Tag Archives: rebel yoga

We are Salesmen

It’s a new day.  So I open e-mail even though I don’t want to because that’s what responsible people do. I’m being sold. I’m braced for the assault. Buy this, think this, try this, help this, read this. If I put this rant on my site I am selling. If I put it on social media, I am marketing. Anyone with a Facebook account is a salesman.


This export/import business of social media sucks a lot of time. That’s why I see some friends less unless I make the effort. Some are lost in the bazaar. They are exporting and importing, trading with friends and strangers from solitary seats. It’s a fluid life without scheduled time so these things tend to run all over the day and night. The nature of man is to ingest and eliminate and so maybe this is a natural extension but me, I have indigestion.


I worked for a couple of yoga studios after I left mine. The yoga scene had shifted to what would be known as modern yoga though that had happened about a hundred years ago.


I was told it was my responsibility to promote my classes on social media. The only reason I’d gone to a studio was to avoid self promotion. It didn’t work out. Though I am a gregarious hostess, I am more a recluse than a joiner when it comes to strangers. I am not comfortable with a disingenuous life. The act of reaching out to strangers through a black hole befuddles me. On the other hand, I have no problem presenting my work as a resume to the world. Websites seem a logical solution.


So What’s in a Name?

It was the late 1900’s and an entrepreneurial client had bought a website company for a hobby. He wanted to build a website and insisted it be mine and demanded I create a name for my company which was only me and gave me a computer to boot despite my protests. I didn’t give a crap about a name so I picked Active Yoga since I was teaching a physically powerful class and I figured it gave the right impression and of course it started with the letter A so that had to be a plus in the now defunct phone book. It seemed like a lame name but there were no other yoga sites as far as I knew. Yoga people didn’t have websites so it didn’t matter what I called it. Famous last clueless thoughts…


That website was a day-glow mess and now my “brand” was out on the new world wide net so I enlisted the young web designer husband of one of my ballerina students to give me a professional make-over. I wanted something that read like a book. He wanted flash and sizzle. We argued. I told him my students wouldn’t even know how to engage a technical site. He told me, “Your students are stupid!”


I told him I wanted it to be a resume of my experience. He told me, “No one gives a shit about content. You will be the only one who will ever read it!” I told him that was fine.

Active Yoga_Inverse 450

In 2000 I added the domain name Rebel Yoga since that had become the unofficial title the students had given me but it was unusable in the South considering the Civil War and all. It was later the moniker of a couple of excellent yoga saleswomen from the East and fourteen years later I dumped it for a grand.


Active Yoga went through one more incarnation a few years ago so I could manage it myself. I leave it there for posterity though I’m told to add content every week to drive traffic. Driving traffic is a passionless activity for me so I don’t bother. Where a website was once marketing, it is now dead as a tome filed in the tombs of the library’s basement if you don’t sell it regularly.


Now we use our names for titles because we are our own brand. It makes perfect sense and why didn’t I think of this sooner? Every yoga teacher certainly alters the yoga they learned as it’s alchemized by individual perception. Of course my yoga is Hilary Lindsay Yoga. Why had I wished to presume anonymity when I was posting a website? I should have just shouted my name but then in those days before we became voyeurs, people valued privacy. Now I am HilaryLindsayYoga.com but it comes up as Active Yoga because like my husband’s last name, it has become me.


Look at the biggest salesman of all, Donald Trump! He has his name on everything and if it has his name you have an impression of it whether it’s clothes or meat or a tower or a golf course.


Despite the image of Trump, sales are not a bad thing.  How else would we know what is out there?  I’ve been sold so many things that improve my life and I’m grateful.


On the other hand, social media imitates a third world open market with hawkers trying to get each others attention. Like you, I am often bored, suspicious and exhausted by it. Like you, I am lucky when a good salesman catches my eye and fortunate when I recognize a fraud. What we ingest we must digest. That’s what I have to say about shopping and buying. We are all in sales unless we can live solitary lives not dependent on others. We pick what we can assimilate. No need to apologize unless you think you are the one who can change the nature of our economy to something better but don’t try.









Filed under American culture, new age enlightenment, politcal action, satire, social action, social commentary, yoga, yoga and blogging, yoga and politics, Yoga Class, Yoga History, Yoga philosophy, yoga practice, yoga teaching, yoga wisdom

Just bitchin: Domain Name for Sale

The Author Formerly known as the Rebel

I tend to dance around things.  I had a student years ago who called me back door yoga. She was also a student of Mary Dunne, the Iyengar teacher who would likely give her students building blocks to create a finished picture while I just paint the picture and then let you see how that happened. It’s just the way I approach things.

I’ve been dancing around Rebel Yoga. I got pissed when the New York Times described a young go getter named Tara Stiles as Rebel Yoga. Now Tara may be tiny enough to fit into Deepak Chopra’s pocket and she may be a lovely person but calling her Rebel Yoga just made me mad although it certainly was not her doing. I didn’t say exactly why I was mad. I just said that yoga as an exercise class was nothing new and it isn’t. Just ask the people in Pune. I want to say in print why that made me mad and then I’d like to say that the domain name Rebel Yoga.com is for sale. I’m done with it.

I entered a small town in the Bible Belt and knew no one except a yoga teacher I’d met on the phone through Bryan Kest. She became one of my best friends. The yoga community was tiny. The yoga elders were from the Iyengar school.  They garnered respect and the next generation sat at their feet. I showed up like Kevin Bacon in the movie Footloose and brought a rock and roll, dance and power yoga based class into the local gym and from there gained the attention of the whole town and a massive following of happy shiny people and I was the topic of the news from the Nashville Scene to Newsweek.

There were only two studios at the time. They were small and run by women older than me. The women were good teachers and brought a wealth of amazing, exciting, (some mean), creative teachers to Nashville and I’m forever grateful as I learned so much from them. They all thought I was loose cannon. My favorite teacher was Rodney Yee who unlike many of the other teachers who loved to pick me out of the crowd to make an example of me as my reputation was no secret, treated me like a friend and colleague.

I had one particular group of strong willed people who were all leaders and outspoken people and completely irreverent and rebellious and would no more have enjoyed the Iyengar training that I loved any more than they would have been willing to be crate trained dogs and I created a calendar named Rebel Yogis: A Celebration of Students to honor them. The name Rebel Yoga became synonymous with me. I had shirts made with the Active Yoga logo that said “Rebel Yoga” bearing the Rumi quote that was the banner for my website:

Forget Safety

Live Where You Fear to Live

Destroy Your Reputation

Be Notorious

I saw that in a card store. I’d never heard of Rumi before. I sent hundreds of shirts into Nashville bearing my Active Yoga logo and “Rebel Yoga” and lines from that quote. I’m wearing one of those shirts as I write this almost a dozen years after I made it that says “Rebel Yoga – If you’re not living on the edge you’re taking up too much space”.

I had to fight to be respected by the yoga community in this town. I had the town with me but not the elders, so to speak. Not for years. I was notorious. I had to be willing to not be liked to do what I loved.

I feel like I won the title “Rebel Yoga” while maintaining my integrity as a person who studies and teaches yoga. I feel like I earned that title as someone who walked into a place where she wasn’t welcome, who sat at the feet of those who found her threatening and brought yoga out of the dusty corners of a small town into the limelight. It was good for everyone including the old school.

When Kripalu wanted me to teach “Rebel Yoga” I told them that Rebel Yoga was not a thing. It was me. It still is me but yoga has changed all around me now. I’m the old school and what I brought here is now everywhere. I’m not saying it’s the same as me. We are all unique. However if I am rebellious now it’s at the idea that yoga is so damn fashionable. It just takes all the joy out of it for me.

I own the domain name Rebel Yoga but I never used it because I felt rebel would be misunderstood as the Confederacy and later Al qaeda. Now I don’t want it linked to both me and to someone who seems to me to be disrespectful as she’s selling yoga like it’s a generic pill for everything.  I was saving it for something but now it just feels like it’s time to clean house. I’ve outgrown it. I just wanted to try it on one more time.

Domain name for sale; Rebel Yoga

(Published in Elephant Journal)


Filed under Uncategorized, yoga

Rebel Yoga in the Year 2000: Never Heard of Tara Stiles

The Author

I don’t care about Tara Stiles. She has videos on the online magazine Women’s Health which they will not stop sending me despite my request to remove themselves from my life.  In my weaker moments I lack the will to delete without scanning though I know there will be nothing new in the Secret to a Longer Life or Five Super Foods You Can’t Live Without tips. So I have seen Tara Stiles revealed as the answer to yoga for everything. After she showed up a few times I learned to hit delete, not because she is horrible, but because she is nothing new and being slim is not a recommendation for a teaching video despite the inference that the yoga revealed will make you so. It will not.

But now The New York Times has described her as Rebel Yoga and that just makes me look bad. Or does it?

In the early nineties I created a class called the Bodymind Workout. It was a combination of dance and yoga choreographed to music. In those days music was not played in yoga classes and there was no class called yoga flow that I was aware of anyway. I was living in Los Angeles and the first time I saw a Vinyasa style class was when I was directed to a guy named Bryan Kest by a student who said Bryan was doing the yoga version of my class. I marched across the mountains to see what that could be about. (Hey! I created something unique.  Don’t even talk to me about this poser Bryan Kest!).  And there was this delightful guy leading a yoga class that MOVED like a dance. It was justification for doing yoga the way I liked to move and I’d never seen anything like it before. No one was questioning the purity of Bryan’s teaching which at the time was about getting people to challenge themselves at the edge of the physical plane in order to check themselves out. Maybe he should have had the moniker Rebel Yogi. But he didn’t, I did.

When I moved to Nashville I brought the Bodymind Workout with me. The name was getting used up and I had to dump it. Body mind, mind body was ubiquitous and shallow. So I called it Power Yoga (which later had to be dumped for other reasons) in homage to Bryan and began moving it into dancing yoga. I also taught yoga classes. I kept the music.  But I had entered a strongly yoga purist town and many of those folks thought I was demonizing yoga.  I thought they were the religious right of yoga and paid no attention. People were ready to loosen up and I ended up with a crowd of independent thinkers and well…. rebels.

Now I had done my yoga homework, studied hundreds of hours with senior teachers, did my reading, put my soul into the pursuit of learning a discipline but that didn’t mean I had to teach like everyone before me. And my students were ready for that. One night I named them Rebel Yogis and they said it was so because I was the Rebel leader. I ran with it.

Minister Becca Stevens, Guidance Counselor Jim Hartline, Poet Minton Sparks, Psychotherapist and Poet, Kenneth Robinson

In 2000 I created a calendar called Rebel Yogis: a Celebration of Students for the year 2001. I posed them in the walk of their lives and sent a copy to The Yoga Journal which they promoted. That got the attention of an author who was interested in one of my high profile clients and I ended up in the book Real Men Do Yoga. The Kripalu Center saw that and invited me to teach. Well, you can see where this could go. In my case it was nowhere because at the time I had no aspirations to joining the traveling circus of yoga superstars. I was content with my life and raising two boys. I thought the adulation of yoga teachers was silly. I don’t think I even thought of yoga as a career.

Heisman Trophy Pose by Tennessee Titan, Eddie George

Still, if I had been a young single woman at a time that yoga was already big business and anyone’s game and purism was a thing of the past and I was thrown into the limelight perhaps I would have become a commercial name. It’s all in the timing.

So, I don’t care about Tara Stiles fame or take on yoga. She’s not alone. She knows how to work the system which she clearly enjoys and she’s not hurting anyone. I can’t believe she has the nerve to call yoga slim, calm and sexy but I’ve got to say she’s walking the talk in the calm way she just follows her path. And after all, who am I to judge her? I used yoga in a class called the Bodymind Workout and if there’s one thing you could count on feeling in that class it was sexy! Despite the attention to sex and yoga these days, the fact is that sexiness is not necessarily about sex as much as personal power.  But that’s another topic.

(Published in Elephant Journal)


Filed under Uncategorized, yoga