Black Friday, Yoga, and Building a Better World

I lost track after about thirty emails. I didn’t even know I was on that many mailing lists. AMAZING BLACK FRIDAY DEALS! All day. Sometimes the same company sent multiple emails about deals that just kept getting more and more AMAZING.

 

Look, I’m going to be straight with you. I hate black Friday. I think it is American consumer garbage culture. With apologies to my American friends, outside of your insistence bombing countries around the world, this is the worst thing that you do. And so to see Canadians embracing it makes me shake my head.

 

To see yoga studios embracing it makes me shake my head more. I just don’t get it.

 

I realize you need to make hay while the sun shines. I have a business and I sell things. All these companies are just trying to make hay. So I am not about to hate the player by calling people out. But I am about to fully hate the game.

 

We have a serious problem on our hands. We are confusing the accumulation of things with cultivation of joy. We are mistaking shiny new objects with the feeling of contentment. We are confusing a great deal with great value.

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Think about it. When you buy a new gadget, it makes you feel happy for a short while. Where does that happiness come from? The product does not have happiness in it, so it does not come from the product. The happiness comes from temporarily not wanting things. For a moment, you experience contentment. Wanting has gone away.

 

But that moment fades. The joy brought to you by that gadget disappears. Now that great decreases in value significantly. It’s the depreciation of joy. And buying that same gadget again will not produce the same joy. You need something better. Fancier. More expensive. You need another great deal.

 

Yoga could be about helping people escape from this cycle. Consumerism is wasteful, shallow, and only takes us further from the things that actually produce real joy in our lives. Yoga can help us to break free from a consumer mindset. Yoga can help humans become active creators of their own joy rather than passive consumers of the paper-thin veneer of joy offered by consumerism.

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Black Friday is an opportunity to challenge consumerism. I feel like yoga studios around the world have a chance to become agents of change that encourage simple human pleasures of breath, movement, and connection rather than buying more products. The last thing we need to is start lumping yoga in with all the other AMAZING DEALS on black Friday.

It is too late for this year. Another black Friday has come and gone. But it is not too late. I believe that yoga can help us build a better world. We can help shift the momentum that is pulling in the direction of emotional, physical, cultural, and environmental disaster. That is the kind of thing that makes me feel proud to tell people I am a yoga teacher.

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