Has Yoga Journal become Yoga Vegas? ~ Roz Lambeth

Via on May 25, 2012
Photo: Uutela

Editor’s note: it’s our view that, as with iPhones and iPads and groceries and gas and cars, the American consumer doesn’t want to pay the true cost. If Yoga Journal wasn’t half-supported by ads, a subscription would cost, say, $300 a year. A single issue on the newsstand would cost $20. I’ve always said I’d welcome an ad from McDonald’s (not that they’re offering) on elephant. Why? I’ll take their money, sure. They should have less money. And our readers are, I hope, conscious consumers. We think for ourselves. That’s what elephant is about.

The same ought to go, I hope, for Yoga Journal. If you like an ad or a product, support it. Is it fair labor? Eco-responsible? Does it aid your practice, and life? Go for it. If no, ignore it.

Every year I attend dozens of conferences, and expos. Most of the products I see on offer there are plastic, plastic, crap, sugar, made in China (etc). I ignore them.

~ ed.

~

Is big media’s mission to separate you from your money?

Last March, I went to Las Vegas for the first time.

I have to say I’m not a “Vegas” person, but I was there to give a presentation at a Change Management conference, went with an open mind and decided to take in the Vegas experience.

Photo: Photographersnature

I gambled, a little. Drank, in moderation. Ate—quite well. Shopped—mostly via window. Took in a Cirque show, took a local yoga class (of course) and went hiking in the Valley of Fire State Park.

The last two were my favorites, but not really a part of what you would call “the Vegas experience.”

In the end, I decided that the true purpose of Las Vegas (the mission and vision of the strategic plan, so to speak) is to separate you from your money.

And it’s no secret.

That’s what makes it work.

Photo: Paxse

The people who go there know they will likely be separated from their money, and they’re surprisingly willing, and even eager to partake in the experience.

On the way home I picked up my most recent edition of Yoga Journal, and read it on the plane.

I read through the practice, health, and inspiration articles, and skimmed the advertisements.

The copious advertisements…so many advertisements.

And it hit me: ‘Holy Cow!’

There are more advertisements in this magazine than there are articles, and the advertisements are overwhelmingly for high-end and somewhat overpriced fodder. Really attractive, “wish I had it” fodder, but fodder nonetheless.

Advertisements for pricey yoga clothing, mats, and accessories, overpriced supplements and things you must have to stay healthy, “healthy” junk food, yoga vacations to exotic locations, the list goes on.

I had to ask myself, Is the purpose of the ads in Yoga Journal, like Vegas, to separate you from your money?

Could it be that under this healthy, wholesome, and “I’m way more spiritual than you” disguise is a Yoga Vegas?  Only the people who come here may not know it, and if they thought of it that way may not be as willing to partake in the experience.

Photo: Max Rebo Band

I realize that yoga is a business (I’m a teacher and part owner of a studio), but has Yoga Journal and the American Yoga Industry taken the business end too far?

The beauty of yoga for me is that it doesn’t require much: just you, your mat, a desire to be whole.

Period.

No special products, no overpriced equipment.

Have we lost the very thing that brought us here in the first place?

I’m still enjoying my monthly Yoga Journal (the articles). I try not to pay much attention to the advertisements, even though they really are quite eye catching.

When it comes time to pony up for the new subscription, will I?

Hmmm…I’m not quite sure, yet.

Roz is a YogiCyclist. She’s been an avid cyclist for over 25 years, practicing yoga for 16, and teaching yoga for 12. She discovered yoga while pregnant with her first daughter and on a cycling hiatus.  Over the next few years she grew her practice and began teaching. When she got back on the bike she discovered that the yoga practice made her a better cyclist. Much better. Roz is a firm believer that every athlete should include yoga as a part of their training routine. In addition to the physical aspects of yoga, Roz was raised on the yogic philosophy and principles handed down by Paramahansa Yogananda, and says her mother has been her greatest yoga teacher. When she’s not practicing yoga, cycling, or wrangling her two teenagers, Roz is a Management Consultant specializing in Change Management and Strategic Development for VectorCSP in North Carolina.

~

Editor: Elysha Anderson

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13 Responses to “Has Yoga Journal become Yoga Vegas? ~ Roz Lambeth”

  1. Elize says:

    Great article. And I completely agree- wrote similarly in a comment yesterday re: the open (nice) letter asking for YJ to feature more diverse people on their covers. I stopped renewing my subscription because I decided I preferred to not be bombarded with ads for things I can't afford, and don't need, to practice yoga. I still enjoy YJ, but will not buy full subscriptions anymore.

    • Roz Lambeth says:

      Thanks for reading Elize. YJ seems to have gotten away from their original purpose under the bright lights and glitter of their popularity and growth. I enjoy the practice articles and get a lot out of them. I've tried some good recipes. I find the spiritual side of the mag is somewhat superficial though. I guess you can only go so deep when trying to appeal to the masses.
      I picked up a Yoga International in the grocery store the other day. It might become my substitute. :)

      • Elize says:

        I'll have to check that out- thank you!

      • Vision_Quest2 says:

        Even OM, the British rough equivalent of Yoga Journal, is a more thoughtful magazine – for us middle of the roaders … its gloss is mostly in the paper it's made from. It is possible the magazine reflects the culture it is published in. As a primarily home practitioner, I find I do not need to look at a yoga magazine as the equivalent of looking at a catalog of yoga culture. As a non-teacher, who does not need yoga insurance, and who has no interest in teacher training, I do not need the diminishing mostly anatomy-focused (and little spirituality-focused) editorial content remaining between the covers of a magazine with political correctness just this side of American Glamour. I take that back–for decades, Glamour has been more politically correct than Cosmo, and is still more politically correct than Yoga Journal. Yoga Journal has roughly the same level of poltical correctness of American Marie Claire .. and that's not saying much … a yoga magazine that seems aimed towards women, has to answer to a higher standard …

        • Roz Lambeth says:

          Thanks for your comment Vision_Quest2. I agree that YJ as a promoter of a healthy lifestyle to women, should answer to a higher standard.

  2. Chrys says:

    And that is one of the many reasons I cancelled my subscription to YJ years ago and have no desire to attend a YJ conference. Well said Roz!

    • Roz Lambeth says:

      Thanks Chrys. While I understand that the magazine is a business and has to make money to stay afloat, I still think that a magazine about mindfulness, should be mindful of how those ads affects the overall attractiveness of the magazine. And the downward spiral that can occur as a result: As they place more ads, they receive fewer subscription dollars, as they receive fewer subscription dollars they must place more ads.

  3. Roz Lambeth says:

    To the editor: I agree that magazines must place ads to stay afloat. I know that the subscription price does come close to covering the cost of publication. But there comes a time when a magazine's substance gets outweighed by the sheer volume of advertisements. In the years that I have been reading YJ it seems to me that the advertisements have increased significantly, yet the features in the magazine have grown somewhat stale. There is a lack of balance. How many different articles can we really read on beginning a meditation practice, or starting a home practice, or becoming more mindful in our daily living? The surface level articles are recycled while the ads for "your yoga lifestyle" are increased. Possibly, Yoga Journal should practice mindfulness and balance in their approach to advertising.
    And I would have to say that if I saw an ad for McDonald's on EJ I would be very disappointed. Yes, you'll take their money, and maybe they should have less of it, and your readers may very well be conscious consumers, but placing a company's ad in your publication clearly suggests that you support their business. Unless, of course, you post a disclaimer on top of it stating that you disagree with their business practices and products. But, I'm not so sure you would keep that advertising revenue for long if you did.

  4. shaydewey says:

    Posted on ej yoga, money and spirituality facebook pages.

  5. Raven says:

    I subscribe to The Sun magazine, which does not accept advertising, and never has during its two decade publishing run. It is a little higher in price – about $35/year, and only a few dozen pages, but worth every dime. So it is not a given that a magazine must carry advertising. The freedom from corporate interests allows for more challenging, controversial and thought provoking copy.

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