Monday, August 30, 2010


Short post today because I do not want to give in too fully to this anger that is boiling in my belly, that is making my scalp tingle, that is making me make some very. ugly. faces.

You all know that I tend toward the "it's all good" argument in terms of types of yoga, and I still feel that way.

We have no idea what another person is getting out of anything, much less their yoga, regardless of where or what or how.

Furthermore, some people get their "union with the universal/divine" experience from running or from soccer or from...whatever.  It's not ours to judge.

But as teachers of yoga or dance or movement of whatever system we are utilizing to help people come to a deeper understanding of their own capacity for joy and peace, we bear a burden.  We are to be held to higher standards.  We should be held to higher standards by our own hearts, but there are lesser evolved humans in every sphere of human action.

And the lure of celebrity status is not known to attract the most...selfless among us.

I am particularly angry, though, about this current yoga "scandal," because it is being perpetrated by a woman against other women.  A woman who calls herself a yogi, at that.

Do not buy Tara Stiles' new yoga weight loss book.

The advertising is base, classless, and cruel.

Thanks, Tara, for setting unrealistic and unhealthy goals for the women who look up to you.  Thanks, Tara, for contributing to women's self-loathing.  May your namesake Hindu Goddess bring you the wisdom you desperately need to use your privileged platform for good rather than self gain.

Enough said.

(Though if you need more, you can read Linda or Svasti, both of whom are covering this debacle wisely.)

Instead of wasting any money on that book, go out and take a class with a rockin', local teacher, or purchase some excellent music and dance in your living room.

It is never too late to embody your bliss, as I like to say, and that means swayin' those hips and lovin' that booty, until a smile is inevitable and self-hate is impossible.


svasti said...

Anyone who does any form of physical exercise is likely to lose weight if they need to lose weight.

So on top of the heinous messages Tara uses, she's also being quite disingenuous because it's not like she's got some special kind of yoga that's different from what you'd find in any other yoga class!

What's more, the way Tara presents yoga means that actually, none of what she's talking about is yoga. By virtue of her presentation.

I was angry most of yesterday. I'm still angry today but less so. Now I feel sad for her, because if this is all she can make of the wonderful body of teachings that are yoga, then she's really missing out.


Eco Yogini said...

wow- that ad is terrible.

thank you for standing up for what is right. :)

Linnea said...

"I lost 35 pounds and went from a size 8 to a size 00!" saith the testimonial.

Double of nothing. How quaint.

What's even worse about this is it's published by a woman's health magazine that presumably has some sort of advisory board to ensure its material isn't harmful to one's health. Perpetuating the stereotype that one has to be "nothing" to be sexy or attractive is not healthy!

Additionally, if Tara herself wasn't Photoshopped for that ad I'll eat my yoga mat. It's not even a good Photoshop job (her head's entirely too large for the body they gave her), but that's beside the point. That makes what this group of women -- Tara and the Women's Health staff behind her -- are doing to their fellow women even worse. I'd extend my "do not buy" credo to the magazine that sponsors the book as well.

None of this begins to address the utter dismissal of the philosophy behind yoga, and it perpetuates the worst stereotypes about yoga's "Westernization." I agree with Savasti -- in the end, it's just sad.

Jen said...

This is definitely not the loving kindness yoga philosophy I subscribe too. What's sad is that images/media like this will further discourage people who don't feel they can "do" yoga from even trying.


Rebekah said...

I agree that this ad is terrible. Its marketing is full of unrealistic claims (i.e. losing belly fat in 15 mins., as that takes other lifestyle changes,too) and, on top of that, it's insulting. As for the testimonial, what is wrong with a size 8? In the '80's and early '90's that was a perfectly acceptable size for models, for Pete's sake!

Also, "bra fat"? Hah! Bras are an undergarment. They don't have fat! As my sister pointed out when I told her about it. We had a good laugh over that. (She has a thing about semantics.)


Gabriella Moonlight said...

This does not seem to embody the type of feelings and sentiments that fill and embue yoga or any other form of dance and body movement and sadly yet again here we are given the tools to fight our bodies rather than accept them as they are and move with them.

Thank you for this post!


Linda-Sama said...

still waiting for Ms. Stiles to respond to our tweets. ;)

Raine-Lee said...

Thanks for the heads-up. It's quite disgusting what people will do for fame and fortune. Tara's picture is probably photo shopped but she looks overly skinny in a bad way. Also I find it disturbing that Deepak Chopra has a quote supporting her on her official website.

Trish Austin said...

I can't believe it! The ad is so horrible. Do they even make size double zero anymore? What a deplorable message. I'm only 5'2 and if I wore a size 0, I would be underweight for my height and unhealthy. And, most women are taller than me!UGH
Thanks for posting and spreading the right message of women needing to be happy with their bodies. But, it just kills me. This type of thing is one of the reasons eating disorders are so prominent.

Lisa (Mommy Mystic) said...

shame, shame, shame...and the things marketing depts. make people do...she should know better but I also can't help wondering if she found herself on a slippery slope, driven by the marketing crew for her book...not making excuses for her, but I have seen this happen before....

on a brighter note, I thought of you while reading a recent article in Time magazine, about Sohini Chakraborty, on using dance therapy to help former child prostitutes help regain a sense of self and positive embodiment. Unfortunately, the article is not available in entirety for free online, but such a wonderful, inspiring thing, and in some cases it has been the only way to reach girls that have completely shut down...