September 11 is a national day of remembrance, a day when America reflects on the horrific terrorist attacks that claimed more than 3,000 lives and, of course, looks for good deals on yoga lessons. At least, that’s the thinking led one Arlington yoga studio to offer discounted yoga lessons in honor of 9/11. It went over about as well as you might think.
The crew at Bikram Yoga Arlington probably didn’t think they were doing anything too scandalous on Thursday when they name-dropped 9/11 in the course of publicizing their discounts on yoga sessions. They most certainly didn’t think the tweets were going to ignite a firestorm of criticism, the kind that proves that there is such a thing as bad publicity.
“Freedom Isn’t Free,” their initial post read, according to The Washington Post, “And we intend to honor those patriots who have died for our country and [mourn] the loss of freedom of speech and other rights that died that day.”
Okay, a bit odd, but not too inflammatory. The yoga studio, though, then proceeded to offer “discounts like a week of yoga classes for $40 rather than $50 and a year of unlimited yoga classes for $1,000 rather than the normal price of $1,250.”
The backlash on Twitter was almost immediate, and it was fierce.
@bikramarlington No. You wanted to sell something of of the deaths of innocent people. Everyone knows what date it was. It’s called “9/11”
— Mike Jasko (@JaskoThe3rd) September 11, 2014
@bikramarlington you should be ashamed. Tasteless…you could have highlighted this day in so many ways but a discount? Disgraceful. — Anna Roscigno (@lilwolf30) September 11, 2014
The fact that there even was a controversy took Bikram Arlington’s proprietors by surprise. Really, who doesn’t get the connection between the Twin Towers collapsing and sweet discounts on hot yoga?
“I didn’t realize people would be so ‘roar,’ you know?” owner Zahra Vaezi told the Post. Vaezi said that her husband came up with the idea after seeing the effectiveness of Labor Day and back-to-school specials that she had offered before.
Then, a truly beautiful thing happened. Somehow, Vaezi was able to draw a connection between the uproar over her studio’s attempt to capitalize on 9/11 and the ongoing controversy over ousted NFL star Ray Rice.
“It’s like that man who punched his wife,” Vaezi told the Post. “I mean, that’s upsetting. But I think it kind of gets blown out of proportion.”
By way of apologizing for attempting to capitalize on the memory of 9/11, they drew a parallel between their situation and the furor over Ray Rice. Out of all of the dumb things we’ve heard people say about Ray Rice, this is among our faves.
The Bikram Arlington twitter account then became a veritable fount of apologies, from the requisite “sorry to anyone who was offended” on to the bizarre:
In the end, though, Bikram Arlington’s owners blamed the 9/11 promotion on “yoga brain,” which is… like… a thing that happens to your brain after an hour or so of hot yoga, according to one of the owners.
I wrote that stupid post at 1am with yoga brain. I’m sure some of you know what I mean. Z fought against it don’t blame her!!
— Bikram Arlington (@bikramarlington) September 11, 2014
The apologies kept coming on September 11, with eight explanatory tweets going out to express “our sincerest apologies.” The studio appears to have moved on from the incident, as the most recent post just says to “Keep Calm and Hot Yoga On.”
[Lead image via 911 Yoga.]