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.










11 comments:

  1. You are fighting such a noble and wonderful cause defending the integrity of Yoga and I am behind you all the way! In the increased commercialization of everything from water to even oxygen, I'm so glad there is a Yogini with the cahones to stand up for the true voice of Yoga.I admire your spirit and rally behind your cause! xox

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  2. Namsate,Devi!

    Thank you for fighting the good fight. Everything you wrote (except for dissing Maharani Tyler Moore) was correct.

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  3. "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."- ROFLMAO!

    You are a amazing!

    Jayna'

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  4. I am on the organizing committee for the yearly Kirtan festival in our city (which is free, everyone volunteers and all the donations go to charity) and Lulu would not sponsor us, but to their merit they did send us some fabulous volunteers to help out. They are always happy to send volunteers which is greatly appreciated. They also donated mats for a new yoga program I organized last year. They are generous in their own way. I do agree that the emphasis on how we look in class vs. how we feel has gotten out of hand. I myself have been guilty of this fashion distraction. I want to set a good example for my students that expensive clothes are not essential for a yoga practice. Shopping tip - just bought a $7.99 tank at Sports Authority, great fit, wore it to teach my class two days in a row. When I'm tired of looking at it I won't feel guilty giving it away!

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  6. absolutely wonderful post...thank you for putting words to something I've been stewing over.

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  7. This is possibly the most well-written lulurant I've read yet!

    My main beef with lululemon is as a consumer: for the price, they're just not that great a yoga pant. If $90 bought the Best-Pants-Ever-Oh-My-God-I-Can't-Wait-to-Get-Up-at-6-am-On-a-Saturday-to-Put-These-Pants-on-and-Practice!, I might buy them. Or if $90 bought a good solid pair of pants made locally from organic or reclaimed materials, I might buy them. But there's just not all that much to distinguish lulu tights from the ones I can get for $25 at Target, and lulu's not that much better a company to do business with.

    I can use the $65 I just saved to pay to actually DO yoga.

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  8. "I can use the $65 I just saved to pay to actually DO yoga."

    thank you, walkfromoz, for summing up this already fabulous post with a pithy phrase! If you're into lulu lemons, and that's your big splurge, well have at it, but I'll take my $15 K-mart, or $20 Daffy's marked-down designer pants any day.

    My butt looks pretty good thanks to all the YOGA I do, instead of the pants I invest in...

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  9. I am without words...hilarious! And totally merited. Although I admit to wearing their crops almost every day, your rant is warranted! :)

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  10. Oh, thank the goddess I am not the only one pitching fits at Lululemon soul puckering worship at the altar of money and fashion. Here in Portland had to confront store on lack of any size above 10!! I have two daughters 5'7" and 5'9". Both HWP. The smaller would have to squeeze uncomfortably to begin to get into an outfit. Great, giving girls anorexic anxiety, so not YOGA! Aargh. Your rant made my day and the MTM hair made me LOL. Bless you, dear.

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