Every time I’ve written a blog for the past, I dunno, year (?), I’ve started with, “I miss this blog but I hate everyone, blah blah blah,” so I’m just going to skip that whole part.

I write when I feel like it about things that are on my mind and today, I have a big one: culturally appropriative bullshit practices in yoga, done by (is this a surprise to anyone?) white people, who have no problem defending themselves and each other, despite being uneducated, having only an absolute shit 200-Hour “certification” to their name, and thinking that if it’s out there in the world, it’s theirs for the taking.

ICYMI: The New York Times just did a fantastic piece on the commercialism of yoga, complete with a big red target on the back CorePower Yoga, a fast-growing, fitness-oriented piece of the yoga market in the U.S. CorePower Yoga has been sued in federal court for (again, is this a surprise to anyone?) violating fair labor practices. Read: asking yoga teachers to work for free – as well as its almost pyramid-scheme style of recruiting new teachers.

Another piece of the puzzle: CorePower preaches peace and calm to its trainees, then takes advantage by misleading them about what jobs might (or might NOT) be available after they graduate.

The Times (because it’s the best paper in the entire universe) doesn’t come to a conclusion for you. But there’s an underlying feeling of the following: CorePower yoga isn’t THE problem, it’s part of a problem of the commercialism of western yoga, coupled with the exploitation of workers – and it’s a BIG FUCKING problem.

What the Times didn’t add was this: commercializing yoga to the extent that you exploit teachers (who are already paid almost nothing because the model of yoga teaching is absolutely broken) and then calling it “karma yoga” is cultural appropriation from white people at its worst: “Here’s this idea of selfless service from another culture that we don’t actually give a shit about, but it’s honestly a perfect buzzword to throw at our teachers to make them think we are REAL YOGIS and that if they work with us for free they are REAL YOGIS, too.”

Do I seem angry? Nah.

Which brings up another point: to wit, if you tell any one of these culturally-appropriating, commercially-exploitative white yoga teachers or studios that what they are doing is not only morally wrong, but illegal, you get told you’re not being “yogi” enough: “Calm down, let’s love each other, yoga is about the journey of the soul.”

Even worse: “Everyone does it.”

Honestly, fuck you. I know what yoga is about because my family is Hindu, you uneducated, wannabe hipster fuckheads, and in case YOU missed it, when you’re chanting “Om” at the end of your class, you’re chanting the most sacred syllable in HINDUISM – associated with Ganesha – who is also a HINDU god. And “everyone doing it” doesn’t make any of it right. Wasn’t the same argument used for indentured servitude?

These are the same arguments that were being used for a long time about yoga teachers touching their students without consent (before #MeToo): “It’s part of the practice.” Fuck you, no it’s not. And “everyone does it” was recently used by a big corporate yoga studio I spoke to about why their “No Touch Chips” (which you have to pick up on the way in or else you get physically adjusted by a yoga teacher) should be fine. They’re not fine, you’re not leading the conversation on consent – you’re lagging behind. By asking people to pick up “No Touch Chips,” you’re implying you have default consent to touch my body just because I walk onto your premises.

Can I scream at you anymore?

If I seem even angrier than usual for this blog, it’s because I recently had an experience like this myself. Uneducated, highly culturally-appropriative A-holes (is it odd I choose to say fuck but then censor A-holes? Not sure why I did that, but I’m keeping it) living in a world in their heads where they are the absolute best of the best and anything they do is utterly defensible.

If I seem angrier at yoga people than needed, let me make clear: I realize it’s not just yoga people. Yoga people in the States are a symptom of the world we’re living in, and more specifically, a symptom of the fucked-up culture that elected Trump and continues to rage on its nationalistic, racist, HAPPILY uneducated warpath. In other words, I know it’s not just yoga. I know it’s yoga and ALL OTHER subgroups in the States. Nothing is sacred in this country unless you’re white and then everything is (“People of COLOR are getting into COLLEGE? How fucking dare they, let’s dismantle affirmative action while continuing to ignore that legacy admission is a big fucking FUCK YOU to anyone that’s not white, without money, that didn’t have every opportunity afforded to them already.”)

But that’s for another time. Point being, I recognize it’s not the yoga world, I recognize it’s the world. I just happen to be currently enmeshed in the yoga world because of the path I’ve chosen to take the past few months of my life, so I see all this more than usual.

And I wasn’t exactly hoping I could live in the yoga world without getting absolutely disappointed in humanity, because I know myself, but I was curious to see if it would be different because yoga people are supposed to be working on their “enlightenment” a little more than the rest of us.

Turns out, yoga just attracts people who are already predisposed to have a holier-than-thou attitude when it comes to, well, everything and when you couple that with white privilege and cultural appropriation AND a booming, multibillion-dollar industry, it makes for a really gross combination.

So now I’ve just realized my path might be just to make enemies (unintentionally?) wherever I go. Luckily, I’m the type that can crusade on a page and in life but shut it off when I need to be selfish with my mind and time.

Even more luckily, the things that I believe in (hello physical contact CONSENT in yoga teaching, fair pay, and the removal of practices that steal from others) are meaningful, even if the white, culturally-appropriating, commercially-exploitative yoga teachers of the world think the only thing (and I mean ONLY thing) that matters is their own personal bliss. And even more disgustingly, career path.

*Please excuse any typos as I wrote this angrily because it’s my damn blog. Or don’t excuse them, I don’t care. 🙂