Yogi For Sale

 All the qualities typified by the great Bodhisattvas are inherent and are not to be separated from the One Mind.  Awake to it, and it is there.  You students of the way who do not awake to this in your own minds, and who are attached to appearances or who seek for something objective outside your own minds, have all turned your backs on the Way.  The sands of Ganges!  The Buddha said of these sands: ‘If all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with all the gods walk across them, the sands do not rejoice; and, if oxen, sheep, reptiles, and insects tread upon them, the sands are not angered.  For jewels and perfumes they have no longing, and for the stinking filth of manure and urine they have no loathing.

- Zen Master Huang Po, from the Chün Chou record

The other day, I was surfing the net looking articles that could help me give my career a boost and move up the o’l ladder as a professional yogi.  Before long, I stumbled across a good one by Waylon Lewis of Elephant Journal that had 10 easy steps to becoming a yoga celebrity.  I loved this article.  It showed me that I could take proactive steps towards creating peace, abundance, and harmony within my innermost bank account.  But just like everything else that’s too good to be easy, the path towards becoming a big-time dharma dealer is fraught with things I don’t want to do.  The majority of steps are quite reasonable though:

  • Learn how to teach yoga.  I’ve got this one.  Didn’t spend 2 months in the mountains of Colorado and 2 years in the midwest-ness of Ann Arbor playing Boggle.  I’d say I’ve got a pretty decent track record on teaching gigs.
  • Create a Facebook Page.  Simple.  Done.  Next, please.
  • Make sure you have a twitter account.  Solid advice.  No one makes it anywhere in the world of today without fishing for followers in the gnarly abyss of the twittersphere.  After all, there’s no better way to attract masses of sheeple to your flock than snowballing a burgeoning avalanche of cutting edge intel about whatever you happen to be doing at the moment in 140 viral characters or less (who redy 2 sign up 4 my wkshop! got dat real ish. dat gangsta ish ya digg. furreal. #couple’syogaworkshop w @thedreadedyogi http://co/6Jx08r).
  • Hotness factor- Are you hot?   Common knowledge:  Yoga teachers need to be hot.  It goes without saying.  Do you really want to learn a deep practice of physically challenging postures and mindful inner reflection from an average looking teacher with no fake tan?  Of course not!  That’s why I militantly make sure to GTL ten times a day, e’rraday.  Twenty during the Labor Day weekend.  It’s a good way to keep people interested in the authentic side of things.  Can’t catch bees without honey.  …Or can you?  Wait, what do bees even do with honey?  How do bees make honey?  Ew.  I just got a crazy image in my mind of all the gross ways bees could be making honey.  I’ll have to wiki that.
  • Take naked photos.  As you know, normally I’m against the idea of nudity in general.  We wear clothes not only to hide our shame, but also to prove to other people how valuable or worthless we are to society.  I don’t drop mad bills on designer shorts, fine italian leather wrist guards, and cashmere ‘yoga paws’ so that people notice me for my personality.  But I understand that every now and again, there’s gonna be someone out there from the artsy crowd talking about black and white this-n-that, tasteful blah blah blah… I dunno.  I’ll have to think about this one.
  • Get a publicist.  Note to the reader:  I am now accepting applications for a publicist.  Must be willing to work for yoga training and occasional goji berries.
  • Brand that shit.  I completely agree.  I’m so totally ready to sell out.  You can hit up my website for the merch.  And Gaiam, if you’re listening, I didn’t mean anything I said about your awesome brand.  You’re totally not cheesy and lame.  And, as it happens, I have some terrific ideas for future best selling videos.  Like ‘Scurvy Yoga’ (yoga for pirates),  ‘Yogjutsu!!!’ (yoga for ninjas), and ‘90 Minutes of Savasana’ (yoga for hangovers), plus many more!  Call me.
  • Something about an Austrian spiritual epiphany or something.  I dunno, I wasn’t really paying attention to this step.  Must not have been that important.

But the last two bullet points are where I hit a little snag:

  • Change your name  First of all, I think my name is really cool.  Chad Johnson is a great all-American/Canadian name.  It’s so great, in fact, that hundreds of thousands of people around the world bit my style and apparently named themselves after me.  I kid you not.  Plus, it also doubles as a racy porn name in case I ever have to go into the adult entertainment industry, because my middle name is ‘Harry’.  And, if I changed my name to “something Sanskrit” nobody would make clever jokes about mistaking me for Ochocinco anymore.  Where’s the fun in that!?  The author of the article argues that no one’s gonna pay me $500 an hour for a private session if I don’t have a cool eastern sounding name, but that’s okay.  I’m not asking for $500 for private sessions.  I’m asking for a mere $250.
  • Go to India.  I’ve never been to India, and frankly, I ‘m not all that eager to.  Because it’s really far away (airplanes are scary), everyone I know who went got sick from mosquitos (I have sensitive blood), and there’s no toilet paper there (just not my thing).  Also, the caste system is creepy.  Just telling it like it is.  But I’m not bashing India.  All I’m saying is that there’s no need to indulge in fables about strange far off places for that which you can find right now, right where you are.  Like my homie Huang Po, I think that you don’t have to travel to so-called holy places in order to up your spiritual street cred.  It’s all in the mind.  The Great Unknowable ground of being doesn’t care if you seek liberation (or whatever you call it) in India, Japan, Guatemala, the U.K., or even Canada!  As far as It’s concerned, the midwest is just as good of a place as any to get your dharma on.  Maybe even a little better, since we have easy access to the natural splendor of the Great Lakes.  You wouldn’t believe how majestically elevated  one can feel after ritualistically bathing in Lake Superior.  I’d take that over the grunge of the Ganges any day (though I do occasionally take a soul cleansing dip in the Detroit River, which is probably about as interesting).

So all things considered, since I’ve apparently decided to try and make a living teaching yoga (take that, parents!), I’m all for selling out and playing the game in order to cash in on Big Spirituality.  But that doesn’t mean I have to be false about who I am, what I’m for, and where I come from, does it!?

If it does, what should my new name be?  Chakra Chakrason?  Maitreya Bhogananda?  Guruji Gojipants??  Someone please help me out, I’m really bad at this.

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