March 5, 2012

The Decline & Fall of The Yoga Rock Star. ~ The Yoga Nurse

Photo of Swami Satchidananda. Courtesy of Riaz Padamsee

Extra, extra, read all about it—reputations smeared across the yoga sphere.

This post skids right in on the heels of a recent ej article I wrote alluding to my experience with a fallen guru and the biggest scandal in yoga in the mid-nineties.

In my not so humble opinion, yoga life in our cosmic 2012 has brought out the sneaky ego in the holy heart of yoga peeps across the yoga sphere. A mob of rock star yoga bloggers, rock star yoga websites, rock star yoga agents and rock star yogis and yoginis are dominating our current incarnation of a sacred and ancient practice.

There appears to be nothing sacred about yoga anymore. Oh yes, yoga is hip, chic, trendy, sexy, stylish, fashionable, marketable, profitable, commercial, and this old timey yogini, who is now a grand mama in the yoga world, is ready to speak her truth about the current state of scandalous affairs. (Double entendre, in case you missed it.)

Now my consciousness was born with the Beatles, the 60s and Woodstock, when Swami Satchidananda turned the hippies on to yoga—a half a million strong! I have been doing yoga for freakin’ 43 years. I read Yoga Journal before it became oh-so so-called cool.

I first got nervous when playing rock music in yoga classes became the new trend—it started in Venice, California or thereabouts. I had a crib there once upon a time when I was livin’ the high life as a rock star myself—a cover girl, model and Hollywood actress. I have lived the dream, played out that play.

And it is time to wake up from the dream. To quote John Lennon, “the dream is over.” If you were hopin’ for some more juicy gossip about fallen yoga teacher divas, you are not gonna get it from me. Yoga means union. All this hoopla about JF and company is a sign. A wake up call, y’all. It is creating this incredible separation anxiety in the wonderful world of yoga.

According to the classic yogic teachings, the cause of our suffering is our separation from God, our divine nature. The purpose of yoga is union. Union with God, with that—call it source—consciousness, all the one thousand and one names that lead to the nameless. A mammoth separation in the yoga world happened at the Kripalu Yoga Center in the mid-nineties. The scandal crippled the community. It took years to repair the damage. To this day, some people have not recovered. My article touched a lot of old wounds. Still Kripalu recovered, re-structured, healed and is now a major, world-class player in the yoga world.

My feeling is that the latest scandals are a call to humility. Being a yoga rock star is ego based. You have to have a huge ego to be a rock star. I do love rock and roll and rock stars. Let them have their egos. It works magnificently in that venue—however, a true teacher and student of yoga is ever striving to lose the rock star ego, and NOT give it more power. Another old adage states: “absolute power, absolutely corrupts.” Ergo the epidemic of ego based wreckage spilling across the ethers of our community. Frequently, it is only a searing mortification of a few sacrificial lambs that will wake up the masses to massive action. Karma.

My truth be told, I am a total non-dualist, Advaita Vedantist. Accordingly, none of this is real. It is all a dream, a play. There is only one player playing all the parts, writing all the lines, and directing all the scenes. That being said, then I am not writing this post. It is being written. I am merely the instrument. Like a rock guitar being played by the so-called player. And there is only one playing all the music in the cosmos. The yoga rock stars and the scandals are all part of the play—God’s lila, darling.

As for the final act of the play? Hmmm. Let us wait and see. Then again, you may just wake up from the dream and see the light plus get enlightened—the biggest ego trip of all. And none of it will matter, in the slightest. So you might as well play on. Rock and Roll is here to stay.


Prepared by Soumyajeet Chattaraj/Editor: Kate Bartolotta.

Annette Tersigni, the Yoga Nurse, founder of Yoga Nursing, is the #1 best selling author of the ‘Richest Woman in Babylon And Manhattan‘, a yoga parable. She is a beloved yoga teacher, speaker, trainer and rebel with a cause.

Annette is ‘expanding consciousness in health care,’ transforming, enlightening and saving lives physically, financially and spiritually. She lives on the pristine South Outer Banks of North Carolina where she dallies with dolphins and loves to play her not so mean blues harp.

Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and visit her website.

Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook.

Reply to Vision_Quest2 cancel

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Catherine Deans Mar 12, 2012 9:30pm

I couldn't agree more. And I think it's high time that we had a bit of a shake out and some soul searching in "yoga world."

Mar 6, 2012 6:50pm

The "House of the Rising Son" yes, I am still working on it. LOL! Totally get what you are saying'. The real transmission is from the heart. Thanks for sharing your Vision Quest.

Vision_Quest2 Mar 6, 2012 5:41pm

I don't know about you guys, but lately I've found I don't have a "rock star" yoga practice (use your imagination to figure out what that is–I don't think the general conception of today's rock star yoga practice has a whole lot to do with my meditation sessions). So, why would I need a rock star yoga teacher?

I need a teacher who recognizes the beginner's mind of some guitar student first learning to play "House of the Rising Sun" fluidly and with emotion. (Even if their backup band is just a karaoke machine.) NOT the Eric Clapton virtuoso who thinks all they have to do is entertain an audience on a concert stage, and forget who their actual audience is.

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

elephant journal

Elephant Journal is a independent, mission-driven communiuty. Dedicated to “bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society, we’re about anything that helps us to live a good life that’s also good for others, and our planet.

Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>>

Elephant’s been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter’s Shorty Awards for #green content…twice. >>>

Get involved:
> Get our curated online magazine, free e-newsletter.
> Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook.
> Write: send article or query.
> Advertise.
> Become an Elephant: