When one Big Company picks on one Yoga Teacher. ~ Kino MacGregor

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Update: And now there’s a reply. 

And now here’s Kino’s request to end the lawsuit.

A post shared by Kino MacGregor (@kinoyoga) on

Editor’s Note: Authors are responsible for their words. That said, Elephant is a platform intended for mindful dialogue about real issues that matter—not just smoothie recipes (yum). Alo Yoga or anyone involved is welcome to offer a rebuttal, just as we did with the John Friend situation some years back that was extensively quoted in the NY Times, etc. ~ Waylon, ed. 

I’m a yoga teacher, and I’ve been committed to this path for over 20 years.

This was long before brands started dropping large sums of money to sponsor teachers and models, and long before yoga was a key part of the “athleisure” market.

Now, I find that I am in the position of defending the spiritual heart of yoga.

And I hope you’ll join me in this.

In yoga, we are artists and spiritualists of sorts. We are not often the type of people that inherently enjoy delving into business matters and bottom lines.

If yogis enter business, or even seek to make money off of yoga, the yoga should always come first. Any brand or brand owner that seeks to capture the hearts of yogis would be held up to the moral and ethical standards of the practice itself.

As yogis, we strive to heighten our powers of honest introspection and reflection; we must break through blinders that block out the truth. Sometimes yoga is bad business, but still good yoga. So it is in this paradigm that I write today and possibly subject myself to scrutiny and threats in an effort to shed light on some darkness in the world of “big business yoga.”

I’m scared—so scared that I have written and rewritten this blog numerous times. I’ve explored every other option and decided to tell this story in the hope that it will help foster understanding and ultimately bring some yoga back into the yoga business world.

This is too important for me to stay silent any longer.

A post shared by Dana Falsetti (@nolatrees) on


Let me tell you a David and Goliath story to drive this home.

Perhaps you already know our David: Dana Falsetti.

Dana is a thought leader, yoga teacher, writer, and public speaker. Dana encourages people to resist body-shaming stereotypes, to know themselves, to step into their power, to question everything, and to live authentically.

And you know our Goliath: Alo Yoga.

Working with a company called Cody Inc., Dana published the inspiring “I Am Worthy” video, and developed online yoga courses, including a chair yoga class for people looking for accessible yoga content.

Some time later, Cody Inc. informed Dana that her video, online classes, and other content belonged to Alo Yoga because of a business deal between Cody Inc. and Alo Yoga.

And now for their battle, which has been waging since December.

Dana resisted Alo Yoga’s acquisition of her content. Dana resisted because of Alo Yoga’s large commercial presence, marketing campaigns featuring the thin and athletic elite, and the modus operandi of this business. Dana found all of these things to be a bit exclusionary. Dana wanted the freedom to pursue her own objectives, in line with her core values of accessibility, inclusion, and purposeful business partnerships. Partnerships intended to achieve more than profits; partnerships that reflect core values.

Dana’s first act of resistance was to speak out publicly in an Instagram “story.”

And Alo Yoga responded by suing her.

Alo alleged that her statements were defamatory and libelous. [Note: the Story has long expired, but is available if you search the court documents regarding Dana’s case, which are public record].

Alo Yoga sued Dana in two courts, in two different states.

Perhaps they intended to send the Danas of the world a message: stop.

Stop, because we can’t afford to speak up. Most Americans can’t afford to defend even one lawsuit, when the legal costs can easily exceed $100,000.

Many big businesses, however, have the profits to deploy a battalion of lawyers—and that’s a powerful threat. And when they come at you, it’s scary.

Dana has been living with that fear, fighting Goliath on her own since December. But she’s reached the end of what she can accomplish on her own.

She has exhausted her resources.

Dana, don’t stop.

Instead, let this community be your rock. Because what you stand for, we all stand for—your core values resonate.

If so inspired: please visit this GoFundMe page and donate to Dana’s legal defense. Please share this. Please stand up.

Let’s all go together now.

No. More. Silence.

The only way we can stand up to bullying is to stand together.
Please contribute and stand together with us in a loving battle for the heart and soul of yoga.

 

Unfortunately, all this didn’t really surprise me because of my past experiences with Alo Yoga. Four years ago, Alo Yoga asked to sponsor yoga challenges I was co-hosting with a friend. I didn’t know much about the brand, but spoke with the owner, and he gave me a story about how awesome the company was and how much they’d do for yoga. I bought it hook, line, and sinker. My friend and I said yes.

As soon as we signed the deal, I believe the story changed. I had understood that we were initially promised a capsule collection of the clothes we love (beachy shorts), and we were asked to wear their signature Goddess leggings in 90 degree Florida heat. When we didn’t comply, we got letters from their lawyers threatening lawsuits despite the fact that we never agreed to wear those leggings. We had a series of conversations with the co-owner Danny Harris, where I felt he was verbally abusive and used phrases I consider derogatory, such as “honey” and “baby.”

The message seemed clear to me—shut up and “perform.”

Because of his legal might, together with his tone of voice and choice of words, I felt bullied. It made me sick, and I left each conversation feeling traumatized.

I never said anything because I was afraid of being sued. We tried to propose a solution and find a way to part ways amicably. My friend posted on her Instagram and tagged Danny.

The next day we got a letter from their lawyer asking to delete the post, and they released us from the contract.

It shocked me that it seemed the only way to reach this large company was to post something publicly on Instagram. I sometimes rant on social media, but I honestly prefer to live and let live while processing my emotions on my own or with friends and family.

To this day I have nothing against Alo Yoga. They make quality clothes and lots of wonderful people (yoga teachers and yoga models) enjoy being sponsored by them, as well they should.

Alo Yoga provides these individuals with a way to practice yoga and make a living, which is a laudable undertaking. I am simply not in alignment with Alo Yoga’s vision, and I don’t want my good name in yoga associated with them.

At some point, a person should be free of past business relationships—free to move on and do what they want in life and free to change their mind about aligning with a brand—because the brand changes directions, the brand’s reputation changes, the person learns more about the brand, or for no reason at all other than the exercise of human free will.

I thought the page was turned, but it wasn’t. Like Dana, I also filmed videos for the Cody App.

Paul Javid, the owner, is a truly nice human being. He means well, and I trusted him with my most valuable possession—my teaching. For many years, Cody and I enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship. But when I wanted to create a yoga TV network about more than just classes, they turned me down. There were no hard feelings; I went my own way and founded OMstars. It’s been awesome, and I’m actually grateful. Again, I thought the page was turned and that Cody and I were freely going our respective separate ways.

Then, Paul informed me (long after the fact) that Alo Yoga bought the Cody App. I was mortified (because my classes are on the Cody App), scared (because of my prior experiences with the Alo Yoga founders), and I didn’t know what to do.

I had a few conversations discussing what everyone wanted and the battle started. From my end, I was bogged down by some serious personal stuff (my father died, my cat died, and I got a bad second-degree burn). I couldn’t even face the nasty reality of the situation for a long time.

But now I’m facing it. I’m taking off the blinders, and the world of for-profit business is even nastier than I thought. When Cody relaunched as the new Alo Yoga subscription service, they unilaterally changed my payment terms. Some teachers agreed and happily signed on; I never did. Instead of letting the relationship terminate, they continue to use my name, likeness, and my teachings to promote their brand even though there is no agreement in place between me and Alo Yoga.

Just like Dana, I simply do not want my teaching being rolled up in the Alo Yoga/Cody App subscription service. My videos are on their channel as a result of an old prior contract with the Cody App—then, and now, against my will, despite repeated requests to remove the content and seek an amicable termination. Despite my repeated requests to take them down, so many aggressive ads are running on my name and likeness (i.e., photos) that students have reached out and asked questions about these advertisements featuring me online!

As I mentioned above, Alo Yoga may well sue me for my words.

But, I am taking that risk because I just can’t stomach being silenced by the threat of legal action anymore. And truth is an absolute defense against libel. So here are the facts, all mined from the public domain and all linked below:

Cody was backed by venture capitalists. Alo Yoga is owned by two men (Danny Harris and Marco DeGeorge) and falls under their huge parent company, Bella Canvas, which has close to a billion dollars a year in revenue. Harris recently purchased a $30 million home in Holmby Hills in Los Angeles.

Yoga teachers, on the other hand, often make next to nothing. New yoga teachers make as little as $30 per class at a gym or small studio, and only $45 at more established studios. Even experienced teachers often make only $50-$75 per class. Yoga teachers generally work as independent contractors, with few legal protections, no employer-sponsored health care coverage, no union, and very little support.

Alo Yoga sponsors around 70 yogis to wear their clothes and post verbiage about their sales on Instagram.

If you’re a fan of any of the wonderful yogis below, you may be inspired to reach out and ask them to ask Alo to play nice and yogically:

 instagram.com/talia_sutra

 instagram.com/seonia

 instagram.com/koyawebb

 instagram.com/sjanaelise

 instagram.com/kevindhofer

 instagram.com/hannahtaha

 instagram.com/aubrymarie

 instagram.com/carsonclaycalhoun

 instagram.com/kristenpro

 instagram.com/meliniseri

 instagram.com/yogoskenz

 instagram.com/laurasykora

 instagram.com/the_southern_yogi

 instagram.com/rebekahletch

 instagram.com/jessicaolie

 instagram.com/yogabeyond

 instagram.com/dylanwerneryoga

 instagram.com/northcarolina_yogagirl

 instagram.com/mackenzieyoga

 instagram.com/yoga_lovely

 instagram.com/rivkayoga

 instagram.com/nwoy

 instagram.com/gabriella.dondero

 instagram.com/michelleweinhofen

 instagram.com/patrickbeach

 instagram.com/calvmonster

 instagram.com/giseleyoga

 instagram.com/joe_lizzzzzz_yoga

 instagram.com/robinmartinyoga

 instagram.com/nayitavp

 instagram.com/alissayoga

 instagram.com/rootedinflowing

 instagram.com/bohemian_heart

 instagram.com/adellbridges

 instagram.com/victoria.arvizu

 instagram.com/bodybysimone

 instagram.com/carlingnicole

 instagram.com/maxandlizacro

 instagram.com/aminahtaha

 instagram.com/martina_sergi

 instagram.com/martina__rando

 instagram.com/ania_75

 instagram.com/neyu_ma

 instagram.com/move_yo_asana

 instagram.com/gypsyon__

 instagram.com/lamise

 instagram.com/kaylala88

 instagram.com/joshkrameryoga

 instagram.com/life_of_fee

 instagram.com/acrowithjon

 instagram.com/summerperez

 instagram.com/yoga_ky

 instagram.com/fitflexjuli

 instagram.com/hollybentley_yoga

 instagram.com/eveinmotion

 instagram.com/chintwins

 instagram.com/bryceyoga

 instagram.com/acrovinyasa

 instagram.com/jadealectra

 instagram.com/caleyalyssa

 instagram.com/ashleygalvinyoga

 instagram.com/gypsetgoddess

A few of these teachers too-rarely use #ad or #sponsored. Transparency and honesty is fundamental to yoga practice.

Check out who Alo is following to see who they sponsor (the list above is based on that). They claim to have 4,000 other teachers as part of their brand promotion army. Yogi model influencers like Sjana Earl claim to be paid up to $15,000 for a sponsored post.

Alo Yoga owns a host of “inspiration” Instagrams but only recently claimed one. When I wrote a blog asking for transparency, they sent me a legal cease and desist letter and threatened litigation. They have since claimed the “Yoga Inspiration” Instagram account.

Many people have posted critical comments about Alo Yoga on social media. Some have been blocked somehow.
~

Ah I’ve forgotten what a good old controversial Instagram post is like! Here is the thing: I’m so DONE being quiet about stuff that bothers me. I always steer away from sharing these kind of things for particularly this reason – I don’t want drama in the comment feed and, honestly, I think I’ve been scared to rub people the wrong way. I always get a heavy feeling at the pit of my stomach when I share something not everyone agrees with but I’m fucking over it! Unfollow me if you don’t agree. That’s fine. Here is the truth: THE YOGA WORLD DRIVES ME INSANE. There are more quasi-spiritual, narcissistic people preying on other people’s longing to heal in this community than I can count. Teachers. “Gurus”. Corporations. There are SO MANY yoga brands and big businesses out there whose main demographic are young women and most of them are run by non-yogi men. Men who prey on these girls and the excitement they feel having found yoga. Who are not at all rooted in the core of this practice. People who just want to capitalize on a trend but who don’t give a rats ass about the community they sell to. I get how it rubs people the wrong way when I share my annoyance with yoga brands because I have one of my own. But – can you really not feel the difference? Isn’t there that little feeling at the pit of your belly that tells you what’s real and what’s not? I run a big business and I’m not against making money but I know what my core values are. And I know that as long as I stay anchored in wanting to provide a platform that’s healing and creates community and makes people feel and where self-love means SELF LOVE and not 25% off synthetic yoga pants that fit 1 percent of the population… I feel really good about doing what u do for a living. What I’m saying is: Don’t trust a teacher because they look good in a yoga pose or grace covers of magazines. Practice with them in real life and FEEL how your body and heart resonates. Don’t just blindly buy whatever you see in ads, whether it’s hidden in an Instagram post or obvious in a magazine. Do your research. Trust your gut. You have a lot of power as a consumer! Choose wisely. x #yogaeverydamnday

A post shared by Rachel Brathen (@yoga_girl) on

In academic circles that discuss yoga and body image, Alo Yoga is brought up often in a critical light when looking for an example of the lack of inclusivity and diversity of ethnicity, size, shape, age, and economic class.

In a perfect world, our yoga comes first and our yoga business second. In the business world, an ordinary public corporation’s primary objective is to maximize shareholder profits. There are exceptions, such as B Corp or “social purpose corporations” that have additional objectives to profit-maximization—but these are the exceptions. Perhaps all yoga corporations should actually strive to be listed as either a B Corp or a social purpose corporation?

When brands aiming to maximize their bottom line come into the yoga world, it starts to become a world of business first—and the yoga becomes merely a secondary tool to achieve economic gains. Yoga is an internal practice, but more and more it is sold as a material standard of an idealized life.

But, no matter how it gets commodified, yoga is not a commodity. Make no mistake, yoga is currently being commodified by many big brands who talk the talk of yoga, but don’t always walk the walk.

Personal and full disclosure: I am a business owner, and I run an online channel (as mentioned above, I started the channel after Cody App rejected my offer to partner up). This dialogue is important to me on many levels, both personally and professionally.

I am not against making money in the world of yoga. At a basic level, I appreciate Alo Yoga’s sponsorship of yogis that would not otherwise be able to practice their craft. But I am against big brands who think they can buy yoga teachers and own the voice of yoga. I am against anyone or any company that resorts to bullying to get their way.

In an ideal, ethical yoga-inspired world, big companies do not sue people for speaking the truth.

Example: when a smaller online channel approached me and asked if I wanted to acquire them and their content, I replied and said that I was interested but only if every single teacher is given the option to either sign on or opt out of being on OMstars. We are now contacting each teacher and only those who give their consent will be brought over to my channel. I wanted to be sure that every teacher actually wanted to be a part of OMstars before acquiring their content. In my opinion, yoga takes priority over business and, in this case, I personally wouldn’t want anyone on my channel that didn’t feel in alignment with my message, no matter how popular they might be.

To the owners of Alo Yoga and the former Cody staff, I ask you to give the option to decline to any teacher who doesn’t want to be on your new channel. You have taken down the content of some teachers, so why not simply let those of us who want to part ways go in peace? Dear Alo, let us go. You and your team of teachers, ambassadors, and models are in alignment with your vision. Don’t hold me, Dana, or anyone else against our will and consent.

Yoga students, yoga teachers, and brand ambassadors—speak up! It’s your voice that needs to be heard. Please support my crowdfunding page for Dana, so she can defend herself against this corporate behemoth. Please demand more transparency from the companies and brands you support with your dollars or names. In doing so, you stand for the core values of yoga! We need to create a world where people cannot be successfully silenced or sued for thinking critically and speaking up.

I’m not telling you not to buy their products or watch the Cody App. As I said before, Alo makes well-constructed, trendy, and stylish clothes, and Cody App is a quality online channel. If you enjoy what they’re about, please continue to support them. I’m simply asking you to support us as well and ask your favorite yoga brand to do the right thing here and let us go. Do not be bullied into silence. Speak up privately if your paycheck is on the line.

If we as yogis need to resort to litigation, lawsuits, and bullying, how are we any better than the average cutthroat corporation? If the leggings we wear don’t stand for something more than hotness, youngness, skinnyness, or richness, what are we doing on our yoga mats? If our voice as teachers is owned by the company who sponsors us, why are we teaching?

You may not realize it, but in silence we are an accomplice to a lawsuit against a fellow teacher by blindly supporting the brand. Do not enable bullying-type lawsuits or other forms of bullying of everyone and anyone that just doesn’t want to be a part of a corporate mission.

Please speak up. Stand up for Dana. Stand up for yoga! Maybe neither the students nor the teachers know what is going on behind the scenes. But now you do.

Students, teachers, speak up and take a stand for the heart and soul of yoga!

~

~

~

Author: Kino MacGregor
Image: Instagram/kinoyoga, Instagram/nolatrees, Instagram/yoga_girl
Editor: Travis May, Waylon Lewis
Copy & Social Editor: Callie Rushton

~

Bonus: Kino talks with Waylon about Alo and Dana & the Path of Yoga in an Instagram culture.

Bonus: Drama is boring. Here’s what actually matters in all this Kino vs. Goliath stuff.

Relephant bonus round: quality yoga.

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Kino MacGregor

Kino MacGregor is an international yoga teacher, author of four books, producer of six Ashtanga Yoga DVDs, writer, vlogger, world traveler, co-founder of Miami Life Center, co-fouder of Yoga Challenge and OmStars. Kino’s dharma is to help people experience the limitless potential of the human spirit through the inner tradition of yoga. She is one of the few people in the world of yoga to embrace both the traditional teaching of India’s historic past and the popular contemporary social media channels. You can find her teaching classes and workshops all over the world and on Kino Yoga Instagram with over one million followers and on Kino Yoga YouTube channel with over 100 million views. With more than 17 years of experience in Ashtanga Yoga, she is one of a select group of people to receive the Certification to teach Ashtanga yoga by its founder Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India and practice into the Fifth Series of Ashtanga Yoga. Practice with Kino online at OmStars.

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Nelson Castillo Aug 7, 2018 2:50pm

All this is because yoga is not a business... Simple.

Katie Carter Apr 27, 2018 7:41pm

I hope your financial troubles get sorted out. I don’t accept that you’re defending ‘yoga’. I think you’re defending your yoga brand and position on yoga and you’re pissed! This happens everywhere and isn’t at all special because the people who are being impacted on are ‘spiritual’ or their message is special. Yoga doesn’t change. It’s there no matter what else is going on around. You’ve profited greatly from the commercialism of yoga.

Alia Maheswari Mar 27, 2018 3:02am

Above typo : sued by Alo Yoga

Alia Maheswari Mar 27, 2018 3:01am

I am confused. At the beginning this is about Dana's situation and how she is suedbe Alo Yoga. But the rest is about Kino and all the support and non-support is directed at Kino. It feels like Kino have taken center stage at Dana's show.

Σπυριδουλα Πολιτη Mar 26, 2018 5:40pm

She's doing this to support Dana. Reading comprehension is your friend.

Σπυριδουλα Πολιτη Mar 26, 2018 5:39pm

Really? You don't see how helpful it is to garner support? Really? You don't see that? ummmm...okay.

Σπυριδουλα Πολιτη Mar 26, 2018 5:37pm

Can you see it now? "But now I’m facing it. I’m taking off the blinders, and the world of for-profit business is even nastier than I thought. When Cody relaunched as the new Alo Yoga subscription service, they unilaterally changed my payment terms. Some teachers agreed and happily signed on; I never did. Instead of letting the relationship terminate, they continue to use my name, likeness, and my teachings to promote their brand even though there is no agreement in place between me and Alo Yoga."

Σπυριδουλα Πολιτη Mar 26, 2018 5:35pm

It could just as easily said that your comments here could be your own self-promotion. Give it a rest.

Carol Steinfeld Mar 21, 2018 5:08pm

It's all about the contract signed. Freelance writers are warned to insert specific clauses if they want to retain rights to their content. Some don't because it's worth it to them for the big publisher to give them exposure--which helps them sell other things. Also, the production of a book/video and its distribution and promotion are often time- and money-intensive. The coauthor of one of my books complained he wasn't getting half of royalties. I sent him a list of all I do to keep our books updated, distributed, shipped and out there. He hasn't raised this issue since then. Create more products.

Erin Aylmer Mar 21, 2018 2:53pm

I never knew who Kino was until I read this article. Before even getting to the text of this article I was directed to follow her on Instragram via a lovely beach handstand ad. To me it looks like a PR move, with adverstisments for herself, Dana and Yoga Girl. I can tell there's passion and a plea to "do the right thing" coming from her words, but this wasn't written by a journalist. This is her personal, subjective experience, and she is trying to rally the troops against her competitor. To me it would seem that she is trying to intimidate Alo to stand down, and altough it might be for a "good" reason, it seems like she's walking a thin line of bullying. I think I get the "what" and the "why" of this issue, I'm just not sure I understand her "how" she is going about this.

Michaela Williams Mar 21, 2018 12:24pm

"This was long before brands started dropping large sums of money to sponsor teachers and models, and long before yoga was a key part of the “athleisure” market. Now, I find that I am in the position of defending the spiritual heart of yoga." Kino, you've made over half a million selling your thin white lady version of yoga. YOU are one of those responsible for destroying the spiritual heart of yoga, by appropriating the practice from another (non-white) culture and monetising it while clad in a bikini. Your social media content is more about how you look in unsafe and frankly ridiculous positions, rather than any true respect or following of the eight arms of the practice. It's sickening. The Bhagavad Gita said that “the true renunciate and the true yogi are those who perform dutiful actions without desiring their fruits, not those who, eschewing self-offering, act with ego-motivation, nor those who (in the name of renunciation) eschew action.” Why don't you start learning about the spiritual heart of yoga yourself

Kevin Roach Mar 20, 2018 8:46pm

I really appreciate this well written article Kino. You are a wonderful teacher and you have brought to light a problem I have a hard time wrapping my head around. The commercialization of yoga has bothered me for a long time but it is not an easy problem to asses in my opinion. Thinking that the westernization of this ancient science now invloves corporations, venture capitalists and lawsuits is way past my range of understanding other than human values now seem to always return to the almighty dollar.. Everyone needs to support themselves but my God, is this where it has led us? My own point of reference is limited to my experience in a time long before the digital age. I couldn't help but reflect on my first encounters with yoga and the teachers coming to America in the late sixties and early seventies. I thought back to the young man I was, enraptured by Ram Dass and his tales of India and his guru Maharajji, Yogananda's writings of his life and his gurus and my personal practice devoted to realizing the God within. As a seventeen year old boy my heart was filled with a fervor hard to contain. I cared only to dive deep within and find the peace that passeth all understanding. All these years later my desire has not changed much, only the way that I try to reach it.

Mia Kennedy Mar 20, 2018 6:25pm

Bradley Bolin don't be stupid that chick is not a victim

Mia Kennedy Mar 20, 2018 6:13pm

But you can't trust that Corona because at anytime apparently people can change terms and contracts.

Joseph Preston Mar 20, 2018 6:11pm

"Please demand more transparency from the companies and brands you support with your dollars or names. In doing so, you stand for the core values of yoga! We need to create a world where people cannot be successfully silenced or sued for thinking critically and speaking up."- Please, if you would, explain to me how doing what you are asking people to do in this paragraph of writing is standing for the, "core values of yoga,"? And another thing, please be transparent with the contract you willing signed in order to receive the payments you received from Alo yoga for the products you created and handed over to them. If it was another company you had a contract with prior to Alo yoga, then provide that, and specifically share the part that deals with buyouts and rights to content etc. I ask this of you because it is my suspicion that what you signed up for is exaclty what you've received from the business that you decided to create a relationship with. It is my understanding that what is central to Yoga's teaching is self-responsibility, self-acceptance, self-love, and reverence for the numinous. I find what you're doing in this article to be intellectually dishonest and harmful. I do not side with 'big business' in the lest but I do believe that holding individuals accountable for the decisions they make regarding their affairs, especially when it comes to business matters, is very important. The moment you began selling Yoga, was the moment you became a Yoga capitalist and joined the market where the bottomline and the shareholders are what matters most. This is a decision, a choice one makes, not a must. The only way out of this is to not participate in it and create something else if Yoga is what you want to do with you life. I'm very sorry to hear you've gotten into the situation you illustrate above. No doubt it is stressfull and must be causing you much harm. I suggest that it is not about battling or waring with these corporations because they will win. The game is rigged in their favor. They will exhaust you in every way. I suggest you think creatively about an alternative to capitalism. This a project we must all endeavor to do in this moment. Regards, Joseph Preston

Mia Kennedy Mar 20, 2018 6:11pm

My question is have you have back the money they gave you in the contract? If so they are wrong if not you are. You can't sign a deal and run out when you realize it doesn't suit you. I am not sponsored haven't signed anything and I am aware that the content doesn't belong to the person and you signed it got money for it and now want to say hey nevermind I should be free to change my mind. While yes you are but part of Yoga is to let it be and move on. Let them have it and go. You posted this so people know you dont like it and aren't afflitated so can't that be enough?

The Craft of Teaching Yoga Mar 20, 2018 5:16pm

Kino MacGregor, I admire your bold and vulnerable bravery. I’m a Cody coach and I'm currently in a lawsuit with Down Dog: Great Yoga Anywhere, which is an app that uses my voice, sequences, likeness and image and has over 700k users... Similar to Dana, I cannot speak much right now about it, but I will say that your article resonated deeply with me. Your article inspired me to reach out my lawyer for wording to take my lawsuit public. I also reached out to Cody, who I've always loved working with, for a statement because I cannot support a company that does this to its teachers. Enough is enough.

Kimberly K. Striker Mar 20, 2018 1:53pm

Thank you for your clarity in this post.

Brian Keene Mar 20, 2018 3:09am

It is nice to see someone as accomplished as Kino publicly confront the dark side of the yoga business. It doesn't happen very often. At this point in time, there is no reason for anyone to sign over exclusive rights to their Yoga content to anyone. Anyone who wants to own exclusive rights to a video or photo of you is not looking out for your best interest. Yoga Teachers should always do whatever they can to maintain their independence from studios or brands. Read everything in every contract and walk away from anyone who wants uncontracted work. There are independent Photographers, Videographers and Editors all over the place who would be happy to help you without you having to sign over any rights. Don't be afraid to step out of your bubble and be immediately suspicious of anyone who tells you otherwise.

Víctor Carlos Mar 20, 2018 1:07am

Where is the Real Yoga then? The one taught in India by monks and sadhus, learned in tradition with Shiva itself? Ahimsa, Karuna and Titiksha should be well remembered by gringo "yogis"

Carlos Tao Mar 19, 2018 9:43pm

Sadie Nardini it’s interesting that you talk about his judgement not being needed here which is in itself a huge sweeping judgement and an attempt to silence an opinion you disagree with and almost in the same breath you are saying ‘yogis like you’ which is a huge judgement statement. And it is also naive and completely untrue that as a business decision and a power grab that she would get more people by doing another handstand video than shaming and taking down a huge competitor? Especially when she’s been actively attempting to take teachers away from Cody for a while already and I know this to be absolutely true. And you are intelligent and I know you know this to be true. And this is obvious unless someone purposely chooses to not see it. Critical thinking is needed.

Gayle Jann Mar 19, 2018 8:47pm

I am not about to take sides here and I will not take a stand for anything because someone is trying to guilt people into doing something. I think both sides have an agenda and there is no one side that is totally guilty or totally innocent. Both sides are big businesses. It is difficult to find the real truth. Why can't peope let each other live peacefully. All yoga content comes from so many sources. No one really owns anything. Kino says, "You may not realize it, but in silence we are an accomplice to a lawsuit against a fellow teacher by blindly supporting the brand." That statement is totally ridiculous and there is no way anyone is an accomplice to anything by not taking the action that is being demanded of them by someone else. I do not wear ALO clothes for other reasons but if I want to watch Cody videos that does not make me an accomplice to anthing.

Steven Glodowski Mar 19, 2018 6:24pm

Naavya Vibhunath If she had a contract than they couldn't change payment terms just by purchasing her content as it would be governed by the same contract (basic contract law). Plus no where in the article did it mention that her dispute was over payment terms. Also your phase "that's all you need to know" sounds condescending and confrontational, and a cover for lack of ground.

Cameron Burgess Mar 19, 2018 3:37pm

In case you were looking for the court document referenced in my fairly lengthy response below, I have corrected the link :-)

Ron Blouch Mar 19, 2018 12:14pm

I've been following the IG yogis for about a year with great interest. As a former yoga studio owner who has long been fascinated by the tendency of those who most strongly identify as yogis toward unconscious self absorption in the extreme, what is happening there is instructive. And fascinating. Kino is the grandmother of the movement. I've always respected her practice. It grounds everything else she does in a frame of real authenticity. She went from a weak, attractive nobody to a powerful, masterful, flexible leader of an entire paradigm shift - one day at a time, grinding it out on her mat. Kudos. I have read Cody's response to her claims. What an interesting situation. Who is telling the truth? As a serial entrepreneur who most recently ran a VC funded startup I can tell you the story told by the Cody CEO has the ring of truth to it. Every day in the early stages of a new business is a grinding, exhausting effort to make available funds work long enough to get past a crisis point where money begins to flow in the positive direction. I once lost my star employee - she generated 23% of our income at the time she left to start her own studio - and know the terror of impending failure. We survived and thrived and her studio is now long gone but that journey was a painful one. Cody has brought yoga to thousands of people and increased fame to Kino. If she really has treated them as badly as they have said - those screenshots are pretty damning - she should be ashamed. But if she has treated them as badly as they have said, to include lying about their efforts to inform Dana and get her support before moving forward with their impending agreement with Alo Yoga, then she won't much care about anything anyone is saying here about her behavior. On the other hand, is Cody telling the truth? Who knows what actually happened in those difficult meetings. I think the most interesting thing in Kino's entire message is the list of Alo Yoga sponsored InstaYogis. Who knew? Those girls are making a nice living traveling the world, living a life few can even imagine, all sponsored by a single company. The profit margins must be immense! The question remains: is what is happening with Alo Yoga, Kino and Instagram even yoga at all? If you make the claim to a lineage with the practice and quote Patanjali even once you become bound by a tradition that has important things to say about what yoga is and what it should do. Like most of us, we pick and choose the things we like and ignore the things we don't in order to allow us to do what we want much less than what we should. But that is how the traditions get updated for each new age. We are in a time of extreme and lovely ferment. This yoga battle - for yoga has always been a practice for warriors - is no different.