The Yoga Snob Featuring Yoga B*tch. {Video} ~ Veronique Barnes

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on Mar 15, 2012
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I’ve always got this weird I’m so much better and knowledgeable than you are vibe from this particular person.

At first I thought  I was just in one of those “I feel so insecure” moods until one day, I saw the rolling of the eyes and the mocking smile. I was right, it was real! But  what I couldn’t understand was why this was happening in a yogavironment.

I have been practicing yoga for several years now and teaching for the last three. I am getting to know the yoga community that is gravitating around my neck of the woods and well, I guess I am also getting acquainted with some yoga snobs. It’s like high school all over again!

At first I was thrown off by the mere existence of such a being in a world that promotes egalitarian, peaceful and loving views. I didn’t understand why there was even a need for someone to act as though they were in some way superior to others. I guess they missed the part about mudita (contentment). Then again, perhaps I am not practicing upeksha (indifference) well enough!

What I don’t get is how someone, that has been practicing yoga for quite some time, can be so fake and hypocritical. It surprises me that in a community/world such as yoga that there are people who think they are more enlightened than the next person. Seriously, where does this “I’m superior to all of you” attitude come from in a yoga world anyway? I don’t get it.

Go ahead, call me noob or naive I don’t care. I mean, I’ve met my share of off-the-wall spiritual to freaky people but a yoga snob, really?

That is the question: why?

Why do these people believe that they should look down upon us new and excited yoga practitioners? Aren’t we supposed to be one, to share this understanding that life is wonderful and that yoga is an amazing practice that speeds up our spiritual development?

In the end, I guess I find it unfortunate that someone who might have found at least some conscious awareness was once again overthrown by their egoistic mind.

Knowledge is a dangerous thing. It makes you believe that you know all of these things when in reality, you have so much more to learn-always. Every time I share my knowledge with my students, I learn something from them. I learn about myself and I delve deeper into this wonderful world.

Being closed to the possibility of learning and growing, thinking we have achieved a certain level of Je ne sais quoi, is closing the door to oh-so-many more opportunities.

So, don’t limit your own growth thinking that you know better. And please, pretty please, drop the snobbishness down a notch. Remember what yoga is all about—modesty, self-awareness, being grounded, being free of the ego. I pity you snobby yogi person.

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Only by knowing where you stand can you move forward. Peace.

 

Véronique Barnes is a yoga practitioner and international development worker living in Ottawa, Canada. She writes articles on yoga, spirituality, meditation, and all of life’s little things that make us happy. You can read more on her blog.

 

~

Editor: Tanya L. Markul

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Comments

25 Responses to “The Yoga Snob Featuring Yoga B*tch. {Video} ~ Veronique Barnes”

  1. trueayurveda says:

    Véronique, Well put. As I one of those that can possibly be seen as a yoga snob, I have to reply. Knowledge of this sacred science is not found in a class at the local yoga studio. As we get further and further away from what yoga is and does there are those of us that sit back watch and try to be dispassionate about it all. So as I have seen the same "snobs" out there, I would ask why rather than pointing fingers. My answer to that question would remain, yoga is not being taught. We have contorted it to our whims and most of the time away from the true path and more into the external and although there are those that somehow think that this time tested science now needs to change because of our times this only strays away from what yoga has to offer even more. Much of all that we both are talking about is ego and attachment. Asana does not make one spiritual, nor does flexibility. The embodiment of the wisdom does.

  2. Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posted to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
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  3. freehugyoga says:

    Thanks to both of you. It is definitely my experience too, and I was not ready for it coming from India back to Europe. But after few months I overcame my surprise and I use it as the valuable lesson. Great space for practicing Brahma-Viharas.

  4. JoeC2K says:

    I'd say your pity is rather snobbish…

  5. Hector V. Barrientos-Bullock Harleigh Quinn says:

    Thank you!!
    I have been saying this for over a year now and I have seen the trend of everyone finally coming in line with what I have observed for OVER a year.

    Thank you so much for this article.

  6. Yogaundressed says:

    Veronique- the video was hysterical! I couldn't agree with you more on that level, and being a hippy in Birkenstocks, I laughed 'til I cried. Yoga is a personal practice, something meant to unfold the beauty within us over time and allow us to connect deeply within ourselves. It is not a competition, either, as that is how we can injure ourselves if we do not pay attention to what our bodies tell us as we practice. The art of teaching is also the art of learning- as my students work with me (clothed, of course) I Iearn from them in many ways, whether it be physically or emotionally. I have always felt that snobbery is just a form of fear- a fear of the unknown, something that challenges us beyond our comfort zone. It is the human condition that catapults us there, through the attachment to the ego of what we know and our natural desire to atrophy from that which we do not feel comfortable with.

  7. Yogaundressed says:

    Through introspection I have learned the art of humor, and humor always builds great relationships, both within ourselves and with others. It also allows for compassion as we see our condition in others, even when we do not speak the same language or like the same fruit. I cannot truly know the taste of an orange without trying one, and not everyone likes oranges once they have. The yoga culture is a family and we must look to each other as we work in it. If we do not remain open and learn from each other, then who on earth will we learn from and what value does our knowledge have? :-)

  8. Julian Walker yogijulian says:

    the problem is that doing a physical asana practice and even reading some simple ideas about what the yoga sutras supposedly say doesn't inherently make anyone a better person – either in a way that justifies snobbery NOR in a way that should make us think that just because someone goes to yoga they should behave with kindness or humility!

    i think the actual process of working on oneself can take place in yoga, but only if it is intentionally guided that way and the student is really interested in doing that deep, unglamorous and vulnerable work. it can also happen in therapy or meditation or on a massage table, but again only if that is the intention and the guide and tools are both good ones and well applied.

    the common idea in the yoga community that there are a set of principles that one can somehow absorb from the yoga sutras and a list of yamas and niyamas that, combined with doing surya namaskar etc somehow is transformational is i think perhaps oversimplified. (especially since the sutras and asana practice have hardly anything to do with each-other..)

    often this is based in an "outside in" kind of philosophy that says we can just decide to be content or humble or generous etc without actually having to go through the work of looking at our psyches, automatic responses and especially our defenses.

    everyone "wants" to be a good, happy, well-liked person – if it were as simple as just choosing it to make it so the human experience would be radically different than it is in reality.

    someone with an over compensating "i'm better than everyone" defense is probably covering over a deep sense of inadequacy and insecurity. they might use the identity of being a yogi to further bolster that sense of superiority.

    similarly people who have defenses like denial, dissociation, rationalization etc (even mild paranoid delusions) very often use spirituality, yoga philosophy etc to perpetuate those defenses.

    i think it actually takes much more dedicated work and a deeper understanding of the process of psychological healing to shift these defenses than we would like to believe. what's more the somewhat elitist, in-group nature of yoga communities and the pecking order based in fancy looking poses and having the right body type don't innately provide for a sense authentic belonging and acceptance – so in a way we perhaps perpetuate a culture that is often defended and pretentious.

  9. doug says:

    Thanks Vero, Julian & Oz for nailing it. Yes, I find a lot of Yoga folks to be terribly snobby and "holier than thou" and it doesn't give much hope for ever finding or forming real community there.

    The Truth is so beautiful… I've got to reiterate what Oz posted and Carl Jung said because it's so exquisitely beautiful: "One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular."

    Being able to teach yoga asanas is relatively meaningless. The content and quality of a person's character (and their willingness to do the real inner work) is all that really matters… me thinks!

  10. chiara_ghiron says:

    Hi Veronique

    I have recently had a very similar experience and was frustrated and sad to find that this particular teacher was being so judgemental towards me. It is true I do not have that much teaching experience (just over one year now) and I cannot perform as 'impeccably' as this Iyengar tracher obviously expected other teachers to do, but to me yoga is not found in the perfectly aligned ankles of virasana. Especially if you managed to sprain them a lot when you were a kid like I did, you need to look for your yoga somewhere else.
    On trying to explain this behavious, and wanting to discard fear and arrogance, the impression I got was that there could be such a search for detachment that anybody with a lot of enthusiasm is seen with suspect and pity

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