In all this world, there is nothing more important than appreciating the preciousness of our human embodiment and doing all we can to increase health and happiness for ourselves and others - Tarthang Tulku

Thursday, March 10, 2011

YOGA v. Lululemon -- the lawsuit of my dreams.

A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet would remain silent. - Pearl S. Buck
From the film Goodbye Mr. Chips, 1969:

Katie: The headmaster's a darling. His wife's a bitch.
Chips: That's not a word we use here.
Katie: You should I think.



My dear readers, friends old and new, near and far, denizens of the Good Earth, fellow warriors of Light:

I invite you to behold this poor pimped out pooch who has been forced to don a Lululemon logo round his neck. For shame.

Alas, more for the YOGA v. Lululemon files. You know, the court case that will make international case law history, where YOGA sues Lululemon, Inc. for breech of contract, identity theft, perhaps copyright infringement-- oh I don't know what else but I'm sure me and my team of legal eagles and I can figure out something. I'll have them approach the bench in Garudasana with an arsenal of allegations designed to dismantle the spiritual materialism and capitalist creep factor that has become so insidiously intertwined with a holy practice that is both a high art and life science. Mmmmkay? Mmmmkay.

Now, I know some of you are thinking that I'm overreacting, perhaps going out of my way to become the persona non grata in Yogaland for some ego-maniacal reasons but I assure you, there's a method to my madness. And while it's not tiger's blood that fuels me, I do share Brother Sheen's ire and passion for the dissolution of constructs of corporate greed and bullshit and any thing that separates this spiritually bereft humanity from a higher calling and consciousness.

Lululemon, while cleverly packaged to the world as some kind of Good Ship Lollipop of Love and Lycra is really doing nothing to preserve and protect the essence of Yoga as a spiritual practice whose ultimate aim is to know God. It's a clothing store, I get it. Perhaps that's not their bag. They're here to sell pants that make the suckers asses look good. But I ask you, friends, Romans, countrymen, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, do they not have a responsibility as a now publicly traded company rollin' in the dough to at least uphold the Truth of this sacred science instead of pimping out the pious signs, symbols, and mantras of the holy traditions of the East? Exhibit A.


(Peace, love, dove & Hare Krishna all you groovy cats!)

Despite the fact that I would bet no one in that store either working there or shopping there could tell you anything vaguely substantive about who Krishna is or what Hare Krishna means, when I endeavored to snap this photo, the Lululemonites were quite curiously very protective of this writing on the wall. When I entered the store, I politely asked permission to snap a photo of the saccharine scribble. The Lululemonite behind the register looked at first puzzled then slightly panicked. She nervously said with a sweet smile, bless her brainwashed heart, " Um, you're really not allowed to. Sorry." Ten minutes later I asked my beau if he would venture to snap the photo. No one stopped or questioned him and the same girl stood behind the register. So there's that.

If I were YOGA incarnate, I'd sue the $79.99 Groove Pants (with a pocket for your lip gloss!) off of the -- oh, hello, Mr. Chips! (Chip Wilson, Lululemon founder.) Namaste, luv. So, what the blazes is a Lululemon anyway? By the by, your logo looks a tad bit like a gay horseshoe. Or is that Mary Tyler Moore's hair?










I suppose the growing Lululemon empire could redeem itself by actually engaging in some serious large-scale charitable giving, perhaps to, say, hospitals in India, the country whose traditions and beliefs they're pretty much exploiting. When I went the the website to research what kinds of corporate giving they are actually consistently engaged in, there's not too much press or details about these efforts whatsoever. Par for the course, here's a corporate PR boiler plate response, which neatly fills that tab on the website.

From lululemon. com:

Our Charitable Giving program is unique as it gives the power of choice back to our guests and lets them decide which local charities they would like lululemon to support. Each year, our stores select up to eight local charities to be part of the program. This allows our stores to have a real impact on our local communities. For more information on these charities, our local activities or donation requests, please contact your local store.

It's a nice sentiment, I suppose, to present a charitable giving policy as one that "gives the power of choice back to our guests". But I'm sure Lululemon guests would forfeit their "power of choice" for a larger charitable effort that a corporation like Lululemon has within their own power of choice to undertake. Mostly, I think this means they ultimately don't give as much away. Listen, I'm sure there is plenty of good being done under the Lululemon umbrella. That's not my point. I'm know better than to challenge a publicly traded company's corporate ethics, but I would like to light a fire under their asses simply as it relates to posing as a yogic-minded company that wouldn't know a prasad from a pushup bra.

Just sell your clothes, Mr. Wilson. And they're not yoga clothes. To me, they're more like overpriced ooompa loompa workout uniforms for the wholly unimaginative. Personally, they cut off my circulation and when I taught one of those free Sunday morning classes, I gotta tell ya, I asked for a water bottle as my free booby prize instead of a tangerine top that would dig into my flesh. And for God's sake, leave Krishna out of it, Mr. Wilson, at least until you're better acquainted with his "brand" of consciousness.

Now, please enjoy a selection of photos from this year's Krishna Festival here in the City of Brotherly Love. Rama rama, Planet Lululemon. Perhaps you can sponsor next year's Krishna shindig.