Before I have posted on the disturbing trend of combining booze with yoga, but now Yoga Journal has taken it to a new low. They are posting an ad for Ty Ku Sake (Japanese rice wine). It shows New York (Tribeca) studio owner Bethany Lyons living the fabricated “yoga dream” by doing her practice, having a vogue-style photo shoot, and then boozing it up with friends. Another ad (linked below) shows yoga studio owner Paige Held actually saying that the yoga sutras link her to drinking booze to put her in a “zen feeling throughout the evening.”
My initial reaction was pure rage. But then I realized that Yoga Journal is not about promoting yoga as any kind of spiritual practice or even health practice for that matter. It is about making money. So here is my open letter:
Dear Yoga Journal,
Bad month in revenues? Who at the board meeting said you should start selling booze to promote sales? Do they practice? Are times so bad that you have to do whatever it takes to move more magazines?
I understand the majority of your readers are women. So why are you trying to off them by having them be lured into booze after yoga class? Did you not consult the facts? 26,000 women die annually in the US from alcohol-related causes and it is the fourth most preventable cause of death in the US. Fewer women means fewer sales.
Not to mention that a common healing modality in substance abuse treatment centers is yoga. What message is this for the recovery community who is looking for another way out of their suffering?
Yet you promote booze.
The disconnect is obvious for any rational person. Your Facebook page is screaming with comments, none good. In fact I notice your moderators are working full time to delete any “negative” comments from the beloved news feed. From my media background, I get that one strategy to gain viewership is to generate controversy. But like the proverbial shark jumping scene, it is a sign that your publication is more closer to its end than its beginning.
I think that most of your magazine’s viewership does not practice yoga with any seriousness. Because those who are serious about yoga quickly see through the veil of vapidity and commercialism. But that is what makes your marketing strategy ever more sinister. It preys on those who don’t know any better, and who lack the capacity for discernment.
I have come to realize that as long as yoga is tied to the body, it will be tied to commercialism. The yoga I practice views the body in its proper context: as a vehicle for the soul to do its real work–even well after my body’s destiny is exhausted.
Your publication just seems to be making it month to month. So I give you permission to hawk all the booze you want. Why stop there? There are plenty of other drugs big pharma wants to deal to vulnerable ladies who are unsure about themselves. Just don’t be surprised when people start leaving in droves for the next big fad publication.
All that will be remembered was how you sold out to the lowest common denominator. I am therefore imploring all of your readers to cancel their subscriptions and unlike your FB page.
Update: Yoga Journal’s FB page has an “addiction, yoga + recovery” video just a few scrolls down from the Ty Ku ad. It is like they don’t even realize that drinking also is an addiction. Live Be Yoga Tour