Category Archives: Money & Deals

Deals, steals, and appeals

Yoga Now Poll


Some other answers:
-waiting for netflix to enjoy the view, but not the movie.
-I would not see the movie. Hardly liked the book.
-the book was so bad i can’t imagine wasting my time or money on the movie.


Some other answers:
-what guruji book?
-On my list, but not urgent.
-it was aight. i gave it away.
-ok, but boring


Some other answers:
-really good. will check out the other entries.
-Will read eventually


Some other answers:
-bad branding
-scam


Some other answers:
-Tank-top and leggings from any store. “Yoga clothes”? pffff…
-prana


Some other answers:
-all of the above
-too expensive and time consuming for me

Did you ever even like Kombucha anyway?

Gawker’s hilariously true rundown of the acquired taste plus the latest on why you might feel a little tipsy.

Gawker.com
Jun 17, 2010 11:52 PM By Adrian Chen

The Non-Kombucha Drinker’s Guide to Kombucha Tea

The Non-Kombucha Drinker's Guide to Kombucha TeaWhen you’re in Whole Foods tomorrow to pick up your organic free-range sustainable humanely slaughtered coconut chicken skewers, you might see some people staring forlornly at an empty shelf. Why? The kombucha’s gone! Oh, overpriced fermented tea. Where’d you go?

Today Whole Foods, a key driver of the stuff’s mass consumption, has pulled all kombucha from their shelves because testing revealed that the it might be slightly more alcoholic than permissible by law. (.05 percent.) Some extremely skinny people are extremely upset right now. But what is kombucha? Put down your Diet Coke. Place your baby in your uncool baby carrier that isn’t made out of sustainable free trade cotton. Turn down your adult contemporary music. Here’s what you need to know.

continue reading at Gawker.com

The Mysore Perspective : Yoga Money

YOGA: IT’S ALL ABOUT MONEY, HONEY!
Friday, April 23, 2010 The Star of Mysore

Spend Rs. 29,000 per month in City and earn Rs. 7,50,000 in the US

Mysore, Apr.23 (JP)-It is all about money, Honey! Yoga is no longer a simple, time-tested form of exercise aimed at rejuvenating the body and the mind but one of the biggest money spinners in the West. There are a few million Yoga practitioners in the USA alone and the number is growing.

SOM found that a couple of hundred Americans with a sprinkling Europeans come here to learn yoga from the six to seven schools in the City. They spend anywhere from a month to six months either learning yoga or upgrading their skills by learning advanced techniques.

All the yoga students come on a tourist visa and unwittingly break the law by taking up yoga courses. ‘Yoga talk’ among the closely knit Western groups centre around ‘yoga visa.’ But it is found that there is no such thing as a ‘Yoga Visa’ and there is only a Student Visa for which none of the westerners are eligible to apply as, not a single yoga school in the State is recognised by any University or the State Education Board.

It was also found that the City Police Commissioner had sent a circular to all yoga schools not to admit any foreigner on a tourist visa. When SOM spoke to Sashi Kumar of Mystic Yoga School in Gokulam, it found that a Police team had visited his school. Sashi also said that Police had been double-checking on yoga schools in Lakshmipuram to see if foreigners are being taught and what kind of visa they have.

SOM spoke to Harish Bheemaiah who runs the Mandala Yogashala in city. Harish said that the Police will not admit whether the circular came from the Ministry of Home Affairs or the State Home Ministry. Harish Bheemaiah said that it is more than three months since they and other Yoga schools in the city got this notice from the Police Commissioner’s office asking them not to entertain any foreigner on a tourist visa. He said that he along with several of his students had met MLA Ramdas and apprised him of this situation and he in turn spoke to the Police Commissioner. The Police Commissioner was supposed to have had a meeting with them on April 14 at 4 pm but for some reason the meeting was put off.

SOM traced the origin of Police Commissioner Sunil Agarwal’s circular to the one issued by the Kerala State Police who had issued a special circular since that State has an even larger number of Yoga and Kalaripayat schools. Clause VII of the Kerala Tiruvananthapuram Police Chief’s circular says: “As several foreigners coming to India with tourist visas seek admission for studying yoga and meditation, as per the prevailing norms they should hold proper student visa for studying yoga meditation etc. And their venue of study should be clearly recorded on the side of the visa stamp. (The institution should be an authorized one). Moreover change of institution is also not permitted.”

Sashi Kumar told SOM that the Police circular is ridiculous and said he would file a Writ petition about the illegality of this circular. Says Sashi Kumar, “If someone comes on a tourist visa to see Mysore and spends two days learning how to make a Mysore Masale dosa, does it mean that this tourist has violated the law?”

But why this eagerness to learn Yoga in the City? SOM discovered that many student turned teachers now advertise “Mysore style” classes, or Pattabhi or Iyengar style and charge even more. The money just doubles when it is advertised as Mysore style yoga.

Michele Nichols and Steve Dwelley run the Ashtanga Yoga Centre at Santa Barbara, California. They offer a special ‘Mysore Monthly’ course in yoga and they charge $ 150.a month for twice a week classes. This means if they teach 20 students a month, they stand to make $ 3000 a month. Michele and Steve charge $ 1500 for a year’s course of two classes a week. That means even if they have 10 students for the yearly class they will make $ 15,000 or Rs. 6, 75,000 per year. And in Mysore they spend around Rs. 29,000 for six months of Yoga classes.

The School of Yoga in Croydon, United Kingdom, charges 12 pounds a week for a six week course. SOM found that with the exchange rate at Rs. 75 to a pound, a yoga teacher in the UK makes a little over Rs. 5,400 per person for a six-week course.

Kristina Karitinos conducts Mysore style Ashtanga yoga in Athens, Greece, for 90 Euros for a five week course. Govind Kai also has a Mysore Style Ashtanga yoga studio in Athens. David and Catherine Garringues of Seattle, Washington are regulars to Mysore where they spend time upgrading their skills.

Each of those mentioned above spend not more than Rs. 30,000 a month here in the City for two months and this includes their fees, food and stay. But when they get back they make five times the money they have spent.

………. End of article……….

…except that the cost of living is much higher in Europe and the United States.  And one month of study at certain yoga schools is much higher than in the west.  Hmm.

-Elephantbeans

Yoga Businesses and the Unpaid Internship

In the business of yoga, it is not uncommon for people to do ridiculously low-paid work.  Perhaps even more prevalent is the work-study or “karma yoga” student who works for free.  As yoga businesses strive to get more competitive (some actually writing business plans gasp!), we’re seeing an emergence of some new trends such as the yoga talent management agency and the unpaid intern.

With the economy as it is and the job outlook abysmal, many job seekers and employers are engaging in unpaid internship arrangements.

A great way to keep the overhead low, right?
A great way to gain real-world experience, right?

Tipped off by a recent NY Times article on the subject, we followed a link to the United States Department of Labor where we found a very interesting article on what constitutes a legal unpaid internship.

From the Wage and Hour Division Fact Sheet #71:

The Test For Unpaid Interns
There are some circumstances under which individuals who participate in “for-profit” private sector internships or training programs may do so without compensation.  The Supreme Court has held that the term “suffer or permit to work” cannot be interpreted so as to make a person whose work serves only his or her own interest an employee of another who provides aid or instruction.  This may apply to interns who receive training for their own educational benefit if the training meets certain criteria.  The determination of whether an internship or training program meets this exclusion depends upon all of the facts and circumstances of each such program.

The following six criteria must be applied when making this determination:
1.  The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
2.  The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
3.  The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
4.  The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
5.  The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
6.  The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

If all of the factors listed above are met, an employment relationship does not exist under the FLSA, and the Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions do not apply to the intern.  This exclusion from the definition of employment is necessarily quite narrow because the FLSA’s definition of “employ” is very broad.  Some of the most commonly discussed factors for “for-profit” private sector internship programs are considered below.

To sum it up, unpaid internships are meant to be learning experience for the intern.  So much so, that sometimes their presence actually impedes work at times.  It is an educational experience where the intern is the primary beneficiary with loads of supervision.

Why is all that important to point out?  Because unrealistic yoga business plans are about as abundant as unpaid interns and downward facing dogs.  Case in point?  The Greenpoint, Brooklyn / Albany, California-based YAMA (Yoga Artists Talent Agency) Talent agency co-owned by Ava Taylor and Chris Cuevas strives to make yoga teachers a living.  Well+Good NYC writes:  “Like others who teach for a living, yoga instructors should have good health insurance and should be able to send their kids to college.”  Through a combined force of strategy development, touring, media, social marketing, public relations, legal help, sponsorships, and creative styling for teachers such as Sadie Nardini, Duncan Wong, Annie Carpenter, and Schuyler Grant, YAMA aims to do just that.  The problem?  When YAMA plans to utilize the talents of an unpaid intern to do the work.

Posted on Craigslist.org 4/9/2010 (we’ve noted the questionable stuff):

Who we’re looking for:
Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite, Google documents, and the Internet (FB, Twitter, You Tube) required.

-The chosen intern will be innovative, committed and will be part of the creation of a company that is revolutionizing the yoga, health and wellness industry.

-You’ll work a minimum of 15 hours, commit to a 3 month contract starting May 12th, and, of course, join us for complimentary yoga twice a week.

What you’ll be doing:
-Client Relations: Day to day liason and interface with YAMA clients. Maintaining and ensuring current client files (schedules, assessments, development tracks).

-Public Relations:
Approaching traditional print media publications/outlets gaining press coverage for YAMA clients and YAMA. Assist in the creation of media pitches, press releases, story lines, media plans, media lists.

-Social Media:
Researching social media opportunities for YAMA clients and YAMA.
Maintaining YAMA Clients/YAMA online presence on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and various blogs. Creative use of the internet to promote our clients.

-Brand Integration:
Approaching various brand alignment opportunities seeking sponsorships, endorsements and advertisement related opportunities for YAMA clients. Day to day liason with top brands in the wellness and lifestyle industry.

-Booking/Touring services:
Creating individualized travel itineraries, negotiating and booking appearances for YAMA clients. Cultivating relationships with venues (studios, retreat facilities, etc.). Maintaining booking checklist.

-Research:
Compiling a database of opportunities related to yoga, health and wellness around the world. Daily upkeep of all yoga, health and wellness related publications.

Whew!  That is one busy intern.

We at Elephantbeans are all for creative business ideas and promoting a living wage for yoga teachers and yoga-related employees.  We also stand for walking the talk.  Enough of people getting used and abused.  Enough with sleazy studio owners and unjust business practices.  Enough with lousy teacher pay and no job stability.  Enough with staying silent with being unpaid, underpaid, underemployed or overused.  Enough with yoga businesses staying under the radar with issues like this.  At the risk of being unpopular, here it is:  this is NOT okay.

-Elephantbeans

Deccan Herald: It’s ‘money yoga’ for foreigners in Mysore

Raking in moolah

It’s ‘money yoga’ for foreigners in Mysore

Preethi Nagaraj, Mysore, Apr 15, DHNS:

An American national, Jason Thomas (name changed) comes to Mysore once in two years. A photographer and ‘certified’ yoga instructor, this 39-year-old makes the heritage city home for almost 30-45 days during his visit, as he has been doing since the last eight years.

“I come here to update my yoga skills and back home, I am associated with a yoga school where I teach during the weekends at US $ 20 – 40 per session (two classes) depending upon the kind of yoga our students want to learn,” he reveals.

While he has stuck to teaching simple yoga, his contemporaries who switched over to more popular forms of yoga earn up to US $ 80 – 120 for every session, he says. His yoga school charges him nearly Rs 25,000 as a refresher package.

While in Mysore, Jason stays at a guest house run by his ‘friend’ who is a foreigner, paying about 1,500 per day for a bed and breakfast facility. The place is managed by Alisa, a lady who traces her roots to Greece, and lives in the UK. She is one of the people who manage the place, ‘Nest’ in Vijayanagar, and by an estimate, makes a neat Rs 1.5 lakh per month accommodating her ‘friends’ who book rooms via internet. Locals are strictly not allowed inside this ‘six-room accommodation’ house. Such guest houses are aplenty on Contour Road, VV Mohalla, Lakshmipuram, Kuvempunagar, Vijayanagar, Bogadhi among other areas.

The police, who recently sent out a circular instructing the yoga schools in the city to teach only those who arrive on yoga visa or student visa, claim there is more than what meets the eye. Speaking to Deccan Herald, a top source said, at any given point of time, there are 3,000 to 5,000 foreigners living in Mysore on tourist visa, mostly enrolled with different Yoga schools.

Tracking problem

While they appear before the police when they arrive in the city, it becomes difficult to trace them afterwards. As a result, the police instructed the hotels to provide them with details of their foreign visitors. What then came to fore was the case of a mega ‘business’ being run by some foreigners who visit Mysore on ‘rotation’ basis.

Most Yoga schools are aware of this. Says Sudesh Chandra of Upanishat Yoga Kendra in Kuvempunagar: “The foreigners who come here stay together for security reasons. I am told they run guest houses too.”

The schools which enroll foreigners, certify them which is in turn used to earn more dollars back home. And this, purely, is the prerogative of the school. Yoga schools want the Government to create a central authority to formalise the teaching methods, thus adding a natural check to the system.

originally posted at the Deccan Herald

Yoga, Inc. For Free (online)

via Yoga, Inc. – Watch the Documentary Film for Free – SnagFilms.

click to view

From the snagfilms website:

(2007) 58 min

The documentary that asks whether yoga can survive Big Business with its good karma intact

Yoga has transformed from an ancient spiritual practice into a competitive, commercialized, multi-million dollar industry. And for a practice rooted in renunciation, yoga sure is making some people very rich. Can yoga survive this war between the sacred and the profane with its good karma intact?

Esak Garcia is a star on the burgeoning competitive yoga circuit, racking up cash prizes and edging ever closer to snagging an endorsement deal. But Esak’s ultimate goal is the Olympics, a dream instilled in him by his guru, Bikram Choudhury. Bikram’s supporters applaud his crusade to have yoga recognized as an Olympic sport. His detractors are horrified. It’s typical of the controversies that surround the ‘Bad Boy of Yoga’. Bikram has also copyrighted his popular yoga style. Those who teach ‘Bikram yoga’ without playing by his rules are hit with crippling copyright infringement fees. So a group of yoga studio owners take Bikram to court to pose an important legal question; can anyone ‘own’ yoga?

In today’s yoga world only the marketplace has real meaning, where everything is up for grabs, from yoga shoes to chakra panties. The new mantras are Standardize and Supersize. In the race to cash in yoga chains (‘McYoga’?) are popping up everywhere, putting the smaller studios out of business. No wonder purists are scratching their heads. Is nothing sacred?

Greed, lust, ego and the search for enlightenment all come together in this original, irreverent portrait of spiritualism and capitalism colliding head on.

project air video

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “project air video“, posted with vodpod

 

Harvest Season

…Is just around the corner in the mountains of sunny California.  What the NY Times did not mention in their recent article on the big bad Mexican drug cartel firestarters is that it ain’t just the “illegals” enjoying the fertile soil and sunshine for growing purple sticky punge.  Year round, but mostly during harvest season, scores of people from all walks of life head to the hills to work on both LEGAL and ILLEGAL farms.  It is so common that it’ll be mentioned on the radio (“hey trimmers, this one’s for you”) and local businesses stock up on supplies (use your imagination).  There is a sense of community, with pilgrims returning year after year, some staying on to help grow the next season’s crops or maybe starting farms of their own.  Sure, the money is a factor (it beats most desk jobs in more ways than one), but also the many gatherings, the return to nature, and the meeting of like-minded individuals lend to what many would call a “lifestyle”.

No doubt things can go wrong as in any situation.  In this case, a campfire lit by those “believed to be low-level workers for a Mexican drug cartel” sparked a 90,000-acre wildfire.  Yikes!

ebeans

Back-to-(Yoga) School

This September, Boomerang Yoga, a non-profit organization geared towards raising mullah for children, is hosting a Sun Salute-a-thon, 108 sun salutations over a 3-hour asana, with the concept of sponsored mats for participating yogis. Stephanie Culen, the founder and executive director of the organization is hoping to raise $500 per mat.  All donations made will go to the continuation of Bent on Learning, an ah-mazing non-profit who has been the forerunner in getting yoga classes into NYC’s public school curriculum.

The event will be held on Sunday, September 20th from 3-6pm at NYC’s SoHo Equinox, visit the Boomerang Yoga Events page to learn how you can participate yourself.  (Attendees are also said to get some goodies for showing up too!)

Or if you prefer, freebean is offering to be your surrogate yogini on that mat day – so donate here – a little or lot – all is much appreciated.

THE FAB FIVE of Summer Yoga Deals

Recent finds to make your ‘beans’ go further this summer (courtesy of  freebean from yogadeals):

1.  Humpday Yoga in NYC with Laughing Lotus (FREE)

2. The Cure for the Common Asannoyance (only 2.7o beans/Hband)

3. The Sham Wow of Yoga Towels – can your curiosity resist?  (10.95 beans)

4. Cheap Fix For Sticker-Loving Yogis (0.75 beans)

5.  Go Ask Alice.com – Forgo the lines at Duane Reade/CVS/Walgreens & shop at home (free shipping beans)