VICTORIA – A mass yoga session planned for a downtown Vancouver bridge has collapsed after British Columbia’s premier announced she would drop out of the event and two companies backed out of sponsoring it.
Christy Clark responded to backlash by tweeting that she will not participate in Om the Bridge on June 21 and that yoga is about celebrating peace and harmony, not politics.
Retailer Lululemon and YYoga, a chain of yoga studios, then announced they will pull out of sponsoring the event that would have closed the Burrard Street Bridge in the city’s downtown.
Both companies said in separate statements Friday that their intentions were pure but they heard only disappointment and frustration about the event.
“We hoped that our intentions would shine through but that has not been the case,” YYoga founder Terry McBride said.
He said the company is working on holding a yoga session in a park to “reflect the tradition of yoga and the wishes of our community.”
Lululemon spokeswoman Jill Battie said the company is “taking a deep cleansing breath and over the next several days, we’ll be reimagining a celebration that honours the spirit and tradition of yoga and serves our communities in a more meaningful way.”
Clark’s plan to close a major bridge to celebrate International Yoga Day even drew the ire of children’s author Raffi. Others said the premier should be focusing on aboriginal issues because June 21 is also national Aboriginal Day.
Clark has said Yoga Day is celebrated worldwide by millions of people and is sanctioned by the United Nations.
Opposition NDP Leader John Horgan said that while Clark has said she wants to take the politics out of yoga, she is responsible for doing just that.
Closing the bridge was expected to cost thousands of dollars.
“Where this event went sideways was that it was an expense of public dollars that seemed wasteful,” Horgan said. “Millionaires get tax breaks and the premier shuts down a road so she can have a yoga class. I think that offended people.”