This speech, although I was strangely surprised (I shouldn't have been, Lulu was hosting it), brought up some interesting points of consideration. Many of which I do not agree with... even though I was there and took part in the event, since it was free.
Our first spot w Miss Veronica and Andrew's bike, Mr Manelli (he's not very original). Unfortunately, softball games were everywhere and a ball actually flew into the crowd almost hitting a yogi... so we moved. The second spot was actually better :)
Firstly, before I get into the good stuff, here are some positives of Salutation Nation:
- It did bring over 200 yogis, practicing together. Although mostly university aged students, there were mothers and their children as well as some guys and a few 'post-university' yogis.
- Practicing with that many people outside was pretty darn neat to see!
- Everyone was pretty positive, the overall message was positive (if not somewhat 'foofy').
- It provided an opportunity to practice yoga for free- woot!
- While over 200 yogis were lying down for savasana, I stuck out like a sore thumb in my seated meditation. I made sure to take off my sunglasses to make it more obvious that I was meditating and not just being difficult. I was SO nervous- I knew the ambassador could see me... sitting up amidst a sea of corpses. I closed my eyes and just tried to breathe, mentally preparing for when a helper instructor would come up and ask some questions. Instead- I felt a leg against my back and an instructor's hands opening my shoulders as if I were in savasana. Such a moment of honest and open acceptance brought a few tears to my eyes. I was (am!) so grateful to that instructor that I actually said 'Thank you' out loud (without opening my eyes) after she finished.
Our final practicing space- those empty green spots quickly filled in!
The ambassador's opening speech went something like this: 'Lululemon is a fantastic company that does so much for our communities across the globe. They're manifesto is 'Elevating the world from mediocrity to greatness' (this is their 'vision statement' actually)...' and continue onward with 'Yay Lululemon is so great and wonderful' speech with how their main purpose is to bring together community and a healthy lifestyle. It was a serious 3-5min of gushing, an 'Ode to Lululemon'.
I get that as an ambassador OF Lululemon, at an event that is hosted by Lululemon would begin by thanking the company for organizing and sponsoring the event. I expected a short something thanking them.
However. To imply that Lululemon's *main purpose* is to support community is ridiculous. Lululemon, a company with CEOs, lawyers, accountants and PR-planning committees, has as it's main goal to make money and sell clothing. That is the ultimate goal. Sure, they have many 'community' based events (for the most part in their store- where participants can see all the wonderful products waiting to be bought), but this isn't Lululemon's bottom line. We all know this. Lululemon doesn't set up shop in the most impoverished and in-need neighbourhoods, countries and cultures globally. They have stores, set up to sell costly clothing (not even made in that country) to upper middle and upper class women and men. The community events aren't geared for the homeless, or the impoverished, but to the market of people who could potentially purchase their clothing.
Cynical? Perhaps a bit, but I'd be surprised if the upper circle of the company thought differently.
What would make them a truly inspirational company?
- If they invested some of that time, energy and money into creating and manufacturing all their clothing from environmentally sustainable fabrics in low or ZERO carbon footprint and pollution factories.
- If they manufactured their clothing IN the country they sold them, instead of factories located in impoverished countries with lower health, environmental and work policies as well as workers that made a pay we'd find unacceptably low.
- By investing in local, Canadian (or American) factories, they'd lower the carbon footprint created by the huge container ships they need to use to ship the clothing, as well as *truly* be investing and supporting local communities and economies.
- Instead of community events in their store, wouldn't it be beautiful if they sponsored health and yoga events for those who are actually in need; such as the homeless, women's shelters, those who struggle with mental health or illness. (Supposedly each store has 'charitable giving' that the consumer's choose local charities to 'give back'- when I searched the Halifax store site there was no information. I have never ever heard of Lulu hosting a charitable event in Halifax, Montréal or Kelowna- where I've lived. If they do, it's the exception and not the rule).
Hey, I own some Lulu clothing and obviously am willing to take advantage of a free yoga class they've organized. However, I'm not going to pretend that this Business's bottom line is something other than making money and selling clothing.
There are so many other local companies that invest and actually do give back to our communities (like LoveMe Boutique who sells only Canadian Hand Made products, or Bhavana who offers Canadian and American, sustainably made yoga clothing) who truly have more than 'selling clothes' as their bottom line.
I am not 'Anti-Lulu', I'm more of a 'let's be real' kinda yogini.
article and photograph copyright of EcoYogini at ecoyogini.blogspot.com