Don’t F* With My Yoga! Yoga Snob: 10 Pet Peeves on the Mat.

Via on Apr 4, 2009

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Stops Being Polite. Start Getting Real.

by Sarah Janelle Miller

I’m a certified yoga snob. I have the lineage to prove it. As a third gen yogi, I’ve got a feel for the good, the bad and the ugly.

Leave it to we Westerners to dumb down and speed up a time tested, proven method of self-awareness, even enlightenment. I can see right through these modern approaches to yoga asanas. Hot yoga? (With research you’ll find, prior to Choudhury, it didn’t exist.) Power yoga? (Do you want more ego with that?) No importance to intention, Pranayama or Meditation? (Blasphemy!)

We all know the “yogis” who think a 75 minute class three times a week fulfills their yogic quotients. Fine. Whatever. But here are my top ten peeves whilst on the mat, taking a studio class:

  1. Is there any ventilation in here? This air has been in here for five years! Seriously, not even a window to open to clear the place out! Nothing is worse than hoping for deeper inhales and exhales and knowing that you’re breathing in the same air as the last class. Where’s the prana?
  2. Carpet? I’m pretty sure “stihra-shukam asanam” is easier without it. Any studio still in the carpet age, needs serious transition. Fast!
  3. Renovating your studio and you didn’t choose non-toxic materials? Shame on you. That paint will be off-gassing on your students for another ten years…
  4. Your yoga instructor is dressed head to toe in Lululemon, complete with matching headband. Walking billboard? Corporate sponsorship?
  5. The instructor mispronounces Sanskrit terms—or worse, doesn’t use them at all! (equally disturbing is Sanskrit with a Southern twang.)
  6. A shortened Shavasana. A Shavasana that the instructor talks through…being told to “relax” over and over and over…
  7. Hearing only about what the poses look like and how you look doing them. Referrals to “this will make your butt tighter and your thighs leaner.” (I thought I was here to dissolve my ego?)
  8. No intention-setting. No pranayama. No inward dive towards Self. You mean we’re just going to start? Like this? Standing?
  9. Seeing your teacher out the night before getting sauced on the vino and smoking a cigarette, in between bites of BBQ ribs.
  10. No meditation?! The whole point of asanas is to prepare you for meditation and the experience of Samadhi. I’m pretty sure the folks in class aren’t going home to do it. Given us at least a taste of it!

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About Saraswati J.

Saraswati J. is a Jyotish Coach and Consultant, bridging ancient wisdom with a Body-centered approach to Expressive Art Therapy. Her Jyotish work is especially well suited to the extra sensitive artists, mystics and healers---and those looking for insights for their dharmic path. Check out her website and find her on Facebook. Additionally, she creates unique adornments with the urban goddess in mind. Check out her jewelry at Swati Jr* Jewelry {Be A Goddess. Be Adorned.} #BeAGoddess and also on Facebook.

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29 Responses to “Don’t F* With My Yoga! Yoga Snob: 10 Pet Peeves on the Mat.”

  1. sj* says:

    thanks editor!

  2. True yoga snobs practice at home.

  3. Katja says:

    Totally guilty of at least a few of these items. I will discuss later. BUT, I totally agree. The meaning is lost. This is what happens when westerner's decide something is cool, trendy, etc. I could argue that SOMEHOW getting into fitness club yoga or whatever MAY at some point, force some students, to delve deeper. Granted, this is not the case for all, but, I can hope, right?

  4. ebeans says:

    It's all relative . . . pratyahara: easier said than done.

  5. ACFRI says:

    #6 is my biggest p. peeve

  6. April says:

    "A snob is someone who adopts the worldview that some people are inherently inferior to him or her for any one of a variety of reasons, including real or supposed intellect, wealth, education, ancestry, etc."

    For a 3rd generation yogi, it seems you have quite an ego yourself. I know that I do at times, but I don't pass judgement on others, either. We're all in yoga class to learn. Perhaps you should use those trying times to practice patience and love and understanding.

  7. sj* says:

    it takes an ego to know an ego, april, thanks!

    • lizb says:

      haha. yea, i mean, everyone needs teachers. what's wrong with being one now and again. fantastic post sarah! i think you nailed it, even though i have totally been guilty of #9. yelling over the band at the fox, "how do i know you? How do i know you?" yea. nice.

  8. mamabear says:

    You seem REALLY angry and uptight! You need to do more yoga and stop being so judgemental!

  9. Neener says:

    Ha! I know exactly what you're saying, sj*! A few years ago I was at a wedding and a yogi-friend of the bride's was planning on coming over to the house the day of the wedding to practice with the wedding party and help us relax. This was a tried-and-practiced woman who had quit her corporate job because she was so enthralled with yoga… THe rehearsal dinner night I watched her suck down about 9 tequila shots and then ralph in the parking lot. The next day as she told me over and over to "relax, just breath in and out, in and out" all I could think was – haha! I watched you hurl! And of course, being a "yoga snob" myself (I try, I am still learning…albeit from a fantastic, wise, experienced, very well-learned teacher who just happens to be my cousin) I kept thinking about how my cousin(s) would sooo find this a funny experience!

    My two cents…

  10. Rafe says:

    It takes an ego to write this judgmental piece full of complaints.

  11. jill says:

    Sarah, I thank you for being one of the first to understand than fashion is for everyone and can take outsiders, like yoginis into the mainstream. I, personal have lived in bliss my whole life. How do I do it? Well, it begins with a dedication to color coordination and the kind of self confidence that says, "Hey, If I always look this good, I may never be bothered with learning that periodic table. Thanks to yoga. I am beautifully fit . And thanks to lululemon, everyone knows I have enough money to by the most expensive brand on the market. Do you know where I can get toe rings. I am decorating my tree pose for Christmas. My boyfriend wants to know if that picture is really a campaign for gay marriage? Is it?-jg

  12. Jonathan says:

    Sarah, repeat after me…. I will chill… I will relax… I will breathe and let go (except if the studio is just nasty stuffy – on that one you are right on)… If these things really do actually F* with your yoga, then maybe you need another generation or two to get right with the world… Everyone must travel their own path… Also – just quickly skimming through the various texts within reach – didn't actually see a formal yogic "quotient" that a person needs to fulfill to qualify for the club… If I missed that memo at the last meeting, please forward.

    Thanks.

  13. Jessica says:

    LIGHTEN UP

  14. Rob says:

    I see the points to this article, but as a 1st generation yogi of only 5 years, I disagree with many of your premises. Although I do totally agree with #3. But yoga is a journey, and much of what you listed enthralled me at first with yoga, now I see much of it was pride, but it was a lesson I had to learn myself, not one that someone could tell me on day 1 of my yoga journey, if someone had told me this as a absolute — I may have never done a second day of yoga. But, patience from the instructors and experienced students allowed me to grow (I have long way to go) but even in a room wher ethe air is so stale you can't brathe – I find peace. I now focus on finding the teachers that do yoga the way you would like — they are out there. So I go to classes that are where I am at in my yoga practice. But, Ihad to start out in kindergarten-trying to be the cool kid before I could be in 5th grade and know how to center myself on and off the mat. I hope to make it to 6th grade 1 day.

  15. Rob says:

    As to lululemon, I suggest you read the history of the corporation, it started above a yoga studio, and works on socially responsible business models. Sure you can buy a 10 dollar t-shirt, instead — but do you know it was made in way that you would be comfortable with in your spirit. I am excited that a fgellow yogi was able to grow a small business into a corporation — we need more people that actually acre about more than the bottom line running corporations.

  16. [...] sincerely: “what do you do when someone steps on your yoga mat?!” I almost turned this into a Yoga Snob piece, but then realized the beauty of the [...]

  17. Guest says:

    What's wrong with a "Southern twang"

  18. Jim says:

    Poor Sarah, so much anger. All of your yoga doesn't seem to be helping you. Perhaps you could do a trade with a qualified therapist to help you. My guess is that you are an Adult Indigo.

  19. dee says:

    wow, after reading this, i actually thought to myself, oh my god, i'm not good enough. now THAT is not what yoga is. this is a really negative article…but me complaining about it puts me in the same boat. all i have to say is that it's a practice. it's meant to push your buttons. if you don't like what is going on, then maybe it's a reflection of what is going on with you?

  20. ARCreated says:

    ps I try VERY hard to pronounce my sanskrit correctly but I often f – it up… c'est la vie.
    I take a class where he uses NO sanskrit…heck I don't think he names the poses AT ALL…he tells us where to put our limbs LOL..and it is still a marvelous and enlightening class. My favorite is sanskrit with an australia accent :)

  21. [...] of time, you know: people do annoying things in yoga class all the time. Lots of annoying things. Lots and lots of annoying things. Lots and lots and lots of annoying [...]

  22. "self proclaimed wordsmith" ?? christ… also you sound like a super mega douche. keep on yogain' and pretending that you are of some higher level of existence, you slunt.

  23. vivian araullo says:

    good golly miss yogi snob, i hope this entire article is a satire. many of what you said here said here does not align with the whole yoga "thing" (and i'm not just talking asana)–i.e. the one handed down by patanjali. please look up the meanings of avidya and ahimsa and reflect on those. from point 4-7, you kind of revealed that maybe, you might want to consider that there's more to yoga, yoga teachers and the various asana systems (beyond jivamukti) than what you know. sister–this article does not put yoga in a good light. yoga snobbery is just plain old snobbery. as far as i know, nothing in our practice tells us to look down on other people whether they wear lululemon, smoke, eat meat , get drunk or high or have a southern twang.

  24. Samoonta says:

    Apparently all that pious Yogic breeding didn't do much to carve out much tolerance and creativity in you. Instead you just sound like the stereotypical snot nosed Yoga perfectionist that froze me into inaction from trying Yoga for years (until a few years ago when I decided to ignore people like you). The point; you're missing it. And I say that with a lovely Atlanta southern lilt to my voice.

  25. SLHtm says:

    Here are some lovely word cloud keywords from your self written writer profile listed beneath the article. It helps me understand how you've come to write such an incredibly unknowingly negative article about a practice built around love and peace and acceptance:

    "self-proclaimed" "yogi/dancer, jewelry designer" "aka Swati Jr*" "seems to travel more than she stays in once place—truly testing the theory that home is within.” "she might be pontificating" "when her fingers aren’t overtly tired from sitar practice" "famous"

    Yes, yes Sarah. We all understand. You're very very important.

  26. Tina says:

    My goodness! Yoga is for everyone… or should be. I appreciate beautiful Sanskrit terminology but choose not to overuse them as not to alienate newbies. I want my class to feel comfortable and come to find yoga in their own way, in their own time and in their own hearts. I think if more people practiced yoga starting wherever they are….meditating, physical asana, etc…the world would be a better place. As for ego—maybe you should check yours at the newly renovated, carpeted, lululemon-clad, sweet Southern door but if you can't that's ok too. We are all on a journey here.

  27. Roger says:

    I love your yoga teacher, whoever she is. I wish I had that amount of compassion as a yoga teacher. :)!

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