I Hate Lululemon. ~ Abby Stoddart

Via elephant journal
on Aug 29, 2011
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Materialism-I Want EverythingWhy the Overindulgent, Modern Yoga Culture Is Full of It

To some, Lululemon represents the best of the best, top-of-the-line yoga wear that’s essential to advertising one’s yogicity to the world.

I step upon my mental soap box each time I view the little, stylized “A” – chosen to denote the company’s former name, Athletically Hip – on a pair of yoga pants or a sports bra. To me, it represents needless excess and a fundamental contradiction to the modern yogi culture.

To be fair, this profound distaste extends well beyond Lululemon and to all pricey yoga gear. It extends to $50 bolsters (glorified cylindrical pillows), $24.95 “artisian” yoga straps (run-of-the-mill yoga straps with exciting patterns), and $99 all-in-one yoga bags (yoga purses).

Think Gandhi maxed out his credit card on $86 yoga pants or a $118 jacket? Self-entitlement should not be confused for self-enlightenment.

Along with this goal of self-enlightenment, the modern yoga culture correlates closely with larger political and societal issues such as green living, wellness, conscious consumerism, etc. In other words, the modern yoga culture correlates closely with being mindful of our fellow man.

At least, that’s what we put on the sides of our $25 Sigg bottles.

While these corporations claim to peddle the conduits to inner peace and a collective unconscious of, well, consciousness, are they really doing anything more for their consumers than Kellogg’s or Chevrolet? Seemingly akin to the importance of inner peace is the nourishment provided by Special K or the “freedom” provided by one’s own vehicle—all lofty goals aimed at bettering individuals.

Regardless of the sincerity of these companies’ intentions, we consumers have free will. We can choose to purchase the $7.95 yoga strap and tolerate its austerity. We can choose to hire our crafty friend to create a bolster in exchange for dinner.

We can choose to spend our money more humbly.

We strive for the authenticity of our yoga practice, but on the tablets which prove 3,000 years of yoga lineage there were no stylized As signifying pants by Lululemon, no Manduka mats, no Sigg bottles.

The values of the yoga culture should be more than a punch line at parties or ego boosters on our Facebook pages. When it comes to seeking balance in our bodies and minds, perhaps we should work more diligently to keep our feet on the ground in how we allocate our resources.

Abigail Abby StoddartAbby Rose Stoddart is a nursing student, doula-in-training, former cynic and current outdoor enthusiast. Previous occupations and preoccupations include physical anthropology, philosophy, military service and pharmaceutical sales. Follow her on Twitter @AbigailStoddart.



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20 Responses to “I Hate Lululemon. ~ Abby Stoddart”

  1. Marta says:

    "We can choose to spend our money more humbly."

    I like that. I am also aware that every time I am tempted to buy a yoga gadget I'd be much better off just doing some more yoga instead. As a beginner I was mesmerised by all the snazzy gadgets but now I just buy basics, and from my local shop so no jetting them around more than it's already done.

  2. Yogini5 says:

    I buy a cheaper yoga pant that may not last as long as a Lulu. I buy the poor, thinking man's Manduka—the Aurorae mat. I get away with doing those things BECAUSE I mostly practice yoga and related disciplines at home in my underwear ….

    I'm even cheaper than I am green …

  3. You had me interested in hearing your point of view UNTIL you started to get nasty and critique Abby – by way of her picture.

    When something pisses me off, I try to remember to think about whether or not I am the one to say what I think needs to be said, then I try to take some time so I can make an intelligent counter-point…. to be respectful and so people will more likely want to hear my point of view. Just a thought.

  4. Maureen Miller says:

    Ok. My bad. Sorry.

  5. Kala says:

    I think most Lulu stuff is made in China, so I think it's valid to be concerned about supporting unfair labour practices.

  6. annieory says:

    You are amazing Maureen. You deserve an award. I think they should give it to you along with the MTV awards so YOU can wear a pretty dress and sit with Beyonce. This is the first time I've EVER seen any one apologize on an Internet forum. You may be sensitive, but you clearly also have a big heart. I know I write the way I speak, animatedly. People sometimes misconstrue that because being that animated would mean THEY were angry. I really do believe apologies are like liquid sunshine, the warm and nourish others. Thank you. Peace.

  7. Maureen Miller says:

    Thank YOU! After I wrote what I did and you replied, I realized that I, too, should have thought about replying before I did…. . I think if we are all open enough to really listen and really HEAR each other – apologizing is easy to do.
    Wishing you a beautiful day!

  8. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Thanks Abby! I really try to not buy stuff I don't need – I actually find myself spending most of my money on workshops and organic food versus expensive yoga clothing, but I have to say, sometimes a good quality, more expensive pair of yoga pants is worth it in the long run, if you know what I mean. And, I think most of us can see when others are trying to 'be' something other than who they really are.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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  9. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    By the way, are you on Facebook?

  10. Casey says:

    Brilliant Ab. I could not agree more whole-heartedly.

  11. jessi says:

    Your argument was valid until you started to question Abby personally. I don’t think seeing one photo gives you space to judge. She has valid points that you discount because you are so busy sticking up for lulu. Do you work there, or own stock, by the way?

    I think the point was not about lulu specifically, but rather lulu was the avenue to make the point that many use the yoga lifestyle to be trendy, and some of the products that supplement the lifestyle (lululemon included) are symbols of this trend.

    If you can justify your pricey products that’s great, but there are many people who practice yoga occasionally, don’t care about fair trade or helping humanity, but feel good about themselves because they have on some lulu gear.

  12. Louise Brooks says:

    She didn't owe you, or anyone, an apology Annieory.

    Do you feel better now that you have beaten a poster into submission? Get help.

  13. Maureen Miller says:

    No worries… she did not beat me into submission – I consciously decided to respond the way I did to end that conversation. I could have gone on and disagreed more, but it was not going to go anywhere and really – I did think that when I initially posted suggesting she think before giving someone feedback, I was thinking I did exactly what I suggested she NOT do. After thinking about it – I was not so sure I was the one who needed to say what I initially did – that is part of what I was apologizing for…. and, again, I really had no desire to continue the negativity. Thanks for looking out for me, tho, Louise. 🙂

  14. Maureen Miller says:

    I wrote 'think' a lot in that reply and I believe that by really THINKING about something before we post – that will result in more positivity and consciously posting… which is what I want to do.

  15. […] this isn’t meant to be yet another Lulu-bashing post (sympathetic to them as I may be). Because simply harping on Lululemon the makes the larger issue […]

  16. […] this isn’t meant to be yet another Lulu-bashing post (sympathetic to them as I may be). Because simply harping on Lululemon the makes the larger issue […]

  17. tytbody says:

    All I can say is thank you. This is truth. Love it. The pants don't make you a yogi no more then a mat with a *Name* on it.

  18. Tree says:

    I'll admit my big problem with LuLu is that I'm a fat yogi who is "not allowed" to wear their clothes because I'm bigger than their undercut size 12, but I too find it so odd how many yogis who espouse peace, acceptance, respect of environment and all the other wonderful aspects of yoga will put up with the pervasive bad behavior of this company and buy their products. It's very "un-yoga-y."