photo by Pete Longworth
We all know that every good story needs a villain, and mine is no exception. But this story's villain isn't a serial killer, or a psychopath. Sorry. He's just a really boring as fuck yoga intellectualist who seems hell bent on becoming the moral dicktator of the yoga underworld. This self proclaimed yoga moralist claims to be the gate keeper of yoga’s ethical standards, and the protector of all that is true yoga. This self obsessed, pale pony-tailed super villain, excessively confabulates his mind-numbing musings, while creepily stroking his fluffy white cat - google it. And like so many villains who fall in love with the hero they claim to hate, this villain made his object of obsession little ole me.
This story begins 3 years ago when I wrote an article that was a real pot boiler. Some people got a little disturbed when I announced that I had dated other consensual adults I had met in my classroom, and thought that it was just fine. I know, stop the presses. This just in: Consenting adult yoga teacher dates consenting adult yoga students - and is honest about it! The yoga illuminati had a field day. Every hyper-sensitive, candy assed harmonium playing, yoga sutra quoting teacher on the planet tried to punch me in my social media balls - and that was just the men. Many yonis, who clearly hadn’t seen a lingam in years, seemed equally as offended that I would be so irreverent, and unapologetic about denouncing the guru complex, and writing an article calling for equal accountability within the yoga community from adults who consensually sleep with their “gurus” and claim to be their victims.
But wait, insert ironic plot twist. I was never referring to my past partnerships, because I have never had any such accusation leveled against me. Not a single one - ever. In fact, I outed myself, in my own article. Why? One, because the modern yoga community is a perfect hidey-hole for people stuck in their stories. There is enough white privilege, hyper-femininist, fake, gossiping, two faced, back-stabbing-bitchiness stuffed into a pair of plastic lululemon pants to make the republican party look cozy. And two, like Bernie Sanders, I'm too old to give a fuck about being commercially endorsable, having combed hair, or interested in sucking the cock of corporate yoga. I don't need to pose naked in YJ Magazine in yoga socks to get noticed. I don't need a million followers on Instagram to be marketable. I don’t need fake credentials from a self appointed body of yoga elitists like Yoga Alliance, to be credible. And I don't need to avoid telling my students to get their shit together when they are being arrogant, entitled or undisciplined because I am afraid of hurting their feelings, and losing a “customer”. I curse, I'm crude, I like dick and fart jokes, and I deliberately disturb people who are easily disturbed. I'm not a guru, a cover model, a nanny, or a celebrity. I am a provocateur and movement artist. Feel provoked yet? Don't like my art? Disturbed by my love for myself? Don't love me? Don't worry - It's not your job to love me. It's mine.
So back to the story. We left off right as our villain, Matthew Remski, was trying to destroy me with his counter article, "Cameron Shayne is So His Body", declaring me the Ayn Rand of yoga. I thought it a compliment, but I really think of myself more as the Deadpool of yoga, with slightly tighter pants. None-the-less, after Remski's article the bloggers started punching my face book face - a lot. It was ugly, and thoughts of choking Remski until he shit his superman underoos filled my dreams. Fortunately one of my teachers said to me, “ Cameron, revenge is a dish served better cold.” So I did nothing, for 3 years, except tour the world teaching, grow Budokon University into a thriving and respected education institute for mind and movement, and got married to the greatest woman on the planet (who by the way was my student), hashtag #fuckyouremski. Happy ending? Not yet. Slow down, there’s so much more.
I haven’t even responded to Remski and his failed attempt to destroy the truth before it gets out... shhhh... listen... yoga is NOT a controlled commodity bound by any single dicktator’s ideologies, ethics or values, but rather a lifelong, never ending, exploration of your individual consciousness. And, that liberal and conservative views have failed to serve our community in any other way but divide it. I have to, even if it’s a little late in coming, remind us all that doing nothing, is often doing everything. But I know how you hate that taoist kung fu nonsense I espouse Remski. So without further backstory I now invite you, the audience, to examine excerpts from Remski’s original article. Enjoy.
“Shayne is shockingly gracious… lithe and buoyant,.. … sensitive to the subtlest internal conversations between the soft and the hard.” Matthew Remski
“What’s additionally weird about Shayne is that the main part of the flesh is doing this beautiful fleshy thing while the mouth part of the flesh is saying that the flesh itself is unreal.” Matthew Remski
“Cameron Shayne’s body is white and male and ripped and abled” Matthew Remski
“Which brings me back to Cameron Shayne’s fab-ab body of beauty and hotness…His body: which if I’d never read his posts, I would want to hug and hold and snuggle up to, to just feel for a moment what that type of strength and floatiness might feel like.” Matthew Remski
Okay Remski, First things first. Do you want to fuck me, or fight me? Do you even know why I triggered such romantic feelings and erotic cravings inside you? I doubt you are aware that your article, which walks an ambiguous line between envious, lascivious, and spiteful, is in fact an embittered love letter? One can’t help but wonder from your own words above, if you wanting to “hold my body, and feel my strength”, is not a yearning unto your own self to feel safe in your own pale, emasculated form? After all your mannerisms and your body communicate a delicate, pervasively soft man, not particularly physically embodied, but rather overtly intellectual and emotional. I intuit that you relate far less to the masculine, and almost exclusively to the feminine, in whose company you feel most safe where you can intellectually dominate and bully freely, as women being patient with toddlers, are far more tolerant of your childish rants. I sense mommy/daddy issues. But let’s not stop there.
“Shayne paints all shared ethical standards as “dogmatic”, and repressive of our naturally-arising need to learn something about, oh I don’t know, anything but power. He betrays a breathtaking ignorance of the basic structural and gendered oppressions of our culture. This isn’t his fault, of course, because as he confesses in one comment: “Possibly my blind spot is that I simply don’t relate to being to weak, vulnerable or unaware…”. Isn’t it fun watching someone make a virtue of a complete empathy fail?” Matthew Remski
Remski, I admittedly don’t have a relationship with weakness, vulnerability, or lack of awareness, because I see nothing has ever occurred that was unnecessary, regardless of how unpleasant. Shit happens to us all. Horrible, terrible, painful shit, and yet it’s my shit to work through, within myself. I will not be, nor teach my students to be attached to any identity, including but especially that of the victim. I am unattached, not because I am apathetic, but because compassion requires an equal understanding of both the oppressor and the oppressed, though I don't have to agree with the behavior of either. I can protest both of their actions, while remaining neutral, so that both can grow - because everyone has the right to get unstuck. If I investigate one, and not the other, I fail them both. With compassionate and philosophical education, it becomes evident that there are no good guys or bad guys, as they are the same in the eyes of universal casualty. The universe operates, not from mankind’s limited and crude conceptual morality, but rather from natural congruency. Things are out of your tiny little mind’s control Remski - like it or not.
Modern society, social media and a large part of the modern yoga culture have created a historically unparalleled landscape of privileged talentless critiques skilled at public shame and blame. A breeding ground for people, like you Remski, who refuse to see the part they play in their own stories, and by doing so further the story in others. You tell us that depression brought you to yoga, which at least explains your identification as the weak, vulnerable, victims you claim to defend. The reality is that you aren't defending others, you are defending your self. And we all are. Yet you somehow claim to have the answers for the weaker folks that buy your counterfeit rationale disguised as wisdom. But not me. I see you little boy. Not good enough, not strong enough, not smart enough. Instead of turning your pain into compassion you have become the very thing you claim to hate - a bully.
You seem baffled and even jealous by how well I understand my own body. But you fail to see I move freely because I am free. Where, as you move as you are, weak, rigid, trapped, and limited, because you are a fragile, bitter man. Your only safety is in being right, and hearing yourself talk. Any person who identifies with the nonsense you rant about in painfully long self published books and essays, is identifying with your pain and your anger - not your talent.
“Shayne believes that yoga teachers should not be subject to ethical or regulatory restraints that limit free sexual access to their students." Matthew Remski
I agree, and I think you and Donald Trump should build a wall around all the yoga yonis in the world, and save our females from freedom of expression and choice. They’ll be liberated from the burden of having to make adult decisions because they’ll be safely nestled in your pale mushy arms, against your soft man boobs. You suggest we regulate who can date who in a yoga class? You claim we would all be safe if everyone agreed to your moral standards. That strong people like you, will protect other people you label as weak? You wish to set the yoga community standards for safety, creativity, principles and values? What’s clear is that your offer as a strong teacher, to protect the weaker students, is a cleverly disguised arrogant assessment of your diaphanous knowledge. Translation - Vote Remski for Yoga Alliance President.
"To my reading, his argument (which is echoed in many of the comments) reflects a mixture of two larger streams of thought that are quite influential in U.S. culture: hyper-individualist radical libertarianism, on the one hand, and irrational New Age spirituality, on the other. This, in my view, is a toxic mix: capable of legitimating all sorts of power abuses, while at the same time advancing a twisted logic that “blames the victim” when they occur.” Carol Horton quoted in Matthew Remski's Article
Horton and Remski, would have people believe that free thinking and free moving innovators and creatives in the world of yoga is dangerous. That the US hyper-individualist liberals are destroying good old fashion yogic values and putting innocent yogis at risk of orgasms, critical thinking, and joyful consensual relationships.
You claim to hate the US free market and its corporatization of yoga. But with a biography that raves of free market accomplishments such as books, yoga conferences directorships, teacher trainings, youtube videos, online courses, and elaborate teaching credentials, you reveal the ironic fact that you are that which you claims to hate the most - a free market materialist retailer of consumer goods. A man who opposes a neoliberal free market system, while suckling on its tit like a wide eyed child.
The ideals that you promote and represent are the worst form of modern neo liberalism disguised as public care, yet is in fact moral fascism. You would have us be more regulated, more governed, and in line with your version of yoga. The problem with this ideology is first, that yoga is a philosophy, not a clinical science. Asana can certainly be taught as a therapeutic application for physical or emotional injury, but so can swimming. Yoga is a personal journey that is as subjective as reality itself. But you would like us all to believe it's what you see through those contrived round spectacles you wear in your website bio, sitting in front of a pile of books that you are so painfully are trapped within.
“In yet another comment stream he (cameron shayne) compares sharing sex to sharing food, “just another thing that we do together”, as he says in his post — as if dinner, like sex, holds the danger of rape.”
In the above quote, Remski, you use a tactic even Donald Trump would be proud of, by bringing rape into a conversation about consensual adult sex. Which part of this conversation, where adults get to have varying opinions on sexual morality are you missing? Should we install cameras in our bedrooms so you can monitor our mating habits, as well as our yoga practices, to make sure we are meeting the Remski safety standard? What you encourage is the worst direction for modern feminism. Your logic would have us teaching women that as adults, they can walk into an environment, (yoga studio or workplace), engage in consensual mating rituals, followed by consensual relating, and when things don't work out they way they prefer, they can claim to be the victims of other adults, who should have known better.
“Everyone knows that rules are meant to protect the vulnerable” Matthew Remski
No, Remski. Rules are mercurial moral norms created by society, and change as regularly as societies leadership. Rules do not protect. Rules enforce. Most social laws and rules are in service of social order and the flow of commerce. If rules protected society we would not be constantly changing them to adjust to the latest trends, leaders, and social fears. Rules are short lived social agreements. By depending on rules, made by the “powerful to protect the weak”, we meet our Orwellian fate. Our government invests billions of dollars a year into rules, via the military complex, police agencies, judicial systems, and prisons, yet we are not safer - because safety is an illusion. And what is worse, rules are paper tigers within a society of undereducated, impoverished, and disenfranchised citizens. Education and intelligence all but eradicate the need for rules and rulers.
So how do you or I “make” people safe, or loved enough not to become victims of their own choices, you ask? My answer is, I can’t, and neither can you. No one can protect people from themselves. Each person must learn to love themselves, thru their own words, thoughts and deeds. I can do my part by educating, supporting, and understanding, but each person must learn to love themselves enough. Are laws necessary? Yes. Do they stop all unnecessary socially destructive behavior? No. Only the eduction of our citizens as philosophers, scientists and artist, has proven to change humanity. Helping our society understand each others pain, explore each others conditions, and recognize our own self worth, can stop us from raping, murdering, manipulating, or feeding off of each others weaknesses.
“Then he infantilizes people (women especially) who are enthralled by authority, and then claims that everyone is capable of equal consent, and then that vulnerable women will be preyed on by somebody, so why go out of our way to prevent it?”
What an ironic twist for you to suggest I treat women like children who can’t make an adult decision, when it is your novel idea to police consenting adults with regulatory restraints that limit free sexual access to one another. Prevention is education, not a vagina wall. But why should we be surprised by the ideas of a man who has never lived outside of the internet and a thesaurus. You have created nothing new, nothing innovative, and your entire body of work is a criticism of other people’s endeavors, all published by you, for you, and in service to your low self esteem. You are a man-child who lives in your mind, disconnected from your body, and trapped in a very boring story. So Remski, after 3 years of doing nothing but enjoying life and contributing other people's happiness, your dish of revenge is my happiness served ice cold.
But wait - I have a different ending for people who love life and find purpose in celebrating others. Hashtag #yourenotadick
When we are happy, moving, breathing, and loving, we take no pleasure in sitting behind a keyboard, fixated on what’s wrong with the world, and other people. Yoga, like any concept that arises from the mind, will disappear with the mind. The process of self inquiry is and always will be a personal and often lonely journey. But in the end we all find our way back to the truth, that our truth is a liar - and always will be. Love CS