10 Things I Will Never Do In Yoga.

Via Michelle Marchildon
on Mar 26, 2012
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Competition, Wanderlust and porn:

Here are a few of my not-so-favorite things about yoga.

Ten things I will never do in yoga:

1. A yoga competition. It’s supposed to be “non-competitive.” Besides, I will probably kick your ass.


2. Ignore the teacher, and especially close my eyes and make the finger mudra while the teacher is talking. Puhleeese. Can you imagine if your kids did that while you were talking? Or your partner? “Um, I can’t hear you, because I’m uber-meditating.”


3. Go from down dog to handstand, to forward fold and press back up to handstand and then float to Chaturanga, Plank Pose. Okay, maybe not never, but certainly not now. And certainly not in a Level One Beginner Class. I don’t need that much attention.


4. Yoga Porn. You know what it is, where someone is doing a one-armed handstand on a cliff. It’s hard enough against a wall. However, if I looked as good as the girl in her underwear for Equinox, then I would absolutely do yoga in my skivvies.


5. Glorify the whole lying broken on a bathroom floor thing. I must have read at least 200 blogs that begin with someone being broken somewhere. In fact, that did happen to me, and it was much better when I stood up and brushed myself off.


6. Lose my sense of humor on the mat. Or anywhere else. And especially not in the really hard poses. I will laugh my way to enlightenment, or I will quit and try again in my next life.


7. Turn down a cupcake because it isn’t gluten free. Or a drink.


8. Attend a festival called “Wander” and “Lust” because I’m married and generally very happy at home. Unless they pay me a lot of money. As Cyndi Lauper says, money changes everything.


9. Start a class with meditation because I think that is cruel and unusual punishment. If more yogis actually read the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, they would understand that the whole purpose of practicing is to get to the seated meditation, and not the other way around.


10. And never, again, will I put my trust in a “guru.” That also goes for being part of a cult, worshiping pagan rituals and hanging out with lots of Wiccans who are apparently having sex in covens and not inviting me. At least I hope I don’t. But really, who knows? I didn’t know about any of that stuff in the first place in Anusara yoga because I was too busy being non-competitive with my handstand just in case, you know, I needed to kick anybody’s ass.


Editor: Kate Bartolotta


About Michelle Marchildon

Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s an award-winning journalist, and the author of Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga. Her second book, Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga, is for yoga teachers who want to inspire their students. Michelle is a columnist for elephant journal and Origin Magazine and a contributor to Teachasana, My Yoga Online and Yoga Journal. She is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and teaches in Denver, Co where she is busy raising two boys, two dogs and one husband. You can follow her on Facebook at Michelle Marchildon, The Yogi Muse. You can find her blog and website at www.YogiMuse.com. And you can take her classes on www.yogadownload.com.


76 Responses to “10 Things I Will Never Do In Yoga.”

  1. Sara says:

    High 5!! I appreciate your skeptism even if I am guilty of some softcore yoga porn.

  2. Andrew Gurvey says:

    I appreciate humor as much as the next person, but I see a lot of anger in your list. Maybe because I have my own biases. Your post is simply coming across as mean. All of the things you might "never" do are not necessarily bad things, and it feels like you are coming across as someone who is saying that one who does those things is somehow a part of some other world that isn't yoga. I'll concede that I am not about yoga competition or gurus and that you bring up some valid ideas. Your presentation is kind of harsh and insensitive, though. Of course, maybe I'm just hypersensitive and reading too much into it. Or maybe your post is just striking a nerve with me because I think some of the things you are condemning are based on anger at yourself. Maybe it bugs me because you make it sound like the "broken" people who don't get up and dust themselves off are somehow less than.

  3. Lee says:

    After just turning 50 and getting hurt in a yoga class, I wholeheartedly agree with "laughing myself to enlightenment.", because its all I can do right now with my ankle in a cast, after coming down out of a handstand and breaking my ankle in two places AND being used in the next class as the reason why "People that age ought to know their limits!"

    As you said earlier in the year "Thank you is the new F&$k You"

  4. Shannon says:

    Love #7!!!!!

  5. Michelle Marchildon says:

    The funny thing about humor, is that not everyone thinks it's funny. I have re-read this to see if it was "mean" or mean-spirited and I don't see it. I do get a little peeved, as a teacher, when I have a beginner class and someone takes a space right in front to practice his handstand when everyone else is trying unsuccessfully to balance in Crow, Bakasana. That is self-absorbed and rude to the beginners. But if it is an advanced class, handstand all you want. Knock yourself out with triple Chaturangas. Be my guest. On the "yoga porn," I was trying to laugh a little at the hundreds of photos uploaded everyday where the yogi is very external, very much doing the pose for the camera. In my opinion, that has little to do with yoga, and a lot to do with the person, again saying, "look at meeeeeeee!" Somewhere yoga stopped being done from the inside out, and became very much about the outside world. Just my opinion. You are more than welcome to disagree, especially since you did so respectfully, and I'd love to see you in my advanced classes. I bet you are fun and inspiring to watch.

  6. omiya says:

    This is a great post. I love #9, could never understand that. A lot of this post is just about true yoga verus the westernization of yoga (not necessarily bad, just not all my cup of tea), trendification of yoga (no, not a real word, and bad because it encourages a whole new population of fairly shallow people to think they are "doing yoga" and not be very nice about it) and commoditization of yoga (bad in my opinion).

  7. sadienardini says:

    "Glorify the whole lying broken on a bathroom floor thing. I must have read at least 200 blogs that begin with someone being broken somewhere. In fact, that did happen to me, and it was much better when I stood up and brushed myself off."


  8. becks says:

    Sometimes seated meditation in the beginning anchors you into the present moment, creates a sacred space for the practice, is a good time for setting an intention and helps students to drop into the breath!

  9. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posted to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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  10. Ilana says:

    Ok, this is officially the last article I'm reading on EJ. I'm sorry yoga made you so angry, and I'm sorry EJ seems to be the clearing house for every single angry yogi.

  11. Andrew Gurvey says:

    And, as far as no. 5 goes, I've met a lot of broken messes. I've been a broken mess. There's nothing glorious about it, but the stories tend to be worth telling. And those stories, at least the ones that I've read, generally do end with someone getting up and dusting themselves off. But maybe I missed something in the post.

    I can concede that I miss some jokes sometimes, or that not everyone's sense of humor is my cup of tea. I do appreciate you taking the time to respond, and I am looking at this whole exchange, from the reading of the article to an opportunity to talk with the author, as an opportunity for personal growth. So I thank you for that.

  12. guest says:

    nice post..I wish you could haveincludes any religion in 10, not just "pagean ,wiccan and cults" because every religion is a cult or a sect to someone else (and one is as silly or real as the next).

  13. Danielle Lordi says:

    Yeah so, thanks but no thanks. As a person with Celiac, if I don't turn down gluten-free food, I contribute to my risk of developing cancer. Wanderlust was a ton of fun. You seem angry and mean, and it's too bad EJ published this crap.

  14. Michelle Marchildon says:

    To the guest who posted about religion. Wow, I totally agree with you and I never thought of that. Thank you, and I mean it.

  15. Michelle Marchildon says:

    And to all the readers who think I am angry, I'm not! I LOVE Yoga. I'm just able to take myself, and yoga, lightly. It's a gift to be able to laugh at ourselves. Namaste.

  16. lighthasmass says:

    Hahaha that was great, at first I was thinking you should never say never…..but you got me on the "wonder" and "lust" a few others earlier on qued me in on the seriousness of thing you will never do. I fully agree neither all but number 1.

  17. Sherry C. says:

    Love your blogs, Michelle! Especially this one. Can't wait to read your book.

  18. tony says:

    heh. I'm guilty of #2 but it's not what it looks like. Sometimes I close my eyes when a teacher is speaking so I can listen more carefully without being distracted by the fidgetters. Why show up for class if you aren't interested in what the teacher has to say?!

  19. Michelle, I LOVE this! Now I want to hear the 100 things you will NEVER DO in yoga! You ROCK!!!

  20. These are great.

    But special love for number 9. I never got that when I've seen it.

    Of course, I have a separate meditation practice but I don't tend to use yoga to prepare for meditation – which I'm missing Patanjali wisdom as well (even though I read the Yoga Sutras.)

  21. moonlightlady56 says:

    Wonderful article!!!! I do Yin Yoga as often as possible. for many reasons. To learn stillness, really learn to do long sustained facing breaths, because I feel so good when I go! and to meditate instead of lay on my back in shivasna at the end. Funny when the vinyasa crowd appears in a class you can feel them really struggling to remain calm. Thats ok I struggle to do multiple backbends. And no you do not sound angry, you are a funny author with your own view. aloha

  22. Laurie says:

    this made my day. thank you for keeping it real

  23. […] (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = [];}10 Things I Will Never Do In Yoga.. Kommentare Kommentare   « Ernährungstipps für Yogameis… […]

  24. Danielle says:

    I love this!! Until I read it, I didn't even realize i was thinking some of the same things!

  25. catnipkiss says:

    I have noticed the trend of readers/commenters not having much of a sense of humor when the author is clearly using humor as his/her angle. There are too many people who take themselves and others REALLY seriously! One article I read recently even had a disclaimer (sense of humor, folks!) at the beginning (I think it was Kate?) and still got blasted for being disrespectiful, angry, whatever…. Sometimes, to me, the comments are funnier than the original post just because of this. For the record, I am guilty of baby yoga porn: a crooked triangle at Machu Picchu (but hey, I had on jeans and hiking boots, and had to leap into the pose in the right spot with a twelve second timer, on a hill and in mud…) To the porn analyzers it's akin to a breast-cup rather than the money shot 😉 BUT HEY, IT WAS AT MACHU PICCHU! And I am volunteering at Wanderlust in July, but don't worry, you won't see me in handstand there, unless supported by a few gorgeous yogi men (I just can't get it up alone!) – Alexa Maxwell

  26. Carrie H says:

    Wow! #2 happened to me a few weeks back for the first time, by another yoga teacher! :) Ah well. I just found it amusing and reminded the gentle beginners to find the teacher that resonates with them!

  27. Guest says:

    Negative Nancy

  28. Michelle Marchildon says:

    PEOPLE, I AM NOT ANGRY! I'm not, really. And honestly, I have done all of this stuff. Everyone has. Lighten up. No, en-lighten up.

  29. Prema says:

    Two things I will never do in yoga
    1) lose my sense of humor
    2) judge another’s practice

  30. Denise says:

    haha. Quite enjoyed reading this. The only point I disagree with is number 10. If you find a true Guru, a Satguru wooowww, you will experience something new and different, the transmission of Consciousness is immediate if you accept Him/Her with an open heart. Of course there are many false gurus… but it could be a tad irresponsible, or maybe misguiding for many people who read this and know not much about the Guru topic… it will just reinforce other people's viewpoint about this, making more people sceptical about something that is real. Say, new people who know not much will read this from a truested source and say 'yeah, of course I need to stay clear from the whole Guru thing'… Guru means He who brings you out from darkness Gu- darkness Ru-light… and if we read a bit more into the Satguru topic it is the fastest form of obtaining knowledge…
    I agree with all the points are they are about how people misenterpret yoga – the yoga porn hahah, the yoga competition, the whole gluten free food, the showing off of our asana abilities in class, etc… you're right, they are against not taking oneself too seriously, being humble, going inwards, etc… but dismissing the Guru concept is not correct as it is a fanstastic way of going forward and inward in the spiritual path (if you come accross a really good one, need to be able to discriminate phonies from the real mc coy!). Many of the readers might know this, but it's not right for many newcomers who could easily be influenced by this opinion. You could have rephrased it a little….

  31. Sara says:

    Thank you for keeping it real; enjoyed your book.
    Coming to yoga in my 50s: I may not ever make it into some asanas, but it's not because I will ever quit trying. If I feel aligned & beautiful inside, if my breath is flowing through my moves, if I can laugh: that is where I need to be. That is the teacher, that is the class, that is the best.
    As a caterer, I totally get the gluten issue!

  32. […] inward, listening to my own muscles, joints and breath. And, for the first time in my practice, competition and comparison with others had completely left the room. I was no longer using group energy to push harder and was […]

  33. Shivin Varghese says:

    well well,, Ppl like Andrew and ILlana wouldnt have lashed out on you calling you angry had you praised the Yoga porn or the "gurus" or the competition stuff… Well thats how many have been raised in yoga thinking its glamour just like modelling..

    I liked this article for sure. And let me remind ppl who call you "Angry Yogi" – well folks! those who practice yoga arent born saints, and supernaturals. They are humans having the same emotions as everyone else has. So If someone was expecting the Elephant Journal to be a self help book on positive thinking like the books by Norman Vincent Peale or Dale Carnegie, you BETTER STOP READING the Elephant Journal. I pity your narrow mindedness and the typical Western approach to Yoga. If this is not enough, FO!!

    Michelle, twas a nice read , i must repeat

  34. I'm just reading this for the first time.
    I hope you're okay with the giant crush I have on you now.

  35. jacquie says:

    Yeah, I agree with a previous commenter. I am nearing my final read on EJ. I don't find enjoyment in constantly positioning against some enemy, real or imagined.

    And for the record, I have had REALLY AMAZING EXPERIENCES at Wanderlust as well as other music and yoga events, and I am married, over 40, and happy :)

  36. dina says:

    LOL! I clicked on a link from Twitter not knowing who wrote the article and when I got to number 4 I thought to myself, "This must be Michelle's post." Sure enough I was right! Hilarious :)

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