Progress reported between Yoga Journal and hotel picketers; Shyam Das passes

This shows what a public yoga class can do.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian is reporting that progress has been made between workers who are picketing at the San Francisco Hyatt Regency and organizers of the Yoga Journal Conference, which is being held there despite the protests:

The group Yogis Uniting for Workers’ Right held a high-profile yoga session on the sidewalk in front of the Hyatt yesterday “in a show of solidarity with the workers,” the group (led by local yogi Sean Feit) wrote on its Facebook site. “Because a living wage and health care are fundamental aspects of enlightenment, and because we believe that all the yoga in the world isn’t worth a damn if people aren’t taking action to make the world better.”

The hotel workers union Unite-Here Local 2 also met yesterday with one of the conference’s highlighted yoga teachers, Seane Corn, and her group Off the Mat, Into the World. Afterward, Corn issued this statement: “After listening and learning I want to publicly acknowledge my ongoing support to the workers and believe fully in this boycott… I will not teach at the 2014 SF YJ Conference, or any other conference, if they’re held at the Hyatt and the boycott is still in place.”

Other yogis featured at the conference – such as Shiva Rae, who publicly said, “Their mistreatment of their employees is not in alignment with where we all stand” – have also made public statements of support for the workers and pledged to stay at other hotels, even while planning to teach at this year’s conference as scheduled.

The workers, it should be noted, aren’t on strike — they’ve just been working for three and a half years without a contract, according to the Guardian.

The key thing to note is that some of the conference’s big names — Corn, Shiva Rae — are getting involved. If they won’t teach at next year’s conference, that’s the kind of pressure that will make things happen.

In other, sadder news, you may have seen that bhatki guru Shyam Das passed away in India this weekend, reportedly in a motorcycle accident. Here is official word from his website:

Hari OM…Beloved friends and loved ones of Shyamdasji and bhaktas and kirtan lovers. Our priceless friend Shyamdasji left this world last night. He spent his remaining hours, as usual, in satsang and bliss with a group of dear friends. On this night in particular they were reading Shri Vallabhacarya’s teaching “Krsnashraya” and reflecting deeply on and repeating the refrain, “Krsna eva gatir mama…Krishna is my refuge and destination.” He has arrived at his final refuge and destination now.

We add our Hari Om to the many being said today.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

2 thoughts on “Progress reported between Yoga Journal and hotel picketers; Shyam Das passes”

  1. Just wanted to mention that as far as I could see, there was no picket line at the conference—I was there all four days. But it seems like attendees and teachers alike are aware of the situation and in agreement that we should support a boycott. I’m impressed with how YJ and many of the prominent teachers faced this situation, and hope that next year is finds those workers in a better situation.

    And about Shyamdas… thank you for acknowledging his passing. He was like an uncle to many of us in the bhakti/kirtan community. Jai posted his most recent email from Shyamaji—I think it’s very timely.


    Dear Sakhi

    we like spice
    the flavors of love and intensity.
    nothing boring about bhakti.
    but by the way
    have you seen the crooked ONE
    I have a message for him
    “I hold this pran
    so the search can go on.
    don’t delay
    Pran can go anyday.”

    Jai Shri Krishna

    Jai Shri Krishna


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