time to vent.

playing a little bansuri makes me feel good!

hi!!!! 

oh phew, july is almost over. all the shit is behind us now. at least that's what we keep telling ourselves when we get a little sulky. 

i really don't like posting blogs that are anything less than positive, but let's face it, life can't and isn't always good all the time. if it was i suppose i'd be very lazy and uninspired. i'm not saying i'm not extremely lucky to have been born at this very right time with all the opportunities i've had. i am beyond grateful. just venting a bit here...

july sucked. crashing our car, financing a new car, frustrations with not having a website yet (no one can finish a site for me so i'm building it myself), adjusting to living in a new place far away from what has been so familiar, and finding out liam may be going blind... pretty much a year's worth of troubles all jam packed in an awesome month's time! ha!



another thing i've been irritated with is yoga. yep. yoga. i really hope what i'm about to say doesn't sound condescending or mean, but sometimes i am just SO embarrassed by the mainstream "yoga community". in a way, to me, yoga looks like a cult, like a club where judgmental people can hide behind their sanskrit and their health foods. i used to have a subscription to yoga journal, but i kinda faded away from it. i liked to read it and see what all the yoga people are doing, what they're wearing, what advertisements they're being exposed to. but besides that, i never found or read anything that truly encouraged me to think differently. to be honest, i find the pages of yoga journal to be just bleh and banal... like, didn't i read this same article 5 years ago? and the brands in the YJ storefront page- umm, these fashions haven't changed in 15 years!! and who really looks good in wide leg flood pants?! i'm thinking though, perhaps i'm not the target audience. it seems more like YJ is written for 50+ year old rich white women. (i just checked their stats page, yep 38% of readers are from households that makes more than $100 k per year!)

the clothing on the cover this month, don't get me started!! the woman on the august 2012 cover is wearing zobha brand. zobha manufactures their clothing in china. i emailed them to ask about it, because it says nowhere on their site where the garments are made. lots of info on charities (awesome), but nothing about how they're getting their clothing to you. when a business doesn't proudly say "made in USA!", their stuff is not made in the USA. zobha wrote me back and said they manufacture in asia. a nice way to say, china. ugh. it embarrasses me to see a white girl, like me, hands in prayer, surrounded by the words 'learn to meditate' and 'relieve anxiety' while wearing clothing made in a sweatshop. made by women who have no other way to live than to work 18 hours a day in poorly ventilated factories making about 10 cents an hour. there is something deeply deeply disturbing about this to me. not just because i find this brand to be my competition, but because it makes yoga journal look like a fake, and this puts a really hypocritical light on yoga. but maybe people just don't care about where their clothing is made. then again, the readers of YJ are supposed to be YOGIS- people that are aware of human suffering and live to make a positive difference on the lives of others. what i see in the pages of YJ is typically western: superficial and materialistic, yet shallowly elevated and floating on the guise of eastern spirituality. a facade that has become so trendy these days.

however, i am empathetic. truly. i've been there. when i first got into yoga and meditation in college (shallowly, for sure. for show and ego, yes.), i found a lot of comfort and stability in hinduism and yoga. i felt like a better person for chanting esoteric sanskrit, buying lots of hindu and spirituality books, and practicing my asana in front of a mirror. i thought, i can be beautiful, holy, intelligent, and enlightened with this stuff. i can transcend basic humanity and find who i really am. yet, as i've grown older and continued exploring knowledge and experience, i've been brought back down to earth. to me now, there is something so much better, so much more humiliating to think, i am an animal born as a speck in this universe. yes, my life has meaning, but i will not be remembered in the grand scheme of time. i am no better or worse than anyone, and my yoga practice (as well as everyone else's) doesn't "enlighten" me or make me more than a mere human. i do the best i can to love, grow, accept, and hopefully make a happy difference in small moment's of other's lives. i am imperfect, and i'll sadly admit, like anyone else, shallow at times.

my yoga doesn't make me better than you if you don't practice yoga. saying these words, i'm always brought to that controversial question- what is yoga? is it exercise, meditation, good health, devotion, awareness? am i really practicing "yoga"? let's say yoga is meditation. so running, playing music, studying, painting, working construction, bartending, eating dinner, really anything can be yoga if you are aware and breathing, correct? so what's with the postures? why are we all working so hard to get into handstand if yoga is being in the moment? ok, let's say yoga is exercise. i can most definitely agree stretching and exercise are good for the body and brain. yesterday i felt like my mind was racing and my lower back hurt, so i did 30 minutes of yoga (stretching, moving, breathing) and felt completely refreshed and renewed after. if yoga is moving the body and breathing with awareness, why do we need all the hindu connotations and the enlightenment crap? why does yoga have SO much baggage and responsibility? 

yoga is definitely a complicated subject without a clear definition. i love my daily practice of slowing down and breathing, stretching and strengthening my body. but i don't love how many people feel that yoga has to be a certain thing in order for it to be yoga. yoga in america is an entirely different species than yoga in india. it's evolved to become its own entity, for better or worse. it looks like gymnastics in the pictures of yoga journal, but acts like religion in the articles of yoga journal. an expensive religion too. where you need lots of clothing made in china, a juicer, loads of dietary supplements, toe separating flip flops, to go on a yoga retreat in the bahamas, to go see some swami "on tour" in america this fall for $2500, and you must, MUST, make the pilgrimage to mecca (a yoga journal conference).

i've always felt a little bad when people ask me "where do you practice yoga?" and i say, "at home". like there's something wrong with me that i don't want to join the herd or go to yoga works. i shouldn't feel bad about this. my home practice is my favorite. being alone, breathing, listening to my body, that's where it's at for me. i'm totally NOT saying yoga classes are bad, at all!!!!!! most yoga classes are spectacular, and coming together with like minded people is so beneficial. in fact, right now i feel due for a yoga class with people. sometimes you really need a yoga guide to bring you back to why you love yoga so much. but i'm not the kind of person that needs a class in order to practice. but oh geez, my yoga teacher friends, i love you.

what all these thoughts and frustrations bring me to in terms of my business is, i've got to make a positive impact on all parties involved in purusha. i am merely human, but with this conscious brain the least i can do is make conscious informed compassionate decisions. businesses change the world, this is why i've wanted to be a business owner all my life. there needs to be a new standard in fashion, where the ugliness of the factories are exposed to the buyer purchasing the beautiful clothing. and ESPECIALLY this must be true in yoga clothing. i honestly don't know how one could run a yoga clothing brand, like lululemon, zobha, lucy, marika, and manufacture in china. this is the most contradicting thing- creating clothing at the expense of human decency and compassion, for people to wear while meditating on kindness and the ease of suffering for all beings. oh man, seriously?! friends, i urge you, not just because these brands are considered competition to me, but because of basic morality, not to buy clothing for yoga made in china. it's just plain wrong. or at least don't wear those garments to yoga... wear them dumpster diving or something.. i dunno.

my path is now becoming even more clearly defined. so beautiful. more than ever i dream of running a happy business, where the brand's factory is attached to the store, and customers can meet who makes what they're wearing. and yoga isn't just for the wealthy, spiritual elite. can you imagine?! i can! 

thank you for sharing in my thoughts. today, i look forward to a new month of non-suckiness. xo.

Comments

  1. Wow, thank you, THANK YOU for your honesty. xoxo

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  2. Your vision is counter cultural to what you have seen here in the states. It is always an opportunity to gracefully seek a new vision when you have glimpsed truth. Your journey through obstacles is just part of the path. Hold your dream in your heart and it will flourish.

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  3. your truth is in line with the eternal truth. don't let anyone, any magazine, any emotion or any event keep you from believing that. your honesty has lifted my heart and has shone freedom upon it. thank you for embracing your vulnerability and your human nature, stay on your path beautiful, namaste, shel

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  4. If you encourage avoiding china-made yoga garments in favor of only usa made clothing--let's just hypothesize that this actually happens, that all the yogis start buying usa made only--what will that do to the workers in china? I definitely don't agree with many of the working environments and the unfair wages they earn, but I also don't see how taking away the market for their jobs is actually beneficial for them. Fair or not, they need jobs. I think it is a little short sighted to say the answer is to only buy usa made, how will that benefit the workers in china?

    Also, this idea of making yoga more accessible, not just for the wealthy, I hate to play devil's advocate, but it's been my experience that usa made products are more expensive! It almost seems that having this ideal of only usa-made, meeting the makers etc. is another way of playing out a spiritual elitism.

    I think it's great that you notice the hypocrisy and are questioning/trying to find answers, better ways to practice yoga, kinder ways to live... but I'm also curious what your answers to my questions are and if you'd thought of them before.

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  5. Very well said! :-)
    Wishing you lots of non-suckness friend!
    Namaste

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  6. thank you everyone for the thoughtful and kind feedback!! much appreciated!

    julianne, thanks for the questions!
    i disagree there are only 2 options- buy from china and support inhumane employment, or buy from USA and take jobs away from china. what about only buy from china if they agree to certain standards for their employees? i think if there was a drastic drop in clothing sales made in china, and obviously this would be in the news, they would have to reform to supply the demand. if we americans demand we wont stand for basically slave labor in the clothing factories, china will have to adapt to this or lose jobs and money. we vote with our dollar everytime we buy something, and when we buy from china, we vote for paid slavery. it's awful that many chinese women are put in the position of 'not work and starve', or 'work 80 hours a week and made $8 and barely feed the family'. this can't be sustained. chinese workers need a minimum wage, the right to form unions, etc- the same rights we have here in order for us supporting the work force to make sense.

    if americans are so passionate about providing for the chinese, we should donate to charities that give back to chinese communities. paying $8 for one woman would be the same pay she would make working $80 hours!!

    and why are we so concerned with providing jobs for china when we are at a 12% unemployment rate? we need jobs here in america now more than ever!!! i think it is shortsighted to say we need to keep supporting a corrupt country's slave labor!

    i disagree that clothing made in america is more expensive. lululemon charges $90 for pants that are made in china, zobha made in china is expensive too. american apparel yoga pants are $30, t party brand pants are $39, hardtail is about $60 for pants (all made in USA). it really is up to the brand how much they want to charge, and isn't always a reflection on how much the garment actually costs to produce.

    soo i hope that answers your questions!! namaste :)

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  7. one question i have for you, how would meeting the people that work in the factory (my utopian business model) play out spiritual elitism? i dont understand that reference.

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  8. we also wouldnt have to to only buy from USA, if this lowers costs. america propagandizes the support of human rights, all over the world. yet, we seem to let this fall by the wayside when it comes to buying products made by cheap labor. either we drop the guise of supporting freedom and continue to buy from china and countries with similar lack of rights, or we decide we wont do business with countries that support inhumane work environments. we can still buy from other countries that give workers basic rights, and the ability to form unions- all of europe, australia, etc.

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  9. last comment, i promise!!! julianne, thank you again for the questions. just wanted to say, it's always nice to get a comment that sparks a debate. so much love to you!

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  10. aw thank you! much love to you back :) this won't be much of a debate, though, as i'm already sold =P thank you for answering my questions and sharing more of your insights with me. i definitely agree that we vote with our dollar and i want to try harder at that! after i posted my comment, i thought more about it and realized what you pointed out about lacking jobs in our own country. we need jobs here too! about the price difference of china made vs. usa made, i'm a broke college student (so i don't buy the pricey items that happen to be made elsewhere) which is why it's been my experience that the cheapest things are usually china made and the more expensive (to me, at least) are usa made. i really don't know much on this point, so i'll take your word for it. about the spiritual elitism, i wasn't only referring to meeting the people working in the factory, i was trying to refer to the whole idea: only supporting usa made and leaving the workers of china without a market--this was also when i had in mind that usa made items are more expensive, so it seemed less accessible to me. i like your utopian business model a lot, so don't take that comment personally, i don't intend for it to be! i hope that makes sense. i can explain myself better if it doesn't...

    namaste!

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  11. Thank you so much for your article and I absolutely agree on everything what you say! I feel frustrated with the way the corporations decided to package spirituality at the expense of poor people. We need more value products made in an honest, truthful and yogic way!

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  12. amen hayley! way to keep your spirit alive. it's good to get motivated by anger because you can turn that into positive outcomes. you are going down the road less traveled, unpopular. needless to say, it is your choice and you are bringing awareness to the community and the world to wake up, stop following the herd and know where your clothes and food come from. you are building relationships with the customer and the producer of your clothing. fair trade isn't all in a days work. if you are going to sweat, make it fairly paid for a job well done. <3 you! may august prove to be a better month for you.

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  13. Glad to hear enjoyed the last issue of Yoga Journal!! I think it was the one i just sent you....i found it at the airport last time i was there and thought u might want to see it....hummmm i wonder why someone just left it there on a seat??

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