Why The Sexy Equinox Yoga Video Pissed Me Off.

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You really shouldn’t get involved in Facebook comment fights. It’s a bad idea: your well-thought out opinions, thoughts, and insults are wielded with no stronger weapon than a thumbnail picture of your face on New Year’s Eve.

This time, I just couldn’t help myself. The Equinox Yoga Video has been making its rounds like a tumbleweed in the yoga community’s firestorm, and yeah, it’s got me pretty heated.

And indeed, this blog post means probably even more people will watch the video, thus giving Equinox more free advertising (which, sure, they probably knew what they were doing when they created it), but I think talking about media in a critical way is incredibly important, and much more valuable than pretending it’s not there. If I ever have a teenage daughter, I am going to sit down with her and go through every page of Cosmopolitan with her and discuss the shit out of what it means and what it makes her feel and how close or far its impressions are from reality until that magazine is so boring she will not ever want to read one again. Also I will show her this:

And the Equinox video, which made its way onto my Facebook stream with words like ‘beautiful’ and ‘gorgeous’ attached to it, gave me the same feeling those magazines do now. It’s what I like to call the ‘No’ feeling:  your gut twitches, and you know somethin’ ain’t right, even if you can’t quite articulate it yet. Perhaps it was partly the video’s description: “Equinox’s Briohny Smyth shows there’s no limit to what the artfully honed yoga body can do.”

Firstly, I admit, it is beautiful. It’s a beautifully photographed, definitely erotic video with a gorgeous, strong yogini and lovely music that’s very well done. I’m not denying that. But here’s what it made me feel.

Yoga advertising has been trying for a while now to make me feel bad about my body so that I get insecure enough to buy whatever they are selling. This is the number one MO of teen and adult women’s magazines (and men’s magazines for that matter): subtly hit the reader in an insecure place so that they buy more of this magazine and its products. Let’s try some real world translations of cosmopolitan.com‘s website headlines:

“The New Girl Quality Men Can’t Resist” or, “Why You Are Not Like This Girl and Don’t Deserve a Quality Man [unless you buy this STUFF!]”

“This Common Goof Will Tick Off Your Friends” or, “There’s something wrong with you. You don’t know what it is. We do. [You can help by buying this STUFF!]”

“Are you Lying–To Yourself?” or, “You are lying to yourself. You are actually fatter than you could ever imagine. [So you should buy this STUFF!]”

These magazines, mixed with the dangerous brew of early teenage life and all its pressures, created so much anxiety that I became anorexic. At 5’8, I weighed 102 pounds. All my friends thought I was soooo pretty, my mom was desperately trying to get me to eat a piece of toast, and I still thought I was fat.

Then yoga came along. It taught me that I could be strong and beautiful with muscles instead of just bones. It taught me that it didn’t matter what I looked like, as long as I felt good. It taught me that I could be a fighter jet made of biceps, and that was awesome.

I teach yoga because it helped (and continues to help) me overcome my anxiety and depression and empowers me in more ways than I can name, and that‘s what I want to share with people. I tell my students over and over again to close their eyes. Stop looking around–it doesn’t matter what you look like, and it doesn’t matter what the person beside you looks like. It matters how you feel.

And for all we tell our students to turn inwards and not worry about what other people think, we yoga teachers sure do worry about it. We try not to, but in this incredibly competitive community, we feel like we should be the ones with the strongest core, the most amazing practice, the most advanced postures. We feel like we should know everything and be able to do everything so we can pass it onto our students. We need to constantly be reminded that we are still students–on a path of learning, and the only one putting pressure on us to do crazy poses or have a perfect butt is us.

Well, us and this Equinox yoga video.

I think if I wasn’t a yogi or a woman or some combination of things that make me who I am, I’d see just the beauty of the video and move along. But the woman in the video is not only sexy, she is sexualized. This video exemplifies the male gaze: the sense that a woman is being watched, looked on as an object, (in pieces, at that: hip, thigh, butt, feet) from the heterosexual male perspective. Some feminists argue that even when women subject themselves to and desire this gaze, they are towing the line of the norms of a gender-unequal society (this is a big topic: see Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema“). This video pretends intimacy and innocence (just rolled out of bed for a 3.29 minute morning practice? Really?) but is carefully crafted: the lace underwear, the unmade bed, the closeups of hair coming loose and quick breathing, not to mention the butt shots in updog: it all says, subtly but very clearly, SEX. Heterosexual sex that puts the male gaze in a position of priority, and minimizes the female gaze (which some say can’t or doesn’t exist yet). And I’m not even going to touch on the money/class/yoga is only for rich people/peace is only for the superrich reading of this penthouse apartment. There is a difference between an erotic, sexy female body and a sexualized female body, especially when it’s being used to sell something.

Some of those of us made uncomfortable by this video are being accused of a puritanical hate for innocent naked bodies due to our overly sexually repressed culture. I disagree. Not all white Americans hate breasts (anyway, I’m Canadian). I think yoga is sexy. It literally does make your sex life better, and eroticism in our culture is something we could use more of in a respectful way. But here are two problems with sex in yoga culture when presented this way:

1. You don’t need this kind of ‘yoga body’ to be sexy.

And 2. when people see you as an object, they treat you like one, which is why you get sexually assaulted by your boss at the yoga studio and you are told you can never ever tell anyone about it, so you don’t, until 7 women speak up all at once (and I wish it had been me that broke the silence). And yeah, that wasn’t fun.

See, for example, Toesox: I much prefer these ads (not that they don’t have their share of controversy, too). I think they are beautifully photographed, I see a human doing a strong, amazing thing rather than a sexual object doing as she’s told. The ads are unapologetically sexy, if not erotic, they are clear about their intent, and they are kind of funny (Toesox: all you need to wear! get it?). Kathryn Budig is certainly naked, but she’s not being put in an obviously sexual position or in a sexualized gaze, you see her whole face and body, not just a cut of meat, she’s just naked, doin’ her thing. These ads didn’t get my ‘No’ spikes up. (Should they have? Comment me back).


Another example is this video by my friend Meghan Currie.

She is undoubtedly a sexy woman, and the video is erotic in its own way, but the bright coloured boy-cut undies, the cat sleeping and licking itself in the corner, all the stuff on the walls, the intelligent, creative (and symmetrical) sequence all humanize her rather than sexualize her. She may have actually rolled out of bed and filmed herself doing this. She is an awesome yogi and interesting human, not an object to be sold in the marketplace in exchange for insecurity and fear. And even though I wish I could do some of that stuff, her video didn’t make a part of my soul want to die.

The Equinox video turns its gaze on this woman as an object, and defines her as a “perfectly honed yoga body” that can, robot-like,  do anything. As a yoga teacher and a woman, I feel that gaze turning its head, Exorcist-like, on me–This Yoga Body is valued for its butt cheeks and MOST incredible yoga poses (dance, monkey dance!). She is not valued here for her teaching, her passions, or anything about her mind at all. I don’t want my students looking at this and thinking of me. In any way.

I struggled for 6 years in academia to be taken seriously as a woman. My friends assumed professors wanted to work with me was because of what I looked like. I was harshly critiqued in my essays and presentations, assumed stupid until proven otherwise. I decided on a gender-neutral academic name (JC) so as to avoid assumptions when I was submitting papers. (And people still assume–I still get an email now and then about my published papers titled Dear Mr. Peters)

Now I am a spoken word poet, which is a competitive ‘sport’ where you are judged on your performance as well as your words, and it’s even worse when people can see me while I’m speaking. I’ve learned to cover up a lot and wear the most boring thing in my closet when I perform so people can hear the words rather than look at my body. I’ve heard (female) poets criticizing me for ‘using’ my sexuality to get scores at the slam, and several (male and female) people thinking they were complimenting me for saying, “Of course you won, you were probably the best looking person there.” These are all ways in which I have felt that my first and most important value in this world is how sexy I am, and that it’s not a given that I also have a brain. Actually, I (of course) wrote a poem about that:

I think it’s awesome and impressive that some “liberated women” have zero problem with this sexualization, and miraculously don’t have histories of being objectified as women. And maybe it’s just me and my own personal triggers that saw a little past the beauty of this video and into some serious ugliness. I can’t get away from the fact that this is happening, and that people that are going to call me sexually repressed for my negative reactions. But I am more than a body: I have words, and words are my best weapon.

In my opinion, it’s still, and always, worth fighting for the right to be seen as a human, and not an object.



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Julie JC Peters

Julie (JC) Peters has been practicing yoga on and off from the tender age of 12, and it has gotten her through everything from the horrors of teenagedom to a Master’s degree in Canadian Poetry. She is a yoga teacher, spoken word poet, and writer, and teaches workshops on yoga and writing called Creative Flow. Julie also owns East Side Yoga in Vancouver with her mom, Jane.

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anonymous Sep 21, 2015 3:27pm

The video was to advertise Equinox. Are any of us going to the class?


It may have generated publicity, but for me it was negative and I now have zero interest in that gym.

anonymous Jan 13, 2015 6:47am

I just got here purely by chance. I think an important part of the critique is to become aware of our own biases, lest we begin to see our fears in places where they don't need to be. I appreciate your struggle; it was my struggle for many years too. And I completely understand your fear that an eventual child of yours might be affected in the same way. But we don't own people's opinions on a subject, not even if those people are our children or if those subjects affected us deeply, like Cosmo magazine. Some people can enjoy Cosmo without beating themselves up, and trying to take that from them or to somehow correct them does not help us in our own journey. I don't believe they hurt us by enjoying it, either.

So much is in the eye of the beholder. In this particular video I didn't feel the model was sexualised. I didn't feel I was being shown body parts for my consumption nor that I was being let in on an intimate moment. I saw the strength in her abs, the careful stretching of her toes, the precise balancing of her legs above her, and thought about how much time she must have dedicated to this. I admired the way she seemed to use her own body like a ladder to climb up. Definitely admired her discipline for waking up early to do this, and felt she must love this very much.

Doesn't that actually say a lot about her? That she loves a challenge, that she doesn't get bored in the initial stages nor give up when the fight gets tough? That she takes care of herself and leads an organized life? Sure, it doesn't say what books she likes, but what ad would? Could it be that this fear of objectification is happening because she's beautiful? Would you have the same feeling if she looked different?

Ultimately, isn't describing the video as "erotic" an objectifying act by itself? You describe it based not on what's in it, on what the woman is doing, on the endless hours of work and care that she dedicated to be able to do it, but solely on what you want to do to her (or what you feel somebody will want to do to her). Yes, beautiful people can inspire sexual attraction. But I see that as only a marginal component here. And with that I don't mean to say that my view is right and yours is wrong. They're both valid, but they are our own. Somebody else commented that it's made to make women buy gym memberships, and that is valid too. We don't own the things we love, nor the way people see them, nor the opinions of our loved ones.

We see the world through the glasses of our past and our experience. If we've been hurt, we might be tempted to spend our lives trying to protect the young version of ourselves that we see in everybody else from getting hurt again. But that doesn't help our inner child heal, nor is it fair to those we try to protect and end up robbing of experiences instead.

anonymous Oct 23, 2014 10:31am

I've never had a problem with this video, and even though you posed a well-articulated argument, I haven't been convinced otherwise.

I disagree that this was shot for/from a man's POV; perhaps if she was surrounded by cackling men whilst they told her what to do next, it would be a different story. But as is, it is just a woman stealing some time for herself before her partner wakes up.

As for the lacy undergarments point, I, too, love practicing yoga in my underclothes. They are not restricting and lend just that little bit of support so that I don't have boobs falling in my face or yanking on my chest skin. It makes me feel sexy, and yes, my partner also happens to think it is sexy – nothing wrong with either of those! I don't have to wear big baggy clothes to practice yoga (although sometimes I do, of course!) just because I have a female body. I felt you that you came very near to saying that to be a woman is automatically to be a sexual object, and therefore as a woman you should not be practicing anything that could be construed as sexual while scantily clad. I know that isn't what you were trying to say, but that is how you made me feel, and I do not agree with that. When I want to be naked, I'm naked and sexy! When I want to wear "boring" clothes, I'm clothed and sexy! No difference, just do what appeals to you at the time.

I think this is a beautiful video, this woman has an incredibly powerful body, and I love doing just as the video portrays – rolling out of bed and starting my mornings with a near-naked yoga practice. And yes, it is indeed while by partner keeps on snoring for another half hour.

anonymous Sep 30, 2014 10:16am

People have different opinions, that's normal. I am one of the people who were so inspired by this video. I met her in person before when she was 6-8 months pregnant and she showed me how to do hand stand on a surfboard(Ocean Yoga Fit by Freemotion)!!! I also met Kathryn Budig. They are both very humble, beautiful, and strong Yoginis who love what they do. Isn't Yoga about not judging?

anonymous Sep 30, 2014 9:57am

Kudos to Equinox…years later and feathers are still being ruffled over this video. The "model's" in this video are amazing yogi's. They are beautiful/gorgeous inside and out. She has worked hard to achieve her advanced practice and her amazing physique is a result of it. They are inspirational teachers and anyone would be blessed to learn from them. Grow up people…so she is in underwear…I have seen woman wear less on the beach.

anonymous Sep 29, 2014 10:18pm

I'm bored and so over talking about people's bodies. Who cares what a lady wears, or what she looks like or doesn't look like, for a lady shall wear what she wants to, and a lady will be who she wants to ( any Free To Be You and Me peeps out there?). I want to talk about how the yoga makes her feel, how it makes her vibrate, how it makes her radiate. Her practice appears to be deep, radiant and meditative to me. I'd love to hear her breath.

anonymous Sep 29, 2014 4:12pm

I really like the Equinox video. (And I was doing yoga before Madonna ;-))
I didn't see it the way Julie JC did at all. I admit it could be seen as erotic, but anything can. I didn't perceive an agenda there saying "guys, check out this chick's arse and buy something because of it" as I did in the Toesoxs ad; that woman is completely naked! Talk about gratuitous flesh for the selling of a product!
And I also practise yoga at the end of my (unmade) bed, in my undies, while my boyfriend sleeps. Just not with those toned abs, nor the amazing apartment windows. So maybe I just related to it, or something.

anonymous Sep 29, 2014 10:40am

I get up early and practice yoga before my family wakes up and I often practice in what ever I happened to sleep in, sometimes that's just underwear and a tshirt and sometimes it's just underwear. I feel like this video is meant to be a intimate view of home practice done in a artistic way but I don't see it as overtly sexual. This video doesn't make me feel insecure with my body at all. I see a very strong and beautiful yogi during her practice and that really just inspires me to get to my yoga mat. I think its great! I don't think this video is any worse than the beautifully photographed toe sox ads. These are all interesting and artistic views of yoga!! I'm happy to see these strong women doing what they do!!! More power to them!! 🙂

anonymous Sep 29, 2014 10:27am

Great spoken poetry performance. From one poet to another. Thank you!

anonymous Sep 29, 2014 9:23am

I rather have my daughter watching this ad than a freaking diet infommercial. The ad is beautifuly executed, the model is awesome. I didnt find it erotic at all. Its just a yogi in her morning routine. Why is she in perfect underware? Well maybe its just art direction and well it matches wit all the atmosphere of the video.

anonymous Sep 29, 2014 7:19am

I don't like this article, Meghan Currie is well known for doing yoga in skimpy clothes. I have no issue with that… how you can differentiate between the two is beyond me.

anonymous Aug 7, 2013 6:07am

There is nothing erotic about that video. She's simply in her pretty-tame undergarments.
It's showing what you can accomplish while others are sleeping.
If you apply yourself you can transform your body into a masterful, purposeful thing you can will to do anything. She is an exceptional woman with incredibly control over her physique. You are the one sexualizing her, she just woke up and wanted to work out.
She doesn't have "the perfect butt" she has the butt of an athlete. There is no reason to feel like an extremely fit woman is shameful to others, it's not like she's starved, she's honed. That body is a product of work, effort and dedication. Just because you can see skin, doesn't mean you are intended to be aroused.

anonymous Jun 5, 2013 6:17pm

I saw the Equinox video last year and I also was offended. That is not art – it's glossy advertising. It's well done and has nothing to do with yoga. Well, it has everything to do with the soulless, consumer oriented, achievement oriented gymnastic activity known as yoga in the US. Undeniably there are individual exceptions, but on the whole it has no resemblance to the yoga practice that it was when I started practicing in the 1960's, nor to the practice I participated in, in India.
Things change and the american consumer machine can transform anything and convince you that you made the choices.
But why are people practicing? What are the motivations and expectations?
I believe that a woman's body is beautiful as are her mind and soul. Let's face it, there still is sexual discrimination. Women believe that when you show your body you are free – it depends how and why you do it – sometimes it is just as much an enslavement as a burka.

anonymous May 6, 2013 1:55pm

PS- Here is another video in the same style, which features her voice and great skills as a teacher. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embed…!

anonymous May 6, 2013 1:47pm

This has sparked a lot of debate, good work! I found your article on a friend's Facebook page and had to look into it because she too, was 'pissed off' by this yoga video and I wanted to try and understand why.

Personally, I find it really beautiful and inspiring. Does it trigger some insecurity for me too? Or jealousy? Sure, Yes, of course. Still I find its within me to work on that since I can't control things outside of me. No one forced this woman to dress in underwear and perform yoga postures in front of a camera and for it to be shared with thousands-millions of people. She chose to do so of her own free will.

Since I DO see her as a whole person and not just a sexual object, despite how sexy the film may be, and I wanted to know more about the woman. Her name (which you never mention in your article she is referred to by you only as a "sexy woman") her NAME, is Briohny Smyth. http://briohnysmyth.com/

If you had taken the time before writing the article to learn more about that her, you'd know that she too, just like you, has struggled with an eating disorder, she struggled with Anorexia and Bulimia. I find that very, very interesting, that you happen to write this article about her without knowing exactly who she is.

She is best known for her love for Inversions and Arm balances. She is also a Mother, she gave birth to her daughter in 2004. She and her husband travel together teaching yoga and there are other videos in which she does speak, and offers her skills as a teacher. I just watched one and it was very interesting. Those postures and skills didn't just happen, they take years to develop. That in an of itself demonstrates humanity because it proves that she endured a struggle and suffering to achieve what she has achieved in her practice. It means she most definitely fell down and hurt herself on more than a few occasions, and didn't let it stop her. That's always what it means when you see someone like that who is a master of their art, people don't become masters overnight, it happens only through many long years of struggle.

I highly recommend looking further into this powerful yogi, Briohny Smyth http://briohnysmyth.com/

My name is Leah, aka the Bodybalancer on twitter as @dbodybalancer
and on Zaarly.com/bodybalancer

anonymous Dec 11, 2012 10:07am

[…] often a prototype for the whole of his other modes of reaction in life.” If you look around, sexual energy is an undercurrent in mostly everything in the modern day world—suggestive advertisements, pornography, movies, most of the songs that you hear on the radio, day […]

anonymous Oct 18, 2012 2:13pm

[…] focus on the physical aspects of the practice, mainstream yoga has become a commodified and often hypersexualized fitness regimen, rather than a complex, life-long spiritual practice. Focusing simply on asana […]

anonymous Oct 10, 2012 11:44am

Its great there is a discussion..to some this vid is great/crap but its no big deal so they move… to others it gives rise to an issue and talking about it constructively allows feminist approaches to be more diverse robust and articulate….this is good for all of us.
However I really firmly think you are limiting this women in the video…not by criticising as fair play a discussion is good…but because she is beautiful and it seems she knows it and enjoys it and this somehow damages other women?.
The lady choose sexy underwear so it goes into porn territory but she is not an object. .i really fail to see the objectification. There is no denying she is strong fit and confident and you cant define a wtong type of strong fit or confident otherwise women continue to be passified and constrained. I reckon this lady is just one of those naturally beautifully women luckily or unluckily for her she is going with it. The other videos she has made show a loving respectful relationship being built from yoga. It looks real and so we should be allowed to see it without fear of emotional harm. Dont know her name otherwise I would stop saying ‘she’.

anonymous Oct 9, 2012 10:58pm

[…] […]

anonymous Sep 14, 2012 9:40am

[…] or given grief for only wearing underwear with Equinox Fitness’ provocative viral yoga video, “The Contortionist,” people are talking about […]

anonymous Aug 19, 2012 12:13pm

i was simply in awe

anonymous Aug 5, 2012 11:05pm

As a beautiful woman with a beautiful body that has heard this kind of criticism my whole life – I have to ask you to please back off. The genetically blessed are just as criticized and hampered by insecurities as the not so genetically blessed. Your jealousy thinly disguised as concern is not making the world a better place Keep your own heart clean, and understand that what is right for you may not be right for some one else.

anonymous Jul 8, 2012 5:30pm

It is what it is. You have your opinion and I have mine. Sex sells, it always has and it always will. Aside from the fact that Briohny has a slam min bod, her technique is flawless. Equinox uses models with excellent technique and physical features to advertise. There is nothing wrong with that, unless you would like to start your own campaign using overweight models with the purpose to tell the masses that it is ok to be yourself. Just this morning I had a yoga flow class with a gorgeous man named Whit, I am a straight male but recognize his features. His focus on the week was to get us to radically realize that our bodies are the way they are. And that we shouldn't expect ourselves to be any other way than what we are today. Tomorrow leaves room for improvement but today we are they way we are. I don't doubt that an ad campaign using non athletic models would put an interesting spin on yoga, being as the majority of us don't have perfect bodies….

anonymous Jul 1, 2012 9:34pm

[…] or given grief for only wearing underwear with Equinox Fitness’ provocative viral yoga video, “The Contortionist,” people are talking about […]

anonymous Jun 5, 2012 8:00am

This video slams Yoga indeed as a spiritual practice and all that emcompasses. It leads anyone watching that yoga is postures and to some degree doing perfectly. This, however, should be clarified with as promoting yoga posture practice and sex as the medium…sex as we all well know sells and women as we all well know have been the object of such for forever.

When people write about longing for the day when we will be free to love our bodies..that day will never come. WE each on an individual basis need to be that change…otherwise you will be waiting a long, long time.

I appreciate this response a lot…..we need people to voice their opinions such as this in order for others to look, think and question. Often with so many images we fail to see anything important or real…So in my opinion this artilce offers that….

anonymous Apr 25, 2012 4:05pm

[…] ad campaigns shot by Terry Richardson and their “sexy” yoga video that pissed off yogis the world over, we thought Equinox had a monopoly on tacky, sexist gym ads. But it appears that […]

anonymous Apr 11, 2012 10:07am

[…] given that the pose part of it is a lot easier to advertise (hot women doing lunges is more sexy than middle aged ladies meditating), and that many people come to yoga through gyms or other […]

anonymous Mar 24, 2012 5:13am

Truly good site thank you so much for your time in publishing the posts for all of us to learn about.

anonymous Mar 23, 2012 4:39pm

[…] First is the idea that women are taught to be very body aware and to be in strict control of the performance (including size) of the body. Second is that, in most cultures, mothers are also taught that their role should include little to […]

anonymous Mar 19, 2012 2:01am

I believe that avoiding highly processed foods will be the first step to help lose weight. They will taste excellent, but refined foods contain very little vitamins and minerals, making you try to eat more only to have enough power to get over the day. If you are constantly having these foods, switching to whole grains and other complex carbohydrates will help you have more power while ingesting less. Good blog post. diet plans for men

anonymous Mar 13, 2012 2:44pm

[…] Why The Sexy Equinox Video Pissed Me Off […]

anonymous Feb 13, 2012 7:47pm

Julie as a woman, I was not turned off by the Equinox video but I just want to say that is post is just brilliant! The choice of these videos is extremely enlightening. I am inspired by your bravery in putting yourself out there in this way. You have made yourself vulnerable by exposing your tenderness and your anger. You are my heroe. How anyone could criticize this beautiful, brilliant post and call themselves a yogi is beyond belief.

I just loved the videos you shared and you have opened my mind and my heart. Self Promotion? Give me a GD break!

Sexism is very much alive and well in America today. If you've never been a girl, you have no right to criticize this post! And yes the Equinox video was sexualizing yoga and shot through the eyes of a heterosexual male. You'd have to be blind and stupid not to see that.

The photoshopped video is brilliant – -thanks for this post. I want to give you an award!

anonymous Feb 13, 2012 2:52pm

what is the big deal, honestly people, get a life!

anonymous Feb 8, 2012 12:43pm

[…] I actually had the opportunity to have a personal conversation with the lady who wrote the article Why the Sexy Equinox Video Pissed Me Off. It’s interesting, she actually reached out to me making sure I didn’t take things […]

anonymous Feb 8, 2012 12:12pm

[…] Why The Sexy Equinox Video Pissed Me Off […]

anonymous Jan 24, 2012 10:40am

[…] Peters writes on the Elephant Journal: I think if I wasn’t a yogi or a woman or some combination of things that make me who I am, I’d […]

anonymous Jan 23, 2012 7:41pm

This debate reminds me of a quote…

We do not see things they are. We see them as we are. – The Talmud

I also saw the video as a tasteful, powerful, and riveting expression of beauty. I also missed the “panties” and “lover in the bed”. I was awestruck by the strength and grace of the yogini. Now after reading her story and learning more about this debate, I believe this quote to be very relevant. Blessings.

anonymous Jan 23, 2012 12:02am

Hmmm, I must have a screw loose or I wear completely different lenses than the people who saw this as a "sexualized" video. When I first viewed it, I didnt even notice there was someone in the bed. I also was too enthralled with the body as a beautifully fine tuned example of a balanced, graceful body…strong, flexible, impressive. I was surprised that I didn even notice she was wearing panties til I started noticing the comments from so many bitter-sounding people 🙁
And I love panties! I’m a girl, I love frilly and feminine things.
I looked again after I began seeing all the bashing comments and still, they looked like some of the bottoms I've seen worn at dance rehearsals and iin dance classes, and I see shorts that small on MEN and WOMEN n "hot" yoga classes.

    anonymous Jan 23, 2012 12:04am

    I became sadden when I kept seeing so many negative comments. I had watched this video as a beautiful work of art…the body, to me is one of the most beautiful art OBJECTS. I have no objection to objectification in a respectful manner. I saw no disrespect. Perhaps it is because I was looking at it with the eyes of an artist. As a former professional dancer who continues to be inspired by the next generation's ability, beauty, discipline and craft, I only saw mastery, grace, and beauty.
    As a fitness professional who is passionate about helping my clients embrace a healthy life style and body image, I am obsessesed with observing the body in movement, in stillness, and in all shapes, sizes, and abilities…
    Hmmm, I guess I just have a different idea of what is objectification…If some of the people who think the director of the video is objectifying her, they would hate to think of how I "viewed" the shirtless rock climbers I belayed on many of my climbing expeditions, or the kayakers in full dry suits and PFDs on many of my kayaking expeditions…mmm, some of these athletes, fully clothes would cringe if they only knew how I looked at them….

anonymous Jan 22, 2012 10:13pm

Perception. One perceives something through a filter of personal resonance. To see this video as merely sexual or based on sexuality is really limiting the scope of reality. Every point mentioned as a negative stance on what yoga is to some or as a stereo type, just shows a limitation on your practice and awareness. What you see is mirrored within yourself. Judgement is not the path of a yogi. In the video I see strength. I see poise, and grace. I see focus, and determination. I see beauty and I see confidence. What I am peeking in on is the motivation of someone doing a self driven practice, while seeing the luxury of their partner is still sleeping peacefully in bed. When something outside of yourself pisses you off, it is time to look within yourself to resolve it.

anonymous Jan 22, 2012 3:56pm

[…] Why The Sexy Equinox Yoga Video Pissed Me Off. […]

anonymous Jan 20, 2012 6:31pm

“Why the sexy Equinox video was such an insignifacant part of my day that I am amazed we are still talking about it.”. My boyfriend showed me this video(not because he thought the woman was sexy…although let’s give credit where it’s due people, that is a beautiful body), but because he knew I would be impressed by her strength. As a yoga teacher, ex gymnast and dancer I was( i also thought “man it would be nice to have that much space to practice at home”) and then I moved on with my day and quickly forgot about it.

I teach yoga(mostly therapeutic asanas, pranayama and meditation) and I respect the need to explain that yoga is not just a physical practice to the world, but I also find it aggravating when yoga purists(if there is such a thing, because ladies you would have never had the option of studying yoga scriptures in ancient India….should we now right an article about how yoga is sexist in nature?) feel the compulsion to push their own definition of what the practice is on the rest of humanity. Her wardrobe doesn’t bother me(at least it’s not lululemon) nor do the camera angles. In art school I always found Mulvey to be a little boring and nagging….but then again I was also the skinny girl taking nude self portraits because I knew it aggravated all of the non skinny girls taking awkward nude self portraits as an act of expressing their distaste for sexuality in the media. If you get to be naked why can’t I be? We all have a right to express ourselves, however we choose, and it seems the lovely lady in this video is quite content with her choice so can we move on now?
If you don’t want your daughter to see it, don’t show it to her, but please don’t imbed the idea that beautiful women shouldn’t be allowed to use their assets. All I really got from this article is how the writer struggles with everyone thinking she is too sexy to be intelligent(woe is me), but as someone who considers themselves both without shame, I say either learn to deal with it or choose a different audience. Anyone accusing you of only winning because the judges thought you were pretty was either jealous, immature or bored by your poetry…whatever the case there are enough other people in the world that their opinion shouldn’t matter. Men and women both have assumed on many occasions that my brain doesn’t exist because of my appearance, and I giggle a little every time someone tries to explain life to me as if I were two. It is usually women, though, not men…and you know what? I just don’t care. I am blessed and if dealing with a few cat calls and bitchy feminists is the price I have to pay then so be it. Life is too beautiful to obsess over silly criticisms.

anonymous Jan 19, 2012 12:17pm

leave it to women to be the harshest critics of other women. if you own your sexuality, you cannot be sexualized. to continually view all ads/pix/media that show a woman in all of her sensuality is to reinforce the belief that a woman can not only NOT OWN her sexuality but that should she she will be ostracized, alienated, criticized, and condemned as doing OTHER WOMEN wrong. really? hats off to brihony for celebrating her strength and grace – particularly after body issues so serious she had to seek treatment – and to equinox for doing a superbly beautiful job in capturing her celebration. my favorite thing about her equinox ad was reading in her response to critics how giving birth to her daughter helped heal her. it is sad to me – particularly as a mother of a daughter – that we women of the 21st century still fear ourselves and the power in our feminine form(s).

    anonymous Jan 21, 2012 11:17am

    Women have to be able take back the streets at night and not fear violence from men before you could fully lay claim to all that. A women without protection from a man is treated both as a joke and as fair game.

anonymous Jan 18, 2012 12:14pm

[…] testimonials of yoga experiences, while almost sidetracked by the sexy Equinox yoga video and its hailstorm, and closely succumbing to the Cirque du Soleil-ish “Yoga Lady Breaks Both Arms” […]

anonymous Jan 17, 2012 1:25pm

I honestly think this got looked into way too much.. Is the camera checking her out? or is it simply showing the beauty of certain muscle groups during the practice of what seems to be a calming, peaceful and internal experience. I think this shows the naturalistic version of a woman who has the strength and internal peacefulness (at this moment at least) without the so called “appropriate amount of body fat”, or the “perfectly toned six pack”.
I find it interesting how some people have described the guy in the background as "her recent lay" when it could just as well be her partner sleeping while we catch a glimpse of her own personal time. Are routines like yoga not experienced the most intensely in the morning? Yoga is supposed to be an internal thing and not to be done for the outward appearance. The fact that anyone would buy a gym membership in terms of what we traditionally think as the purpose of a gym, that is to get in shape for the benefit of others perceptions, I find somewhat ridiculous and backwards. This type of thinking really goes to show that the popularization of yoga has really destroyed the original intention of the practice. Feeling healthy is a personal thing not something to be shared, judged, or experienced by anyone else other then ourselves. That is the purpose of an internal practice like yoga, but yoga is not the only internal practice, just the most popularized one.
I think this video shows a healthy happy woman enjoying her practice in the early morning before the world around her has started. She has caught a moment of peace and isolation and is practicing with a smile on her face. Instead of feeling like we are creeping in and looking inappropriately I find myself feeling privileged to be able to share this moment of incredible beauty, strength and skill with someone that I will never know. Yes. She is wearing lingerie. Is this really different then spandex and a sports bra? Have we not grown up from our young and shy years? I don’t think it is the video that is the problem I think it’s what we are pulling out of the video. Look beyond what you want the video to say and try and see what she is trying to say.

anonymous Jan 17, 2012 12:35pm

The video was a viral/social media marketing slam dunk by Equinox and you all fell right into the trap. Stop overanalyzing it.

    anonymous Jan 18, 2012 9:02am

    You are right about that. It remains to be seen if Town Sports International and 24 Hour Fitness follow suit with this despicable formula …

    Glad I do not have time for a gym …

anonymous Jan 17, 2012 11:25am

julie yes yes. but re: Budig, she is inspiring but..taking off your clothes does not empower women

anonymous Jan 16, 2012 8:32am

[…] Equinox video has certainly created a lot of hubbub. All the men I polled said, “what’s the big […]

anonymous Jan 16, 2012 4:04am

After reading how you couldn't seem to get through life without being regarded as a sex object first, by employers, colleagues, and friends, I assumed you must be extraordinarily stunning. Seriously, JC, you're just not that hot (physically). I did enjoy the poetry, though!

anonymous Jan 15, 2012 6:38pm

This video borders on yoga porn in my view and I invite your critique: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNhX_kvN1VY

anonymous Jan 15, 2012 4:52pm

I am really surprised you were offended by this truly retarded yoga ad, and yet not by the illicit toesox pic. If her hand were out of the way you could not only see her blinding vajazzle, you could actually probably see into her lips and her actual female prostate.

As a nude performance artist, I delight in making grand public displays of nudity, but not at a profit, only for the personal and collective pleasure and offenses of being publicly nude… and I don't try to hide my bits, or revel in the artifice that it is for "my practice" … or for my art. It is for turning people on, shocking people, offending people, waking people up and waking myself up! Also for promoting body positivity, which I believe this video does not – it just makes you want to judge your own "practice" against hers.

I put "practice" in quotations because often people who drop the words "my practice" are some of the most self-judgmental.

Despite being the most advanced technology on the planet, the human beings still drive on hormones and their lizard brain, and if someone needs to figure out what authenticity is in their own life, they will have to do it through karma like everyone else. The slow and Saturnian painful way.

If people were not so sexually repressed then it wouldn't even be a big deal… because I see the undercurrent of this video as, I wake up out of bed, do my 3 minute practice, and then will come back to bed and f*uck you.

If you are subject to the mind control of both of these ads, then you and these companies can be conspirators in that kind of reality. In the kindtime we have the delight of mucking about in the utter stupefaction of the dark ages we are still living in, as evidenced, in my opinion by not the ridiculous ads themselves, but that their creators have to stoop to nudity voyeurism and sexuality not for the joy of expressing them, but to themselves know and communicate to others that their products and services have value.

What yoga ad have you seen lately that is like "We are the studio with the most integrity in the area. We pay our teachers fairly, we use eco products, and we love all our students equally and are so proud of everyone!"??? Show me because all I have seen is a bunch of bitches who think they are hot with their leg over their head… 🙂 🙂 🙂 <3

    anonymous Jan 15, 2012 6:08pm

    "…we have the delight of mucking about in the utter stupefaction of the dark ages we are still living in, as evidenced, in my opinion by not the ridiculous ads themselves, but that their creators have to stoop to nudity voyeurism and sexuality not for the joy of expressing them, but to themselves know and communicate to others that their products and services have value.

    "What yoga ad have you seen lately that is like "We are the studio with the most integrity in the area. We pay our teachers fairly, we use eco products, and we love all our students equally and are so proud of everyone!"??? Show me because all I have seen is a bunch of bitches who think they are hot with their leg over their head… 🙂 🙂 🙂 <3"

    Sadly, you are right. It's because of studio attitude that women may flock to a gym to take yoga, but still most likely, despite this ad, not because of it. There has to be an earthy sultriness about the woman, a groundedness, for many women to identify with this level of implied sexuality as portrayed.

    Very sad.

anonymous Jan 15, 2012 3:20pm

[…] Why The Sexy Equinox Yoga Video Pissed Me Off (elephantjournal.com) Share this:FacebookTwitterEmailStumbleUponDiggPrintRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

anonymous Jan 15, 2012 12:23pm

You post on this really upsets me actually. I saw the video once and was astounded and in awe at how beautiful it was. While trying to find it again I came across all of the "controversy" surrounding it. Honestly, I am just sick and tired of everyone blaming the media and public perception for negative body image. Yes, it obviously has an impact on it, but if you are that easily influenced by materialistic, superficial, exterior forces then you have much larger issues going on. I agree that "skinny supermodels" can prey on those inferiority complexes and cause greater problems, but something like this video was totally different to me. Even if they meant for it to be sex dripped and laced with body image issues, all I saw was an amazing female body doing poses I strive to do. I saw a strong, empowered woman who is in control and wakes up in the morning, leaves her bed, and starts her practice to be at peace with herself, taking a moment to herself before the day begins. It inspires me every time I watch it to keep working on my balance and to wake up earlier than my boyfriend to meditate in the silence and beauty of my own body. I respect your, and anyone else's opinion, I just wanted to put in my 2 cents that I too am a women and I did not take it as offensive or degrading. If you try to find the negativity in everything, you will.

anonymous Jan 15, 2012 10:26am


anonymous Jan 14, 2012 8:45pm

[…] THEN…I read THIS article written by one of my personal heroes and fellow Elephant contributor Julie JC […]

anonymous Jan 14, 2012 8:41pm

My 2 cents as a heterosexual guy — I (and most guys) watch so much porn, all of which is so far beyond this video, that I got no rise out of it. When I want sex, I'll get it in the purest form I can find, and this isn't it.

Furthermore, as far as how this sets the standard for other women: It doesn't, at least for me. You know what I think when I see an overweight man or woman jogging and sweating in the hot July sun? 100% respect. At least her head is pointing in the right direction, and that makes all the difference.

What do I feel when I see this video? I'm impressed by her fitness, no doubt. But it appeals to the part of my mind that appreciated mechanics and math.

Ladies, relax. We love you just the way you are. Do the best you can with what you've got, and your beautiful souls will come shining through.

anonymous Jan 14, 2012 8:31pm

Well, I really enjoyed watching it. She's so strong and fluid and beautiful. I don't care what she's wearing. It was beautiful and mesmerizing even though the set up is pretty silly and her asana sequence didn't make a whole lot of sense to me either. It's an ad. Don't get so worked up over it. 25 years ago I was a women's studies major in college and I probably would have been appalled by the ad as well. Now I'm middle aged and I sit and practice some yoga and just don't worry about that other stuff so much. I will encourage my young daughter – and my sons! – to focus inward and not worry so much about all that stuff out there as well, because I wish I had figured out what is important much earlier in my life.

anonymous Jan 14, 2012 8:09pm

I cant do this. (insert equinox yoga video here please)

I have pretty serious back pain, still. (degenerative discs) I shake in poses. (insert poor out of shape excuse here) My hips are tighter than the jaws of life. Sanskrit is not my second language. I have not practiced for longer than 20 months. I am a newly certified 200 hour RYT, almost. I am the worst yoga teacher ever. And I am ready to make this my living. Close your mouth and hear me out. IF you read my posts, I hope you get laughs. But really you might see my journey through this awesome thing. Or my awesome journey through this thing called yoga. Maybe like you, I have been noticing a lot of speculation, criticism of teachers, and its pretty controversial. It’s yoga teachers fault that people get hurt in yoga right? Or the commercialization of yoga? Or your own ego? D. All of the above. No one gets off, trust me.

Like the video above? Chyea, who doesn’t? A beautiful practice. Do I want to do that? Yes and in this lifetime would be nice. But I cannot push or fight to get there. I learned that lesson the hard way. Ex-athlete+competititve+inflexible =OWW (and other cuss words) But trust me, that is not what I get out of yoga. There is so freaking much more.

The Bhagavad Gita illuminates the practice of meditation as defining as to what is a true yogi: one free of attachment thus attained the goal of meditation. “For Yogi literally means “one who is accomplished in yoga,” and yoga means integration of spirit. In this sense, yoga means wholeness or the process of becoming whole at the deepest spiritual level.” How inspiring that is to me? Very. I have physical limitations that may, nay, will take years of dedication and therapy to change. But I desire to be a great teacher today. A dilemma indeed. I must separate the lack of my flashy yoga tricks and figure out a way to show students how to be a yogi. If I stay true to what yoga provides me, that’s all I can do to be a true yogi. That is why I want to teach. The mental training of yoga. The connection of mind to body and inspiring of each other. The connection to others via spirituality within self through body awareness and breath.

The physical will come. I can study and memorize Sanskrit. I might be able to heal my back. But I will never watch a video like the one above and think peace of mind comes from anything other than finding MY place in yoga, whether that be anywhere from child’s pose or one-legged crow. And yes I can teach both, demo-ing or not.

I am working to find peace in being where I am not where I will be. Because, as yoga teachers say, there is always somewhere to go. The summit is non-existent but the journey is now. Reveling in the riches of each day is something I strive for whether it be yoga or giving love. There are no accolades once we leave.

Or maybe I should give up yoga?
F^&* it. I am the worst yoga teacher ever. See you in class!

    anonymous Jan 14, 2012 8:26pm

    You sound like you will be a great yoga teacher. Namaste.

    anonymous Jan 15, 2012 9:35am

    Just don't pull me up in an inversion I still won't be ready for, and you sound like you might be the best yoga teacher in the world to me …

    anonymous Jan 21, 2012 2:33am

    Ben love reading your articles. I’m just wondering if you can elaborate on what you mean by “even when things go wrong there is always a reason”. I used to think things happened for a reason but now I think that sometimes things just happen that can’t really be explained but how we choose to respond to them is what matters. As an example, a dear friend of mine just lost her baby 5 months into pregnancy. Medicine can explain it. A common virus most of us have had but she had never had was basically eating the baby. I don’t believe this was meant to happen as a spiritual lesson, it just happened. But I am watching her grieve and I can see how she is responding with love pouring through her tears that is opening her heart even more. I feel sometimes we need to find a reason for why things happen so the world makes sense so we don’t go crazy. But sometimes, things just happen.

anonymous Jan 14, 2012 7:43pm

Thank you for speaking your truth JC. I had the same internal response to the video that you did.

anonymous Jan 14, 2012 7:37pm

This sort of reminds me of a video I saw a long time ago at Borders (see also: Anachronistic Things, "Borders", "video") for "Nude Yoga." Ever since I have wondered what the deal with it was. Was it just titillating? (Look the teacher is naked!) Or was the instructor fully clothed and doing a regular yoga video, but just every once in a while saying, "Go into downward dog, while remaining naked…"

anonymous Jan 14, 2012 10:54am

The fact that we don't see this video as selling sex is a brilliant example of how shrouded in maya our culture still is.
Thank you JC.

anonymous Jan 14, 2012 8:19am

I loved the passion in your poetry, the fuel of your wounds and healing. Beautiful writer you are! "…because the body has a rhythm and that rhythm is poetry…because sex has a rhythm and poetry's in my body…"

anonymous Jan 14, 2012 12:38am

I thought her practice was very powerful, graceful, and gorgeous—- however, I could have totally done without the butt shots (I mean come on!! Was it really necessary!!!)… and the guy laying asleep in bed??? hmmm… yeah- there was a bit of a sexual conitotion there, that's for sure. Make the same video of her, without the butt shots, without the guy, without the messy bed, and have her put on some clothes— well- you still have a very athletic, fit (obviously you have to be to do what she is doing), powerful and amazing women/ yogi. I could not agree with you more, and I think you are Very correct in your opinions of your article. Hey- sex sells… that's advertising 101.

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 11:06pm

"very special friend" hysterical! haha

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 8:54pm

Please consider – what you THINK is what you SEE. The video isn't the problem

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 8:13pm

I don't see any difference between the Equinox video and the Toesox picture… seems to be a personal preference thing and seeing what you want to see in this case.

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 6:21pm

I've seen this video several times now, in various places. But, until you pointed it out I did not realize it was an ad, let alone for equinox. If there was branding, it was so subtle that it was lost on me. It is similar to a host of other videos posted by accomplished ashtangis, like Kino MacGregor, Lauren Pedersen or David Swenson. They inspire me to practice. They are poetry in motion. So does this video.

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 4:53pm

"If flexibility of the body is the only yoga, then clowns in the circus are the best yogis."~ Yogi Bhajan~What's crazy is what we know in the west as "Yoga". When my friend & I went to India to study with TKV Desikachar & meet BKS Iyengar, we were hysterically laughing throughout our journey saying "there's no yoga in India". It was a joke because yoga is EVERYWHERE in India, Bhakti Yoga that is! Yoga is a lifestyle, not an ASANA! <3 This is also why I LOVE Kundalini Yoga! LOVE to you JC!

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 1:24pm

People need to mature past the 3rd grade and join the rest of us adults in this world. There is nothing sexual about this and if there was, who cares? Why is sexuality a bad thing?

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 12:35pm

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally someone who makes some god damn sense!!!!!

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 12:32pm

Wahoo! yay! Rock on Lady!

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 11:16am

I was working a lot the last week and I am just catching up on the aftermath of this very important discussion. I am relatively new to yoga (only about 45 years), so I would love it if one of the experts could tell me where I could find the teaching on "focusing outside yourself and judging others". Yamas, Niyamas, Sutras… ? It would be much appreciated. Now, I must get back to my practice. Thank you.

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 9:40am

I respectfully disagree.
To me this video was not about sex.
Yes this video was highly produced and stylized but to me it did convey a sense of rolling out of bed and coming to the mat in what ever the practitioner happened to be sleeping in.
My body looks nothing like that, but this didn’t make me feel insecure.
I gasped at her strength and ability, not the shots of her uncovers but cheeks. If this video made me envious at all it would be for her dedication and maybe those huge beautiful windows of the apt.
Yes she was beautiful. Her body and her face more than anything which could have been highlighted more.
To me this made me feel that even if someone is more beautiful than you could have imagined no one is perfect. We all have things we are working on in our bodies and our practice. When the shit was done up her spine I noticed that all the muscles on the left appeared higher than the right. That slight imbalance made me feel compassion for this woman. It made me wonder how she may be suffering and if she were to come to my class how I might help ease that. This feeling of no one is perfect washed over me like a sigh of relief.
As far as this being an add I don’t even know what they are selling. Mats? Promoting teachers or training? I doubt it’s the underware that she is wearing. It doesn’t matter because I’m not going to run out and purchase any of these items.
To me tge video was inspiring for what we can do through dedication, what kind of beauty can be communicated when we engage in art.
Yes, it was a little startling to see some of the angles and shots, but I didn’t feel like a voyeur. I felt like a privileged viewer getting to see something from a new perspective, like when we all got to see that snow leopard hunting for tge first time on Planet Earth.
In addition to yoga I appreciate the female form and quality art. I feel both were highlighted.
I feel like I have more important things to be pissed off about that this like animals being abused and put to death in shelters by people who are supposed to protect them and find them homes. But we all have our fights and our passions. If yours is the same come join facebook.com/TheFeralArmy

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 9:04am

very thoughtful honest and substantive article! LOVE the spoken word piece.

did you see this piece of fascinating research? http://integral-options.blogspot.com/2011/12/jona

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 8:23am

[…] a few days stewing over TV, magazines and advertisements, I decided to explore the true cause troubling me. It […]

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 8:06am

I have never commented on a blog post before, ever. I just want to say that I was incredibly moved by your beautiful poetry. Thank you so much for sharing yourself.

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 12:47am

I have similar issues to you, JC: I struggled with anorexia in my youth, but it was brought on by my father sexually abusing me when I was a kid. So the sexual assault came before the food issues.

I get where you are coming from, totally. I also didn't particularly mind the Equinox video, although I didn't watch it until someone suggested we normal chicks do a video response. Normal chicks, normal homes, normal bodies. Doing probably a lot less than your mate Megan in that clip!

I think we should, I think we should…

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 10:09pm

Thanks, JC. It was a good read, and whether I agree with you or not (and I happen to) I also like the way you expressed yourself.

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 8:34pm

You said it so well!!!!!!!!!! High FIVE girl! Thank you! I totally agree!

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 8:15pm

[…] Equinox selling through inspiration or discouragement? *Other articles on this topic: Why the Sexy Equinox Yoga Video Pissed Me Off, The Equinox Yoga Video: Sex… Or Art? My Perspective, El Video de Equinox… El Sexo…. O el […]

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 8:15pm

I find the toesox ad just as troubling and am surprised you like that one. Namaste

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 8:01pm

Wow not sure if it means I am comfortable with my sexuality, my body, or not but I thought the video was refreshing. I was inspired and not inspired to go have sex, go do yoga poses I haven't tried or to buy anything… I was simply inspired to go do yoga! Perception is certainly key here and obviously you are drawing from your experiences and your truths but I don't think that makes it fair for you to make assumptions. Again I thought the video was beautiful and inspiring as are yours.

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 4:48pm

What is an amazingly strong practice? Who are we to judge that? When people tell me you have a strong, beautiful practice I don't knwo what to say… Yoga is a spritiual practice. Mother Teresa and Gandhi had beautiful strong Karma Yoga practices because they were very evolved spiritually. A narcissistic exercise enthusiast who loves to stare at her/his self in the mirror during asana practice does not necessarily qualify as someone whith a strong practice. Yoga has become an exercise regimen.

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 12:43pm

I came across this quote elsewhere on the web and I think it’s fitting:

[W]hen people conceive of themselves primarily as mind, they necessarily see the world of physical objects from a position of distance. And then, as distanced observers, they engage in interpreting those objects by assigning different meanings to them. In the presence dimension, by contrast, people feel that they are part of and contiguous with objects in the physical world. It would not occur to a soccer player to ask himself what the ball could possibly “mean.”

– Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht in his In Praise of Athletic Beauty

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 10:52am

She's strong and sexy. I'm sick of everyone deciding for everyone else what yoga is or is not. Haters always gonna hate.

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 9:30am

Does anyone have the chick's number in the video? She's hot!

    anonymous Jan 12, 2012 3:32pm

    Back off bitch, that is my crib and my ho.

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 8:54am

Ya know, you articulated my thoughts exactly on why the Equinox video was vile and the Toesox ads awesome. It's all CONTEXT. Sure the naked yoga body is powerful, beautiful, sexy, blah blah blah…I get all that. But YES YES and YES — the Equinox video was also highly charged, highly erotic and highly voyeuristic, while Toesox is merely being cheeky.

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 8:16am

I think you stated my discord with the video in a much more eloquent manner than my rant I posted earlier this week: http://www.bendingoverbackward.com/2012/01/its-ad…. Thank you so much!

    anonymous Jan 12, 2012 8:28am

    This video is the "Olympic pole dancing" of yoga videos … it does the opposite for yoga that extreme athleticism does for pole dancing … too often this country is meeting in the middle somewhere … in either case, the woman is objectified and making many average women … feel inadequate or uneasy …

    If you are not born with this kind of latent talent, it is many years and many months and many $$$ spent on professional instruction, which may mean private lessons (even if arranged thru Equinox), and the big bank account that they allude to in their video, and which regrettably goes unaddressed in this post …

    I will be practicing for close to 5 years regular yoga practice soon. Like they say on their own website, many women plateau at crow pose. http://q.equinox.com/articles/2012/01/yoga-arm-ba… Occasionally reaching ardha salamba sirsasana II (clown), but it hurts my neck real bad half the time. So I guess I am one of those women. I will use all my powers of pratyahara to be satisficing (and satisfied) with that. When my practice rocks the best, it isn't after viewing stuff like THIS!

    Obviously, this video is out to cause insecurity in the many while hoping to attract the maximizing few!

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 8:04am

I'm with you. I appreciate her athleticism and applaude her for her practice but I felt it unecessary to perform in underwear.

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 5:40am

There are so many photos and videos out there of perfect bodies doing perfect (and advanced) poses. They feel wrong to me for 2 reasons; the first: they are just another example of modern society's obsession with sex, perfection and beauty which places pressure on everyone to reach these unrealistic goals and promotes, self loathing, inadequacy and a desire to be something other than what we are. The second: I worry that it puts many people off trying yoga, because the postures we see are advanced postures and are not achievable for many, even after years of practice, not every body is the same and not every body is capable of some of these advanced postures. So many people who are curious about yoga have said to me "I can't do yoga, I am not flexible enough"; these pictures and videos do nothing to encourage these people and it is a shame because so many could benefit from a yoga practice. I understand that for some these pictures are incentive and goals and I am not saying there is no place for them at all, but the balance with videos and photos showing more subtle and gentle practice is totally off.

I long for the day when we will be encouraged to embrace and love ourselves for who we are and where we are on our journey and when we can learn to see and accept others for who they are, with all their imperfections!

    anonymous Jan 12, 2012 7:44am

    Fanned and faved!

    anonymous Mar 28, 2013 8:05pm

    >>The second: I worry that it puts many people off trying yoga, because the
    >>postures we see are advanced postures and are not achievable for many,
    >>even after years of practice, not every body is the same and not every body is capable of
    >>some of these advanced postures.

    I think that's just a quitter's mentality. Personally, I would take it as a personal challenge. Keep pushing the limits.

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 2:05am

Isn't it possible that we see people, videos, situations, etc through our own tainted lenses? Whatever issues we have inside, we deflect them outside – isn't it how most of see the world – through our issues? I'm not saying I don't have issues, I have a ton, but when I watch this video, it doesn't make me feel bad about my body, it doesn't make me angry because she's wearing undies, I don't feel the sexism, I am simply in awe of her practice. What else is there to see?

Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

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Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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anonymous Jan 11, 2012 11:55pm

The error lies in assuming one is either a sexual object or multi-faceted human. We are not either/or, but all of that and more. There is a difference, key here, between being seen as an object of sexual desire, and being seen only as that.

By showing such an amazing practice in harmony with the sexual power also evident, the production is attaining what the author here claims is worth fighting for: the right (for one) to be seen as a human, and not an object. You could say that the sexual aspects serve to show how powerful her practice is: it eclipses them. Well, I could, anyway.

This is so different from the bimbo reclining on a car hood. The human power in this piece is its most outstanding facet. More to be applauded than derided, I would think, especially from the author's point of view.

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 11:20pm

All things are neutral to a neutral mind. The best definition I heard of Maya is that it is "projection and masking" meaning that the objective world is projection followed by masking which is giving the projection meaning, meaning that the only meaning things have are those we assign to them. It is tempting through the myriad of subtle impressions that are made upon us through our formative years and the conditioning of the mind through our lifetime to be believe that what we see is separate from us and therefore has the power to do something to us (offend, dehumanize, objectify), it is the same groove the rest of the world plays in, however it is through our spiritual practice and yoga practice (one and the same) that we have the opportunity to have a shift in perception, step aside even for a second to get a glimmer that nothing exists outside of ourselves. Our reaction has everything to do with the grooves, the impressions that have been set in our lifetime like a fingerprint on our soul that says we are something that we are not. This is not airy fairy spirituality. It is simplicity at it's simplest. All reactions and all offenses can only come as a projection of our own inner demons. It is not insignificant to note that the author mentions anorexia and sexual assault which make up the specific lens of her projection and this is not said as an unkindness, rather as another commentator suggested, with all loving kindness examine this reaction and go within and heal what it is that brings this fuming reaction. Is it not coming from things that are already within you? That are now finding expression? Where else could it come from? That is why there can NEVER be a consensus on the video. We all see it through our own lenses it has no other inherent meaning. When we are truly free we don't see anything as offensive we only see from a neutral point of view. Nothing exists outside of ourselves. God Bless. Be at peace. And then you will see with peace. Humbly yours, M.

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 10:09pm

The start of the clip clearly sets the intent as voyeurism as one is directed to observe the reflection of the glass between the yogini and the camera. There's your set up POV…. it says a lot, I think

    anonymous Jan 11, 2012 10:37pm

    That is one interpretation. I view it as simply a more artistic shot. Nothing more, nothing less.

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 10:00pm

Can we be free enough to be unmoved and live from a place that is deep and allow our yoga to be an expression of that depth?

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 9:54pm

peace please

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 8:57pm

I am wondering why the woman in the Equinox video is wearing lingerie with an unmade bed in the back ground. The implication could be that she does her yoga practice upon waking, however I doubt that this is the intended association. She does some beautiful postures in her implied bedroom, all too slow and sensually to really be seen as any more than a dream or object of desire.

    anonymous Jan 11, 2012 9:42pm

    Cindy, you may have already seen the piece I wrote about this video, but my little experiment polling thousands of people across Latin America and other parts of the world showed that in fact a large majority of people did not see it as anything sexual or objectifying. I was actually surprised by many of the responses. My take on the video was that it was in fact trying to show her just-out-of-bed practice, but somewhat in an ironic way… cause who really does THAT first thing in the morning? But I took it as a very innocent scene, with her man still sleeping in while she does her morning yoga routine. To me it was nothing but empowering and inspiring. But I do think it's all in the eye of the beholder. One of my commentators very wisely described it as the proverbial "ink-blot" test. We all see something different, and that in itself is entirely valid. There are hundreds of interesting comments, on all sides of the coin, on my article if you're interested in reading more: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/01/the-equino

    anonymous Jan 21, 2012 2:50pm

    Are yoga poses intended to be performed quickly and hastily? This is a classic American way of viewing something like this. Your culture is so sexualized that all you see in this video is sex. I find it incredibly inspiring to my own yoga practice personally, and not the least bit offensive. Who cares what she's wearing? If YOU are not comfortable practicing in knickers, you don't wear them.

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 8:52pm

This sounds like it's directed straight at me, as was much of the article. 🙂

"Some of those of us made uncomfortable by this video are being accused of a puritanical hate for innocent naked bodies due to our overly sexually repressed culture. I disagree. Not all white Americans hate breasts (anyway, I’m Canadian). I think yoga is sexy. It literally does make your sex life better, and eroticism in our culture is something we could use more of in a respectful way. But here are two problems with sex in yoga culture when presented this way."

Referring to my piece, http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/01/the-equino… I just want to clear the air and say that first of all I was talking about "North-American" culture, not American. I was very careful to say that in my piece because I knew that I was engaging with Canadians as well as Americans, and it is my feeling that we share a similar cultural identity as North Americans as a whole.

But also my piece was very much focused on exploring the question of WHY 2 different cultures might view it through a different lens. As my experience was unique to having lived/worked/traveled in the Latin world, that had influenced the lens through which I saw the video.

And now that I have read your history with an eating disorder (which good for you for overcoming!), it is clear to me that that has influenced your lens as well. And that is 1000% valid. Just as my lens was 1000% valid. I was not calling Americans (or Canadians) puritanical, I was simply drawing cultural distinctions between 2 very different cultures and asking the question, "Could this explain some of the difference in response?" It was a hypothesis I was curious about, which is why I surveyed my Latin American/Spanish readers.

I hope you know that my piece was by no means written to offend or insult you, or anyone else who disliked the video. I was very careful and clear in my piece to comment that I absolutely understand how someone would draw the conclusions that you did, and I fully respected that. And I still do. I understand all of your arguments above and I honor those. I simply see it all through a different lens, and as I'm forever fascinated by human psychology and sociology, I simply wanted to explore a bit about why that might be….- Jeannie Page

    anonymous Jan 11, 2012 9:55pm

    I liked your article…it offered not just an opinion but a good element of comparative commentary and non judgmental expression and discussion….

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 8:51pm

Wow there are a lot of comments. I respect your ideas, and I agree with about half. For me I didn't care for the toesox add, though I admit in winter I since it's just my feet and hands that are cold I may possibly wear just socks to bed on some cold nights so it isn't entirely impossible, though improbable unless in a cold place in winter that she would be wearing just socks during yoga. Personally I wouldn't go for the toe socks then if its that cold, lol. I do think that there's a line between sexy as in being a person and sexy and trying to be objectified and make people feel bad about themselves. I actually do my yoga in my underwear(sometimes the lacy kind like she in the video had too, makes me feel pretty). I probably would in my room just as she did too if I woke up late and just wanted to do a bit to wake up. Congrats on getting pretty much everyone who commented to write so much too. You seem to be inspiring a lot of enthusiasm with this article. 🙂

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 8:26pm

I also like Jeannie Page's point of view in her elephantjournal article about the same video……

"As the facebook debate grew over the video, I felt like I was in a definite minority. Most of the people had felt disgusted or offended in some way by the video. So what was different about me that I was not? Why was I able to view it purely as art, while others had viewed it as “yoga porn”? Well, I think that with anything in life, we view things through the lens of our own experiences and our own emotions. I cannot speak for the experiences from which anyone else comes, I can only speak for myself.

I am a liberated woman who is secure in herself and her body, a woman who has a rooted mental, spiritual and physical yoga and meditation practice. And I am fortunate that in my life I have seldom felt that I was objectified or oppressed as a woman. Quite the opposite in fact. Lucky to have been raised by a long line of empowered women, I like to consider myself among them. Coming from that frame of reference, I was able to view this video as inspiring and empowering and as nothing more (or less) than art."

for more… http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/01/the-equino

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 8:06pm

didnt find it sexual at all… and really perhaps human beings haver greater things to be concerned about right now???

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 8:04pm

oh cummon — deal with your personal emotional responses to the video …………if we could do the routine she did – we too would have the body she had ——–

    anonymous Jan 11, 2012 8:14pm

    A look at their website and it isn't all acro and handstands in their yoga department, partially due to the age of the clientele (I'm talking about the Upper East Side of New York). And probably not as good as a studio. Yoga studios are less expensive, even some of the soigne ones. If you have that kind of cash in the first place, and you are that much into yoga, your best pick (in New York City, anyway) is a studio … the mindful ones, anyway …

    anonymous Mar 28, 2013 8:08pm

    I totally agree. Thumbs up!

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 7:03pm

Dear Julie,

Triggers abound! I pray your path of self awareness is graced with the courage to continue to dive into what is behind your emotions. They are only a signpost that lead to deep healing and everlasting peace.

I don’t know what Equinox is, or what they are trying to sell (maybe women’s underwear?) I agree the video demonstrates this woman’s strong capacity for arm balances, and perhaps dedication to her practice (which is indeed admirable in itself) while her partner sleeps in…but not her capacity for balance in her life, or her capacity to spread Divine love to all she meets. But then I don’t really expect this much from advertising! She’s lovely to watch, but as a yogini, and one who in teaching ‘promotes’ complete practice..I admit I would like to her to sit in meditation following her stretches. But that is my projection. Sat Nam.

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 6:48pm

Rock on, JC!!!! I would love to see you do your poetry, but I live in Ohio. Anyway, thanks for a thoughtful, feminist analysis. Thanks, too for sharing your personal struggles with honesty and integrity without pity.

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 6:47pm

By the way I also do my practice every day in front of my bed because is the place where I feel more comfortable and I just wake up to yoga, also do it in my underwear.

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 6:44pm

It is interesting reading all the different opinions. As a women and yoga instructor I loved the video, I think it is very artistic and well done. I accept all the comments but see no reason to get all upset about something that is no directly harming anyone. I have seem worst and more offended stuff in internet, and I never let this things get into my skin. Peace and love!

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 6:35pm

Holy Cow, Julie, that's some powerful poetry!

I am glad that you articulated your view. No one can know it or say it like you. And I respect that, I really do.

I won't apologize that it just came out that way. Namasté!

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 6:27pm

I think your article is very insightful, and I’m glad to see someone sensing the bigger picture. I myself was pretty conflicted after seeing the video. She obviously has an amazing, strong practice…but how sad for our society that we have to dress her up in lingerie in front of a bed to get any attention. A very clear example of how sex appeal sells. It gets a big thumbs down from me, just more voyeuristic fodder. sigh

    anonymous Jan 11, 2012 6:39pm

    Yet a naked woman wearing socks for advtg. is "ok."


anonymous Jan 11, 2012 6:22pm

What do you think of this edited version? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fubq1n4prtI

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 5:00pm

Sorry, but our perceptions seem to be out of step. I do see a carefully crafted marketing message using a model performing advanced gymnastics. IMO, no actual yoga was committed in the video. But I don't see anything in the video that would support any of the opinions in this post.

You wrote "beautifully photographed, definitely erotic". I personally do not think this video is "definitely erotic". What makes it erotic for you, that she is in her undies? Performing calisthenics, for me, does not equal eroticism.

You claim that this video is "putting pressure on us to do crazy poses or have a perfect butt". What about the video puts pressure on anyone? Because the model looks like, well, a model? If the model was a size 30 would that mean the video is putting pressure on women to have imperfect butts? If it was a video of Tadasana would that mean it was putting pressure on women to stand up straight?

"This video exemplifies the male gaze". What is see is a video expressly designed for the hetero female gaze. And to sell gym memberships to those women. Some men may disagree with me as to whether this video is sexual in nature but I do not think any man would be tempted to buy a gym membership because of it.

Then the author mentions she prefers the ToeSox ads. Even though the ToeSox ads also lack the qualities of presenting Ms. Budig as being valued for "her teaching, her passions, or anything about her mind at all". Why the two standards for the video and the print ads? How does being buck naked, except for a pair of ridiculous socks, in a variation of peacock pose value Ms. Budig's mind?

I tried my best to understand the reasons for the authors annoyance but I found myself unconvinced by her arguments.

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 4:28pm

Yeah well I see where you're comin from Julie, my fellow sister EJ writer. When I first saw those Kathryn Budig ads, my knee jerk impression actually was not of a contemplative yogini with an amazing bod deep in her practice, powerful as her practice may be. The inherent absurdity of using the sacredness of a naked body to sell a retail item—"Toesox: all you need to wear"—reminded me of the recent campaign for Bulgari handbags and jewels featuring the actress Julianne Moore. No question they are sumptuously photographed with Moore at her sensuous best posed like an odalisque to give the appearance of great paintings of western European art. While the ads were splashed across Vogue and other fashion mags a few years back, a billboard version (with lion cubs!) was banned in Venice. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/30/julianne…. Yup there was that male gaze again. Another absurdity. So where's the demarcation line?

    anonymous Jan 11, 2012 5:06pm

    Julie—Oops! There was more to my original comment which disappeared when I tried to submit and a popup said I had timed out. Here's what I think I said:

    Budig's ad is shot against seamless white paper. There's no backstory, only Budig bearing her all (except for her feet). Wit overides titillation. While we're still being sold something we can let our guard down a little.

    Meghan Currie's videos and photo sessions with Robert Sturman always give us something exciting to see in her practice. She's a free agent totally in command whether it's the art of Yoga or Yoga as art.

    Which brings me to these questions: Is the discomfort with the Equinox video because it has a presumptive agenda of sex? Or because it's Equinox? (Can Big Business ever do anything right?) If the video had been uploaded to Youtube without any sponsorship or tacky copy lines would there have been a Facebook "firestorm?" Would so many in the Yoga world, to borrow a phrase from the Brits, have their knickers in a twist? And, lastly, can we give ourselves, the ones we love and the ones who irritate us enough Metta to be free of this kind of suffering?

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 4:10pm

Examining something from multiple angles of personal experience, social expectations and norms, and breaking down images of a video is a respectable endeavor. We must not forget that there is a difference between unfairly judging (or slamming) and looking through our critical lens at the world around us. Yogis are not forbidden from having opinions and outlooks on situations. This response, like Jeannie's, is clearly thought out and well written. I applaud both articles on this video for awakening a discussion on how yoga is promoted. The poster's comment above me is about as helpful as a toddler budding in to a deep and respectful adult conversation.

    anonymous Jan 13, 2012 5:41am

    Toddlers are much more helpful actually… in many ways. They remind us of the magic, and wonder, and beauty, and pointlessness, and humor, and unimportance of all the things that we usually take so seriously.
    The commenter above you is just spiteful.

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 4:02pm

Slamming the beauty of art, is not very Yogic-like. Just because you ‘struggled’ through 6 years of school doesn’t give you any more authority to either. What’s with these shameless plugs of self- promotion?

    anonymous Jan 11, 2012 7:23pm

    slamming someone's opinion is even less yogic-like, isn't it? Being a woman does give her the authority and even if that was not the case, what kind of authority does one need to express their feeling to a video? (and either way, you misunderstood the school point completely.) Also, the point here is not slamming the beauty of art (it's being acknowledged) but the way the video objectifies the female body.

      anonymous Jan 11, 2012 9:30pm

      She does make many assumptions on what she thinks ALL men see when they watch the video. She just assumes that we're objectifying.

      And I agree, way too many pats on her own back by the author i.e. self promotion. Or in other words, look how pretty I am.

        anonymous Jan 15, 2012 5:23pm

        No. You can see someone laying down in the background, though not necessarily male, and the camera angles are voyeuristic and sexual. They are not only overtly from the point of view of the person in bed but in from the window and frequently focus on the more erotic parts of the body. I think, and the writer acknowledges, this is beautiful and well done. However, analyzing this video objectively; the camera angles, lighting and scene composition are supposed to make you feel a certain way. You might not have felt the sexuality, but you were supposed to.

          anonymous Jan 17, 2012 7:25am

          All I see are a cameraman, a film editor, and a yogini who are all very skilled in their respective crafts.

          I see zero objectification, other than the author's assumption that men are doing the objectifying. Contrary to popular belief, not all men are dogs or conditioned apes.

          I posted this video on my Facebook page (a page about yoga for men) and out of the 30+ comments from men, not a single one said anything sexual whatsoever other than how well-done this video is. That's my own empirical evidence.

          I think most of the rancor I see online about this video are based on feelings of jealousy. Again, my own opinion. If the woman in the video had been 200lbs, I seriously doubt we'd be having this discussion. And even if she were, I'd still think it was well-done and beautiful. I watch it before my own practice for inspiration. 'nuff said.

      anonymous Jan 12, 2012 10:07am

      Sounds like a femanazi. You're looking into it way too much.

        anonymous Jan 13, 2012 5:39am

        Not enough pats on the back.
        JC, you rock.

        anonymous Aug 14, 2014 12:42pm

        Please stop using the "Feminazi" label. It's insulting, and it makes light of the actual Nazi holocaust as being simply annoying rather than the atrocities it really was. There's room for you to express your view without insulting the people you disagree with.

    anonymous Dec 8, 2013 10:02pm

    That's not art, it is advertising. There is a difference.

    anonymous May 10, 2014 7:51pm

    I totally agree! I think she's taking out her personal insecurities on a beautiful performance piece and that's terrible to see that type of attitude in the yoga community. It's funny how she supports the photo of a naked yogini but insults a video of a yogini in the same outfits people wear to Bikram yoga daily. I detest this article. It's filled with insecurities.

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 7:25pm

you sound like a real pussy

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 11:22pm

The yogi in the vid is strong, athletic and hot but not erotic at all. A much better combo than the seemingly uptight, retentive prude who wrote this. Chill out. By the way, the toesock yogi rocks too.

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 5:43am

I couldn't agree with you more, on all counts, Tobye.

anonymous Jan 23, 2012 12:15am

Re: "The last thing any of us want (I hope) is men getting interested in Yoga so they can check out all the sexy women. And the equinox video promotes that"

I had come from taking yoga classes in completely different envir…outside; on sand; on grass; in a dance studio…no mats, no silly grippy socks…just bodies, breath, and intention led by wonderful people…
The moment I began taking commercialized yoga classes in the early 90s I became aware of what we called "The Yoga-Preditor-Guy" You know, the lurker who just stares at girls in class. They've existed before the Equinox video and they will continue to be around creeping people out…I doubt the video will have much impact on the creeps…yoga is not easy, and would be a lot harder on someone too distracted by having to stay focused on objectifying people in class.

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 10:15pm

There is a man sleeping in the bed.. and? We could draw a million conclusions. He could be her long-time partner or husband, simply sleeping in while she does her morning yoga practice. He could be a one-night-stand, though I doubt she'd be doing her morning yoga routine if that was the case. Or he could simply be her best-friend-with-benefits. We can all guess, but none of us know. It's all subject to our own interpretations, which come from our experiences and judgments. I personally saw it as her boyfriend/partner simply sleeping in while she practices. I saw it as nothing more, nothing less. But my point is that everyone will see it through a different lens, and we are ALL projecting something, something within us, something without of us, or something societal. But it's all a projection.

anonymous Jan 11, 2012 11:29pm

Well it's my honest view, not much else I can say. You have your view, which I respect. If you want to read my full opinion, I'm the one who wrote this article: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/01/the-equino

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 10:12am

Yes, it is slyly intellectually dishonest to say it is YOUR projection only …

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 6:49am

Your comment starts a good debate; "Who is or, what is *A real man*?" Certainly not someone who calls strangers insulting names under the cover of a pseudonym.

pseu·do·nym   [sood-n-im]
a fictitious name used by an author to conceal his or her identity; pen name.

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 7:41am

@Fran, more pratyahara is in order … watching this video too many times screwed with my OWN practice of yoga (and I am referring only to asana) … it's like watching the Olympics on a wide screen tv and then catching a glimpse of your old, slightly pudgy self in the mirror …

At the very least, I miss the soundtrack of audible and intense ujjayi breathing I get with other, more plausible (because unedited) videos of advanced yogis in actual, mindful practice …

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 7:54pm

so does that mean that we can never critically analyze the world around us? when does cultivating inner peace mean becoming a silent bystander to things in our culture that are a problem?

anonymous Jan 22, 2012 10:36pm

right on Jennifer

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 8:03pm

Great point. It was one of my gay male yoga teachers who first posted about this video. He was appalled by it, which is what got me to wondering… as I only saw beauty. Very interesting perspectives that you point out.

anonymous Jan 12, 2012 8:18pm

I can't really see why, when that hyper-slender body style is very reminiscent of young boys … maybe he felt competitive with her rather than supportive of her …?

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 8:56am

Thanks Man 🙂

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 5:31pm

So articulate. Exactly what I felt in watching the video and in how I wanted to respond. Thank you for the thoughtful, accountable rebuttal (so glad that you used quotes from sources actually involved with production, etc.).

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 8:52pm

Totally right, "
what you think is what you see"

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 9:39pm

either way its selling sex! why did they decide to show a demonstrational video with a man in the bed in back of her and her in lingerie?? and projecting??? read about that a little!

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 10:02pm

read your article, not offended that Janet jackson showed her tit while millions of people and young children watched, I mean half those 2 year olds, just got off the tit, right??? So I guess that was a projection on me, hey??? But that wasn't art either, thats called a stunt!!! I went to art school, I have worked in an art gallery, I have had loads of classes in art, art history, media and I will tell you right now that video is never going to be showed in an art anything because its advertising! Know about the world your talking about before you write about it! and I hope Equinox is paying you because you deserve it!

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 9:46pm

I would also like to say, I have no anger about this video, I could care less, I see advertising a million times a day, they say most people that live in urban areas see advertising every 10 seconds averaged, I am commenting about the differences of art and advertising and that I know a lot about! Not to mention I watch demonstrational videos on yoga technique all the time, and that is exactly what they are.

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 10:10pm

I have no affiliation with Equinox whatsoever. I was simply exploring a cultural angle that I thought was interesting and asking a question to open a dialogue. No reason to get disrespectful or hateful. I said very clearly in my piece that I respect the views of those who disliked the video. There are loads of different interpretations and I respect all of them. Art is subjective. There is no right and wrong here. I respect your view as well as JC's. I would expect the same respect in return.- Jeannie Page

anonymous Jan 13, 2012 11:01pm

I wasn't once disrespectful or hateful towards you however, towards me your telling me I am seeing something in myself in that video that is an illusion. thats what projection is!!! so now that you know, disrespectful?? its up to u. Peace, God Bless (and yeah I got angry when you said what I said was a projection, anger is very different than hateful and disrespectful.) (I dont like to be told things are psychological thats called shaming someone) but your right if I was buddha or mother teresa I wouldnt get angry, but I have never claimed to it, but practice and all is coming. hateful and disrespectful, no! I once heard a yoga philosophy teacher tell a student that asked if she could please open the door (because he was hot) say, "what you can't detach from the heat". He was just taking care of himself, what you said remind me of that! Obviously none of the student in her class went back, but maybe you act different in you classes. Its called shaming! Anyway, I have nooo hate towards you at all!

anonymous Jan 14, 2012 3:46pm

The claim you were not being disrespectful is dishonest. Here are your words exactly:

Know about the world your talking about before you write about it! and I hope Equinox is paying you because you deserve it!

On what planet would this personal attack, an attack on a person you do not know, not be disrespectful? This is called an ad hominem attack.

anonymous Jan 15, 2012 8:37am

As a woman, I agree 100% with your analysis. I believe this video is very much directed at women, is not sexualized, and does point to a more internal, self-directed kind of ambition to relate to the body as an adept. It is also marketing fluff and sets unrealistic standards, but no more so than the vast majority of other ads.

anonymous Jan 15, 2012 9:33am

Wow! I didn't even get the odalisque angle until I read your comment … turning that paradigm on its head by attributing it to America's ultra- thin ideal … no woman, not even one of small size, is immune from that trope — unconstrained sexuality .. uncontainable woman… too much woman for one man, etc. . Who knew?

anonymous Jan 20, 2012 3:47pm

Wow. To be honest, this has to be the most racist, patronizing, offensive comment I've ever read.

anonymous Jan 15, 2012 10:50am


They are not able to market successfully to many women – even young, attractive ones with a kick-asana practice – with an ad like this … it flies in the face of conventional wisdom on how to market to women!

anonymous Jan 15, 2012 1:55pm

Great point about the apparent hostility toward small and fit women.

anonymous Feb 20, 2012 10:34pm

This is pretty ridiculous. The author clearly wasn't talking about "small" women being the problem. (And I suppose I'd be one of those small women to add to the point.) Your implication that only women who are of a certain weight are "fit" or 'pass on the fast food' is downright naive. As a yoga teacher, I see regularly, people of many sizes and backgrounds, several of whom are extremely active and healthy, yet are a bit stockier in size. This is just genetics and anatomical make-up and that only skinny people are healthy is ridiculous and totally off point of the article, which was articulate, thoughtful and smart.
And on a side note to Mike G, this sequence is most certainly yoga (definitely not gymnastics!) proven in that each pose can be described in Sanskrit!

anonymous Jan 15, 2012 3:36pm

Oh, really!

But that's a whole other argument:

anonymous Jan 15, 2012 10:36pm

Brilliant, Fatima! I wish EJ would publish your comments as a feature! so they could be upfront for all. Btw, you are right, Bri does have a wonderful story and is a dedicated, thoughtful, creative, and gentle teacher. Knowing her as the one who watches out for the safety and challenges of every student, from those with rheumatoid arthritis to the novice to those of la tercera edad, it was easy for me to see the person and hard to see her as a "model." I didn't think the editing made it look easy, I saw effort and concentration and dedication. MY second take, knowing she is a mother and keeps a very full schedule, was to hope she got to stay in that hotel room! I loved the urban fantasy, much less cliche than those typical shots of teachers posing on the rocks overlooking the ocean. I loved the fantasy of a woman taking time to do yoga for herself, alone, without a mirror , self-guided, tho of course it's also wonderful to experience the breath of many and the artful guidance of a teacher like Bri.

anonymous Jan 23, 2012 12:20am

Wonderful reply!
Thoughtful, articulate, and respectful.

anonymous Feb 20, 2012 10:44pm

love this!