March 13, 2012

Dance, Sing, Floss & Travel: Yoga Cults & Lululemon’s Manifesto.

Brooke Kochel

One fine, cold August day in Australia (they have opposite seasons than the United States, I found out the hard way), I ventured out to see, what else, but Sydney’s Opera House.

It’s a beautifully odd structure you can stare at from across the harbor. Built in the 70’s it’s won architecture’s highest honor, the Pritzker Prize. But, even better, it makes a great backdrop for cool yoga poses to share on Facebook and make your friends jealous.

Oh, I’m kidding. We yogis, don’t have pride. We’re egoless and perfect. We just post such pictures to share our vision of unity as Citizens of the World, to put power behind the idea of non-duality.

Perhaps we somehow think it would be harder to hate a place and a people if you see one of your own standing on that very ground. Now, of course, we’re not at war with English speaking Australia.

But what if I’d posted myself in Warrior I (pun intended) in Tel Aviv, where I plan to go next month. Or in front of one of the triangular-shaped Seven Wonders of the World in Egypt, maybe then it would be,

“a small world after all”  as Walt Disney so wisely asserted.

But doing yoga poses in the August “winter” is, well, cold. So, I headed to the nearest yoga outfitter, as fate would have it, Lululemon Athletica. All bubbles and smiles, it’s a luon wonderland! I suited up and strolled out with my handy, reusable, save-the-planet bag.

Brooke Kochel

Once I’d properly stretched my jet-lagged bones with an amazing vinyasa flow yoga class at BodyLifeMind, and was wide awake in my hotel at 3:00am (3:00pm U.S. time), I read that “green” red and white Lululemon bag which held all my sweat wicking goodies. It took me a good hour to flip the bag around and read it’s manifesto of 31 secrets to living the good life.

(Photo: Brooke Kochel)

Like any good cult should do, I was completely sucked in and decided then and there I would live and die by these 31 rules. I’d done a 30-day yoga challenge before, I could do this.

A lot happened from Rule #1 to #20. But it’s what happened in living by Lululemon Athletica’s Rule #21 that stopped me from going to #22 and made me quickly read the fine print to see if I could escape without giving up my firstborn.

Rule #21: “Dance, Sing, Floss & Travel”

I’m still unsure why these four sacred tasks are lumped together, but whatever, I’m in Australia. I’m singing in the shower. I have a trophy in my attic from an award I won in junior high for “Best Dancer.” I’m pretty sure they made up the category just to so I wouldn’t be left out and back then I was bound to go on tour with Britney Spears (I’m still not willing to give that dream up, she’s making another comeback, ya know).

So I’m dancing. I’m taking Natarajasana, Lord of the Dance Pose, to new cosmic, cultish heights.

And I’m flossing! This is where my new straight-and-narrow-way-of-life takes a turn for the worst. How can flossing be a bad idea? My dentist and I are still asking that same question. He said he’s never seen someone because they had flossed too much, only the other way around.

I had literally flossed one of my fillings out of my mouth, then was forced to crawl around on my hands and knees for an hour to find it because my motherly instincts told me it was a choking hazard for my one-year-old.

No matter the spiritual path you take in life, it usually attempts to teach universal truths, and more importantly, it teaches you about yourself. I saw a t-shirt recently that said “On Step Four.” Apparently that’s an inside joke for people working a 12 Step Program because Step Four, which states:

“Made a Searching and Fearless Moral Inventory of Myself”

 tends to stop people dead in their tracks.

So after flossing my singing, dancing, traveling heart out, I made a fearless moral inventory of myself and found I needed to work on balance. Whether I’m working, mothering, yoga-ing or flossing, I do it with all my heart. And while living heartily, you can still be living unhealthily.

So I challenge you in your practices and in your lives, to live with more balance and less extremes. It’s not to say you don’t challenge yourself with that pretzel pose you’ve always dreamed of, but throw in a Vrksasana, Tree Pose, to balance yourself out and maintain your stability.

And by all means, stay away from Lululemon’s Manifesto #3:

“Do one thing a day that scares you.”

The mother in me wants you all to me safe…everyday!


Editor: Kate Bartolotta.

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