorpill’s highly criticized corporate-sponsored Great Lawn event of 2010, which was rained out and kind of a fiasco – the organizers learned that many yogis are skeptical of events that include branded yoga mats, so they thought they would co-opt the concept of crowdfunding (since it’s cool and hip right now) and let the yoga community foot the bill of their extravagant and excessive large-scale yoga event.

The GLBL YOGA Indiegogo page shows lacklustre contributions thus far and a series of sarcastic comments. Take a hint, y’all…

John Friend Rises From the Ashes with Another Long Convoluted Letter About the State and Future of Anusara Yoga – Originally posted on Facebook, YogaDork has also posted the entire letter. It’s a little bit overdue, but finally the world gets to hear Friend’s side of the story. He also outlines some proposals for the administration and direction of Anusara yoga, leaving it up to interested teachers to carry the torch and save the brand. The essence of his letter lies here:

If there is not enough participation in running the school, then I will close the school next year when the final teacher license expires. However, over this past weekend, several licensed teachers have contacted me to let me know that they are happy we can finally move forward and get busy with refining and rebuilding, so I am presuming there are other people who want to move forward, regardless of who holds ownership of the trademarks.

The future of Anusara yoga is now in the hands of the teachers.

Let’s hope this is the last we hear of this saga for a while, so the whole community can heal and move on.

  1. The Yoga Festival was awesome Roseanne; it felt like a community and everyone was sincere and warm.

    Thanks for sharing the news about Barbie. Now the question for girls is, which shall i be, a yoga teacher, the president or a babysitter? Such choice.

    I actually am really impressed at Barbie’s perserverance to become a hatha yoga teacher with that ankle disability (they don’t move). Not being limited by your limitations, that is an important part of the practice.