Cowgirl Commentary on Yoga Sensationalism

In the latest yoga news, yoga something-or-the-other (celeb? model? Or as she calls herself, “rebel”?) Tara Stiles is promoting her new program for W hotels by cruising around NYC in a glass box on wheels, all the better for people to gawk at her doing yoga.

Geez. I could say something a lot stronger, but this was the first thing that came out. As a former member of the beauty and fashion brigade, I must say that I am glad I got out of NYC. When things like this happen, I often recall hours on end in L’Oreal meeting rooms taking makeup very seriously. I can just imagine the marketing hipsters clustered around the W Hotels conference room table, coming up with this edgy new idea – “Hey! Let’s put Tara Stiles in a glass box and drive her around while she does yoga for all to see!” Geez, geez, geez.

YogaDork also employs “geez” in reaction to the latest Tara Stiles yoga news, in the ever-witty and spot on blog post Tara Stiles Does Yoga in a Glass Box on Wheels to Promote New ‘Glamorous,’ ‘Nontraditional’ Yoga Program. That headline is more than enough to make you shift expressions from geez to, WTF??

This begs the question: what exactly is this promoting? ”Nontraditional”, “Glamorous” yoga…? (Cue my visual of W Marketing group brainstorming new yoga frontiers, where no yogi has gone before.) It’s their new “FIT with Tara Stiles” program, defined as: In partnership with the industry’s yoga rebel, FIT with Tara Stiles flips the traditional idea of fitness on its head with a non-traditional approach to working out while on the road. Comprised of a curated in-room workout video designed for the needs of the W traveler, in-room tip cards with quick fixes to get camera-ready in a flash, and an exclusive series of intimate FIT with Tara Stiles packages available at some of the most glamorous W Retreats around the world, the program allows guests to polish their body and mindset in a uniquely W way.

“Camera-ready in a flash”? You mean, for said W guest’s next yoga selfie? Says W Global Brand Leader: The W guest has a true ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality and wants to look fabulous yet have fun while getting fit. Barf. That sentence brings to mind 80’s aerobics, not yoga.

I may be accused (been there, done that) of yoga sensationalism – I mean, yoga + horses?? “Cowgirl Yoga”? Geez/WTF! There have been and will continue to be many purists who scoff at what I do. And no, I don’t do yoga in cowgirl boots, but it sure made for a fun picture.

Innovation and creativity are part of the process of keeping a business alive and well. And fun, I might add. And of course yoga itself should be fun. In a certain sense of the word. But not sure it’s the kind of fun pictured in the W Hotel’s recent Instagram post, accompanied by the caption: “Morning yoga with @TaraStiles at @whotelsnyc.” Morning yoga with high heels and Veuve Clicquot?? I guess you could call that non-traditional, fer sure. Does a “yoga rebel” drink champagne while doing bridge pose in high heels on a hotel couch…?

Let’s be honest: this is a fairly lame attempt to glamorize an in-room yoga offering at a hotel. Which, even at the W, isn’t very glamorous, IMHO.

Thoughts…? Do tell.