no more free lunch

chettinad food
typical lunch in Tamil Nadu, India — YUM!

“Emotional labor.”

What does that mean to you?

On her Facebook page in August Layla Saad said that a “complete stranger just PayPal-ed me a generous amount of money as a way of saying thank you for the emotional labor I put in to writing my open letter to spiritual white women. I’m in shock. And in tears. I did not write the letter with that expectation in mind, but I am so grateful for this unexpected gift.”

That got me thinking.  In a dozen years I’ve received two payments from readers.   Years ago I received $100 from an anonymous person who merely said “thank you.”

I’ve written this blog since 2005, a good 12 years, and over the years people have sent me countless emails telling me how much my writing meant to them.  They thought they were the only ones who felt the same way I did about shit in the Modern Yoga World.  When I have thought about completely shutting down this blog and never writing again, I get an email from someone telling me how much my words meant to them.   So I continue albeit not as prolifically because, let’s be honest: people just don’t read blogs anymore.  I have been fortunate to meet people in India in my trainings who have read my blog, one woman from Kuala Lumpur telling me that she was at the Krishanamacharya Yoga Mandiram because of me.  A few readers have told me that they consider me one of their yoga teachers even though we’ve never met and who knows if we ever will.

Today Facebook reminded me:

“If you have never visited Linda’s Yoga Journey, it’s worth every minute you can spend on it. I met Linda in India and she’s one of the most loving, sassy and funny people I’ve ever come across. She keeps it real with serious topics that the yoga community often prefers to ignore, but refuses to sensationalize them and more often than not gives you food for thought that tastes a whole lot different than the stuff we get elsewhere. She is also not one to pass up the opportunity for a good laugh. She has a solid following of educated readers from all walks of life who offer some really interesting and varied points of view on the things Linda reports on so the comments are definitely worth a read.”

I have always said that I have the best readers!  Thank you dear readers for continuing to read me for 12 years!

And to think I’ve never been podcast by J. Brown.  Or asked to give any public talks.  Or sit on any panel discussions.  Go figure!

I wrote about topics such as ageism and diversity in the Modern Yoga World long before yoga blogs like YogaDork and It’s All Yoga, Baby, and before yoga writers whose names I won’t mention because you know who they are.  Because I was considered a “fierce voice in the yoga blogosphere” by the author of this book, he put me in it.  Drove all the way from California with his dog to interview me. 🙂

As Kelly Diels says in this article: “I, as a woman, am not a community resource.”  Beginning in January 2018 I am transitioning the best of my blog posts to Patreon, a website that will allow me to get paid for my writing, i.e., my emotional and intellectual labor.  If my writing about yoga has helped you or made you see things differently, you can become a monthly supporter or pay me per piece on that site.  The posts that I transfer will no longer be available for free here and I will use Patreon as my writing outlet, no more blogging for free.

The same goes for my India travel advice.  I have received many questions over the years about how to travel in India, where to go, etc. so I am now charging $50/hr for trip planning, how to handle India, etc.  Please do not expect to pick my brain for free unless you come on one of my trips.  I have 12 yrs of India travel experience and my info can not be found in guide books.  As a solo woman traveler to India since 2005 and learning about India as much as a foreigner can, you will be paying for my emotional and intellectual India travel labor.  To curate a boutique trip to India for those who ask, I start planning it one year in advance starting with a ton of emails to the providers in India that I use.  I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights I’ve had worrying about things so they are just right.  Some of you may say that it’s my “cost of doing business” but if I really charged for every hour of time that I use in planning a trip for people, the price would be exorbitant and no one could afford it.

I receive no upgrades or freebies since I am not a travel blogger with a “brand” to promote.  I pay my own way to India.   You can get some questionable advice for free online or go to a bookstore and PAY for a guide book.  Well, I am that same guidebook.

I get questions about how to start a travel blog, where to go in India, and yoga questions from strangers who ask “I have X, what yoga can help me?”  Mind blown on that one!

After all these years (how fucking stupid was I?!) I am tired of playing the role of teacher or advisor or consultant without getting paid and without even receiving acknowledgement for the time and energy I have spent in doing so.  Free advice has no value.  People value what they pay for.

No more free lunches.  To that end, I can be paid via Square Cash or if you want my Papal ID, message me.

Thank you for your future support!

tit for tat

scale

“tit for tat” — an equivalent given in return….

Yeah, some spam emails just cry out for an answer.

In the 8 years I’ve been writing this blog I’ve had numerous requests to shill spread the word for yoga books, yoga clothes, yoga retreats, yoga workshops, yoga teacher trainings, ad infinitum. People get my email address and have no hesitation whatsoever about asking me to advertise — for free — their yoga product or yoga whatever.  Or, they sign me up for their E newsletter, unbeknownst to me, of course, until I get one.

The thing is, I would never think to ask anyone I did not know to publicize my retreats or workshops.  Ever.   But that’s me.  Apparently the new way of doing your yoga business is by saying “HEY, I LOVE YOUR  BLOG, SO CAN YOU…..”

The dead giveaway that I knew the email was bullshit was that the spammer said that they “know” I dig Iyengar yoga from my blog.  I have never written about Iyengar or  his yoga.  Disingenuous.  Gotcha.

I have no problem helping someone out.   Buddhist yoga teacher, Michael Stone, sent me his books (or at least his people did) when they asked me to publicize blurbs from his books in this blog.  A few other yoga authors also sent books when I reviewed them here.

So after all these years of being asked to shill spread the word about someone else’s stuff (a book about yoga retreats in India), I blew.  But when I answered one spammer like this:

 “I would be happy to write about and promote your book after receiving payment for my writing.  I suggest a minimum payment of $2,500.00 to promote your book.  Since I have been writing my blog since 2005 and have a strong and loyal following of hundreds of global yoga practitioners, I think $2,500.00 is a small price to pay for my being your “agent”, so to speak, to publicize your new book.  Should you wish to discuss payment, please feel free to contact me at this email address.”

Apparently the snark was too much for some sensitive types because someone wrote on this blog’s Facebook page, “Unfolding you.  Want to hear about yoga, not profits…that particular line of sarcasm just isn’t part of my journey right now.  Namaste.”

Oh, well.  Ya can’t please everyone.  As a former boss (attorney) used to tell me, “fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.”

Namaste.

So for those who want me to write about your yoga product — PAY ME.   I won’t write for free, in fact, from what I hear, free-lance writers are very pissed off about the lack of or extremely low pay for writing.

Even though on paper this year it looks like I broke even (finally) on my business after 10 years, I actually have LESS money in my bank account because my tax refund was less because I made more money last year.  A Catch-22. 

So I need the rupees, the dough, the moolah, the dinero.

Or send me the cool clothes that you ask me to write about because the other day I pulled on some yoga pants that I bought in 2002.

A few years ago one yoga product company contacted me about shilling spreading the word about their product.  I said I would if they would send their products for the women I taught at the domestic violence shelter.  Never heard from them.  And never received any yoga products.

And those workshops and retreats and trainings you want me to advertise for you?  Only if you advertise my yoga retreat for next year.  In fact, my retreat from this year is how I made money to break even, NOT from teaching.

As the New Age Yoga Hipsters like to say, it’s all just an exchange of energy, keeping things balanced in the Universe, ya know what I mean?

Divine Tit for Divine Tat.

C’mon.  Movie stars at the awards shows get swag bags just for showing up.

the B.I.T.C.H. is back

B = Brave
I = Intelligent
T = Tenacious
C = Creative
H = Honest

“Embracing your inner bitch…means that you’re being strong and honest with yourself and those around you, and I think that’s a good thing.”

Thanks to Tabatha for that!

Yeah, you heard me. I’m back. But on a very limited basis.

Since I stopped writing in February I can’t tell you how many readers left comments on Facebook or wrote to me asking me to start writing again — or to write for their online yoga mags. It seriously overwhelmed me. Goddess bless you all!

I’ve decided to reopen this blog to post about SPECIAL TOPICS such as my upcoming trainings in teaching yoga to trauma survivors, a weekend with Gary Kraftsow, a week with Mark Whitwell, and a weekend with Erich Schiffman.

We’ll see how it goes, but I’m no longer into the blah blah blah of the modern yoga scene. It bores me.

The ayurveda teacher in my last training at the Mandiram said that a yogi is one whose prana is contained and doesn’t let it leak out with unnecessary blah blah blah (among other things.) Hence, “shut up and do your practice.” So no more snaps of my tats. Hey, I SAID TATS!

Others can write about the usual yoga suspects. Like Lululemon pants, how yoga makes you sexy, or a celebrity doing yoga on the beach. Whatever.

I remember what Kausthub Desikachar told us: if we do not teach others what we have learned we are nothing more than thieves.

I’m no thief. I’m a B.I.T.C.H.

Stay tuned.

 

the best writing about yoga in a long time

I’ve been writing this blog since 2005 and I’ve come across many yoga blogs over the years — some great, some not so much, some to which I am indifferent, i.e., those I read once and never return. We all have our tastes and I know that this blog is too snarky for some, maybe not foo-foo-peace-love-dove enough about yoga for others, and that’s fine. I’ve been criticized for not sugar-coating my words, for not being “yogic” enough, for being too bold and brash, and frankly, for being too me. That’s fine because I know that neither my yoga (not hard enough) nor I (not gentle enough) are everyone’s cup of chai in the blogosphere or in real life. At my age, ask me if I care.

But today I found The Magazine of Yoga and I am hooked.  Maybe some of you know it already, but I can’t stop reading the articles.  I especially loved this post about teaching: Tired, Uninspired, and Teaching Yoga. Some pithy remarks from the post:

“In teacher’s everyone life there are times the problem is more intractable or more existential, sometimes both at the same time.

My personal prejudice about this is that if you are serious at all about teaching, it’s going to happen to you. I have never had a bad teacher ask me what do about boredom, exhaustion, or doubt….

….If we are ever going to develop the emotional maturity to rise to our full potential as human beings we’re going to have to go through feeling abandoned, mistaken, dubious, and afraid.

Holy Shiva, did that sentence resonate with me…the times I have felt abandoned and mistaken on this path are more than I care to count. I have felt so alien in my local yoga world you can call me ET. So reading these last two lines…

“‘Get up and go out in the world,’ she [Eve Ensler] said, ‘and do what you came here to do.’

Because there’s more to the practice than asana, there’s life.”

…recharged me.

As did a new private student today…because there’s more to the practice than asana, there’s real life, yoga warts and all.

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