Tara Stiles: Rebel Yogi? What the NYT Didn’t Tell You.

Via Sadie Nardini
on Jan 25, 2011
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I just got done reading the “Rebel Yoga” article profiling Tara Stiles in the New York Times.

I see that some people are all aTwitter (literally) about her seeming irreverent attitude towards yoga and her products that, for some smack more of sex and image than a depth of yoga knowledge.

And…I get it.

I too have been accused (or congratulated for) diluting the one way, truth and light message of some yogis in favor of my Bon Jovi Chants, eschewing of the vegan lifestyle (for me, personally not for you), my dismissal of much of the current teacher training and regulation as an overpriced, usually ineffective way to tell where the good teachers are, my creation of certain asanas (my fave: Charlie’s Angel’s Pose) to be much more fun, effective and interesting. When it comes to being a “yoga rebel,” I’m so on board.

I don’t care that Tara is a model, though I’d love to have those legs. Pretty, skinny people can teach yoga and change the world just like anyone else. I don’t even mind that she trained for, say, 100 hours, dissed it, then started doing her own programs–though I do take issue with anyone charging $2500, or $1500 for that matter, for 4 weekends of yoga training, unless they’re Shiva (the god, that is, not the Rea).

She can call her training “crap” if she wants to. She can wear unitards and arch her back all day long for American Apparel–I would too, if they asked me. That’s her truth, and so what? I also know a hell of a lot of people who love her, and who say their worlds have changed for the better under her instruction, so for me, that’s the mark of an effective teacher.

But something about this whole thing has been bugging me, and I’d like to get it off my chest.

I think that it’s only fair that I bring into the light something for readers about the state of our yoga industry–something even the most altruistic amongst us must admit it’s–in part–become. I’m surprised that the NY Times didn’t mention the following tidbit of information along with the list of commercials, sponsorships and products Tara has compiled. I’m even more surprised that Tara herself hasn’t mentioned it, at least, not in the most influential newspaper in the country:

Her agency.

No, I’m not talking about Ford. I’m more interested in her other one, one of the biggest talent agencies in the country. I know she was represented by them at one point, and still may be, but let me use this example to paint a larger picture.

This mega agency is trying to break into the mind/body field, because they are consummate business people and they’re whip-smart. They see the incredible financial potential wrapped within our kula, now a multi-billion dollar industry. With only 9 percent of the country currently doing yoga, this agency and others like them see a market to be expanded. This is what they exist for–to sell celebrity products, tours, speaking engagements and TV shows to people who will buy them. That’s what they all do.

How do I know this? I’ve had multiple conversations with these agents and here were the exact questions they all had for me: ‘Yeah, yoga…but where are the products? I don’t do yoga, or even like it, but help me understand what the mind/body community wants so I can do my job better’…you get the gist. I left feeling a little grossed out, as if I’d reached under a park bench and come away with something sticky on my hands that would only come off, not with the most abrasive soap even, but only in time.

I also felt hopeful that these mega-agencies might learn something from me, and help support their rising yoga personalities to change the world–not just sell it to them.

I got the distinct feeling that it would be hard, should I sign with them, to maintain my integrity in the face of the wheeling and dealing at that fast-paced, money-first level. I wish wholeheartedly for Tara that she, and others like her who might choose that path, are able to continue walking on theirs at the same time.

Yes, to be fully open, I’m an agency woman myself. Luckily, and also because I chose them consciously, my agency is YAMA Talent, built by yogis for yogis. They don’t try to muscle me into doing things slightly beneath my preferred state of being in order to sell books, or DVDs. I direct them, a new paradigm in navigating the business of yoga. (That’s Ava Taylor, my manager and owner of YAMA Talent, in the photo.)

Many people can’t tell the difference, though, so I get the same flak as anyone whenever I mention it (cue the haters!). But mention it I do.

I’ve always been very clear that I do what I do not by myself, but with the help of a professional and conscious team. I have a manager, an organizer, a PR person, and soon, a personal assistant. I welcome them with open arms, and let you know about them just as freely because I think it’s important for my students and fellow teachers to know I’m not a one-woman show.

It honors the people who work so hard on my behalf behind the scenes, and also honors the intelligence of my fans who can tell that what I offer is from my heart and soul, and that I have an agency to do my other organization for me will never and should never dilute my message of living from the core.

And, just to give an example, if Deepak Chopra (http://www.caaspeakers.com/health-speakers/ ) was also a part of my agency, and lots of people questioned why I’m his yoga teacher, why he’s giving quotes on my book, etcetera, I would feel an obligation to my peeps to reveal that we are part of the same machine, who is working to promote us both. Yet, I might add, we are truly teaching and learning from one another, and no amount of cross-marketing can change that.

If you ask me why Duncan Wong or Hemalayaa or Brock and Krista Cahill and I are friends, I’ll tell you that we met through our mutual agency, but we ended up forming a very real bond. But I won’t act like I did it all on my own merit.

From what I know of Tara, she seems to be a sweet, kind, well-intentioned person. She’s a young teacher and has plenty of time to develop and deepen her craft. Her strength lies in being a cool girl, one who is making yoga more accessible to the masses, which I am always in complete support of. I’d love to make it to Strala someday and practice with her.

I just caution her not to downplay her network, lest it come out in other ways and appear that she’s been less than forthcoming. I had to have this same conversation with myself, having no mentors in the field to speak to, but perhaps I can be that voice to her and others like her.

I wish articles like the one in the NY Times didn’t sweep behind the rug the whole inner workings of our newly minted yoga biz, and the teams which all the well-known teachers are involved with. It’s, to me, akin to taking all the credit.

I’m in favor of those of us who are at this level being transparent about our partnerships, support networks and marketing relationships or, in other words, being honest when people ask what’s really going on. If people need to throw the baby (our teachings) out with the bathwater (our agencies), then that’s their choice. But I would rather you know the whole me than just what you can see on the surface.

Giving credit where it’s due is freeing, and helps give our audience the full picture– even if we’re afraid of what people will think when we reveal the way this whole crazy, beautiful yoga world really works.


About Sadie Nardini

Sadie Nardini, is the founder of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, an anatomically-optimized flow style that gives you more results and benefits for every minute spent on your yoga mat. She is a holistic anatomy geek, healthy hedonism advocate, yoga expert, author, and TV host who travels internationally bringing empowering tools to yoga teachers and students everywhere. Her new book, The 21-Day Yoga Body: A Metabolic Makeover, Life-Styling Manual to Get You Fit, Fierce and Fabulous in Just 3 Weeks! (Random House), is out now, and her TV show, Rock Your Yoga, is playing across the country on the new Veria Living Network. With Sadie, you'll sweat, laugh, learn, and come away transformed, informed, and inspired anew. Learn more at www.SadieNardini.com.


57 Responses to “Tara Stiles: Rebel Yogi? What the NYT Didn’t Tell You.”

  1. madtownsally says:

    sigh. yoga citta vrtti nirodhah. I don't care how many lives you've changed, how many people you've made "feel better" about themselves, how much back fat you've melted, or who your agency is. If you're not dealing with the vrtti in the citta, you're not teaching, or selling, yoga. It's something else. Not something worse or something better, just something different. again, sigh.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Waylon Lewis, Erica RodeferWinters and Bob Weisenberg, Red Fox. Red Fox said: Tara Stiles: Rebel Yogi? What the NYT Didn’t Tell You. http://bit.ly/gZZ9lI […]

  3. Brooks Hall says:

    Thank you, Sadie! Very eye-opening. I was so entranced by the info that I just missed my “el” stop.

  4. sadienardini says:

    Oooh, missed a subway stop? I'm honored. And, sorry;)

  5. Ann says:

    I honor your transparency and honesty. This was one of your many attributes that shone through when I took your workshops, and when we met at the Iowa Yoga Conference. Thank you once again for speaking truth (to power?). I was one who (sigh) entered yoga through the mainstream '"feel good" path, then ventured further into traditional yoga teachings and meditation. I do not see a conflict here. In fact, every day I have gratitude for the many teachers I have along the way. And I thank you.

  6. amy annis says:

    HI Sadie,
    I've been mulling over the criticisms of Tara's modernized blend of yoga since I read the NY Times article. For myself, the article raised the question "What is Yoga?" You brought up an entirely different perspective that most yogis and even yoga teachers (including myself) would have never considered without your post. So much of it boils down to how each individual defines his/her teaching style and then how its delivered out into the world. I appreciate that Tara helps to deliver the message of yoga accessibilty to the public; but even more grateful for the message of keeping it real in yours.

  7. If you want your life to stay the same then don’t do yoga. It will transform you eventually no matter what the reason you entered the room. We don’t all follow some blueprint to transformation. Everyone finds it intheir own way. Seeking is difficult enough without being judged by others who have their own agenda. I am for anything that gets people into a yoga room. Eventually they will go deeper. Or not. Just practice Thanks Sadie

  8. Kim Stetz says:

    Sadie, this is awesome. thank you!

  9. Reggie says:

    Yogis now throwing each other under the bus with their fans cheering them on. Who needs to watch the Super Bowl!

  10. […] an added bonus found after creating this post >> Sadie Nardini’s response to the Stiles hype: “I’m in favor of those of us who are at this level being […]

  11. sadienardini says:

    I guess you do….because you're completely missing the point around here.

  12. Andre Wholly Yoga says:

    Interesting thoughts. though I am not sure that the focus of the article would have uncovered that stuff. I am jsut really tired of all the made up controversy and yogi bashing. First Budig now Stiles I.t is making the yoga community looks … well very unyogic.

    Besides with all the yoga going on in NYC it seems that folks could choose not to practice or learn from her. So live and let live I say.

  13. Thank you for this article – you'd be a million times more likely in my mind to be called a yoga rebel, and I mean that in a good way! I don't think the hubbub over the NYT article is that Tara Stiles isn't using sanskrit terms, or that she's bringing a streamlined yoga to people (that's a great thing!), I think it's that what is being put out about her reads solely as hype. I haven't got a clue about what she might bring to yoga aside from was a dancer and was a model (which are really broad kind of blanks) and as a student and a teacher that is what I want to know about other instructors. I want to know why she's committed to yoga, and I don't at all, even after all the press she's gotten in the past year. You've got an excellent bio and core values and in a few clicks I could get some sense of what you might draw from your life experience into teaching, what you want to gift others with through teaching yoga. And while I have no clue where you trained, that isn't the most pertinent thing.

    So, that was a ramble! But again, thank for a clear, open, transparent take of what is behind the scenes of the new world of yoga business.

  14. Jessica Acs says:

    yes Sadie! To all the teachers scratching their heads about these world class acts and wondering how the 'magic' happens. This truth is empowering. Yoga at large, as practice and as business, is undergoing a shift- an expansion; sharing knowledge like this is key – and a gift to awaken readers/practitioners to the processes and tools available (along with the potential that arises with connection and co-creation within teams).

    The little panic reactions rippling over the net this week highlight the need to trust that we can all be confident enough in our truths and approaches to share such details, without being fearful of someone's success overshadowing our own (as if that's ever the case). There is enough yoga, students, teachers and angles to the process…..for all of us. Re: Stiles: as some of us kick and bitch about these newbies being YouTube famous, sponsored and acknowledged over elements the advanced are seemingly above – pause – and thank her – for taking care of the basic basics, leaving the nuances to the rest. These students introduced will seek studios, and will want to define their own practices sooner than later – and the cycle will continue – leaving room for more teachers to rise and expand in their own rite.

  15. Kris says:

    Here Here!!

  16. siobhain steyn says:

    who are we judge!, if someone chooses that teacher to learn from, that is there choice, everyone has something to give and learn, and if it works for you do not be misslead by propaganda, keep going all you wonderfull people on your journey through life

  17. I'm opposed–in a loud-mouth, dare I say, "judgmental?" type of way–of those who buy a few sticky mats and open studios without any training. That's just plain dangerous and dishonest and wrong. I think the whole, no-one-can-train-and-regulate-spirituality, is BS. Somebody has to teach these yoga teachers how to protect our damn knees in Warrior I. And, as Sadie proves again and again, there IS a place for the teacher who takes the woo-woo out of anatomy and still manages to align herself with the deeper practice.

    As a yoga teacher and yoga therapist (trained, certified, registered and willing to tell anyone where and by whole), I am thrilled–thrilled, I tell you!–every time I see an MAB paint commerical use yoga to sell it's product. More exposure for yoga is a good thing–for my business and, I really believe, humankind. But I agree with Sadie here about transparency. And as a former journalist, iit was remiss that the NYTimes reporter did not discover or chose to not mention TS's represenation. (It also would have made a better story.)

  18. That should read, "as a former journalist. . . who clearly needed a line editor!"

  19. TamingAuthor says:

    Perfect. Now I have something to show Christians who are worried they should not do yoga because it is another type of spirituality. No way. It is simply about exercise gurus with agents! The only other god in the mix is the great god Tush. And he is no competition with his backward looking attitude.

  20. Morning Sadie,

    Thank you for this article, I think it's important to understand how in yoga industry is working. And sometimes not working too. There is no "I" in team and for teachers such as yourself and TS you need help to get your job done. Perhaps the Indian masters are not represented by a Bollywood agent but they too have help in one form or another.

    Personally, I have watched a couple of TS's videos and she's not my style. After reading the article and learning a little more about her, I still feel the same way, maybe more so. I'm into Sanskrit, love chanting, and the music I play for my classes is mostly kirtan and mantra. I'm guessing if TS came to my class she wouldn't be into it and that's OK.

    There were a couple of things I appreciated about the TS's article:
    – She may think her YTT was crap, but at least she not calling the school out by name in print.
    – Even though she thought her YTT was crap she was still enlightened enough by it to still pursue teaching, even if not by their method.

    One thing in both articles that have been called out is the cost of schooling. I thought it was interesting that TS mentioned offering her 4 weekends of training for $2500 but would probably be dropping it to $1500. I completed my training over 10 months (10 weekends) and it was $2500. It was a lotta dough for a working gal like me; fortunately I studied hard and got great training. As in all popular things that morph into an industry, like yoga has, money is involved and jobs are created. How that monetary energy is used ultimately is the what is important. Hopefully, the energy remains truthful, healthy, and nourishing.

    OM Shanti,

  21. Jay Neal says:

    If Betty Bellevue goes to Strala because she wants sexy and inadvertently has an awakening because she stayed with her breath in a way she never had before, isn't that a good thing?

    I am not afraid for Yoga. Yoga is big enough that it can hold all of these views. And more. This larger conversation is about the varying levels of consciousness of people, and their capacity to access and inhabit the depths that yoga allows. Yoga will not be harmed. People will benefit. The culture at large will benefit. The crass and depraved agency dudes will benefit. Go to your mat, find your breath, inhabit your body with grace. It'll be OK.

  22. fivefootwo says:

    good girl.

  23. sadienardini says:

    OMG…I'm dying laughing right now. Funny. And…partially true.

  24. sadienardini says:


  25. Charlotte says:

    I appreciate your forthrightness in talking about your management team. Thank you for your honesty. But I have to say that the fact that a yoga teacher must employ such a team is a bit disturbing to me. I do get that when one has spent years and years practicing and studying in order to be able to teach, it is important that he/she be able to make a living. We do not live in a culture that would support the begging bowl model. I understand the realities of maintaining food and shelter. So I do not begrudge any yoga teacher's efforts to make a decent living.

    But here's my disclosure: I am old school. But please do not label those of us who are not completely on board with the way yoga has been marketed in this culture as "haters." I am not envious, judgmental or angry. Instead, I am sad that yoga's true gift—its ability to free us from greed, hatred, delusion, vanity, addiction to fame, identification with the body—is being sublimated in favor of a more user-friendly, more marketable system of mind/body practice that shares more with already established exercise and New Age self-improvement strategies than it does with the radical transformation that traditional yoga promises. Traditional yoga's potential is an unfathomable gift. It is not something to be thrown out because it is too inscrutable or difficult.

    In 1985 I met my main teachers, a couple who not very many people have heard of. Their retreats were filled entirely by word of mouth. They ran consciously small retreats for 25 years in their home that they built for this purpose. (BKS Iyengar was their first guest!) When they were not giving 100 percent of their home, their wisdom and their energy to the 10 people who could fit into their retreats, they focused entirely on their practice. What kept their retreats filled with waiting lists (even their 30-day vipassana retreats) was the authenticity and depth of their practice, not their marketing efforts.

    It makes me sad to think that a marketing team is de rigeur for anyone wanting to teach yoga beyond local borders. And no matter how yogic this marketing team might be, their job is to identify people with the appearance and charisma to make the cut. In the process, some amazing older teachers—ones who are not a few steps ahead of us on the path, but ones who have been to the mountaintop and back countless times—will likely not be heard from.

    Again, I do appreciate your candor and your thoughts. Please accept that my divergent thoughts are sincere and written with respect.

  26. sadienardini says:


    Thanks for your thoughts, Theresa–they really add a new dimension to the whole conversation. Much appreciated!


  27. Kanani says:

    I always enjoy reading Sadie, and I think we all knew she had an agent. I appreciate what she said –reading Sadie is like a triple dose of espresso. Agent or no agent. I can't sit in judgment of anyone's given path. I leave it to the person at the head of the class to remains open to the energy of others and is keep their ego in check. That's their job, not mine.

    Currently, I've agreed to help grow a very small yoga organization dedicated to outreach to an under-served and growing population. One thing we are leery of is is the placement of *yoga stars* on Advisory Boards. Advisory Boards are not much more than people you have along for marquee value. In return they get to look Magnanimous Marys having their names on so many good works projects. But…they don't help with the day to day decisions made, and you can bet that some might never go to a board meeting. We need the person who is going to work their heart out for our cause, who will write, email, help us get the things we need in order to work effectively. We want the people who will answer our emails, our phone calls, don't mind being bugged a bit. What we don't have the time for is to create a non-working board who we have to play patty cake with, knowing they're not going to do much for us. Unless they're going to write us a check for big money, or are going to bring big money to us ..yeah, you got it. Their star power isn't doing much to help us pay for administrative costs, build up a scholarship fund, or do a lot of facebooking and twittering for us.
    That's what I want the agents to know. If they want small organizations to take on star power, they should write us a big fat check with lots of zeros! Then, maybe we'll play patty cake. But only if the *yoga star* agrees to sweep the studio.

  28. Alex says:


    you should really send this as a letter to the New York Times!


  29. Charlotte says:

    Thank you for your lovely reply. I do get it that teachers are not better or worse for being out in the world or at home on retreat. I have studied extensively with Donna Farhi, Judith Lasater and the late Mary Dunn, all of whom travel and teach internationally. All these teachers have great insight and depth and I am very grateful to have learned from them. I know that at least two of them have employed personal assistants at times in their careers to take care of details. I see nothing wrong with this. It would in fact be a huge relief to have someone to make phone calls, take care of accounting (my least favorite part of being a teacher), and handle travel details when they arise. I guess the marketing team is the part I'm still not convinced about. Perhaps at some point I will see this differently.

    I do want to say that running a retreat in one's home may be more complicated than it would appear. My teachers live 30 miles up a mountain road from the nearest town, the last mile of which is impassable in the winter. They provided not only teachings and a sacred space for practice, but three cooked-from-scratch meals a day and split wood for the stove. For many years they had to haul water up the mountain to fill their small tank. Those 30-day retreats were definitely a marathon! They made it look seamless, which required an incredible amount of meticulous planning.

    Thanks again for your thoughts and insights.

  30. Hesthrt says:

    I wonder where Tara's reply is or if you are just trying to make you the queen yoga bee.

  31. Heather says:

    Why don't you drop by her studio or Facebook her for a comment. It's not like you live in different cities.

  32. sadienardini says:

    Already on it, chica! xo

  33. Charlotte–if you are the Charlotte I think you are: I loved your book. Read from it all the time to my students.

  34. Jay Otterstein says:

    Too much Ego, not enough Yoga.

  35. cathy geier says:

    Much love to you Sadie.
    Speak it as it is.

    I am sad that TS felt heryoga training was 'crap". That speaks solely to her learning and the studio which taught her.

    I so appreciate your word sand style. i look forward to your coming to Seattle.

  36. sarasbel says:

    I am a great fan of Sadie Nardini, I've learnt a lot from her, I don't agree with everything she does / says/ lives by, but that's not the point. I think we have much to learn from others on our journey. As a yoga teacher, you make decisions and choices, why you do it, what's your aim, how will you get there? If that grows into 'I want to be a yoga superstar and teach all round the world' then so be it – if you wanna stay small and local and give back to your community that's ok too. Many of the ancient scriptures on yogic philosophy allude to the issue of 'INTENTION'. Unfortunately the world we live in worships celebrity, outward 'beauty', external achievements and success – and now that includes yoga. I am saddended on a regular basis to see the scary growth of yoga as an industry based on not much more than fit bodies and fashion. As a newish teacher who's been building my classes in my local community over the past few years, and teaching everyone from 5 to 96, able bodied, disabled, financially challenged – I realise that's my choice. You choose teacher training that draws who you are as a person, and you teach (hopefully ) from your truth, who you are, what yoga has given you and means to you. The idea of mega agencies muscling in on what is something very special and wonderful is scary and I really resent so many articles in the yoga press focusing on the body image of yoga – the crazy growth of Bikram yoga for example just shows where the industry is headed, following celebs on their weight loss plan to spriritual enlightenment (i say this very much tongue in cheek) – for me Bkram shouldn't even be allowed to use the word yoga for what is taught in their classes. I fear what yoga has become particularly in the states where the word is so fashionable you just stick the word 'yoga' onto something to sell it. I would encourage anyone teaching yoga to ask them to be truthful in their intention. if fame and celebrity is what you want, you can get it – at what price!!! Yes, we do need to make a living, we need to pay our bills, rents, mortgages, like anyone else – this can be done with integrity, hard work, and committment to your intention. If someone on the bigger stage can encourage others towards a deeper truth, great, I'm all for that, but if they aren't genuine, and are in it for the fame and money, I hope students can see and feel it from a mile off.

  37. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shanna Small, YogaVibes.com. YogaVibes.com said: Interesting "Rebel Yogi" perspective from @sadienardini: http://is.gd/hs712i […]

  38. nathan says:

    I have sat on this whole issue for a bit now. Read the NYT article and a few commentaries on it. Have thought about my own desires to maintain the rigorous spiritual practices of yoga, and how I'm not always respectful of the yoga as solely exercise crowd.

    I just wrote a post on my blog about Bikram, who is a poster boy in my opinion for the disasters that happen when yoga is reduced to a money-making,body obsessed, money-making machine. http://dangerousharvests.blogspot.com/2011/01/bik

    The levels to which Bikram has gone in order to maintain control of his "product" are sickening and deserve absolutely zero defense.

    To be honest, what concerns me most about Tara's story is how some of it's elements are similar to Bikram. The celebrity connections and endorsements, the media blitz, the secularized focus. I can imagine her studio is bringing in a fair amount of money these days – nothing approaching Bikram levels, but certainly much more than the average corner yoga center. It would be really easy to get caught up in all the glitz and hype, and push even further in the direction of money, glamour, and power.

    And the thing is, if "yoga stars" bringing in piles of money become totally normalized as the face of practice, it will be that much harder for students to separate the image from the practice. Tara talks about people "not hiding their bodies," but that's quite easy to say when you have the looks she does. I have a good friend in her 70s who has been doing Iyengar yoga for years. When she's talked to others about practice, especially people around her age, she runs into the same walls over and over again. "Yoga is for young people." "My body isn't good enough." Etc. I've had the same conversations with younger people struggling with weight issues, or injuries. Beyond this, though, there is a bigger image issue tied to what the media is presenting, and what yoga stars are supporting when they uncritically give in to the spotlight. I'd love to see the NY Times or some other major media outlet give in depth time to a yoga teacher and/or studio offering the whole works – the eight limbs of practice. The spiritual base. The whole works. But it's not sexy, and so it doesn't happen much.

    So, the image of yoga amongst the general public more and more is being shaped by media blitzes on secularized yoga stars, and the increasing plethora of health/body based corporate chain studios. When someone says they do yoga these days, it's really hard to know what that means. Maybe this is fine, but I find that the calls from some yogis and yoginis to just let it all be, and not be "judgmental" are really more about not wanting to think about it all, and demonstrate the damaging anti-intellectual strain that runs through many spiritual communities these days.

  39. Jenn says:

    Honestly I'm growing tired of these debates…year after year, same issues, different names. I for one am going to focus on my practice and my teaching…and let all this irrelevant controversy be some place that is not part of my yoga.

  40. Allie says:

    Fantastic post. I too thought it was very refreshing to read such an honest and open account that was not defensive or offensive at all. Thank you Sadie.

  41. emkay says:

    "Yoga" is way more then what it has been reduced to these days of "yoga aerobics" any style of all these newly fashioned styles – what is wrong with the original, what is wrong with patanjali's 'eightfold path"?

    NOBODY is forced to stick to any of it, no one is arrested, sued or else – we all punish pur self throgh our thoughts, evolving deeds and behavior with or without Yoga!

    Then how far from Awareness is all this, how far away from Apigraha, from Ahimsa…. ah' sorry, forgot, "these rules don't apply" in the Biz-world of Agoy….

    "My advice to you is very simple – just remember yourself, ‘I am’, it is enough to heal your mind and take you beyond, just have some trust. I don’t mislead you. Why should I? Do I want anything from you? I wish you well – such is my nature. Why should I mislead you? Common sense too will tell you that to fulfill a desire you must keep your mind on it. If you want to know your true nature, you must have yourself in mind all the time, until the secret of your being stands revealed.

    -Nisargadatta Maharaj-

  42. nathan says:


    Enjoy life with your head in the sand. Ignorance is bliss as they say – yeah, right….


  43. Heather says:

    Cool chica, will you'll let us not know when you make contact and report back on your discussion with Tara? ox

  44. nathan says:

    Hmm – you know, Jenn's post was pretty snotty, so i guess I responded in a snotty manner. i'll admit it would have been more productive to have let that comment go. that was a mistake.

    However everything else I said in the comment previous to that I stand behind. i really find the commonplace dismissal of critical analysis and criticism in the wider yoga community to be disappointing. Jenn's comment that this is all "irrelevant" sounds way too much like the kind of self-centered, individualistic nonsense that is causing so much suffering in our world.

    Sometimes, I too, feel exhausted with controversies about spiritual gurus gone bad. But it's not irrelevant. I choose to step away from discussions sometimes, in order to be present other parts of life. However, this is different from what I see as too common a response amongst yoga practitioners – which is essentially – "I'm going to focus on the positive, and ignore the negative. I'm going to focus on myself, and not think about anyone else." And that is what comes from a privatized, capitalist framework – a bunch of people who think mostly about themselves, and who really turn away from issues impacting their communities. That is, until it smacks them in the face.

    I find Sadie's call for transparency to be refreshing because she's calling the general yoga community out on some of it's shit. I think there needs to be more of this, and even more in depth than what Sadie is calling for. I don't see many yoga teachers publicly asking questions like "How does bringing in thousands or millions of dollars impact what's being taught? Or what are the actual benefits and drawbacks to linking up with celebrities, or joining up with media outlets to do interviews and promotions?"

    I found the blog on Tara's studio website to be much more grounded and interesting than the NY Times article. Her work, her fellow students and teachers, come off as more serious and less flaky from the blog, and the rest of the studio website. But to those who never go there, what they have to work with is that article. Did Tara consider how she might come off, or whether her connections with Chopra and others might be as much or more a hindrance as a benefit?

    Yoga isn't a mindless practice, no matter what form it takes. I support multiple forms of practice, from secularized, health and stress reduction methods to the more traditional, spiritual approaches. However, when I see a lack of critical analysis, and an attitude of "anything goes," I see that as a cop out. And a desire to use yoga as an escape from life.

  45. Clare says:

    Every teacher is different, and has something different and valuable to offer. These debates remind me of religeous debates all over the globe. I don't like how Tara was "outed" in this article for having an agent. Seems to me that she is just trying to make a living teaching yoga. I don't really get the "sexy" or the "slim" part, but we all have different aspirations. Sadie and I and many others went round and round about her article regarding vegan or vegetarians looking down on carnivore yogis. As a vegan yoga teacher, I was uncomfortable with the, her quote, "yogier than thou" attitued she supposed veg people had about her and her kind. Sadie is an amazing bright yoga star, and I look to her for inspiration sometimes for my classes, but there can be many stars in our yoga galaxy, and I am disapoitned with all this judging , muckraking, rebuttals, and search for "what is yoga"? Yoga blesses us all with grace and peace, lets just go with that.

  46. Harrient says:

    She started it first. Such an enlightened position.

  47. Hi Sadie,
    Nice piece (as always) but I don't agree that Tara Stiles is any kind of rebel. Maybe a few years ago you could call her a rebel but not today.

    She is certaionly fab but if anything, creating your own approach then selling it using beauty and a great publicist is not being a rebel; its the new normal.



  48. […] Elephant Journal is full of it, even the New York Times has got in on the act. […]

  49. […] to everyone that wants to be moved physically, she is one with profound lessons to teach, as Sadie Nardini’s thoughtful and supportive Elephant Journal article earlier this week proved. Photo Courtesy […]