It’s All Yoga, Baby is Roseanne Harvey’s blog about yoga and other things, with a mission to spark investigation into the relationship between yoga, the body and popular culture. I know the whole nudity in advertising conversation is so last month, but this came across my radar and I can’t resist. The ad is a postcard (with a free Jivamukti class pass on the back) and I’m not sure if there are plans to use it in print or on billboards.
Despite these positive aspects, there still is a  slight breach of professionalism in this ad – these are working yoga teachers, who will encounter students and potential students in class and in their communities. At face value, this ad is light-hearted and subversive, but when you look a little deeper, it’s sending a confused message that is about more than animal rights. This really digs into advertising in general and PETA’s shock approach, which has served them well and has also given them a bushel full of flak.
We are far more naked when standing in front of a class, teaching yoga & authentically, speaking our truth, then a physical representation can ever really express.

The thing I appreciate about this ad is that its not just a bunch of people who look like models. Also – I kind of have this feeling that people expect yoga teachers to be a bit more free-spirited. Several times, after retreats, my Seon (Korean Zen) teacher would take some of us senior students to the Korean Bath House.
IAYB questions, provokes thought and shines a critical light on yoga culture ~ while celebrating community, service, creativity, the independent spirit and good ol’ fun. The teachers at the Jivamukti Yoga School in NYC are the latest bods-in-the-buff posing for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. As Well+Good NYC notes, “It helps that Jivamukti’s participation stems from real conviction and personal philosophy—and not the opportunism to bare all for a good cause. I think it illustrates the precarious and awkward place that yoga teachers hold in our culture, somewhere between entertainer and health professional.

The fork mention is also a tad confusing on the postcard: The front is about not wearing fur, the back is about not eating meat. Seeing my teacher in this and other social situations most definitely helped to de-construct any potentially de-railing projections, and did so without at all diminishing my respect and appreciation for him as a teacher. I really can’t imagine the teachers at any other kind of school posing nude for anything.
When I take the teacher’s seat, this understanding leads me to have great reverence for the role without taking myself so seriously. As I was told repeatedly by my teacher, in bowing, I am not bowing to him as an individual, my bowing is a sign of respect for the role he assumes when he takes the Dharma seat.

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