There were a couple of big yoga-related items burning up the web this week that I wanted to mention over the next couple of posts. And in the interest of not boring you or provoking me to get all un-yogic and bang my head on something very hard and concrete, I’ll contrast them with good news. Here goes:
ElephantJournal.com has broken the story that Chip Wilson, founder and CEO of Lululemon, has stepped down from his CEO role. He will remain chairman of the board. Again, two comments:
1. Putting on my political junkie hat for a moment, this press release came out on a Friday afternoon, which as any West Wing watcher knows, is the time PR people “take out the trash”. They release what their jobs obligate the release, but hoping by putting it out at the beginning of the weekend it won’t get any play. If this had come out on a Tuesday morning, I’m sure the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Forbes would have it on page two of the business page. Not so sure now. (Update, it did get a mention at the end of the WSJ morning roundup. LULU stock is down 2%) As with so much at Lulu, very slick…
2. I have to believe that this has everything to do with the s&*$storm Lulu stirred up with it’s “John Galt” campaign. Take Wilson, who has been known to put his foot in his mouth, out of the spotlight, and the company hopes it can put this particular genie back in the bottle and go back to selling $100 yoga pants and sending its employees through Landmark Forum. And it’s not as if he goes away- chairman is still a powerful post. I hope the public’s memory is not so short, but I’m not so sure.
3. To be clear, I’m not a neutral arbiter- as readers of this blog know, I’ve gone from being okay with Lulu (I’ve done promos there) to suspiciously neutral to down on the company. (Yogadork goes a little more ape-you-know what) One of my resolutions for 2012 is not to teach a single class or workshop wearing anything Lulu, which made me realize how much of their stuff I’ve managed to accumulate. (the stuff does last- I’ve been teaching in one pair since 2006) But now, I don’t want to be seen as endorsing what they do and stand for*.
Many of my friends and colleagues do have professional relationships with Lulu, many times with very good reasons. This is not a judgement on anyone else, simply what I choose to do. Since I wrote what I wrote about Lulu, I’ve been heartened to hear from teachers and studios who have turned down relationships with Lulu because they are not comfortable with what the company does. I applaud them for doing so.
On a much happier note, I will now ask for money. I’ve joined my friend and dear student Nicole Burrill’s (aka Sassy Yogini) team for Yoga Reaches Out, the largest yoga charity event in New England. I encourage everyone to sign up- great teachers, cool site (Gilette Stadium), an acro circle, and no doubt good times to be had by all. I’m hoping to teach some benefit classes as a lead up to the big day as well. If you can’t go to these, I’d appreciate any financial or moral support; you can donate to the Sassy team here.
* In my attempt to NOT teach in Lulu, I’m trying to find good alternatives, especially for hot rooms. I’ve bought a bunch of things from Barefoot Yoga, a mail order I like. Thus far: Be Present stuff is great, as is Hyde’s, though it doesn’t move quite as well. Be Present also sometimes believes in loud colors for men- not many companies do. The Natural High hemp yoga pants are super comfy but don’t sweat well. Their Cali pants don’t move well enough. Prana’s Momentum pants look awful on me, but I like their hemp pants. Any guys have any recommendations/words of wisdom? (I should mention, every single thing there is at least 20% or more less than a Lulu pant if you have the lulu teacher discount, 33% less if you don’t.)