I Was Fired From the Facebook Gym for Asking a Student not to Use her Phone During Class. ~ Alice Van Ness

Via elephant journal
on Jul 6, 2012
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Not Zen By ronk53

When the telephone was first invented, some people were annoyed that this technology was now able to interrupt dinner.

Now the phone fits in your pocket and is also a gaming system, alarm clock and personal computer.

It interrupts everything—yoga class, lunch with a friend and sometimes sleep.

Maybe we’ve given it too much power. Does it have so much power over us that it keeps us from connecting in real life?

A few weeks ago, I was teaching my weekly noon yoga class at the Facebook Fitness Center in Menlo Park, CA.

They have a little gym there where I taught a yoga class, in addition to Pilates and cycling classes.

Right before class began, a student was typing on her phone. Noticing this, I asked the whole class to turn off their cell phones.

She obliged, put it down next to her mat, and we began.

Photo: skinny-secret.com

Halfway into class, right as I was starting a demo of ardha chandrasna (half moon pose), she decided to check her phone.

I stopped talking and looked at her.

I said nothing, but I’m sure my face said it all. “Really? Your email is more important than understanding your body? It’s more important than taking time for you? It’s more important than everyone else here?”

Oh, and by the way, she was in the middle of the front row.

She stepped out and rejoined class a few minutes later. Apparently, she had gone to complain to management.

Previously, I had been asked by management to just let the students do whatever they wanted.

Come in late, leave early, answer emails, come in during class to get weights, take photos for the newsletter—whatever came up, I was told to just say yes.

So, on this day, I didn’t actually say anything to this student. I just looked at her with utter disbelief.

Two weeks later, I was fired from the Facebook gym.

I contested the decision at the time since I didn’t actually ask her to leave.

They had already made their decision.

What has happened that work or updating a status is more important than being in the moment? Are we so incapable of disconnecting? What could be going on that couldn’t wait 30 minutes? This is not the emergency room; it’s just Facebook.

The first time I taught at Facebook I started class with a short meditation.

One student was completely incapable of sitting still and closing her eyes for those three minutes. She fidgeted and looked around, visibly uncomfortable with those few minutes of silence. The more she resisted, the more uncomfortable she seemed to become. Her behavior was similar in savasana.

Facebook and all these smart phones have invaded our lives and now we are addicted to being connected via technology. What are we afraid of missing online?

What I have seen over my years of practicing yoga is that technology and being “connected” electronically is depriving us (myself included) of connecting to the present moment.

I welcome my yoga practice as the one place where I don’t have to look at my phone.

I enjoy connecting to my breath and forgetting everything else. It’s a pure time. It’s a much needed break from the stress or drama that is going on.

As the yoga teacher, I want to you experience that break too.

I know you need it, just like a mom knows her three-year-old needs a nap. It’s a little like an addiction.

We can’t stop ourselves. Even when we know it’s not the right time to pick up the phone, we do.

The cost of being constantly connected is high.

When we live a life disconnected to ourselves, it’s living in the surface.

You are constantly on edge, unable to relax and be in any moment as it is.

Plus, it’s very distracting for everyone else in the room, not to mention rude—and it’s vital to pay attention to instructions/demos from your teacher so you can understand the pose better, feel better and avoid injury.

More importantly, yoga is your time to pay attention to yourself. Connect you to you.

The hour or so of disconnecting from the outside is necessary.

Technology invading your peace is not just in yoga class. Start to notice how many times per hour you reach for your phone.

Is something coming up in the silence or stillness of that moment that makes you uncomfortable, or is it boredom?

I encourage everyone to have someplace in their day where there is no television, no phones, no distractions. It may be hard at first but that is where mindfulness begins.

Alice Van Ness is a teacher and writer in the San Francisco Bay Area. Alice has been teaching yoga since 2006 and practicing since the 1990’s. She enjoys yoga, Pilates, cycling, photography and the ceramic arts. She is currently writing a book about growing up and going to high school in Palo Alto.

She has been trained in the Anusara Yoga method but has not dated John Friend. Alice makes her classes fun, while challenging students to go deeper. She is a humorous, passionate, knowledgeable, and giving instructor. She works with students of all ages and abilities, teaching both children’s and family yoga. Alice has worked with children since she was a teenager and finds them to be a great reminder to stay in the present and have fun.


Editor:  April Dawn Ricchuito

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216 Responses to “I Was Fired From the Facebook Gym for Asking a Student not to Use her Phone During Class. ~ Alice Van Ness”

  1. Stacy Dunnett says:

    I have taught corporate fitness for 20 years. I have been at Apple Computer for 15. Never in my life have any of my students used their phones in class or been disrespectful in any way. Alice is right on the money with her approach to making a safe, quiet and reflective space for her yoga students. She is the teacher. She sets the rules and is in charge of that hour of time. If one of the students doesn't have the 'time' to give to her yoga study or to her health and body, then she should not attend and disrupt others calm state of being. This is ridiculous. Maybe you need to come over to Apple. The management and the students are awesome.

  2. cathywaveyoga says:

    well, I have several thoughts:
    1.) file for unemployment
    2.) since they had told you to let the students do what they want.. it wasnt your look at her, it may have been the asking which made you get fired
    3.) it is possible she had a friend or family member in a hospital and wasnt thinking much about her position in the studio.. simply waiting for life or death
    4.) while I hate to see phones in yoga classes even friends talking to their neighbor. I take issue with your words which feel a bit shaming or controlling.." as a yoga teacher I want you to experience that break too.." those are your rules, ethics, needs in teaching yoga. Some teachers know that students need a 55 minute dialogue on how to live their lives.. I quit that studio.
    5.) You need to teach in a studio with rules and expectations which match yours.
    6.) I dont have a smart phone and am disconnected from some events.. its a bit amusing to see which of my friends can handle making a plan and stickgn to itwithout texting!

    • surya says:

      when a student takes out their cell phone in class they are infringing on the other students. if she has a someone in the hospital or an emergency she could tell the teacher ahead of time and discretely step out when the t ext or call comes.

    • senthaimassage says:

      regarding point
      4): Yoga is break time, There's little arguing with that. & IF students can't respect a teacher then it is NOT the teacher who must please them. Ideally the student respects the teacher as well as the class they interrupt. Respect for teachers is a preliminary of being any kind of student.

      5) If a yoga studio supports that students don't commit an hour to their own wellbeing then you are maybe right, teachers shouldn't support this with their time. However: wouldn't we have all thought that such Studios don't exist?

      • cathy says:

        and if the teacher does not like the rules he-she should not take the job and then hange the rules..
        and if the rules are ¨let them do what they want´and the employee has already been warned about breaking this rule..
        then, then, the employee has no reason to be so surprised.
        I do nto like cellphone use in a yoga class. I do appreciate the power of an employers rules.

  3. You are on point with every point, Alice!
    As yoga teachers, we are responsible for our students’ safety and maintaining a quality of respect in our classes.
    That includes self-respect. Taking care of yourself serves your students best.
    Multi-tasking is the opposite of yoga. Make a choice.
    After almost 7 years of teaching, ,I experienced my first non-yogic student experience as a sub teacher. During guided meditation, 2 students came in late. ok..I understand…it happens. Then, I heard 2 students carrying on a conversation. One of them was the same one who came in late.
    He decided the room was not warm enough. Instead of asking me, he got up and adjusted the thermostat. He, also, left class prior to Savasana.
    Being considerate, respectful, polite and thoughtful are right for on the mat and off the mat.
    Thank you for sharing your experience. Facebook lost a good yoga teacher. They are promoting qualities in conflictt with common, decent human interaction.

  4. I have taught corporate yoga in some very tricky environments (picture in the middle of an open floor gym, with treadmills, fans, and TVs) in my 10 years of teaching. I was eventually able to weed out the places I knew weren't a good fit for me. I'm not a fitness oriented teacher, so a fitness oriented environment doesn't tend to work for me. I never let management tell me what to do either. I once turned down a job at Google because they said I couldn't Om. It's great they said that before things got going – people show us who they are, and we get to decide who we want to be in response.

    Now changing hats. As a trauma therapist, I'm also aware that , yes, people get addicted to technology and constant checking. It's like their neurophysiology has this impulse/drive to go, go, go and they turn to their devices to follow/feed that impulse. Slowing down actually feels uncomfortable in sometimes significant ways. The drive doesn't necessarily come from overuse of the devices (though they make it worse), but from a lifetime of almost self soothing through action. Their nervous system is jacked up so high that if they slow down, it sends an alarm to the brain that there is danger. So they work/go/check until they ultimately collapse. Sometimes it's a collapse with a little c, sometimes with a much bigger C. This pattern is very dangerous long term, in part because symptoms aren't generally that uncomfortable for a good long while, and the rewards are reinforcing, so by the time someone seeks help, it can be trickier to treat.

    Besides for informational purposes, I wrote that because it's one of the ways I find empathy for the workaholics in my classes. I'm a workaholic too (in partial recovery), and I know how it feels – to go, to achieve and get the high, to collapse, and luckily now, to slow down and feel good. So even yoga teachers aren't immune.

    This complex that I'm describing is an epidemic in our culture (especially here in Silicon Valley), so I'm hoping we can have empathy, and gently educate these chronically overactivated people.

    Thanks for listening

    • Alice says:

      Thanks Brandy!

    • cathywaveyoga says:

      yes that self-soothing element is a tricky one.
      If it becomes a conditioned need, then what happens to society with all these self-soothing people running around textign while driving, etc.. it is downright scary.

  5. Jessica says:

    Nice article, Alice! I was just talking with my brother about the loss of presence to technology. We are so busy tapping into the the whole world inside the screens in our hands, that we are not attuned to the person or moment directly before us. There are always punches we have to roll with as teachers in different environments…in a yoga studio compared to a corporate office – we can simply expect a different atmosphere. I trudge through this teaching in the juvenile halls, with walkie talkies going off and even the potential of a facility wide lock down in the middle of class! If we, as teachers can not take anything personally, go with the flow and remain calm in the midst of whatever arises – we teach by example. We show them it IS possible to unplug for 60 or 90 minutes…though they may or may not ever do it. We can only offer a mirror – they have to LOOK in it! Keep at it, girl! And your bio is hilarious…'but has not dated JF.' Ha!

  6. Pablo pinto says:

    Assume nothing! What makes you believe that someone who doesn't want to turn off their phone during class is doing this because of something not important or not urgent. If your relative is in surgery, and you want to know the outcome you should just skip a class? What if you are awaiting a call from your child's daycare about a sudden illness or injury?
    If someone is trying to take my class even though there is an emergency brewing in their life, I would take that as a complement. Since when yoga teachers stop giving people benefit of the doubt?

    • Alice says:

      I know this student was not having a personal emergency. She was checking work email.

    • G.C.Aloha says:

      I think if a student has a reason to check their phone–because, for instance, s/he is a midwife, has a relative in surgery, or needs to be available to small children–it stands to reason that s/he would tell the teacher before class and ask if it was okay to leave the phone on vibrate. This still would not necessitate checking email. If it's an emergency, a student could put the phone on vibrate or very low volume, share his/her concerns with the teacher (along with a warning about maybe needing to leave before the class is over) and get on with the class. In the class I attend, doctors or midwives have sometimes left class when their phones vibrated, and no one batted an eye. If you need to be checking your email all the time, then maybe that should take precedence, and you shouldn't come to class. Yoga class is the time to UNplug, not plug in.

    • Katie says:

      If you're in crisis and waiting for an urgent phone call which you have to take without fail, then what the hell are you doing in yoga class? Talk about avoiding the elephant in the room…

    • Kay says:

      The polite thing to do is to speak with the instructor prior to the class to tell her that you will need to check your phone because you have an ill family member. I am a college art professor and I have a policy about cell phone use in the studio. Students are told that if they need to use them due to family emergencies they should see me prior to the class. If the student really thought it was an emergency and she had her phone on and saw a text she could excuse herself from class to check it, that would be the polite thing in order not to interrupt the flow of the class. The problem is that cell phone usage has become intrusive and it changes the flavor of all types of instruction. The yoga class is not just about one person it is about all of the students in the class having a certain kind of experience.

  7. __MikeG__ says:

    You took the job knowing the rules. You violated the rules. You got fired. Why whine about it? You are not a victim in this. To me this post comes off as sour grapes and an attempt to get back at the people of Facebook.

    A better solution may have been to make the subject of the entire article be about people needing a break from technology. Or a write a post about employment aligning with ethics.

    • cathywaveyoga says:

      cold hard honesty, right on!

    • Alice says:

      But to fire someone over ONE complaint? That's harsh. I also have emails from other employees backing me up, most students don't want cell phones in class. It's distracting for everyone.

      • __MikeG__ says:

        Harsh? Most likely. Fair? Probably not. If there were no other factors and you were fired for one complaint then in the long run you are better off.

        It still would have been a much better to write an article about too much technology or being polite to one's neighbors or finding "right" employment.

    • lightsoff says:

      True That !

    • Andrew says:

      Is the rule to let students do whatever they want? So what about the multiple students, and I'm certain there's more than one, who want to practice yoga undistracted? Not everyone likes to pay good money for a class just so they can see others derp around.

      I'll tell you what the real difference is – when people are happy and satisfied with how things are going, they don't say a thing. But the one person who doesn't get what they want? They go straight to management to complain.

      However I agree she's not a victim – she should be happy to be done with a business as aimless as "letting students do whatever they want". She can only go up from here!

      • reanna says:

        I completely agree with you. We shouldn't allow one person to ruin other peoples only time to dedicate to the mselves. She is better off in a different environment.

    • Crystal Lite Love says:

      You're off the mark, MikeG. Perhaps you need a chakra balancing! Just kidding! We've turned the practice of yoga into a fitness routine. The whole concept of what the ultimate purpose of yoga is for is missing with so many people. Yogi studios need to take a hint from a good Zen master and don't with hold the keisaku! Don't suffer fools!

    • guest says:

      Thank you! That was my thought exactly MikeG.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    It is a recent development in our lives to have 'instant communication' although emergencies have always occurred. Things used to wait. How has the cell phone allowed us to decide that nothing can wait? We also had spoken or unspoken social contracts about 1. Showing up on time. 2. Not talking during a class or movie. 3. Letting the teacher be in charge. This teacher seemed to have those basic expectations of her students, which do not seem unrealistic. I disagree that her article is "whining" nor do I find her attitude 'demanding.' Perhaps what is incongruent is "assuming" that people come to yoga to get centered, when apparently some come for the exercise.

  9. Erika says:

    Your stance seems very judgmental and rather self-righteous. I would love to see more yoga teachers ‘just be’. It’s not about you. I would rather a person come late, leave early, and have their phone than not come at all. When you are of service, teaching is a lot easier.

    • gastrophase says:

      "I would rather a person come late, leave early, and have their phone than not come at all"
      But if your class becomes known as distraction-friendly, dedicated students will leave as they will not feel respected; these are basic rules not only of yoga class, but also of manners 101. For every texting, chatting or disrespectful student you accommodate you alienate some respectful students… you just don't/won't know because they will leave quietly.

    • Gorgon the Dragon says:

      Erika, you've got to be kidding me! You're letting the inmates run the asylum. Good teachers have boundaries. Crappy teachers want their students to "love" them so they let them do anything. And yes, the author is being judgmental and good for her. A student that can't comply with boundaries needs a good "beating" if you ask me!

    • Little fishy says:

      I think you missed the point that its not about the teacher, its about the class as a whole. Its distracting to have someone clicking away while the teacher is explaining something. I for one would stop going to a class where the teacher allowed people to wander in and out, text, etc.

    • lasirena says:

      Erika, I'm guessing from this comment that you're not a teacher. If I'm wrong, then one of those who needs the love and approval of their students, maybe? Good teachers, in any field, do not tolerate disrespect for other students, and checking your phone during class is unequivocally disrespectful. I am of service, in an acedemic teaching environment as well as in yoga, and that makes it even more important that my students follow the basic rules of respect since I am there to help them improve their lives and get the most they possibly can from their education/yoga practice. Rule number one in any learning environment is check your ego at the door and respect your fellow learners and the teacher. That is non-negotiable.

      This article reminds me of why yoga should not be taught in gyms. The facebook management need to be taught what yoga is, that it is not exercise, and it is not acceptable to tell a teacher to allow anybody to do anything they please during a class. But when has facebook ever been respectful towards its users? It's not a stretch to believe that the whole organisation is so self-centred and self-righteous that this would happen in a yoga class there. Explaing to them would be throwing pearls before swine.

    • guest says:

      I disagree! The coming late/leaving early and phone is not about the teacher, it's about the other students who are being disturbed.

  10. cathywaveyoga says:

    wow 700 views and 11 comments.. curious that the other 689 didnt want to type out something.. oops oh I get it they had to text to someone…

    • huh says:

      I'm only typing out something to reply to your stupid comment. Why does someone have to comment on each article they read?

    • trololol says:

      I confess to falling asleep while reading your comment. I awoke to discover my giant, bulbous nose had all but permanently depressed the "refresh page" button on my keyboard. So I must sheepishly bear responsibility for a good 600-650 of those views.

    • persefoni says:

      Quite often I will read an article, and the comments, and see that my views have been covered succinctly, and not feel a need to reply further.

  11. dpm says:

    Okay, so some of you are being judgmental of Alice because she is bothered by people using cell phones in yoga class. I've attended class, and if a teacher reminds me of certain rules, such as being on time (I've not been so good about that), I recognize that s/he has the right to set some limits, within reason. (And I believe turning off cell phones or having them on silent is within reason–I wouldn't turn my phone on during a movie or play or in church, so why is it okay in a class, whether yoga or auto mechanics?) If I am dealing with some difficult situation at work or at home, what I'd want to do is inform the teacher ahead of time and if need be, step out. A student in a class I was teaching approached me before the class began and told me that at x:00, he had to take a work related cell phone call, but that he would step out at that time, take the call, and return, and would I be okay with that? I thought that his approach was very considerate and told him so. So it's possible to accommodate emergencies with cooperation on both sides. And it seems fair to ask for the class's attention during something as deeply meditative as yoga. What I've done that's helped minimize phone distractions (and saves me as a teacher some embarrassment b/c I've been known to forget to turn off my phone) is to take out my phone at the start of the class and turn it off or silence it–telling students that I don't want my phone to go off in mid-class and disturb us all, and could they also please check to make sure their phones are off or silent? It seems to me that if you've not had any other complaints, management should not have taken such a harsh action for something like this.

    • cathywaveyoga says:

      We are not judgmental af Alice for being bothered about the cellphone use.. people are expressing their thoughts about how she is venting about being fired for breaking the FB rules. iI you break the rules you can be fired.
      Cellphone or not.
      The rule was"let them do what they want".. that, on hiring would imply.. that cellphone use as well as arriving late and leaving early, drinking coffee and gasp!talking would be allowed. I dont agree that those actions belong in a yoga class but I have experienced as have many the consequence for not adhering to rules along the employment path.
      Just recently a lifeguard was fired for saving a drowning person "outside' the area of the private beach he was hired to oversee. In Huffpost recently a story appeared about a chain store(Walmart?) which fired an elderly long time greeter because at her post on Black Friday she fell from crowd pressure and grabbed onto a customer's arm as she fell.. her offense- touching a customer.

  12. Archana says:

    Phone manners in class, yes. Rigid rules, not so much. I really appreciate that under some situations a phone is an important part of a person's 'life.' Who knew what may have been going on in her life that particular day. I appreciate the teachers who are easy with this. I have picked up my phone to take a picture of something I wanted to keep a record of for home practice later. Perhaps checking in with the teacher first would be respectful. Sometimes people can be reminded to do that. Is the teacher reflecting on his/her own state and checking that the transference of "judgement" and irritation be noted within? I have tended more and more to respect the needs of students in classes, while acknowledging that being the teacher is a tough job sometimes with the countless situations that can arise. Yes, there are some common sense courtesies people taking class need to be cognizant of. . but sometimes they aren't and sometimes they just need to have a chance to figure some of it out. Basically, if you choose to take that seat of the teacher, ya better get ready for the heat.

    • Alice says:

      Well thank you for your support. I am glad we have started a conversation. For me I thought NOT using your phone in class is 100% the norm, but I have seen that it's not. There are a ton more comments (positive and in the middle) on Facebook – FUNNY! – where I have learned also 24 hr fitness lets the student leave their phone on. I will never teach there, for more that just that reason.

      For me I get more feedback and support hold to this boundary, that yoga class be a cell phone free zone. I would prefer it too, as a teacher and a student. So for those I will take on this issue, if I take some shit for it, that is fine.

      Of course I understand there may need to me some exceptions!

      The once that happened the student told me at the beginning of class. She was obviously worried about her kid and did NOT pick up the phone in the middle of class.

      As I have stated above that was not the case with this student, on that Monday afternoon, and the management knows it was not an emergency, and fired me anyway. I think its a shame to fire a popular teacher over ONE person complaining about anything.

      • Bobcat says:

        Wow. You call yourself a popular teacher. Let's meditate on that.

        • Dee says:

          There could have been more reasons for firing the teacher in this case. Maybe people in general wanted another teacher.. and this was a good moment to make the 'switch'? dunno… only a supposition.
          Wishing you the best Alice anyway, that through this experience you, students and all of us can keep growing and letting ego dissolve…

  13. Bobcat says:

    I get your frustration. But when bringing up the person who could not settled in a meditation I must beg to differ. I teach yoga. I identifiy with the woman. I had a hard time sitting or lying still when I started practicing yoga. You were and are judging this person from a perspective of an experienced practitioner. This is not about people being rude in a yoga class. This is about you having no compassion for your fellow practitioners. The less you see yourself as a teacher making people realize their better self the more you can offer guidance and support with open mind and heart to those who are ready. Shame on you to gossip about your ex-students. The reason why you are fired is not what you think.

    • Dee says:

      I feel compassion when I see my students lying in Savasana unable to relax and fidgeting. I cannot assume it is because they are technology freaks. That is to limited a biew. There are millions of reasons. They are the most in need of yoga…

  14. Alice says:

    I would not call what I am doing gossip, I didn't say if it was a man or a woman, or this students name.

  15. Allison says:

    The concept of being present with your practice should apply to the teacher too.
    Phones ringing, people talking, walking in or out of class or taking a phone call happen.
    If you're teaching and you're fully present you will notice what is going on, judge the room's reaction and then only if what is going on requires immediate attention, act. Obviously if someone is injured or gets dizzy or sick the teacher would stop and assist. Other than that, keep going.

    It would have been easy for you to speak to the person or management after class. They stated the work conditions when you were hired. Your reaction was not only judgemental it was covert.

    • swiss says:

      um, anyway — you know what? there's nothing wrong with having boundaries and standards when you're a teacher. You seem really judgmental tho, wagging your finger and telling the author she knew the Rules and ought to have blindly been obedient to the Rules, at the expense of jeopardizing the whole class' experience due to one self-centric person's actions.

      • Kitty says:

        C'Mon – whether Alice knew the rules before or not she was less than yogic about how she handled the situation.

      • Allison says:

        Agreed, teachers should have boundries and standards, however she was in someone elses space and knew their "rules" going in. I used the word covert because in my opinion, she accepted the gig knowing their rules without any intention of following them.
        Sorry that the only response you could come up with Swiss, is to call me judgemental. That seems to be the overriding accusation in the yoga world when yogis and yogini's can't make their point any other way.

  16. HonestOpinion says:

    I am inspired by your article. I am going to begin composing an article about people who compulsively say "Really?!", and then follow it with a rhetorical question about the thing they are upset about. I find that people who talk like this, (which is fast becoming everyone in America, everywhere and I do mean everyone), sound like catty spoiled whiney brats. Not that that's you, but it just sounds like that to me. Instead of pausing your demo to do the "Really?!" monologue inside your own head, why not continue on in spite of the distraction in order to serve the majority of the people in the room who are not on their phones? Really?! You can't overcome one little distracting person in the front row who is on their phone? OMG, I think I caught it. Really?!

    • HonestOpinion says:

      That being said and all humor aside, I am sympathetic about your job loss. It sounds as if you are very sincere and passionate about teaching and I'm sure you will find an even better situation where your students are as into it as you are. When one door closes, another opens. Namaste!

  17. __MikeG__ says:

    If this article was about being considerate to those around you I would be on board. I would not take this class at FB because apparently phones are allowed. I would not take a class from any teacher who allowed phones.

    But this article is not about using a cell phone in class. Not really. It is mostly about getting a measure of revenge on people at FB by telling one side of a story. There already are way too many one-side "I am right and those other people are so very wrong" articles here on EJ.

    • swiss says:

      oh boo hoo – poor beleaguered corporation – Facebook's "whatever the kids wanna do let 'em do it because you're just the help and therefore powerless and not actually important" policy is ludicrous, and their treatment of the yoga teacher is grotesque, and both of things should indeed be made known…why would you defend Facebook as if it were some godlike entity?.It's a company, and quite a crass one. This author took a risk, and was very very brave in writing the truth about what it's like behind those walls….this teacher was not valued, nor was her expertise, professional judgment, or yoga itself….if any of these employees were regarded similarly when hired to bring their special skillset to the table, god knows they would throw public tantrums from Menlo Park to Napa Valley. This were nuthin.

      • Vision_Quest2 says:

        In this country, America, there is still the tenet and legal concept of corporate personhood.

        The megalith company, Facebook, is treated as an entity of one person. No more, no less. How ironic.

      • __MikeG__ says:

        No where did I defend Facebook. I pointed out the inherent hypocrisy of the article. Too bad you are on the pro-hypocrisy bandwagon.

        The author took no risks at all. It takes no courage to post one side of story in the absence of the other parties involved.

        You will have to do much better than this childish post if you want thinking people to take you seriously.

  18. Brad Henneman says:

    In my experience the sole reason for having fitness centers, day care, dry cleaning, ATM's, cafeterias et al, "on campus" is to keep the sheep in their pen longer during the day and not be distracted from their appointed rounds…the yoga class was not authorized by the management team to be an opportunity for spiritual development, or to improve health and well-being…it was to be a tool to get people that tether themselves to their phones a few minutes to recharge before getting back to driving revenues

    • sodakuppi says:

      I had to reply to your comment. Finally! someone else who understands the reason for these on campus benefits!! I've been telling this to friends who want to work for companies mainly because of these benefits. I am one of those people who just want to go home and hang out with family or friends when I am done with work and prefer not to hang around there all day for these benefits.

  19. Peggy Burgess says:

    Facebook's rules give you zero authority in your own class, that's not good. sounds pretty much untenable.

  20. yogasamurai says:

    I am far more concerned about the inordinate amount of time that teachers spend before class "marketing" the studios' upcoming workshops, classes and services. Their teachers spend an inordinate amount of time marketing their own classes. The studios pack the class space to the gills, and let students arrive late – all in the name of getting the biggest bang for the buck.

    On top of this, we need to smile sweetly – or meditate – as yoga teachers prattle on about their personal lives, including things like last night's heavy wine-drinking, their bowel movements and their PMS, and listen as they recite their favorite poetry and aphorisms – as if me and my grandmother actually give a flying fuck.

    Yoga teaching in the studios has become a true "vanity exercise," because the ranks of the yoga teacher corps are filled with people largely obsessed with themselves. I have been in classes where the students should have banded together afterwards, gone to the studio management, and asked for their money back.

    Yoga consumers are pretty sheep-like, though. It's not the sound of Ommmm that scares me — it's Baaaaaaaaaaa.

    • CathyCrystal says:

      Yogasamurai, you've won-over my crystal dolphin love heart chakra! Enough of this dewey-eyed nonsense!!

      • yogasamurai says:

        CC — I am an "acquired taste", much like the donkey piss Reingold beer that I learned to quaff as a teenager. A crystal dolphin love heart chakra sounds like something special. YS

    • gphase says:

      And what does this lengthy rant have to do with the article, which is not about studios at all?

      • yogasamurai says:

        Whether the onus for problems that arise in yoga studios lies with students – or with the culture of the studios and the mentality of the yoga teachers they employ. Just about everyone else here has touched on this same issue, and my post isn't even close to being the longest one.

        • Vision_Quest2 says:

          I get it. These students also may do or have done yoga, extracurricularly, on their own time and at their own expense–not just under the auspices of the Big Brother High Tech company they work for … the ethics (or lack of same) are very transferable

          Math done!


  21. Bobcat says:

    Love how this article gets the conversation going. Since some insists that this is about etiquette, is it wise and ethical for a yoga teacher to complain about her ex-employer and ex-students to the public? Who would benefit from this act or rather reaction? Will FB change their policies? Will the two students mentioned improve their behavior? Who actually is benefitting from this public display of retaliation?
    Being in a present moment does not equal being spiritually connected nor mentally rested if you are not deeply connected to those around you. If you are connected you would see more similarities between you and those you consider to be physically unaware and spiritually undeveloped. Any challenge you face in life is a mirror reflecting back to you. When you see others as the same there is no problem there is only an opportunity to support one another, learn and grow. Don't let your bruised ego get in the way.

    • Andrew says:

      She stands to benefit the most *and be hurt the most* by her article. It's a dual-edged sword, but it's the same kind of self expression any number of us would feel compelled to wield were we dismissed haphazardly. I find it really condescending to refer to this article as mere "complaining, retaliation, gossip" etc when even you note the conversation arising around it. Clearly, several people find her article both pertinent and poignant.

      If I take this article at face value – and I have no reason not to – then I consider it an ethical and courageous thing to do. She's taking a bold stand for values she believes in, and the wisdom in it is that she will very quickly find the right kind of company for herself. Teachers who just want to teach belong with students who just want to learn.

    • Dee says:


  22. BestServedCold says:

    I agree 100% that Alice should expect those in class to follow her rule of not disrupting class with cell phones. Common courtesy is something we now completely lack as a society. Others in the class likely do not appreciate the disruption and lack of respect for class members who are there to focus on the purpose of yoga. It doesn’t even have to be about yoga, per se. Let’s change the scenario. Should people be allowed to talk, text, play noisy games, etc on their cell phones during a wedding? funeral? church service? high school english class? meeting at work? seminar? movie? play? Etc? maybe doctors can chat with their buddies via bluetooth while performing surgery? We have become so rude as a society, and the fact that peoples’ comments here are actually arguing that Alice had no right to expect people to behave properly just goes to show we are becoming a society to clearly does not give a crap about anyone or thing other than ourselves and a stupid plastic toy. I guess it’s too much to ask that people be respectful and pay attention nowadays.

  23. Vision_Quest2 says:

    As someone who due to network-density issues, has been nearly reluctantly dragged kicking and screaming into the smartphone era–a few days ago, I find this firing by Facebook (one of the kings of mobile social networking–on smartphones, etc.) almost painfully ironic. Pardon me for barely successfully suppressing a laugh, as I do not think laughs are what you were going for. Facebook does not care about their employees' mental health. I don't care WHAT business they are in … I've been seeing smartphones for about 3 years in my locality and I see people going crazy with headphones and Bluetooths, etc. sometimes.

    I hope you find legal representation.

  24. […] on two of my fave blogs, it’s all yoga, baby and YogaDork. Also, elephant journal has published a first-person account of the incident from Van Ness […]

  25. 33bowls says:

    Such a short attention spa

  26. Dashinista says:

    Alice, I’m sorry to hear about your experience and hope you find somewhere better to teach!

    I do not buy the excuse that there was an emergency going on somewhere, the day that a member of my family is undergoing surgery the one place you will NOT find me is in a yoga class! Ditto if there is an emergency in the office, if something is so important that you can’t leave the issue outside for the duration of the class then you shouldn’t be there. Especially in hot yoga, which is a very challenging class anyway – I wonder had the student ignored or missed instructions and then injured herself whether she would now be trying to blame you?

    • Katie says:

      Right on, Dashinista! I agree wholeheartedly. Maybe technology and the constant access that it enables has lowered our skillset in being able to prioritize. It's still true that a person cannot TRULY do more than one thing at a time. Wtf?! If you have an emergency and need to stay by the phone or otherwise be imminently interruptable, out of respect for others STAY OUT OF YOGA CLASS. Or any other class for that matter. Jeez! Do one thing at a time, people, so that you can do it well and with intention. Have we not seen so many examples, some of them lethal, of what happens when people try to do more than one thing at a time? What's the bloody rush? Are you working to get to the end of your life quicker than everyone else and beat them to the karmic punch? Wha'?

  27. John says:

    Unfortunately, this is what social networking has evolved into. Facebook and other social networking tools started as a way of connecting with old friends, making new friends, transcending boundaries such as large land masses, religion, and political views. Unfortunately, it has evolved into a tool or altar of vanity and self-importance where posting pictures of yourself drinking at a nightclub or posting your thoughts on how 'hung over' you are, is considered profound. Seeing this behavior on some of my friends, I have jokingly devised a diagnosis aptly termed ISIS (Imagined Self-Importance Syndrome) for people that believe they urgently need to comment on something, 'like' something, or 'retweet' something. Facebook is not that important, neither is any email. If it is a matter of life or death with a loved one, be a grown up, inform your yoga teacher before class, pick a spot close to the back and excuse yourself if the need arises. I am in the medical field and my instructor knows that if my pager or phone vibrates, it's an emergency not because I have the incessant need to broadcast myself. Good for you for sticking to your beliefs.

    • HonestOpinion says:

      Being in the medical field John, I would assume you know the peril of making faulty assumptions. How do you know what that person's phone usage was about? Even the writer assumed it was Facebooking, but that's just because the employee works at Facebook. People who work at Facebook have lives too. They have sick relatives, make or break deadlines, other important issues. How can you make a call from this far away? We need more critical thinking in the medical profession, not less.

  28. […] and judgment. I’m thinking it may be a lifelong challenge. The teacher was clear with her position. “Really? Your e-mail is more important than understanding your body? It’s more […]

  29. […] Ness claims in a blog post that she offered a stern look of disapproval. No words, not even a […]

  30. Indian Yoga teacher says:

    It seems that a lot of people equate asana with physical posture or meditation with mental quiet whereas these are just parts of Yoga, which in itself means integrity. A student must at least be willing and able to follow a teacher's instructions for the duration of a class to get far enough to bring together intent, body and breath.
    Some commentators assume that a Yoga teacher simply provides a service like making a sandwich rather than actually intervening in the thought, emotional and physical processes of a student. Americans certainly are an ignorant and opinionated folk spoiled by their own home-made business and marketing thinking.

    • shagwell says:

      Wow … pretty opinionated and judgemental for "yoga teacher". Not to mention insulting. So much for being integrated.

      • Rielle says:

        I do not want yoga teachers intervening my thoughts. I want yoga teachers that respect me enough to let me think for myself and in the process they may just learn something from me. Down with the idea of one sided mind feeding and sheep mentality. Yoga is one and nobody is holier than anybody else.

        • Indian Yoga teacher says:

          Rielle, try being one of a piece – get your thoughts, body and breath together. Trying to teach the teacher is a bit conflicted, isn't it?

      • Indian Yoga teacher says:

        Bitter truth Mr Shagwell, huh? Take a look at yourself in the mirror …

    • Andrew says:

      A lot of my fellow Americans are simply spoiled brats who can't stand being told no. Many of my generation were raised in an "impossible to fail" education system which has bestowed on them a vast overestimation of their own importance and capabilities.

      It's bred a pretentious complacency that will hopefully die out in future generations. For now, I think it's no coincidence that a huge number of America's finest minds come from overseas, including India.

      • Rielle says:

        I am an Asian, raised in Asia, hated the backward, abusive, authoritative method there; did poorly in school there because all teachers were completely uninspiring; became a valeditctorian and love learning here in USA. You re the one pretending to know what's it like to learn from the Indians, Andrew or is it Alice?

        • Indian Yoga teacher says:

          Hmmmm, dealing with one's past is difficult, Rielle. It does not mean that all you experienced was wrong, may the years bring you remembrance of the gifts you recieved. Yoga does mean discipline, read the first lines of the Yoga Sutra if you like …

          Wishing you true freedom!

          • Rielle says:

            I sure did learn from my past. It gives me a great gift of appreciation for this country and the people who have greatly inspired me. I do not hold a romantic idea of what India or Asian culture is like a lot of western yogis or the yoga fundamentalists. There are many things that I appreciate obviously, that's why I study yoga, buddhism, Taoism.. To me it's not about what I study but how. I know what discipline is. It sure doesn't mean blind faith. Yoga is an experiential discipline. No yoga teacher can feed you the philosophy of yoga and promise you an enlightenment. Wishing you the same freedom!

        • Andrew says:

          My comment was about American culture, because that is what I am intimately familiar with. The American university system is excellent, however the public K-12 system here is horrid. This is documented fact if you look at test scores.

          I think it is wonderful that you were able to come here and excel in your studies. Your story is in fact exactly what I'm talking about and I'm unsure why you are directing such venom at me. I am happy that you could experience the opportunity to learn here and wish my own people shared the same level of enthusiasm that you do. Many of them don't; those are the people who truly do not understand how blessed they are here. It is taken for granted and that is what makes them spoiled.

      • Indian Yoga teacher says:

        We could learn so much from each other, Andrew. I feel that the Yoga Yamas and Niyamas are barely touched as a part of Yoga philosophy, where actually they are the solid base of Yoga practice. Commercial Yoga teaching unfortunately, leads to students setting demands and standards rather than the teacher providing an actual path. A case of the tail wagging the dog, quite similar to today's politics and business practices.

        It's good to know that some few Americans are aware of that, may they lead their people out of this infantile mess they call freedom.
        All the very best to you, Namaste.

        • Andrew says:

          It is a mistake for any American to think they are automatically free just because they are afforded the opportunity. I have seen many rich spiritual and cultural pursuits diluted in the name of profit, but I can't shake the feeling that we're all a bit poorer as a result. I for one will never stop learning, and you've already given me the start of a new path to pursue with your comments. Thank you!

          • Mark says:

            Are the two of you quite done jerking each other off? Yes? Good. I think you two are the opposite end of the spectrum of those blaming Alice for going against the employment terms. There is a middle ground. Not condescending about how utterly brilliant you and Andrew are and not pooh pooh Alice for working there, either.

          • Indian Yoga teacher says:

            Mark, if you read my first post, you would know that every teacher is right to insist on some basic discipline during class, in my humble opinion.

  31. Tracie says:

    In a perfect world, or even an almost-perfect world, it would be great if no one brought in or used their cell phone in a yoga class. Yes, I think it is distracting and I feel badly for those who cannot unplug for 60-90 minutes. That said, I think it's a slippery slope when we, as instructors, begin to assume things about the students in our class. We seem to want to "justify" someone using their phone by qualifying it as only in an "emergency." But what might be an emergency for you may not be that for me. As a yoga teacher, I try really hard to not jump to judgment of my students. Why can't someone sit still for a three minute meditation? Why is it my business? I simply try to hold space for each and every student to experience their yoga, without my expectations. I won't lie–it's not easy. Rather than glaring at the student in question, as the teacher in the article did, I would use it as an opportunity to talk in a broader sense about not reacting to that which we cannot control. Set your drishti, focus on your breath, and witness without judgment. Did it warrant her being fired? Well, perhaps not, but she already stated that Facebook made it clear what their expectations were and she didn't follow them. And yes, I think it lacked a certain ethical fiber to call Facebook out by naming them. She could have easily kept their name out of the issue and simply referred to them as a "well know high tech company" and left it at that. By naming them, it reeks a bit of revenge. And frankly, that sorta sucks.

    • swiss says:

      Please elaborate: what certain ethical fiber is lacking in calling out Facebook by naming them? Is a corporation like Facebook so holy, sacrosanct, or tender that the truth about how they treat their yoga instructors should be kept under wraps….? I am glad to know things like Facebook ends to be quite sexist, or that Google's blue collars workers are placed in a separate building and are not supposed to fraternize with the professionals. Perhaps you don't want to know these things, but it helps me make my own ethical choices about how and where I spend my time and money—how much do I want to reward corporate behavior that disrespects [in this case] yoga instructors? how much might this attitude also inform the designs and designers of the Facebook experience, and their regard for their users? I'm glad to know. Despite what he Supreme Court says, and you may well disagree, I don't go along with the idea that a corporation is a person and shouldn't be spoken about negatively in public.

      • VQ2 says:

        A corporation is considered a person and can be sued. This, of course, could be an alternative to all this browbeating, or an ensuing course of action in a case like this.

        Precedents could be set in a real court, not just in "the court of public opinion"

  32. shagwell says:

    What happened to "serving your students" and "meeting your students where they are" ?? Good gracious, Alice was teaching in a "high tech environment", she wasn't teaching at an idealic retreat venue.

    A glance from Alice can be DEADLY. She's can definitely deplay "attiutude" and it's not always "yogic".

    If I were that student, I would have gone to management also. The employer has a right and resposibility for firing 'a contractor" for the bad attitude, whether you believe in device access in class or not.

    • Ben says:

      Oh yes, whenever I get a "DEADLY" look from a female servant, I always go straight to management as beating her is illegal here. I can't stand an uppity female that serious. I mean, gosh, c'mon yo!. If Alice looked at me in a way that implied insubordination, it will be just minutes before she would be in the unemployment line.

      Shagwell, hope to see you at the country club next week. May your life be free of "DEADLY" stink eyes.

      • Vision_Quest2 says:

        Now, I can't help but laugh … can't suppress it anymore. My bad, but have patience with this late-middle-aged lady . …

        But, then again, I work neither in highly-paid high tech with free lunches and free yoga classes bestowed upon me, and HAVE in the past put up with deadly glances from yoga teachers for whatever (not that I had a cell phone that rang; but I did have a tiny bit of a temper and major ongoing philosophical differences with my teachers) …

        No, no country club. But the teacher is trying to teach YOGA … if I don't like the full meal of a particular devotional, respectful rasa that is presented that is her YOGA, and I can't have just a "snack"; hey, I'm outta that class … taking my cell phone and/or 'tude elsewhere.

        This teacher, with whom I sympathize — cannot empathize, of course; with what I bring to the table — may have a legal case …

        A hearty LOLOLOL ensues (sorry, but it's more at your comment, Ben, than Alice's story) ….

        Believe me, that tiny little part of me that feels abundant right this very minute (that could change)… could empathize with the student–but in my case, engaging my higher order thinking, I'd feel only a little tempted to go to Management … and extremely tempted to take myself and my cell phone to maybe the Zumba class down the hall – because who needs Yoga? … all those rules … get enough of it at the job, lol … let's just say, "Nix" on reporting that teacher, and Yes, she just lost another student, if it were me …

      • shagwell says:

        No Ben, you won't find me at the country club, unless it is working there.

        I avoid hanging out with people like Alice that have an attitude and give "stink eye". I know how to keep a job, because I don't dispay attitude.

        Simply put, Alice needs to grow up and learn a few things. Ask Alice how many gigs she's lost because of her attitude. I am pretty sure she's run into this "attitude mirror" before.

        • swiss says:

          "attitude mirror" "device access"…..sounds like shagwell's been hittin the corporate Cool-Aid again

    • Kitty says:

      AMEN to that! I totally agree! Too many students are turned off by teachers who can't adapt the the environment or the class.

      • swiss says:

        heeeeLARious! do you work for Facebook? who are these "too many students"? and….what the heck are you even talking about? that teachers should "adapt the the environment or the class."

  33. […] A yoga instructor who taught at Facebook got fired for merely discouraging an employee from checking Facebook during class, she says in a tell-all blog post about the incident. […]

  34. Rielle says:

    @Tracie, thanks for taking the words out of my mouth.
    You go by your emplyer's rules or you can reject the job. Negotiation about policies should be discussed before you accept the job, not after you get fired. In the yoga studios that I teach cellphone use is not an issue. Nobody uses it because that is the studio's rule clear and simple.

    While in Ardha Chandrasana, do not stop and stare at the one student paying no attention to you or the class. Go on teaching the other students relying on your expertise and mindfulness. With kindness have a conversation with the one student afterward. Express to her you are concerned about her safety and that others may also have been distracted by her.

    Do not propagate divisive thougts or worse bad mouth your employer or students during or after your teaching gig. You attract what you put out. We are one after all. Any yoga teacher should meditate on this and not just preach at others. Yoga is oneness.

  35. […] Una maestra de yoga que impartía esta disciplina en el gimnasio de Facebook fue despedida por pedir a un empleado que no entrara a la red social durante la clase, al menos eso es lo que ella dice en su blog. […]

  36. cathywaveyoga says:

    Today with a lot of computer time due to pesonal obligations I have watched this article posted on huf press and sfgate and reposted by more than 3 friends on FB. Huff press had over 90 comments! Comments are split against the teachers' rules not in concert and against the phone user.

  37. […] A yoga instructor who taught at Facebook’s gym got fired for merely discouraging an employee from checking Facebook during class, she says in a tell-all blog post about the incident. […]

  38. vielle says:

    It would not give me peace to see a person in a yoga setting texting instead. I would be constantly worried that person would fall over onto me. It is absolutely unacceptable at multiple levels to be that unfocused and completely lacking in common sense much less social grace and respect. I will certainy not recommend Plus One to any business clients if they are in agreement with this behavior.

  39. Kitty says:

    The culture is set by the company, not by instructor. The instructor sets the tone of the class based on cultural rules. This company invited Alice into their world to enhance the environment, not control it. Giving "disapproving looks" is not a hospitable way to treat someone. If you disagree with a policy, seek advice from management. If a company policy indicates that students can have phones or come in late or bring their kids to work, that's their prerogative. If you have a better solution, fair it out with management but don't take it out on your class. Alice missed the point of her role as a leader and a teacher. She knew the rules, but defied them anyway. Be a team player. Don't give "looks" because the class isn't following your rules. Talk to them, understand them – treat them with respect and they will respect you in return. This is disrespectful for start to finish.

    • swiss says:

      omg…..you must work in HR…..civilizations have crumbled with people with mindless obeisance to Authority and Rules.

      • Kitty says:

        I am a dance instructor – a far cry from HR, but I've worked in many environments to understand the challenges on both sides of the classroom.

  40. […] Ness claims &#1110n a blog post th&#1072t &#1109h&#1077 offered a stern look &#959f disapproval. N&#959 words, n&#959t even a […]

  41. […] Ness claims in a blog post that she offered a stern look of disapproval. No words, not even a […]

  42. […] učiteljica yoge požalila se javnosti u blog zapisu, a Facebookovci su izjavili da ne komentiraju kadrovske promjene drugih kompanija, s obzirom da Van […]

  43. steve says:

    Why can't we know the name of this Facebook employee who complained to mgmt?

  44. Rielle says:

    @Cathywaveyoga, you re right! Alice managed to have 3 articles published at the same time. That is some karma. Huf press and sf gate article are pretty one sided. This article exposes Alice herself and not so much FB. I hope FB does not take legal issue with her.

    • cathywaveyoga says:

      Info from all 3 seem to be crossing into legal land, where one needs ot be careful. EJ is pretty smart. Many other articles here have had much stronger implications!

    • swiss says:

      hm, you actually sound rather gleefully anticipatory that there will be trouble and she–and others like her—will be muzzled. What has gotten you so bent out of shape about the fact that Facebook's actions might be known to us?

  45. yogini24 says:

    I agree with Alice. I am a yoga teacher. I have been practicing for almost 10 years, and teaching for 3. I teach in a gym environment, and often people who come are new to yoga, or maybe just don't want to pay the money to go to a studio. I do feel that part of me teaching yoga, is also teaching people that you need to disconnect and learn to be present. I make the exact same request to my large classes, that they silence or turn off cellphones. If I see someone texting or talking on the phone, I might go over to them and tell them quietly to please get off the phone or leave the class. It is inconsiderate to the teacher, and to the people around them. It's not a sixth grade social studies class, and the students in the class are grown adults who chose to be in the class. Now, I understand that maybe someone is expecting an emergency call or something. I have had people explain that situation to me before class, and if their phone rings, they leave. That's fine. I think this Plus One Fitness place should think of it's rules – what happens if someone gets hurt in a class taught by someone they've hired because that person was on their phone?

  46. Rielle says:

    @Cathywaveyoga, you re right! Alice managed to get 3 articles published at the same time. That is some karma. Huf press and sf gate article are pretty one sided. This article exposes Alice herself and not so much FB. I hope FB does not take legal issue with her.

  47. misshegasana says:

    This is unfortunate for Ms. van Ness, and I wish her success in her future endeavors, but I must admit I wholly disagree with the thrust of her main argument.

    No real yogi looks at the world and goes, "Wait, this doesn't suit me. I need it to change to suit my needs!" The world is a mess; it's always been a perfect mess. It is your job to work within the existing constraints with courage, strength and open-hearted devotion to the practice itself. Your job is not to control the environment, because that is a fool's errand.

    There will always be texters, a-holes, stinky folks, freaks, ego-driven poseurs, damsels eager to parade their Lululemon gusseted-crotch pantaloons and other flakes who show up for class without no other purpose than to later tweet "OMG I just went to yoga!" Barring that, there will always be a leaf-blower or a jackhammer operating at ear-splitting level just outside, or a power outage, or no fresh towels, or someone who farts, etc. etc. etc.

    Maybe one could say that the corporate environment is a perfect setting to practice proper yogic behavior..

    • shagwell says:

      Brillian and very well stated. Yes, the corporate environment is a perfect setting to practice real yogic behavior.

    • bernard says:

      OMG, somebody's not a 'real yogi' on the internet!

      Dude, no "real yogi" would say what a "real yogi" does. Having been a few real yogis I should know.

      Seen rom another perspective she worked with courage, strength and open-hearted devotion to the practice by following her instinct and not the rules set out by her employer.

      The internet is a perfect setting to practice proper yogic behaviour, don't you all agree.

      • misshegasana says:

        Your comment about "not following the rules set by the employer" reminds me of that famous Sri Ramakrishna parable:

        A young disciple had just learned from his guru that God is in all beings and thus he should bow before them all.

        Drunk on this epiphany, he sees an elephant coming toward him. "I am God and the elephant is God in another form," he thinks. So he stands there respectfully bowing while the elephant's mahout screams at him, "Get out of the way! Get out of the way!"

        The disciple doesn't, and is predictably tossed aside by the elephant, and left in the dust bruised and confused.

        He runs to his guru in great physical and mental anguish: "You have taught me that God is in all beings and that we should bow before all of them! I met the God in the elephant, bowed to him, and he tossed me aside!"

        "Yes, dear," says the guru, "God is in all beings. So why the hell didn't you listen to the voice of God coming from the mahout?"

        ..Such is when Facebook is your employer, too!

  48. […] Ness claims in a blog post that she offered a stern look of disapproval. No words, not even a […]

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