America (and Canada) is obsessed about yoga pants.
That leaves nothing else to write about in a yoga blog, but the predicament that Lululemon finds itself in after letting substandard merchandise get out the door. This time around, the drooling is not about Lululemon’s profit margins. I am not going to link to all the coverage in the blogs, mainstream media or business news sites because it would just encourage the prurient interest in see-through apparel.
This incident also shows how many media outlets want to fetishize yoga, simplifying the spread of the practice across mainstream American culture into an example of commercial branding targeted at an upscale niche market. Lululemon’s going to sell more than $1.5 billion in sports apparel this year, even if it recalls all the faulty pants. I almost expect some kind of fashion twist that will keep the pants on the mats — the bottom equivalent of a sports bra?
I’ve been dragging around the sequel of a persistent, bad head cold for the past two weeks, which means that I have not gone to class. Every morning I wake up expecting to have finally kicked it, but it lingers on. I’ve taken two handkerchiefs to work to handle the drainage.
Police declined to say how the homicide victim, identified as 30-year-old Jayna T. Murray, of Arlington, was killed. But law enforcement sources confirmed a horrific, bloody scene inside Lululemon Athletica, part of a chain of stores that began popping up across the country a few years ago. The stores sell yoga and sports clothing and are designed to give shoppers a sense of calm.
Sad to see that a place where yoga is practiced (Lululemon frequently holds yoga session in their commercial space) is tainted by this criminal violence. It really seems odd because this is a part of Bethesda that should be extremely busy, even following the closing of shops. This kind of crime is rare around the DC area so I can fathom why it happened.
This story is so bizarre and disconcerting, even after the original tale of two men dress in black stalking Bethesda commercial real estate came unraveled. You just don’t expect yoga to be the backdrop for an act of violence worthy of crime novel.
Whenever the New York Times starts publishing multiple articles on yoga (two articles in less than a week; see the previous two blog entries), it usually portends a major existential crisis for the U.S. yoga community. The attention from major media is another indication that yoga is dipping into the American mainstream and losing its authenticity.
One of the central bugaboos for many commentators is that yoga now means big bucks. Just look at some of recent articles: The Future of Yoga, How Yoga Sold Out (WSJ’s Speakeasy blog, written by Stephanie Syman) and YogaDork’s Who Will Save Yoga?. Somewhere in these articles you’ll find a statement like “…yoga is a $6 billion industry with some 16 million American followers.”
These figures comes out of Yoga Journal‘s 2008 Yoga in America study. Journalists love the YJ figures because they come from a reputable source, confirm that yoga has moved beyond niche status, and impute the value of their own reporting on the topic (“My editor did not send me out to write a human interest feature about an ex-hippie.”). Continue reading It’s just money but who’s counting→