Lululemon's CEO of the Year

http://blogs.yogajournal.com/yogabuzz/2011/11/lululemon-ceo-named-ceo-of-the-year-by-globe-and-mail.html

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Canada's Globe and Mail Report on Business magazine has named Lululemon Athletica's Christine Day CEO of the year. This news comes after the Vancouver-based company was criticized in the media for its new "Who is John Galt?" shopping bag (a reference to the Ayn Rand novel Atlas Shrugged).

Day, who came from Starbucks and has served as Lulu's CEO since 2008, has overseen tremendous growth during her tenure. "Lululemon saw its stock climb to almost $60 this fall, up over 280% from when Day joined the company, and a whopping 250% gain year over year," according to the article.

Day points to the company's stated values as a driving factor in that growth. "Investing in your health will pay big dividends for individuals and society," she told the magazine, "elevating the world from mediocrity to greatness."

Of course, the anti-mediocrity sentiment led to Lululemon's controversial use of the Rand quote. "I believe in a culture of personal accountability and not compromising your values," Day said. "Atlas Shrugged is both about not accepting mediocrity and being personally accountable for the life you are creating."

But Lululemon has always used inspirational (or what the magazine calls "communitarian") messages for their logos, such as, "The pursuit of happiness is the source of unhappiness" and "Friends are more important than money." It's this selling of ideals, and not just yoga pants, analysts say, that has fueled the company's enormous success.

"Compared to more price-driven products, Lululemon apparel gives its customers the feeling that they're purchasing a lot more than mere 'value,'" the article states. "Buy a Cabin Long Sleeve T-shirt and you're involved in bettering yourself. Pick up one of those cute Lucky Luon headbands and you're joining a community of like-minded people. ... It's a thing of virtue. Budget in other spending categories if you must, the brand seems to whisper, but don't stop taking care of your body and building a better society."

Lululemon's Controversial Position

http://blogs.yogajournal.com/yogabuzz/2011/11/lululemons-latest-controversy.html

The Canadian based clothing company Lululemon Athletica has never shied away from controversy. Its latest attention-grabbing story centers on the company's decision to reference a character from a book by Ayn Rand -- a decision that has left some yogis out in the cold. The oblique reference, "Who is John Galt?" appears on Lululemon shopping bags. According to its website:

You might be wondering why a company that makes yoga clothing has chosen a legendary literary character's name to adorn the side of our bags. lululemon's founder, Chip Wilson, first read this book when he was eighteen years old working away from home. Only later, looking back, did he realize the impact the book's ideology had on his quest to elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness (it is not coincidental that this is lululemon's company vision).

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But some more literary yogis don't agree. Not only is Rand is a conservative hero, but the ideology of John Galt is often thought to embody selfishness and greed, not exactly in line with yoga's teachings.

Buzz asked Lululemon to comment on the John Galt references:

"Lululemon is continually innovating and creating new designs for our shoppers. . . We include these statements on our shoppers to create conversation among our guests. We apologize if our guests find this statement offensive; our intent was simply to initiate conversation, not to offend!"

Read more from the company about why it chose to feature John Galt here or read NPR's coverage of the controversy.

Kirtan Chorus

http://blogs.yogajournal.com/yogabuzz/2011/11/kirtan-chorus.html

There are lots of things to love about the practice of kirtan. It's a chance to practice devotion, experience a meditative trance, or even explore your connection with the world and a higher power. For some people, one of the most alluring aspects of kirtan is the opportunity to connect your voice with the voices of others--to really experience being a part of a community.

This is exactly what Kirtan Central founder Daniel Tucker had in mind when he asked people from the kirtan community to submit videos of themselves singing the Krishna Das Classic "Ma Durga."

"As I pored over the videos, two things became evident: first, these people LOVE this song! Whether's it's love of Krishna Das, love of kirtan, love of Durga, love of singing, love of God... what's obvious is the love, joy, and tenderness captured in each video clip," wrote Tucker in a blog post. "And second: how deeply we crave to be part of something larger than ourselves! There was so much excitement to be part of the "choir," and I believe that's one of the places kirtan is healing us."

He accepted submissions from 108 people from around the world and the result is this awe inspiring video.

Do you practice kirtan as a way to connect with your community? What are other ways you connect?

The Jerry Lewis of Yoga?

http://blogs.yogajournal.com/yogabuzz/2011/11/the-jerry-lewis-of-yoga-1.html

will_.jpgWe know that yogis are a passionate bunch, whether it's going to extreme lengths to secure time on their mats or in fighting for a cause they believe in. Now one yogi is putting his own endurance to the test to keep a dream alive.

Will Baxter, a financial-advisor-turned-yogin-social-entrepreneur who is trying to launch a yoga-bag company that will also help native Guatemalan women weavers, is one-day into his personal telethon (of the YouTube variety) to walk nonstop on a treadmill until the funds needed to launch the company are raised or until the campaign ends Nov. 22.

I AM, Baxter's sustainable-business-model idea, will sell naturally dyed yoga bags and straps woven by the indigenous Mayan women of the country, sharing 50 percent of the net profit directly with their communities. The seed money for the company will come through KickStarter, the funding platform for creative endeavors. Baxter needs to raise close to $25,000 more of the project's goal of $45,000 before the fundraising period ends next week.

Not unlike brands like Jade, a backer of I AM, Baxter appears to be the next generation of  yogis who hope to pair a business idea with sustainability and social responsibility. A new form of yoga off the mat?


The Jerry Lewis of Yoga?

http://blogs.yogajournal.com/yogabuzz/2011/11/the-jerry-lewis-of-yoga.html

will_.jpgWe know that yogis are a passionate bunch, whether its going to extreme lengths to secure time on their mats or in fighting for a cause they believe in. Now one yogi is putting his own endurance to the test to keep a dream alive.

Will Baxter, a financial-advisor-turned-social-entrepreneurial-yogin, is trying to launch a yoga-bag company that will also help native Guatemalan women weavers, is one-day into his personal telethon (of the YouTube variety) to walk nonstop on a treadmill until the funds needed to launch the company are raised or until the campaign ends Nov. 22.

I AM, Baxter's sustainable-business-model idea, will sell naturally dyed yoga bags and straps woven by the indigenous Mayan women of the country, sharing 50 percent of the net profit directly with their communities. The seed money for the company will come through KickStarter, the funding platform for creative endeavors. Baxter needs to raise close to $25,000 more or the project's $45,000 start-up costs before the fundraising period ends next week.

Not unlike brands like Jade, a backer of I AM, Baxter hopes to pair a smart business idea with sustainability and social responsibility. Sounds like yoga off the mat to us.


Yoga Film Wins Documentary Award

http://blogs.yogajournal.com/yogabuzz/2011/11/yogawoman-wins-best-documentary-award-film.html

A few months back, we reported on the film YogaWoman, narrated by Annette Bening, which highlights how a new generation of female teachers are re-creating yoga in our the female image: flowing, nurturing, community-based, and activism-focused.

Here's more news about how the film has captured audience's attention around the world: Since its release in September, Yogawoman has been selected for seven film festivals and been screened over 500 times around the world, from New Zealand to Japan throughout Europe and the US.

Last month, the film won an award for best Feature Documentary at the Off Shoot Film Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
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The film shows no signs of slowing down: It will show a the 2011 New York International Film Festival and the Traveller's Three Elements Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland.

Filmmaker Saraswati Clere isn't surprised about how the film has taken off. She tells Buzz:

"In 1938, Krishnamacharya, the renowned yoga master from India, said; 'It's the women who will be carrying yoga forward to the next generation.' These days, it's female yoga teachers who are taking the lead and revolutionizing the face of yoga. I think this phenomenon of woman stepping up leadership roles is very timely. I was thrilled to see that the Nobel Peace Prize was shared between three inspiring woman leaders."

Join Yogawoman on Twitter and Facebook, or watch the trailer.