More proof that this standardization of the way people think and behave has infiltrated meditation, prayer and spirituality.
For those of you out of the yoga-world loop, in recent weeks there has been a major backlash against GLBL Yoga, a mass-sponsored event which was supposed to be a mass gathering of yogis in Central Park’s Great Lawn, in NYC.
They were trying to raise over $675 000 for what was supposed to be a “free yoga class” with yogilebrities (as of today, they are at $13 000). Yogadork
and The Babarazzi
have explained it in far greater and better detail. The comments left there under their respective posts are priceless and truly shows the disconnect corporate sponsors have with your average Joe and Jane who just want to do yoga and mind their own business doing it.
The GLBL yoga campaign
came with a slick, laughable video filled with celebrities like Christy Turlington and Naomi Watts urging people to give and join in the fun. There were gift bags depending on the amount you gave, and even a chance to practice yoga in the front rows close to these yogilebrities. According to event planners, this was supposed to somehow gather the positive energies of thousands and “build unity and foster community in cities around the world, tapping the collective energy and human spirit of the urban environment to create large-scale, crowd-funded yoga events.” (How? By dispensing this yogic energy into the ethers by farting together? And to achieve what? World peace? Nuclear disarmament? Saving the tigers?).
The whole thing is kind of sad if you ask me. It shows a few things in my mind:
1) The complete disconnect the corporate yoga world seem to have in understanding the intensely personal nature of your own personal practice of yoga (or anything equivalent for that matter) and how it’s NOT for sale
2) It’s basically an outdoor party for fuck’s sake using yoga as an excuse. Please call it one. Having thousands and thousands of people doing yoga in Central Park on a beautiful summer’s day in their high-end yoga-wear has nothing to do with “tapping the collective energy and human spirit”. This is marketing at it’s worst.
If ”tapping the collective energy and human spirit” is what you really want to do, then go to India’s Kumbh Mela which has 70 MILLION people show up to pray together, including sadhus and reclusive hermits who come out of the woodwork to join the festivities.
Or learn from Freddy Mercury and Queen and the performance they gave at Live Aid back in 1985….
Or the Filipino prisoners who have a lot of time on their hands and decide to do something creative instead…
When you have grand events like that, with thousands or millions of people in unity even for a second, magic happens. Literally. I’ve experienced it first hand at rock concerts. Some of my friends have experienced it at European and World Cup Football matches.
Sometimes the energy levels are high enough that it literally blows the roof off the stadium. It usually involves emotional participation from both the performer and the audience and the audience have to “want” to be there with the leader or performer to pull it off. It’s a two-way relationship and a delicate, balancing act too. Too much bravado and people get pissed off. Too little energy and people leave. These things can’t be orchestrated or planned. They usually happen spontaneously. If they are pre-planned, you usually walk away with a feeling that the whole thing feels fake or contrived. Or bored.
I just have to think of Depeche Mode’s performance in Montreal in June of 1990 and practically everyone I know who was at the show was literally buzzing for months afterwards from happiness.
For a so-called synth-techno band, Depeche Mode have killer audiences and consistently hit the ball out of the ballpark
Contrast that with Madonna’s show in 1992 during the Girly Tour at the Olympic Stadium and what an awful disappointment and bore that was despite all the choreography and costumes and hype.
Talk about a piece of crap
And then in its worst form, contrast that with the Guns’n Roses show when 50 000 rioters went berserk at the same time after Axl Rose decided to be a fucktard
and walked off the stage after 6 songs and after fans had paid an arm and a leg for tickets.
In its negative form it can end up looking like the Nuremberg Rallies…
Or Chinese kids doing calisthenics ….
Or an American megachurch….
I know sometimes these mass-scale events take place to make a point or a positive statement, for example when millions of people took to the streets to protest the Iraqi war before the bombing started. While I personally think that sort of thing is commendable, just showing up is a good thing when you want to make a political or economic statement.
February 15, 2003 anti-war protest
However when it gets into the realm of the spirit and the soul, I don’t know, I get the feeling energies become confused or diffused and the end result is that you don’t actually achieve anything meaningful or lasting.
Once again, I think intention here is key. If it’s about one person (or celebrity) being an attention whore or being grandiose, it usually fails. If it’s about the entire group, it moves on to a whole other frequency and changes the experience completely.