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

Via elephant journal
on Mar 5, 2012
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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.

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8 Responses to “The Decline & Fall of The Yoga Rock Star. ~ The Yoga Nurse”

  1. Rob says:

    The thing is you've been there done that. Who's to say those you refer to as Rock Stars don't need to live and process through these experiences too? Just because you've lived the Rock Star life that doesn't change anyone else's need to go through it. You can't live life for anyone.
    I don't KNOW anything, just making conversation. Enjoyed your writing.

  2. yogaboca says:

    I love your use of humor and you make some good points. It's we the people who create the yoga rock stars – not the rock stars themselves. In any community leaders will naturally emerge. When these leaders also happen to be sexy and charismatic, we may jokingly call them rock star yogis. But we don't really mean it. The only ones who take this rock star stuff seriously are the media. The media invented that term to make yoga teachers with huge followings look bad. It sells magazines to imply that because a teacher is more popular than Jesus Christ – that that is somehow bad and the teacher is at fault.

    Let's not blame these teachers for being popular. They are popular because they are good teachers. We are blessed to have these rock stars. One fallen angel does not have to spoil the bunch.

    We need to let the JF stuff rest in peace and move on. There is yoga to practice.
    Let the media ruminate in the scandal.

    As yogis, surely we have bigger fish to fry than to worry about the emergence of rockstardom and how it's tainting the yoga community.

    Long live yoga! One bad apple does not spoil the bunch.

  3. yoga nurse says:

    Again Rob, all need to play out the play. enjoyed your comment. xo

  4. yoga nurse says:

    LOVE your comment. Yes, to all of your points, it is all media hype and yes, let us let the JF saga rest…in peace. Gratitude for you taking your time to share 🙂

  5. Judith says:

    Annette, you nail it bang on by saying that the brightest stars are the ones who fall hardest. Okay, that's a paraphrase. Regardless, I look at situations like these as an example of over-expansion. The "dance of yes and no," to borrow a turn of phrase, does indeed need to be heeded. In other words, yang energy, when left to do what yang does, will over expand until it contracts in on itself. And vice versa. And so we yogis, continually seeking balance, observe the drama from a distance and we practice on. Thanks, Yoganurse!

  6. Vision_Quest2 says:

    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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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."