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!

yoga whores* for the corporate dollar

Oh my.

“Yoga” and “whore” in the same sentence. That’s a jolt to the manomayi kosha.

Sometimes strong language is needed to get people to sit up and take notice. What can I say? When I was a young hippie chick I looked up to strong-talking women like Angela Davis and Germaine Greer.

No, I’m not dissing any working girls. In fact, I have a lot more respect for a woman who has to make her living on the street than I do for some of the *corporate* yoga antics out there right now. I’m using this definition of “whore”: A *person* considered as having compromised principles for personal gain.

To clarify, be advised (and that language comes from my working for lawyers for 20 years) that I am writing about CORPORATIONS, NOT about any specific yoga person who is a spokesperson/model for a yoga mat company, yoga clothes, etc. I would not mind being in an ad for the eco-mat that I use because I love the brand (and no, it is not Manduka.) For your ** reference, see the U.S. Supreme Court’s “corporate personhood” debate.

My phrasing is comparable to the way one of my city representatives used it when she said that my town was whoring itself for the local sales tax revenue if the powers that be allowed Walmart (one of the 10 worst companies on the planet according to betterworldshopper.org) to build next to a marsh/bird sanctuary. Long story short: they didn’t. A citizens’ group that I started stopped them from doing that.

A grass roots group. I made my own flyers and walked door to door. No corporate sponsors. Power to the people.

Roseanne is on fire with her post on the rained out “yoga gathering” in New York City. She says:

“I wonder, do we have to do this dance? We all know it’s a dance. You really can’t convince me that, other then sponsoring an event with a guaranteed captive audience of 10,000, do these companies embody yogic values? JetBlue would like to co-opt the openness and transparency associated with yoga by guaranteeing “no blackout dates, no seat restrictions” on its frequent-flier program. It’s nice of adidas to sponsor a high-profile yoga teacher, offer free yoga classes around the world and develop a line of sustainable yoga wear ~ but its other business practices include endorsing the slaughter of kangaroos (an endangered species) in Australia and sweatshops in Asia. Can we separate these actions from its endorsement of yoga?”

Max Strom posted this response on his Facebook page about it:

“…exciting that 9000 people gathered in Central Park to practice yoga and I have been waiting for an event like this for some time. But it my opinion the event was sadly squandered. All the media was there, CNN, the NY Times, everybody – the cameras were pointing. For the first time in history the world put the …microphone at the mouth of the larger yoga community in America. But what was the message given? We are celebrating the Solstice. We want more people to practice yoga. That’s it? We have nothing more to say to the world but that in 2010? With the oil gusher reminding us all that solar power is desperately needed, 9000 people doing salutations to the sun could have brought the world an unforgettable visual and call to invest in a nonpolluting technology. And with hurricane season kicking up in the Gulf, we could have bought attention back to the people of Haiti. Let us come together again in mass. Soon. But next time let’s show what we stand for. And yes we can do it without corporate sponsors. Martin Luther King did.”

Instead, everyone walked away with swag bags.

I loved Max’s last two sentences, especially since I watched Martin Luther King march through my Chicago neighborhood in the late ’60s. I also saw a crazy throw a brick at Dr. King’s head and saw him stumble and then march on. I became politicized, radically, at an early age.

YogaDork asks whether we want to smell like Eat Pray Love….

““Pray” journeys to India’s sultry incense and spice history with jasmine, pink pepper, patchouli, amber, juniper berry, cardamom, and musk for a woodsy scent laced in exoticism.”

…and alerting the advertisers’ new dream, the yoga moms, that they should get ready to take out their wallets for the Home Shopping Network:

“Well, thank goodness for the candle set. What if you want smell like exotic praying patchouli, but want the room to emit love and mangoes??”

Funny.

I kinda remember India smelling a bit differently….

Yeah, something stinks. And it’s not the new Eat Pray Love perfume.

Of course corporate sponsorship is the way of the modern world. Sports teams started it a long time ago. People even get corporate names tattooed on their foreheads (hey, I like tats but you couldn’t pay me enough) and name their kid after their favorite soda or car.

Just because it’s the way it is nowadays, does that make it “good”? Really?

Have we really become that numb that no one asks the question anymore, “when is enough, enough?”

 

show up and shut up

The yoga/Hindu wars started in the articles by Deepak Chopra and Aseem Shuklah that YogaDork posted here and here. I think the comments are longer than the articles themselves.

Now the fracas has spilled over to here and here over at elephantjournal even getting into the Aryan Invasion of India theory which is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. Yawn.

I’m here to bring it back.

I’m here to keep it real.

Like Brenda told me on my birthday, “keep kickin’ it and staying real…” So this one’s for you, Brenda.

This is the only yoga I care about: paz yoga. And I’ve been keeping it real for these women for a long time.

I can assure you that these women don’t care about the Gita, the Vedas, the Upanishads, whether a yogi is a Hindu or vice versa.

They could not care less about how Lululemon pants help your camel toe (some show up to my class wearing jeans) and they’ve never heard of any of your favorite show biz yoga rock stars. Ana who? John who? Shiva who?

And they certainly don’t care about any celeb-yogis. But they love it when I tell them to move their hips like Shakira.

Show up on your mat, shut up, and do your practice.

You do your yoga and I’ll do mine.

addthis_pub = ‘yogagal60510’;