Ashtanga Jois Yoga “Trophy Wife” feature in Vanity Fair.

Via on Mar 13, 2012

Vanity Fair hypes controversy, big money and lack of tact into:

“Yoga-for-Trophy-Wives Fitness Fad That’s Alienating Discipline Devotees.”

A week without yoga politics, money and gossip in the mainstream news? No such luck.

Excerpt (click here for the full thing at VF).

Jois Yoga, in honor of Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois, an eminent yoga teacher whose many students called him Guruji, and whose death on May 18, 2009, occasioned lengthy obituaries in such important newspapers as The New York Times and London’s Guardian.

The money behind the new studio comes from Sonia Tudor Jones, whose husband, 57-year-old Paul Tudor Jones II, runs the multi-billion-dollar hedge-fund empire Tudor Investment Corp. Tudor is one of the oldest and most respected hedge funds—its flagship fund, Tudor BVI Global, has averaged annual gains of 21 percent over its 25-year history, according to The Wall Street Journal—and while very little about it is public, Forbes has estimated Paul Tudor Jones’s net worth at $3.2 billion.

Jones is also a noted philanthropist, the founder of the Robin Hood Foundation, the oh-so-stylish charity for the hedge-fund set. The Joneses live in Greenwich. This will be his wife’s fourth Jois studio, or “shala” in yoga lingo, and that’s only part of her far-flung project. In partnership with Pattabhi Jois’s daughter and grandson and a friend, San Diego-based entrepreneur Salima Ruffin, she’s also launched a Jois line of yoga clothes, and she is setting up charities to bring yoga to everyone, from charter schools in Florida to villages in Africa. Ruffin likes to say that Sonia is the “Mother Teresa of yoga.”…read the rest.

About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom

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28 Responses to “Ashtanga Jois Yoga “Trophy Wife” feature in Vanity Fair.”

  1. Yogamamba says:

    Everyone talking about yoga seem blissfully unaware or are forgetting that y o g a is what happens as the result of the practices. The practices of yoga are not yoga – and can never and have never been yoga because the word yoga describes a human beings oneness that is him/herself. There are certainly no styles in this nor particular methods associated with this. This cannot be branded, franchised, or sold anywhere – anyone claiming ownership of this is deluding themselves and is misguiding the public. Who cares what Krishnamacharya, Pattabhi Jois, Iyengar or anyone calls yoga, as a word has one meaning. Like Pizza. You may enjoy all different types but pizza in the end is pizza. Just like we don't call anyone enjoying pizza a Pizzi. So we shouldn't call anyone enjoying doing yoga exercises a yogi. A yogi is something quite different. Its someone who knows themselves as the yoga itself. A person who enjoys doing asana is an Asani.

  2. [...] Ashtanga Jois Yoga “Trophy Wife” feature in Vanity Fair. (elephantjournal.com) Share this:Like this:Like2 bloggers like this post. [...]

  3. NO Respect ! says:

    With all her money, they can open hundreds of Jois Yoga in any major city around the world, and WE CAN CARE LESS !
    BUT, why ENCINITAS ? Why open a studio down the road from Tim Miller's "Ashtanga Yoga Center" which has more than 30 years Ashtanga history in that small town ? And if they really want to preserve the memory of Pattabhi Jois and have a temple or shrine in Encinitas, why don't they work with Tim , one of the most respected , decent and dedicated Ashtanga teacher and practitioner in today's yoga world ?
    Have those people who claim yoga save their lives, learned any respect, integrity from yoga beside the asanas ?

    • yogamamba says:

      There isn't one temple built to a 'Guru' in India. Whats all this nonsense about guru's. Do you build temples to mathematics teachers – or your driving instructor? Once you learn how to drive or do the maths they get out the way- they have to or you won't do the math for yourself. We don't carry our driving instructor around in our car with us everyday or put a picture of them on the wall do we or do poojah to your maths teacher every time we do a calculation? So why all this adulation for someone who taught us how to stretch? Anyway try learning math or driving from a teacher who is no longer alive it doesn't work.
      Not to show too much disrespect – I happened to be in Mysore and met Mr Jois senior who was only interested in the money. I know for a fact he was also extremely interested in adjusting people inappropriately. Many witnessed this yet no one talks about it. Someone actually photographed it. Have a look if you're interested. http://theyogaco.com/index.php?option=com_content

  4. [...] Ashtanga Jois Yoga “Trophy Wife” feature in Vanity Fair. (elephantjournal.com) [...]

  5. “Mother Teresa of yoga.”

    I appreciate a good piece of hyperbole as much as the next person. But No. Really. No.

    I've given change to the homeless and helped organize activism for different rights groups – it doesn't make me the Gandhi of Yoga/Herbalism/Etc. I'm missing where she's done even that….

    I hate to judge the experience of others but frankly this quote:

    "She was struggling through the first series, and she cried when she lined up with all the other students to touch his feet after practice. For her, as for so many others, the narrow lines of the practice were part of the appeal. “I love rules,” she says. “I went to Catholic school and would be really happy when I was told what I could and couldn’t do.”"

    Just disturbs me.

  6. elephantjournal says:

    #
    William L. Wilson ‎"Vanity Fair hypes controversy" but Elephant Journal isn't?

    #
    AstaYoga oh oh here we go… Yoga people seems to love some drama… boring!

    #
    elephantjournal.com ‎William L. Wilson, we're sharing this, but not hyping it. The article is well written and brings up many good points…we love Tim Miller, for one, so it seemed worth sharing. But we're not a fan of the title, or the hype behind it. Thanks. ~ Waylon.

    • Thanks! says:

      Thanks Waylon for sharing this article. More people in the yoga world should know the real story about the "Jois Yoga" and the way they treat a respected, dedicated Ashtanga teacher and one of the most loyal student of Pattabhi Jois!

  7. When I was "Looking for John Friend" (an article I posted on Elephant last month) I came across the Jois studio and boutique in Encinitas. I was surprised as Astanga seemed like the least likely school to go glam but there it was. I did wonder if Tim Miller was still down the street in the modest little studio I had gone to so many years ago. It seemed like another world from this incarnation. Now I know what happened. I'm getting awfully tired of this stuff.

  8. Yoga is an ancient practise so it is hard to pin point who are the creators, WELL SAID Yogasamurai! At least they are involved with a good(ish) cause – Robin Hood Foundation. Great read though

    Regards

  9. laura says:

    I’m curious. Isn’t Tim Miller’s studio in a swanky mall above an apple store and anthroplogie in Carlsbad?

    Everyone comes to yoga for different reasons and get different gifts from it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ya know it did move from that place down the street to the high end mall. And the last time I checked, Tim’s shala is full, even fuller when Sharath comes to town.

    And AYC sells clothes too. It’s clear Sonia as co. did act in an obtuse even if well intended fashion. Something people with that much money tend to do. But isn’t she living out her karma too? I think, honestly, it’s all gonna be ok. Tim’s daughter’s private school will get paid for and the Jois shalas will lose money but perhaps give young teachers a chance to actually teach the method without worrying about paying the rent.

    When everyone’s eg

  11. springhaze says:

    The politics are incredibly complicated as there are many experienced authorized teachers at these Jois Shalas (some of whom I have studied with). They are devoted practitioners and excellent teachers making an honest living. If I lived in Encinitas though, I would go to Tim's place–no doubt. Anyone on the ground in Encinitas–has the new Jois Shala hurt Tim's business?

    As a side note–what audience is Vanity Fair targeting? Surely not it's the regular readership. This article is long (and probably boring to everyone aside from Ashtanga practitioners). Why did it come out right on the heels of the confluence?

    • elephantjournal says:

      Good questions! I think the billionaire angle helped it fit for VF—but you can see they hyped up the title compared with the pretty good piece of journalism beneath it. ~ Waylon

  12. Yogamamba says:

    There isn't one temple built to a 'Guru' in India. Whats all this nonsense about guru's. Do you build temples to mathematics teachers – or your driving instructor? Once you learn how to drive or do the maths they get out the way- they have to or you won't do the math for yourself. We don't carry our driving instructor around in our car with us everyday or put a picture of them on the wall do we or do poojah to your maths teacher every time we do a calculation? So why all this adulation for someone who taught us how to stretch? Anyway try learning math or driving from a teacher who is no longer alive it doesn't work.
    Not to show too much disrespect – I happened to be in Mysore and met Mr Jois senior who was only interested in the money. I know for a fact he was also extremely interested in adjusting people inappropriately. Many witnessed this yet no one talks about it. Someone actually photographed it.

    Have a look if you're interested. http://theyogaco.com/index.php?option=com_content….

  13. Yogamamba says:

    Oops – here is the correct link.
    http://theyogaco.com/index.php?option=com_content

  14. yogamamba says:

    I'm sure money paid to a good publicist eases your way into big publications like VF. These guys aren't interested in the fact that this practice is rooted in british gymnastics or that it is no different form other yoga practices. Patanjali started this naming of yoga when he put his name on the knowledge which he got from where? From his teacher who got it from his teacher and so on. No one gets wise just standing on their head or holding the breath doing mula bandha! What knowledge has Sharat or his grandfather shared with anyone besides how to get in and out of a yoga posture? Once the practice is all done and finished – who are you then? This is yoga. Tat Twam Asi.

  15. keblon hipolito says:

    hey Yogamamba I check you link and its was really great I really like it thanks for sharing it I hope more links like that to come..
    VZ 58

  16. Having studied in Mysore for many, many years…and studied under Shri Pattabhi Jois directly, there are many people who do not know the full story that lead up to this one……re: opening Jois Yoga and leaving a legacy that will extend beyond Sharath as well.

    What I am referring to is PJ's right-hand man Mr. Joseph Durham who faded into the background as Sharath came of age. He was the one totally responsible for all of the US tours, etc…It is said that PJ would never had gone had Joseph not held his hand. As I understood, Joseph planted the seed idea of opening a yogashala; one to spread out in America and carry on the name. However, at the the time they did not like that idea very much…..! Or, maybe it was they did not like with whom the idea was coming from. It could also have been the way it was presented…..Perhaps they misunderstood that Joseph was going to take over when it was in fact a way of developing the name and the Yoga….and nothing really to do with Joseph. He would just be the 'man' behind the scenes…as he always was….

    However, this little suggestion didn't go over well. There may have also been other factors involved….but interestingly enough, Joseph was right in there and had pretty much dedicate his life to PJ. Any of the Mysore crowds and students know Joseph…perhaps not those coming now…but certainly all the oldies…re: Tim, Lino, etc…

    Anyway, doesn't matter all the details…..because that little idea left its mark…and I am confident that this lead both PJ and Sharath to gradually hook up with the right persons and head in the direction of Jois Yoga.

    So when I read this article…i was not overly surprised. I saw how they treated their longtime assistance….Mr. Joseph Durham….who was the expert tour guide to many new yoga students coming to Mysore. He even had a house in which he used as a bed and breakfast place.

    He faded out…and interestingly enough had a heart attack about a year after PJ's death. Although he was still hanging around Mysore….he told me personally that when PJ died his work would be done. However, I must admit I truly wondered why he was still hanging around……because his work was pretty much finished anyway. He had told me a bit about the riff created between them and that he did not have as much contact.

    Still, in his heart PJ was his forever friend.

    Funny, these attachments never go two-ways.

    Basically, my feel on this stuff….is welcome to the world of business…yoga or not….and we all can lay claim to them not learning much from yoga….but business is business….and those are just the facts.

    The oddest comment from the article was really the quote at the end….Dunno know what that's supposed to mean…but whatever….

    As well, I think the old saying that is edged into a statue of Sivananda at the ashram in val Morin is quite fitting.

    Goes something like, "We stand together but perish alone."

    • yogamamba says:

      Perhaps Heather it is simply that Joseph did not have the money and resources that these new people do that led to the family dropping him. 'Follow the money.'

  17. yoda says:

    @yogamamba. Too many yoga teachers touch students inappropriately – the rascals. I hated the yoga teacher I was learning from as a teen. Not many indian girls learn from male teachers for this reason.

    Is Yoga inherently religious? Of course! I can't see how the case can be won … unless the judge puts blinkers on to see only the shallow ground that Jois Yoga is determined to tread, but at least through the case the world will learn more about Patanjali, yoga and effortless being. The way westerners practice yoga is incomprehensible without the philosophy and lifestyle (power yoga?? pilates? lol) but I think cases like this will help it root correctly.

    Yoga is one of India's biggest exports, second only to our spirituality and Gurus – though we never seem to send out our best. One day the whole idea will gel, it will all come together and it will look very hindu and make more sense.

    It's reality that people are in it for the money, but that's reality. Mysore is an underdeveloped city with a lot of joblessness.

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