April 3, 2013

Lululemon’s Sheer Genius. ~ J.R. Epps

All eyes on yoga.

My mind often wanders. I used to think that I was daydreaming, wasting time, not focusing on what was happening now.

I have let those descriptions go; I found I like a wanderer’s mind.

This morning after teaching my 5:45 class, while waiting for the last person to get ready for work so I could close up and head to the day job, my mind started wandering. Teaching yoga in a comparatively less densely populated northwest state (Red? Blue? Honestly the whole color thing confuses me), does not lend itself to packed morning classes.

Morning classes are awesome.

There is nothing better than starting the day off working through a practice with smiling yoginis (yogis are always welcome, they just do not seem to be able to get up that early!)

Although the classes may be small, having six to eight core participants, each class leaves me with a feeling of accomplishment—of having contributed to the well-being of others. This morning was no exception. Myself and three others, going through a moderate flow, each coming to our own edges, each seeking our own version of grace and strength in the poses…



So after saying goodbye to the work-ready yogini, sipping my coffee that I had walked next door to get from the friendly young lady working her way through nursing school and logging out of the studio’s check-in program (which by the way, still seems clunky to me), I started to think about ways that would attract more people to the morning classes.

For all of you “Mr. Obvious” fans, yes, the first thought was for me to become better at my craft, to keep learning and expanding—I am working on that. One thought continued to flow to another. From a soccer car wash fundraiser to a universal language translator—in earth tones and like a hearing aid. Not the big ones, but rather the cool ones like the Secret Service has.

Then bam! It hit me!

Lululemon’s recall is providing sheer insight on how to help mainstream yoga into American culture. Online news websites have picked up the story. Seriously, when is the last time you hit your favorite website and saw a story about Carhartt recalling bib overalls because they did not have enough camouflage?

The recall is also getting airtime on the late shows, with comedians using it in their monologues. Why you ask?

Face it, the recall has all the elements of a juicy story—money loss, sexual innuendo and beautiful people.

Think of the marketing opportunity here. Think of yoga being accepted as a four letter word that can be said in front of kids. Think of a world that has yoga studios lining Mercury Street in Butte, Montana the way it was lined with…eh…other physical-based businesses where you paid by the hour.

Now is the time to get the message out, is does not matter whether your stretch pants are made of Lycra or bamboo, let your voice be heard! Maybe yoga should take a page from the entertainment industry’s playbook.

Here are a couple possible scenarios wandering around in my head:

Ally Hamilton in a designer dress at the Grammys?

Shiva Rea having a “wardrobe malfunction” at the next Super Bowl?

Whether you wear the products or not, whether you are appalled or appreciate the price point, yoga is getting free airtime, cultural integration.

This is not the type of light many would want to shine on yoga, but it is light none the less. All of which lets me finally understand why Michelle Marchildon (ej writer) has turned down a Lululemon Ambassadorship so many times! (Although I can’t help but wonder if she had accepted an Ambassadorship, could she have exposed the material flaw to Lululemon earlier? Or at least brought it to light sooner?)

(And yes—this is all tongue-in-cheek.)


J.R. Epps is a father, student of yoga, runner, cyclist and life traveler. He barely is able to text and does not blog, tweet or twitter (he does occasionally twitch).



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Asst. Editor: Wendy Keslick/Ed: Bryonie Wise


(Source: lululemon.com via Elizabeth on Pinterest)


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