Bait and Switch Yoga • 30 October 2007

Wow. Which yoga-consumer group sold my mailing address to “Yoga Pura” of Phoenix, Arizona?

They want me to come to their teacher training, a “journey of a lifetime,” after I have asked myself the following questions.  

Am I fearlessly committed to living happy now?

Do I want to understand—really, really understand—the mysteries underlying yoga and all great spiritual traditions?

Oh yeah. Happiness, and real, real understanding. That’s my bag, allright. But Phoenix is some distance from LA. Could I do this training by correspondence? Probably, because it turns out that Yoga is ANYTHING I want it to be. Check this ad copy, you poor, unenlightened readers.

Yoga is not about stretching. Yoga is not about meditation. In fact, contrary to what you may have heard, yoga is not even about yoga. And while it may be true that yoga involves all of these, it’s [sic] real potency and value lies [sic] in its ability to create something much greater: the transformation of your life. Yoga is about living your life to the fullest…. It’s about joy in the workplace and love in the home. Yoga is about the fulfillment of your life’s purpose with a… fulfillment previously unimagined [sic]. At Yoga Pura we’re unlocking the real secrets of the ancient science of yoga to help people do just that. More than a simple course in yoga postures… the Teacher Training… will immerse you in your own personal voyage of self-discovery and awakening—transforming you into a mature spiritual guide able to help others do the very same thing.

Classic yoga bait-and-switch advertising here. Not just “happiness,” “fulfillment,” and “real understanding” but the wisdom and knowledge to be others’ “spiritual guide.” Right. Right up until you get about a month into some kind of practice and realize how clueless, monkey-minded, and how not qualified to be another’s authority, you really are.

To me, this Yoga Pura type of thing is more painful than blatant yoga materialism that promises fashionable pastimes and a nice ass. Because this is yoga as candy apple “happiness” that represents a quick escape from the life you presumably want to change. Since there’s nice enough intention here, these corny promises make it easier to forget that yoga is just a practice and not an express ticket to some other self.

Nothing in this ad is about establishing a personal practice and using that as the field for transformation and understanding. Rather it feels more like they’re selling me into yoga charm school where I will learn to think like Tony Robbins and walk like Christy Turlington and speak melodically like Rodney Yee so I can go out and reproduce more of this brand of self-help/actualization. My new consulting gig: Insideowl Lifecoaching!

Well, bother. If it is this simple, what am I doing taking the toll road?