When Clever Yoga Scam Meets Clever Yoga Teacher.

Via on Aug 24, 2012

Just Because I am a yoga teacher doesn’t mean I’m dumb.

I receive many e-mails from John Smith and his family, and also Mary Sue and her daughter as well as Bob Parker and his tribe in Saskatoon—all want to study yoga with me. They want two weeks of privates and twice a day. They also want in-depth sessions on diet, philosophy and theory. They are very interested.

Me too (press delete).

First, I have yet to have a student dump all of these requests on me especially in the beginning. That comes later as they get to know me and start making requests for telepathic sessions (true). Most people approach the subject by saying, “I feel tight,” or “I am overweight” or “I have injuries.” As well, many people (leaving aside celebrities) cannot afford the private class fee and taking classes twice a day is out of most people’s timetable.

Now, the problem is we are not always on our toes. But it is also not because we are stupid, greedy or half asleep. Deep down it has to do with being hungry for attention, new opportunities or help.

When Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche came to America he was astounded that everyone had so much information but lacked so much wisdom (Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving Kindness). He also said everyone was so hungry for spiritual ‘anything’ that they were naive and gullible.

Here is a scam that was not obvious and noteworthy given the efforts made:

About a year ago I had an editor call me to ask if I would like to advertise in his magazine. He provided the rates, the kind of magazine it was and really pushed how much I would make a good fit. Being a small business owner I decided to negotiate with him instead. I suggested he run an interview first and in the fall I would advertise. He thought it over and agreed.

That afternoon I spent a few hours putting together paragraphs about myself, the school, yoga and the programs and classes offered. I remember thinking it was a bit strange that I was writing this, but I justified the time spent with “free advertising.”

Things looked really legitimate including me resending the photographs by having another person contact me about the resolution being too low.

The months passed and I forgot about the whole thing. Then one morning I received a phone call from a very concerned yoga teacher in Ontario. She asked me if I had published an advertisement in a magazine. I recognized the name of it and told her, “yes.”

She asked me, “How much did you pay?”

I replied, “I didn’t.”

What happened is that she had received a call from the same guy I spoke to. This time, however, she had a copy of the magazine in question and was using my ad to get her to advertise. She told me another studio had already been scammed and was hoping to recover their $900.00 loss! They had paid but received no ad. A mass e-mail was immediately sent to every yoga teacher, school and studio to make them aware of the scam.

A few days later the magazine appeared at my door. And sure enough, there was the article, me and the photographs. Looking at the work involved it was a pretty good scam and not one that was obvious.

Of course, are they ever?

PS: The gods were with me that day…as it could have been me out $900.00—no problem….



Editor: Brianna Bemel


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About Heather Morton

Before yoga, Heather's life aspirations were very different than the path she ultimately took. After starting what looked like a promising modelling career, Heather Morton left Canada to live and work in South Korea. This was a pivotal shift in her life's map where she began teaching not only English but yoga. And by the way, she had no idea what she was doing! Today, she is a dedicated teacher and student of yoga having made 17 trips to India in 17 years to study Yoga under her teachers. Her passion for learning includes staying in ashrams and returning to university to obtain a Masters of Education. Combining her love for yoga and children she conducted a 2-year ethnographic thesis on Yoga for children in the Indian educational system. Meanwhile back in Toronto, Canada, she founded and directed her own yoga school for 15 years. The Yoga Way (TYW) was a niche school in that it was the only one not to be a 'drop-in' centre. Heather also produced podcasts, manuals, videos, a teacher training text and DVDS and CDS. Freedom of the Body DVD is one of the first instructional practice videos on back bending yoga. Heather has been featured in The Globe & Mail, Toronto Life magazine and other media sources like YogaLife, HelloYoga and MindBodyGreen. More recently, Heather jumped over the pond and into family life. She resides in Germany near the Swiss border where she is a mum of a beautiful boy. Find her on facebook.


3 Responses to “When Clever Yoga Scam Meets Clever Yoga Teacher.”

  1. Hido says:

    Very interesting…amazing the length people will go to fool others…..suck the others as they say.

  2. […] When Clever Yoga Scam Meets Clever Yoga Teacher. […]

  3. gdr23 says:

    I am glad you did not lose money and feel bad for those who did. The number of phising scams I get is amazing. I hope that new teachers, who I think may be the most vulnerable, don't fall for them. And I hope that incidents like this don't close off our hearts to those who need yoga in their lives.

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