August 29, 2011

I Hate Lululemon. ~ Abby Stoddart

Why 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.

Abby 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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