2.21.2011

True Dat

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Not long ago, I attended a yoga class. *gasp!*  (Yes, it's true:  the misanthrope emerges once again.)  As usual, to avoid the temptation of continually scanning the room and eyeing up the other yogis waiting for class to begin, I lay back in a reclining bound angle, eyes closed, opening my hips and growing my breath.  The room was packed, so I was surrounded on all sides.  Behind me was a group of 3 friends chatting good naturedly on their mats about yoga, their favorite teachers, and the cool new poses they had learned the week before.  One of these friends was apparently new to the studio experience because he asked in a bewildered and somewhat frightened tone what "that little symbol on everyone's clothes" meant. 

Though my eyes were closed (yes, I was eavesdropping), I knew exactly what he was referring to.  Unsettlingly, approximately 98% of the yogis in attendance were all wearing the same brand of clothing.  And what do you suppose that brand was?  Why, Lululemon, of course! 

The tiny but somehow glaring omegas marked nearly every single student in the room.  It was frightening, and I was both amused and relieved that the phenomenon did not go unnoticed by this unsuspecting newcomer.

I've never paid more than $35 dollars for stretch pants and, allowing for inflation, I hope I never need to.  My Target/Kohl's/Old Navy workout apparel is comfortable, stretchy, and covers my lady bits without breaking the bank.  I can't imagine needing anything more.  Granted, my yoga clothes are constructed merely of cotton/spandex blends and not patented, technologically enhanced, super moisture wicking, muscle supporting, ass enhancing fabrics, but I find that when I'm practicing yoga, which I do every day, I don't know or care what I'm wearing.  It's not even on my radar, and that's as it should be. 

Ironically, the fact that I do practice every day also means that I have no need for ass enhancing fabrics.  My yoga butt is in full force regardless of the pants I wear.  I refuse to be branded by brand loyalty, particularly when it comes to my practice.  I refuse to seek acceptance through something so insignificant as the color, shape, or fabric of my clothes.  I will not be a part of this monopolization of the "yoga lifestyle" that Lululemon has so successfully undertaken.  I remarked once in an earlier post that, while I would not invest my own money in Lululemon, I would accept their clothing as a gift.  Well, I've changed my mind.  You can keep your exorbitantly priced spandex, Lululemon, and I'll keep my soul.

9 comments:

  1. Agreed! I'm from Canada and it's the same here (Lululemon is a Canadian company, after all!). As a teacher and a student, the chi-chi yoga studios definitely attract the lulu sporting crowd (it's almost like uniform!) but the community centres/gyms I teach at have a totally diff't vibe which I love so much more. I'm glad for this.

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  2. "Ass enhancing fabrics" made me laugh. So did the new yogi's comment about the lulu symbol. This post rings so true with me. It also makes me laugh when people are afraid to try yoga because they don't have the right clothes. First they save up enough money, and buy the "uniform" and then maybe, try yoga. What has our world come to? Thanks for this. I am glad someone out there hasn't caved on the highly expensive clothes.

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  3. In the interest of full disclosure, just days after writing this post, I have already spent more than $35 on stretch pants (from Athleta), but NOT more than $50, which is still half the price of lululemon. That being said...

    Lisa - Interesting, I didn't realize lulu is Canadian. Frankly, I don't know much about the company beyond their eye-popping prices and mind blowing popularity.

    Domestic Yogi - Agreed. It is so sad when people who really need yoga feel "priced out" of the yoga community. Glad you could relate.

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  4. Hi! I've never commented before, but just had to say- this post was hilarious! I totally agree. I tend to be a little redneck in my yoga gear simply because I spend my money elsewhere (uh, bills?), but even so, I doubt I'd fork over so much for a closet full of Lululemon (okay, maybe a few tops). I will wear my Old Navy duds until they disintegrate! When they're on sale, I buy like 15 pairs. (15x$12 = 2 pairs of Lululemon)

    I practice Ashtanga, which has its own quirks, but fortunately it doesn't seem like it's as much to do about outfits and looking the part. I notice a lot of women, especially the newer ones, feeling totally comfortable practicing in whatever they have in their closets (shorts, big t-shirts, etc) until they figure out what clothes feel good to practice in, and even when they do buy "the uniform", it never seems to be all that flashy. We're all too hot and sweaty to care.

    Sorry for the long comment!

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  5. Evelyn - I agree about the difference in the Ashtangi mindset... too sweaty and focused to care. I think that's a big part of what's drawing me to Ashtanga lately. I'm pretty disenchanted with the Vinyasa "scene," to use a lame descriptive. I just want it to be about the practice, not the clothes or the cliques.

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  6. This is so true. More than 90% of the people in my class are wearing Lululemon too. I still don't get why people would pay so much money for Lulu uniforms? And I believe that their community class is just a way to promote their sales. The more ppl get hooked to yoga, the more buyers they will gain. It's all part of their business strategy.

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  7. Linh - I don't blame lulu for their success, and it's only natural they would try to sell their clothes. I just think their message is deluded and cheapening to the practice. I also think their prices are outrageous, in part, as a means to promote their exclusive image which really turns me off.

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  8. You really have to wonder why so many TRUE BLUE yogis have been so seduced by runway spandex like lulu. I get it that the L-word is a business and only doing whats best for them, but it is up to us as individuals to remember to practice vairagya (non-attachment) off the mat as well as on.

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  9. I should probably mention: I *do* have a pair of l-word pants but they were free (and have an endearing hole in the knee). They make my great looking ass look like a great looking ass.

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