Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Punk Rockah Yogini

Tonight Andrew and I are going to see Flogging Molly; a Punk Celtic band from the West Coast. Andrew is a Punk Rockah and has introduced me to various bands including the classics Bad Religion (my FIRST punk concert ever!) and Lars Frederickson from Rancid. I must admit that I am definitely not a Punk music fan overall, not usually heavy enough or well played musically enough for my tastes. Flogging Molly, however, kicks bum; lead singer from Ireland, awesome maritime-y music with enough of a heavier sound to make me VERY happy :)

This Punk themes fits in perfectly with my analysis of the Lulu love-hate issue. Why exactly (beyond their most certainly questionable "made in china" practices) do I sneer at them so? Svasti's comment on my previous post made something clique. I am a Punk-Rockah Yogini.

As Andrew has taught me, being Punk has nothing to do with the "look" and everything to do with attitude and belief systems. Specifically Anti-Establishment, Anti-Culture. Lululemon is most definitely "The Establishment" in the corporate/popular yoga world today. It's everywhere and that annoys the crap out of me. Part of the reason why I don't like the brand is the popularity itself. I don't want to be a lemming, I want to be original, different, PUNK. Part of me says: "Eff that popsicle stand" while at the same time walks right in (grumbling under my breath of course).

With some birthday moneys promised from my mom (awww- I think that stops when you have your own kids right?? lol) I threw all restraint into the wind and guiltily walked into the Halifax store. Avoiding eye contact with all workers there I finally saw this AWESOME bomber jacket. Tried it on and was immediately accosted by a super-duper happy employee (thanks for the Times link Vegan!):

"Did you know the jacket was made with recycled plastic bottles and is water resistant??"
Ugh, I SO do not want BPA plastic near my body. I wonder how much carbon it takes to make fabric from plastic?

"Oh really?" alarmed look followed by a sniff on the jacket: "What is it treated with?"
"Oh!! Hah, don't worry! Nothing bad for you I'm sure!"

Walk up to the cash with my cute cute, guilty purchase and ask the cashier what chemicals it's treated with.
"Ummm, wait let me ask.... DWR!" BIG smile.
"Ok... what does that stand for?"
"Ummm... wait- Durable Water Repellent!" BIGGER smile.
Sigh "So essentially that tells me nothing."

To that I got a confused look and I had to explain briefly at her confused and awkward "Oh no this customer is going to be difficult" look that it was ok, I would google it when I got home. This was followed by a week of googling and emailing Lululemon with the response that actually Lauren, the GEC (Guest Education Consultant), didn't *think* it was treated with anything! Super!

Upon further thought, if I were a Punk-influenced Yogini, this would explain other random thoughts and opinions I have about yoga. For example my dislike of Bikram and Hot Yoga. Part of this reaction, if I were to be honest with myself (and you!) is because it has become SO popular. "THE" yogis go to the local Moksha studio. Hot Yoga is the money maker in this city. I don't want to be part of the crowd, one with the masses. I want to practice "MY" yoga. Of course, it's not blind dislike- I do believe that practicing in that kind of heat can be dangerous both for the individual's muscles and respiratory system. The fact that it's a studio where new yogi/ni's attend makes me nervous.

My weird aversion to the Yoga Loft could also be attributed to an Anti-Establishment attitude. This studio is one of THE most popular studios in the city. Going there bugs me, I feel like one of many. Of course, my terrible experience with the owner of the studio, combined with rude studio etiquette and the type of yogis who attend may factor into the equation. Sigh- honestly- my rebelliousness definitely lurks behind many thoughts.

Finally, musical choice hangs out there as well. I've always hated those musicians that despised a band-genre of music simply because it was popular. Perhaps in this area I've been a bit less Punk and a bit more balanced, most likely because I'm a classically trained musician myself. If it's fantastic skill and sound I usually don't care about the popularity of the artist. Great music is just that. However, I'm starting to wish I had other "yoga" music besides Krishna Das. He's fantastic and his music speaks to me but it speaks to everyone else too.... lol.

All that being said; I do believe it is important to retain a balanced, critical and informed view on choices, likes and dislikes. Which means that this whole Punk attitude isn't rational or what I feel very proud about admitting. After the heated discussion over at "it's all yoga, baby", (here, here and here) I feel that this sub-culture or underlying influence of Punk Yogis definitely exists beyond myself.

We want yoga to become popular, yet we want complete control as to who, what, where and how. And when it does spiral out of our "niche" control it's upsetting and disconcerting. We're no longer special or unique. Others are defining and shaping yoga to suit their purposes, which may not always be what we want or adhere to. All of a sudden, the counter-culture movement of yoga has become The Man (Woman). So us Punk Yogi/nis are categorizing in order to remain true to our Yogi-selves.

Any other Punk Rockah Yogi/nis out there?

Blessings! I'm off to bee-bop along to celtic punk!

article authored by EcoYogini at


  1. I'm just gonna assume that you're aware of a little band called the Pogues, led by Shane McGowan, who basically invented Flogging Molly....

    Okay, yeah, I'm a music snob...I don't think that carries over to my yoga practice,, y'know, interrupting a teacher in class and saying "duuude, I saw Iyengar do a camel pose that totally blew away the one you just did..."

    Anyway, I'm with you on hating hating things because they're popular, since that's essentially the same as loving things because they're popular--either way, it means letting the pop charts tell you what you can like--so I'd call that a bogus punk attitude, anyway...

  2. I stand with you as a punk-rock yogini! (And punk-rock vegan, of course.) I'm willing to pay for solid teaching and a holistic experience, but please don't smudge me with patchouli and tell me I'm never gonna get into Headstand without special yoga pants or mat or water bottle. I will find my OWN center, thankyouverymuch! /end rant

    I much appreciate this defintion of punk, from His Awesomeness Joe Strummer: "Punk rock means exemplary manners to your fellow human being."

  3. Can't say I'm very punk, but I'm with you on the Bikram yoga. Of course, my dislike has little to do with it's popularity. Sure, it's practiced and well liked, but it's not "all the rage" where I live. It just is.

    My aversion to hot yoga has more to do with an unwillingness to be trapped in a room with a mass of sweaty homo sapiens at 105 degrees.

  4. I hate that yoga has moved to the "keeping up with the Jones'" catagory. The right studio, the right pants, the right etc etc.
    I have never had better yoga than alone or with a couple of close friends. No money transferred, just awesome energy and happiness.

    So are you going to trademark "Punk Yoga" haha ???

  5. I certainly would never have considered myself a punk rock yogini, but sistah, you are singin' my song. I love your story about the recycled coat, and I agree, when I hear newer Yoga students talk about hot Yoga, it makes me cringe.

    Best to you, your blog is terrific!

  6. Hi there. We are separated by many years but I too loved punk when I was your age. I loved the Sex Pistols and, of course, The Pogues, and all the other bands Shane McGowan fronted. He is Irish and Celtic to his bones.

    I have never visited your blog before but I just wanted to say I love your banner. It shows how I feel most days.

    I hope you enjoy your concert.

  7. Don't know I would have said it quite like that but it seems I'm a punk yogini too. Sorta.

    Like I wrote on Linda's blog, my yoga practice is not about famous people, what I wear and who made it.

    I'm not a fan of hot yoga either, and that's not for want of trying. I've been to a number of bikram studios and even inadvertently tried a heated vinyasa class, which I then perservered with for a while (its not as hot as Bikram).

    Personally I don't care for yoga in heated rooms. Mostly because I'm pitta constitution so I sweat enough in a cool room if the yoga is in any way physical. I also think its bit of an unnecessary stress on the body.

    The yoga that appeals to me is the stuff that makes my body sing. I have an amazing teacher who's taught me brilliant yoga, I love a good traditional Hatha yoga class, some vinyasa and now my new favourite is Shadow Yoga (which is totally amazing).

    I guess if Bikram yoga made my body sing, I'd do it, no matter how popular it is. But it doesn't.

    Most of my yoga clothes are a mix of running/workout gear and really, aren't that pretty. I couldn't care less about looking pretty while I'm doing asana or meditating.

    For me, its all about what works, not what's popular. In regards to Lulu, I don't need an outfit that costs three times as much as others that I can do yoga equally as well in. I might *want* it, but that's not the same as needing it.

  8. I will join your tribe! I have to admit that all of my politics and opinions about current yoga issues are informed by my punk rock/riot grrl adolescence (in Kamloops, BC, no less). Sometimes when I'm ranting about the corporatization of yoga, I feel like I'm 18 again and complaining about my favourite bands selling out...

    During those years, I spent a lot of time thinking and reading about how the mainstream media and record labels were appropriating the riot grrl look and sound (minus the politics, of course). And what did we end up with? The Spice Girls chanting "Girl Power" in platform shoes and sparkly skirts.

    I really hope that yoga in our culture won't follow the same trajectory. At times, though, I feel like it gets dangerously close...

    I eventually outgrew the punk scene and it began to feel small and insular, and even hypocritical at times. All the talk about individual expression and standing up against The Man started to seem intolerant and judgemental... and kind of homogenous.

    I know this is something I need to watch in myself, as well, when I'm spouting off against the mainstreaming and commercialization of yoga. I'm keeping up my anti-establishment stance, asking questions and stirring up shit... but still trying to be open and tolerant. (Though it still pisses me off when people think that thinking critically is "unyogic.")

    BTW, "punk rock yoga" is already tradmarked!! Check it out:

  9. YAY for Punk Rockah Yogis! lol.
    Funnily enough, as I am not a Punk Music fan really, Andrew is totally getting all your music references. Hence I am cool by association.

    Dr. Jay: Flogging Molly dude did an ode to him last night! lol. so fantastic. Also: Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer and Bob Marley...

    Vegan Burnout: ouuu, that is a fantastic quote!

    Delighted: yes, I also am not a fan of heated sweaty rooms... or how easily I can overstretch in that environment...

    Mandy: yep, it is getting pretty intense eh? (ohhh I am so Canadian)

    Everyday Yogini: Thanks!! So great that you stopped by! :)

    Rhonda Jean: thanks for visiting! You ARE still a Punk Rockah- your blog is tres Anti-Establishment which is fantastic. :)

    svasti: I guess I should have clarified that your comment inspired these thoughts for myself.
    I read your comments on Linda's post- they were extremely well thought out. I love that you describe what you like as what makes your body sing. that is beautiful :)

    Roseanne: I SO thought you would!! i didn't want to put labels, but I had a few yogi/ni's in my mind when I wrote this and you were one of them! Balance is a tricky one eh? Change comes stirring shit up. Also, I think I knew that there was a Punk Rock Yoga (hopefully they won't send me some weird email about copyright.....). Perhaps I knew from your blog? :)

  10. Hey! Just discovered your blog. A very fun read!

    I too rebel against Lululemon. Do not like Bikram and turn my nose up to Yoga Fit teachers training. Do they have that in Canada yet? If not, they will...I know yoga is popular here in the West, but this is the epitome of doing yoga at the gym. And Yoga fit is where they get their training. I'm sorry! I can't believe I actually said it! ugh.....
    It is just so commercialized.

    When I lived in Santa Monica I steered clear of Yoga Works too. I think that was the first Yoga chain.Now it's everywhere. So packaged.

    That said, I often flirt with the idea of purchasing an outfit from Lululemon. I have made it this far without though.

    Trying to lead a yogic lifestyle holds so many contradictions in today's modern world. sigh...

    I really want to see the documentary Yoga Inc. It's all about how commercialism has put a high price on something we already own inside our hearts. It's free to practice. And Yoga is such a broad term. It isn't just an asana practice. It's a lifestyle. That said I love going to the right studio. I love the vibe in the room. The energy. I love it! But the expensive cloths & accessories.
    Lord give me strength to stay focused on the truth of yoga.

  11. Just wanted to say I am have tired Moksha Yoga and now become addicted to it.I wanted to mention it because I have asthma and it has done wonders to HELP my asthma to my surprise.
    You mention you think it is dangerous respratory wise,so just wanted to throw my 2 cents in and say it has done the opposite for me.
    I don't want to like Moksha(because it's popular/trendy)but I have seen it change my life for the better.
    I wonder if you went for a month if you too might change your mind?Perhaps or perhaps not.To each our own.
    I am the last one I would ever expect to be at hot yoga,but I have never felt better after practising it on a regular basis.
    And I hate Lululemon too! ;)

  12. I hope you enjoy your concert.

    I'm just found your blog and i <3 it.
    especially you last post about Lulu :( i to was fooled.

  13. Love the article and the thoughts behind it.

    Over here in the UK quite a few gyms have 'yoga' classes, which quite frankly tend to be rubbish, over packed, done in a populist style etc.

    I havent found a good yoga class since I left Brixton, where it was done in a community hall and was bloody brilliant.

    With yoga's popularity it should be easier to find a good teacher, not harder!


  14. Yo Ms Eco,

    Totally can post about my blog, and bless you for thinking of it.

    And, if you know Zachary Gough (yes, it's a big city, but he's worth finding) give him a wet kiss for me.



  15. I love Flogging Molly! I hope you had a good time. Our town has a great small yoga studio. It's $5 a class, small groups, they don't do true hot yoga(more like lukewarm and only occasionally), some nights are in candlelight. He really just wants to share his love of yoga and likes trying different approaches. It is very intimate and welcoming.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the tip on my deodrant issue. I look forward to trying it out.

  16. I'm fascinated by our encounters with trends, and the cultures that spring up around those trends. When I attended the College of Santa Fe (a very liberal, "hippy" college, despite its Catholic history), I quickly found myself deep in a counter culture movement, and it was amazing.

    However, after moving back to Oregon, and then going back to Santa Fe for a friend's wedding a few years later...I was stunned to find so many people there dressed the same as I used to dress, saying the things I used to say...on and on. In other words, that counter culture of ours had become the trend, and when I saw that it really upset me. It didn't feel real anymore.

    I think that happens a lot, even with yoga right now. We just have to struggle to keep it as real as we can for our own selves and share it with those who are as authentically interested as we are.

  17. But just because som of us truly enjoy a "popular" yoga chain, does that make us any less real or authentic?
    Sometimes I get a bit cynical about "true yoginis"not being more acceptable about all the different ways and means people can learn and enjoy yoga.
    I am not a fan of trends in general,but I enjoy hot yoga.So am I not "authentically interested"?
    I have introduced deep breathing,meditation and other things into my life as a result of my hot yoga classes.
    I am against "trendiness" but I am also not a big fan of elitism and snobism that sometimes comes from the true "authentic " knowledgeable few.Sigh!Wish we could all give each other a bit more credit!!

  18. Anonymous: yep, definitely a danger there to become "snobby", which I think both Roseanne and I commented about in our post/comments.
    I think my issue with "hot" yoga has more to do with how it can so easily become a potentially dangerous practice, more so than regular classes. Here in Halifax Hot Yoga is the studio to attend, even if you've NEVER done yoga before. which is scary as crap-
    so many yogis that have never been shown modifications, what to look for, how to feel, potentially never stretched their muscles in that way....
    all practicing in a studio that is so hot that it prematurely heats up their muscles allowing them to stretch further... and hurt themselves. I don't think it's less "authentic", I think it's dangerous if not done properly. Ask a physiotherapist and see what they say.

    So yes- this post (and the previous) was a way for myself to explore my admitted guilty thoughts on why I don't like certain parts of yoga (i.e. corporate yoga to be more specific) and how that might have applied to other areas.

    I think we all keep these thoughts hidden deep away, for the exact reason that we are afraid of being judged- just like your comment just did.

  19. Good morning, Lisa~ My son sings lead in a band in Pittsburgh called Eternity Lost. Check them out on myspace. I know I'm prejudice but they really do rock~ And it's good to explore all types of music. I have extremely eclectic taste buds in music like you do. Yummers. My background is 25 yrs in the biz living my dreams as lead vocalist. I'm thrilled my son is following in my footsteps.

    I'm also a hippie girl at heart and was raised in an era where we felt as strongly about matters of the world as you do. Many of us moved onto become a part of the "establishment". i.e. Yuppies. I went there and am back to my roots of finding my own style, living life at my own pace, and leaving my planet a better place.

    I love coming here to read your blog because I am learning from you. Thank you~

  20. My apology for offending didn't make it on,so will try once more.
    Think you are a great blogger and especially fascinating to read different even opposing views.
    Sorry if it sounded like I was judging you at the same time i felt judged...ah life is silly in its twisted way ?!
    Anyways,all the best and I still have to say Moksha Yoga has been the most enjoyable of all the beginner classes I've tried,but thst's just little ol'me:)
    namaste ,thanks for your sharing your blog!

  21. Anon: I also apologize if I reacted so defensively. You're right of course- it's hard to express ourselves just right with typed words.

    I think I reacted that way because I, myself, have been feeling some "judgment" from other yogis in the blogosphere and was a bit put out to be pointed out for the exact same thing. I do agree it's a fine balance that I tried to play here in these posts..
    I'm sorry if I offended you with the posts, it was most likely a tricky balance that I didn't accomplish 100%.

    That's great that you like Moksha (their studio is GORGEOUS) and that it works for you. :)

    Many Blessings Anon- and yay Halifax!


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