Not to sound like a b*tch, but your yoga class was totally lame.

Via on Jun 1, 2011

As co-founder of the irreverent community forum Recovering Yogi, I am so pleased to share one of our favorite stories by our June contributor of the month, Shawn Radcliffe. I think a lot of us can recognize a little piece of ourselves in this farcical look at the mind of a superficial yoga student, and those of us who are/were yoga teachers will definitely recognize this student archetype. This piece was originally published on Recovering Yogi.

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(Originally published on Recovering Yogi on April 20, 2011)

My name’s Stasia. I was in your class tonight. I love yoga. I’ve been doing it since I was eighteen.

I used to ride horses, but that got lame real fast. Horses sweat and smell funny. Kind of like that guy in the corner in class? You should do something about him. Make him go to a beginner class. Or a midday class, because I don’t usually go to those, so it’s fine if he does.

I haven’t seen you at the studio before, so you must be a new teacher. Even though you’re kind of old. This is the first time I’ve taken your class, but I know enough about yoga to give you feedback. You don’t mind, do you? Of course you don’t. I mean, look at me; I’m hot and super-bendy. You’re lucky to just have me in your class.

Not to sound like a raging bitch, but your class was totally lame.

No, that’s not the only feedback I have. This is supposed to be a level two class, but it felt like a level one, maybe a one-and-a-half if I did it with my eyes closed, which I did part-way through just to keep from falling asleep.

You’re new here, so I’ll let you know how things really should be. I mean, you had us holding poses after just ten minutes. You’re not supposed to do that until at least forty minutes into class. And holding Warrior II? Dude, only beginners hold that pose.

No, I’m not a yoga teacher. But I’ve taken more classes here than you have, so I know what’s supposed to happen in class. Look at Bryan and Natasha’s classes. They make me work hard. I sweat a lot in those classes. I come here because I want a good workout, not to hold a pose and think about my breath. That’s just lame. I can do that at home while watching American Idol.

What types of things do I like in a yoga class? You know, stuff that makes me work hard. And sweat. Not the lame crap you had us doing.

Specifics? Why should I have to give you specifics?

You’re the yoga teacher; you should be able to figure it out. I mean, just make us work hard. Figure it out.

Okay, if you’re going to be like that. I like to move more. None of that holding poses crap. And there was no core. I come here to work on my abs.

What? The back is not the core. It’s abs. Dude, where’d you do your training? That’s lame. And when people say “core,” they mean crunches. Not holding in boat pose for a long time. That doesn’t do anything.

Also, you seemed to demonstrate more of the poses than the other teachers.

Bryan and Natasha never do that. You should at least try to be more like them. Bryan always says that he only does the poses that he can do well and if someone asks for something else he warns them that it might not look quite right. You should do that.

But if you’re still going to do the poses, you might as well do them right. I mean, your back leg was an inch too low in Warrior III. Maybe there are poses you actually can do, but if you can’t do them, you really shouldn’t show them. The beginners might get confused.

And the music. The last song you played in Sivasana was okay, but the rest was lame.

What? It’s pronounced Shivasana? I don’t think so. I’ve been doing yoga for five years, so I think I know more than you do about yoga verbiage. It sounds like the second “s” in my name. Sta-see-aaaaaa.

Anyway. That last song was okay. But the rest? I don’t like that jazzy stuff. I like music I can sweat to. Bryan and Natasha play music that’s way better than the crap you played.

No, that’s it. Maybe next week you’ll be better, but probably not. I might even think about coming back, but only if I can’t make it to Bryan or Natasha’s class that day.

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About Shawn Radcliffe

Shawn Radcliffe became a yoga teacher for the same reason as most: “I liked doing yoga and, um, well, it seemed like something fun to do.” After eight weeks of intense memorization of one yoga sequence (and occasional back stroking by his teacher), he added the 200-hour yoga teacher certification to his already-long-list of Exciting Degrees That Still Leave You Hungry (also includes Music, Creative Writing, and Clown). Shawn currently teaches yoga in Portland, Oregon, where according to his students he is the Senior Teacher of Mocking. He continues to write creatively, spewing forth his true divine nature on The Lost River of My Consciousness. You can find Shawn on Twitter.

About Joslyn Hamilton

Joslyn Hamilton is a freelance writer living in beautiful Marin County, California. She is one of the co-founders of Recovering Yogi and also launched Creative Truth or Dare. Joslyn has an imaginary spice + skincare line called SimpleBasic. She is a functioning craftaholic and counts hiking, cooking, reading and rabid tweeting among her many chaste vices. Reach her directly at joslyn@recoveringyogi.com

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36 Responses to “Not to sound like a b*tch, but your yoga class was totally lame.”

  1. Leah says:

    I love this blog because I feel like the writer is talking about me. Reading it has helped me to realize I need to stop acting like a superficial douche bag in class.

    • Shawn R says:

      Leah, you should make t-shirts with that saying: "Today I will stop acting like a superficial douche bag in class." Maybe with a picture of a douche doing yoga. I'd buy one. ;-)

      • Leah says:

        I love that idea. I think the girls from recovering yogi should make the tee's. Those girls already make some pretty hilarious ones. Check them out!!

  2. I really think all teachers and students can relate to something in this!

  3. Great article, Shawn. Looking forward to more in this series.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

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  4. This article is utterly brilliant! Thank you!!

  5. Yogatchr says:

    Didn't get this. Sounded really pretentious trying not to be pretentious. The whole thing just kinda made me sad.

  6. Jen says:

    Ok, this is me EXACTLY. So funny, especialy considering one of my favorite teacher's names is Natasha! Anyway, I went through this exact experience today. The whole class I was thinking why the eff am I here? I could be having fun right now. This really made me smile. It allowed me to read all of the things I wanted to say to my teacher (EXCEPTt the I'm hot, your lucky to have me in your class part, that is CREEPY!). I guess I need to be more patient..

    • allie says:

      Wow at wanting to say all these things to a teacher. If I love a class or if its different for me, I always think there is some takeaway message. First of all it is impossible for a teacher to please every student in the class…second of all I agree with Katie, or at least I think I do..this is what happens when the ego takes over and a practice becomes all about perfecting the pretty poses and sweating like you've run a marathon. I guess it goes with the territory of Yoga becoming main stream….I can only hope that the student writing the fictional complaint (who represents at least 50% of the class….).sticks with the classes long enough to evolve into a more compassionate soul who might try and understand what is is the yoga teacher is trying to share with the class that day and who realizes that the innner challenge of yoga is to remain calm in both the easiest and most difficult poses of the class and that sitting in quiet and peace ( no matter how sucky the music) with no movement is the biggest challenge of all.

  7. Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  8. lame instructor says:

    u wan to sweat, u dont get to yoga. u can go to sauna and watching ur america idol or even better u can do some jumping like a monkey while watching that show in the sauna.

    level of difficulty is just a man made judgement. awareness on ur posture is the most

  9. Shawn R says:

    We've all had those thoughts at some time about our teachers, but the filter usually keeps the words from coming out. My filter is the fact that my teachers are "hot" and I'm too shy to talk to them. ;-)

    • Jen says:

      Don't be too shy to talk to your hot yoga teachers! They might be single…
      My filter is that I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I guess yoga, like music, is a very personal thing. Some people LOOOOOVE holding warrior 2 for 25 minutes while the teacher goes over where every freakin bone in your body should be. I am not one of them. When I leave these types of classes, I feel extremely pissed off. I don't think that's the goal of yoga. I like to sweat and have fun in my yoga classes, and I make no apologies for it.

      • Yogini5 says:

        Good that sweat(ing) and "having fun" are in the same sentence for you.
        Usually "sweat" and "self-conscious" are in the same sentence for me, sometimes with "pain" and "humiliation" following along like dutiful soldiers …
        I absolutely think it is possible to be taught where my lines of energy are without holding Warrior II for even 25 SECONDS … being encouraged to find my edges in how I hold a pose … even the simplest, has been a revelation … and a revolution …

  10. Katie says:

    This is brilliant! A fantastic reminder that the entire being benefits when ego is removed from practice. Every now and then I need a kick-in-the-pants reminder that there is something to learn from everyone. Even the b*tches in class. Even the new instructor.

    Thank you, thank you!

  11. yogiclarebear says:

    hehe!

    love the giant zucchini.

  12. Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

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  13. Tanya Lee Markul tanya lee markul says:

    Sometimes when I read articles from this point of view I honestly get a bit confused about what I am taking from it – it's a nice test of my ego. :-) Thank you.

  14. Shawn R says:

    Confusion is the first step towards wisdom. Which means someday I'll be very wise.

  15. [...] Not to sound like a b*tch, but your yoga class was totally lame. [...]

  16. Colin Wiseman Colin Wiseman says:

    I think what I can take from it is there are some people out there that "do yoga" not practice yoga. Does that make sense? I have "done yoga" for 2 years, but I feel that it's in the last 6months to a year that I can say I practice yoga. Yoga being an everyday thing.

    So the article speaks volumes to me, especially about the way the teacher handled it (the non-vocal part…) by not really saying much and letting the person rant. I have never met anyone like the main character, thankfully, as I'd probably say "if you want to work out like that go to a Body Combat or Spin class, leave my yoga to be fucking peaceful" *slap* (hopefully the slap would wake them out of the daze that yoga is here to be only a body workout!)

  17. Shawn R says:

    I agree. Yoga is something that you practice, not do. Something that you keep coming back to. I am all for working hard in yoga, but if the physical part is the end of your practice, then why do yoga? You can always find an equally effective physical activity that is cheaper and even outside, like running followed by stretching, or even aerobics followed by stretching.

    Another great t-shirt for the Recovering Yogi women: Leave my yoga to be fucking peaceful *slap*

  18. I had someone once tell me she hated my class because,"you talk too. I am a therapist", she continued, I have to listen to people talk all day. I wanted to kill you"
    I said. "okay , sorry you feel that way, there are classes on xyz days as well"
    "well I cant make those so I will be back"
    I said , "no, im sorry, I dont want someone in my class who wants to kill me but thnxs"
    Freak.
    That was a nice reminder of why I dont teach group classes, but yoga therapy only!

    • Shawn R says:

      lol. A therapist who can't deal with her own issues. Love it!

      Although I admit that sometimes when I'm teaching I get sick of hearing my own voice. Of course, I don't threaten to kill me. That's just rude.

  19. ZensationalCreations says:

    Love this! I was visualizing the faces of people that may have thought and/or said the same type things about my teaching style. A bendy lil smug anesthesiologist attempted to correct my pronunciation of savasana. She said “it’s (save – asana). I replied: “Stick to knocking people out with drugs and I’ll stick to helping them wake the fuck up”. She returned to class the following week but never spoke to me, which is how I like it when I’m teaching anyway!

    • Shawn R says:

      That's a great mission statement for your yoga teaching. Personally, I like any mission statement that has the f#$% in it, though. ;-)

      It's amazing how often we think it's our place to openly critique people to their face. I mean, really, if you want to tell someone how to do his/her job, post it on Twitter.

      • Yogini5 says:

        Twitter has repercussions, though. If you are a yoga teacher, it could be bad for business. Just saying …

  20. cathy says:

    I loved it before and I still do.
    Thanks fo rthe re-up.

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