Power Your Om Yoga students flash gang signs during their "Namaste With Attitude" class

Power Your Om Yoga students flash gang signs during their "Namaste With Attitude" class

Yoga Studio Receives Massive Backlash over ‘Ghetto Fabulous’ Class

Power of Your Om Owner Says: ‘We Didn’t Realize that It Was Going to Piss So Many People Off’

Friday, September 6, 2013
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Santa Barbarans and yogis raised eyebrows and voiced opposition about yoga studio Power of Your Om’s (POYO) special-edition class “NWA” — “Namaste With Attitude” held last Wednesday.

Jenna Schaal-O’Connor said she was disturbed when she first found out about the class from an email she received from Power of Your Om. “I’m not particularly familiar with [the ghetto],” she said, “but I don’t like to make fun of people who live in the ghetto.”

The online flyer encouraged participants to “come dressed in your favorite ghetto fabulous outfit, snap-back caps, corn rows, heavy lip liner or whatever you can dream up.” Further attire suggestions were provided via a link to a wikiHow “How to Be Ghetto Fabulous” page.

A Power Your Om Yoga student gets ready for the "Namaste With Attitude" class by putting on a fake "grill"
Click to enlarge photo

A Power Your Om Yoga student gets ready for the “Namaste With Attitude” class by putting on a fake “grill”

Schaal-O’Connor said she was especially put off by photos of “little girls in Lululemon throwing up Blood signs” that PYOY also posted. Other photos pictured girls with aluminum foil stuck to their teeth.

“Maybe I was particularly aware of it in light of the Miley Cyrus twerking video,” Schaal-O’Connor said. Further, she added, it demonstrates “mocking a culture that you have no part in or that you’re not a part of.”

Schaal-O’Connor said she would have tried to get people together to protest the special-edition class had she heard about it earlier. Instead, she posted criticism on the studio’s Facebook page, only to have her comments deleted by site administrators.

One of the deleted comments — sent to Santa Barbara Independent via screenshot — reads, “encouraging your (presumably) privileged white clientele to come to do vinyasa in the ‘costume’ of a subordinated culture that is not their own is not funny and should not inspire ‘belly laughs.’”

Power Your Om Yoga students flash gang signs during their "Namaste With Attitude" class
Click to enlarge photo

Power Your Om Yoga students flash gang signs during their “Namaste With Attitude” class

In response to heated social-media backlash, POYO owner Adrienne Hengels said, “We created the flyer as ghetto fabulous not intending for it to be offensive.” She said the purpose of the class from the start was to incorporate rap music into a yoga class for fun.

Other online commentators were less harsh but did not completely pardon the studio. Courtney Dietz posted on Facebook, “Yes, the recent Ghetto themed class (though I didn’t attend) was misguided and insensitive at best, I have NEVER (read: NEVER) heard anything racist or elitist from [Adrienne or Melanie].”

In addition to online flyers, the studio promoted a do-rag giveaway through Instagram. Athena Tan posted a Facebook comment criticizing POYO for advertising the giveaways and for deleting a similar post via Instagram. That comment was also deleted.

Some negative comments are still posted on POYO’s Facebook page, and Hengels also posted a formal apology. “After reading perspectives [posted online], I felt sincerely sorry that we didn’t just keep it as rap class,” Hengels said. “The fact is that it was a one-time thing, it is now over. We didn’t realize that it was going to piss so many people off.”

“Of course nothing just dies,” Hengels added. “It’s there forever with the glory of social media.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

What a bunch of uptight censorious goody goodies. If it didn't spark a smile, this would still roll like water off an advanced Buddhist's back.
NEVER apologize for an artistic endeavor unless people were bored, and people don't seem as if they were.
Then you have the professional victims who seem to have zero clue about cross-cultural ferilization that has happened in Art since time immemorial. Morons everywhere. Get a life.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 11:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I wish I could improve on KV's comments; instead I will just welcome back his humanity and point of view to these digital pages...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 11:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

hillarious! totally agree kv. Nothing is sacred. Some like to bring 'the club' everywhere. Judging by the photo at the top, they might have reality show potential.

spacey (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 12:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It sure beats them all sitting around and mowing a bunch of cheeseburgers.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 1:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Commenters On The Santa Barbara Independent Web Site Today Upset Years of Scholarship By Proving Decisively That Cultural Appropriation Is Not A Thing.

typo (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 2:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hacks borrow, artists steal.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 4:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, talk about getting your panties in a bunch, holy moly.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 5:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Yogis"? Yogi Berra?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 6:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And yes, welcome back Ken, you were missed.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 6:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Is twerking a yoga move?

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 8:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It starts with ghetto yoga and next thing you know they will be burning crosses in front of houses.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 9:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks gang, I super appreciate it. (no pun intended)

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
September 6, 2013 at 10:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

go KV!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 6:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

On the one hand, SB is screaming for a gang injunction...
The other hand is extended to non gang members to act like gang members.

PeterPeli (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 9:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you KV! Your comments were a breath of fresh air.

SBLover35 (anonymous profile)
September 7, 2013 at 11:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Tempest in a Teapot.

GluteousMaximus (anonymous profile)
September 8, 2013 at 7:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sorry if I'm old and out of date, but I disapprove of the long degrading journey from Indian hatha yoga, which was used to prepare someone for proper meditation, and the many Californication-style commodified variants.

rubenken (anonymous profile)
September 9, 2013 at 8:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Not everybody has to do everything the same way rubenken..

There's a time and place for everything.

Maybe some people prefer to meditate or do meditative yoga in a quiet place at home or in the wilderness or at the beach and this is just something fun for them to keep themselves in shape.

Or maybe if this class didn't exist, these people would be in Zumba classes.

So does it really matter if they are doing Zumba or hip hop yoga?

loonpt (anonymous profile)
September 9, 2013 at 9:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

kv might be clever ; but the point is being missed ; yoga is a place to center and restore calm and peace to our crazy twerked out lives ; if you drag that kind of mean girl nonsense into yoga ; you have ruined what it is for to begin with ; to yoke the heart the mind and the spirit towards compassion , period .

harryhaller (anonymous profile)
September 9, 2013 at 10:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Wait a minute! Where is the Gang Tat's? Where is the pistols and Submachine guns flashed in the Gang Group photo, you can't call in a Ghetto (as in Criminal Minded living Projects residences) unless there is some sort of weapon sported by a Gang affiliated Tattoo on a stern looking thug.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
September 9, 2013 at 11:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

loonpt. For me it's about dignity and tradition, neither of which gets much attention in this twerking age.

rubenken (anonymous profile)
September 9, 2013 at 1:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

agree rubenken: original hatha yoga was a serious disciplined approach. Success and imitation have hurt it. The hot yoga garbage is completely anti-yoga: Bikram is a fake, especially with their ridiculous "world series" - there can be no competition in yoga postures.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
September 9, 2013 at 1:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The insensitivity on this issue by this yoga studio is just outrageous! Now excuse me while I pump up the volume on my ghettoblaster.

Botany (anonymous profile)
September 9, 2013 at 2:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe they were trying for haha yoga as opposed to hatha yoga?

discoboy (anonymous profile)
September 9, 2013 at 3:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I still don't understand what you guys are complaining about, they are taking elements of yoga and incorporating it into a new type of exercise routine and calling it something else. They aren't taking people who would be doing yoga and doing this something else, they are taking people who would normally be doing Zumba or something along those lines and pushing them in the direction of yoga instead.

I'm about to throw out some estimations just to get you an idea of what I'm saying here. The actual numbers are less important than the direction they are heading.

So, many years ago you had maybe 80% of people who did yoga doing it 'properly' and 'traditionally', but only maybe 2% of the population engaged. Now you have something like 6 or 7% of the population engaged while maybe only 50% of yoga is traditional or proper yoga.

So in the end, you still have a jump from less than 2% to 3.5% of the population doing traditional yoga, and you have another 3.5% of the population who would normally be doing Zumba or something doing a spinoff of yoga. So you haven't "lost" anything as far as people doing traditional yoga, you actually have more people doing it and you have yet even more people doing the spinoffs. So it is still a success for the practice of yoga, and I'm pretty sure 100% of the participants understand traditional yoga as being very slow and meditative so the definition of the base activity is certainly not changing.

And twerking as a form of dancing has been around for at least 20 years, they just happened to give that name recently. I believe the preferred nomenclature used to be booty dancing.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
September 9, 2013 at 4:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Much to do about absolutely nothing. Stupid stupid people.

Draxor (anonymous profile)
September 10, 2013 at 12:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

reminiscent of the opening scene in office space when mike is rapping loudly in his car then turns the music down and locks the door when the black dude walks up.

you just look incredibly lame. beleedat.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
September 10, 2013 at 12:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

it sounds to me like the commenters here would be fine with Abe Lincolns face on a box of Wheaties and Let It Be the soundtrack for a Viagra commercial ; and since I love yoga and what it actually is; I think it should be unharassed by street thug music

harryhaller (anonymous profile)
September 12, 2013 at 11:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually, Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" would be better for a Viagra commercial.

discoboy (anonymous profile)
September 12, 2013 at 12:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If you don't like it then don't signup for the class. If you REALLY don't like it, then signup for a yoga class at a different studio.

It's not a yoga class. It's hip hop yoga class. They aren't stealing from anybody or lying to anybody or forcing anybody to join them.

They could put Jesus on a box of Wheaties for all I care, I have no idea how that would negatively affect me personally.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
September 12, 2013 at 4:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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