Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

How ‘Namaste, Bitches’ exposed the truth behind yoga culture

Narada Desk | June 21, 2016 1:02 pm Print
People are pissed of yoga teacher who values pose holding and a self-absorbed image of themselves over the practice of their students. And Instagram, while innocent in and of itself, is the primary outlet for showcasing that fabricated an unattainable image of yoga (or perhaps attainable, if all real aspects of the practice are neglected, or if you're one of the lucky few able to dedicate your life to the craft).

A former yoga teacher wants to show you what most yoga teachers are really like.

Summer Chastant, the creator of popular new web series “Namaste, Bitches.” In her series, Chastant plays Sabine, a yoga teacher settling into life on the West Coast at a new studio, Namaste Yoga. Hijinks ensue (to put it mildly).

Chastant’s Sabine smokes, curses, snorts cocaine and has sex with her students, all while teaching the calming, soothing tenets of yoga. You know, she acts like a real, dimensional human being. Her co-workers, meanwhile, obsess over their looks and social media credentials and act like total mean girls to Sabine from day 1.

Gone are the perfect-seeming markers of the now multi-billion dollar yoga industry — and the hilarious, truthful episodes of “Namaste Bitches” (there are six right now) are already getting TV development offers.

I think the show is resonating because it’s almost an exposé. People are realizing their yoga teachers are human,” Ava Taylor, founder of YAMA Talent — an agency for yoga teachers- She told

A lot of people think that yoga culture in America has descended into a name-brand, Instagram-heavy, image-obsessed mess … but that’s just what Chastant wants to point out.

This is intentional.

The show is meant to both expose and parody the multibillion-dollar yoga industry. Conceived and produced by Summer Chastant, a former yoga teacher herself, the series, she said in a phone interview, is a heightened version of her own experience. She taught the discipline in New York and Los Angeles at studios including Kula Yoga Project and Pure, from 2007 to 2013, and apparently saw some things.

What “Namaste, Bitches” strives to highlight about contemporary yoga culture is how far it has strayed from its core tenet: conquering the ego. Today’s practitioners, far from renouncing their earthly possessions the way previous generations of yogis did, now pose in pricey designer togs, sharing online photos of themselves and tagging them #yogiselfie.

The ancient guru-shishya relationship in India was meant to offset inappropriate behavior,” said Eddie Stern, a veteran New York-based yoga instructor who has a long list of celebrity students, including Madonna. “Without the system of checks and balances that the teacher, or guru, is supposed to provide, the student can become proud, and that feeling of pride leads to the subtle idea that ‘I am free to behave as I want,’ which is not spirituality, but hedonism.”

#NYT

#MTV

 

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