Five Yoga Teachers to Avoid.

Via on Nov 27, 2012

Not all yoga teachers are created equal. Beware.

1. The Backseat Yoga Teacher.

We all know at least one. Without previous permission they verbally or physically give cues and/or adjustments to other students during class. This falls into my WTF category. If they don’t have respect for their fellow teachers, how are they going to respect you as a student?

2. The Runaway Yoga Teacher.

A rare species of yoga teachers. They go into a yoga class and simply do their own practice. This is just weird and I’m not sure why anyone would pay money to take a class and then not take it. Again, it’s about respect…and it’s just freakin’ weird!

3. The Flashy Yoga Teacher.

Most of us have been here before. This teacher is becoming increasingly popular for vinyasa flow style classes. One way to identify them is by their disregard for the breath. They pump out as many poses and arm balances as they can and make you work harder than your cross fit trainer. Careful with this one; injury level is high.

4. The XOXO, Yoga Gossip Teacher.

This teacher makes you have high school flashbacks or reminds you of the movie Mean Girls. During teacher trainings, they have a tendency to go to the bathroom in groups so they can gossip. Luckily, if you’re not in their inner circle they won’t notice you in their class, but best to stay clear just in case.

5.  The “Needs a Xanax Before Class” Yoga Teacher.

Another rare species, but super easy to identify. This teacher also has a tendency to fall into the Backseat Yoga Teacher category, but with a little more pizzazz. They often beg students to come to their classes and resort to Facebook stalking if you never show up again. Inappropriate remarks regarding the size of anatomy parts, or their significant other disrupting class are typical occurrences.

Bonus: More funny/serious: 10 Reasons Your Yoga Class Still Sucks.


Ed: Brianna B.

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About Rachael Arabian

Rachael was a former Army officer and decided to trade in her boots for a pair of yoga pants. With her adventures across the United States and abroad, Rachael has had the opportunity to study a variety of yoga lineages and methods to include Ashtanga, Integral, Restorative, Vinyasa and Yoga Sports Science. Rachael is currently traveling, but you can find her at


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32 Responses to “Five Yoga Teachers to Avoid.”

  1. Vision_Quest2 says:

    2.a. Didya ever? Maybe it's a New York City thing, but the teacher holding full classical headstand in the front of the rank beginner's class for ten minutes,absolutely oblivious to the class filing in and filling up in front of him …

    I felt I was back in my magnet high school's gym class …

    • nnn says:

      ooohhh I've been to his class.

      • Vision_Quest2 says:

        Yeah, technically, he'd started out facing the class, btw… then ascended into that full-body mudra (on behalf of the class, out of respect to the class ?) so that his little bubble-butt had been facing the class. For ten minutes before class.

        Other teachers in that same studio (usually male) would do those before-beginner-class showoffy asana in other ways–you know, a koundinyasana or something like that.

        Now, I would tolerate that sort of thing in a Breakti or Flowmotion class. Again, this was not high school gym or a fusion practice …

  2. This was awesome. I am going to share on my Balance Fire Page on FB. Frighteningly accurate.

  3. Sara Jean Deegan Sara says:

    I Disagree with these rude and harsh generalizations. First of all, I have never even encountered 4/5ths of these types of instructors and I’ve been practicing yoga for ten years, and teaching for two. Furthermore, if I am an instructor and other instructor or student decides to do half pigeon instead of warrior I I would never call that behavior weird. The person may have injuries and only my ego would be offended by the instructors decision to modify her or his practice as needed. No groups of teachers or students have ever left my classes to gossip in the bathroom, and I don’t know any teacher or studio that would tolerate that practice. I’ve never had a teacher imply to my body parts, touch me inappropriately or stalk me on Facebook…I don’t know any studio that would tolerate a teacher of that manner. Is this article meant to be funny? This article, I think, spreads inappropriate misconceptions of snobbery yoga.

    • Barbara Selvin says:

      I agree. I'm about ready to stop following EJ on Facebook. Too many negative posts.

    • @HeatherDCyr says:

      Thank you Sara for writing this. I am new to yoga and the instructor/ teacher (?) I have been going to is absolutely amazing, but articles like this still scare me a little. I would hate to think that the yoga center I am currently attending was not a safe environment.

  4. Midnight says:

    I agree with Sara. This article is appalling. Pointless. Seems like the author is fishing for shock factor and something to point fingers at, rather than seriously forwarning people about some yoga teachers. I’m tired of reading stuff like this on Elephant Journal. Please, EJ more screening of your contributors!

  5. Auki says:

    This article sounded kind of katty! ;(

  6. Rachael Arabian Rachael says:

    Intersting comments…this article is actually about myself and it's meant to be ironic. At one point or another, I've been all these teachers. What's truly intersting is watching people's reactions and who gets offended ;-) I find that the people who get offended are the people who are actually on the list!

    • Vision_Quest2 says:

      So true!

      I'd had a variant of #5, too. [Though not deserving of a subcategory to #5.]

      She must have OD'ed on reading The Secret, and she tried to manifest me into her class the same day (I was registered–though not by my own hand–and it was "too late" to say I was NOT registered [thus, forfeiting the class fee]). I'd harassed the studio to make sure I wasn't charged for a class I tried valiantly to squeeze into an already full set of weekend chores, to no avail …

      She never got reprimanded for the behavior, and went on to study with Baron last I'd heard …

  7. Sara Jean Deegan sara says:

    your list refers to you, but it does not categorize me just because I find critique in these stereotypes. Furthermore, I would never hold myself to such silly rules. As a teacher, I've never encountered these "types of teachers" that you're warning us to avoid.

  8. [...] someone now. You may be surprised by how much physical therapy can help all sorts of conditions (including yoga injuries!), and good physical therapists will give you homework (home exercises) to help you sustain relief [...]

  9. lucas says:

    this is very funny, thank you to post this article! Hope to don't find a teacher like this one!

  10. Karen says:

    The article definately says more about the person writing it than anything else, if it was meant to be ironic, she should have let people in on the joke. It just comes off mean spirited.

  11. Emily says:

    Maybe I have been lucky, or maybe it's just because I live in Cleveland, but I have honestly never experienced a single one of these "types" of teachers. Very "non-yogic" article….very "mean girls" and "high school" itself….

  12. susanwrotehere says:

    I know yoga teacher 4 all too well. The solution: go to a different yoga studio. The culture of the place of practice will cultivate that sort of behavior in which yoga is a cult or just a in-crowd.

    If you teach yoga, you are going to do something that may offend another. The question is intention. Sometimes inexperience makes people do some things like adjust without permission or send unwanted verbal cues. The person who shares his or her own practice may know yoga but may not know how to share it with others. The flashy vinyasa type may be doing what he or she thinks the class wants–who knows.

    I don't think this article is mean spirited at all. Thanks for this.

  13. katybrandes says:

    Unfortunately, there are people who fit into these categories in every walk of life and all professions. I'm lucky to have only ever experienced #2 once, and he was a young instructor who was fairly new at it. Fortunately for me, I only witnessed his "expertise" one time when he subbed there. Let's hope these examples are the exception and not the norm.

    • Vision_Quest2 says:

      I think you are actually talking about variant 2.a. that I posited.

      These are the ones who actually teach the class.

      The way I read this blog post, the author meant to categorize the type 2's as actually yoga teachers (and/or class teaching assistants) who are present (or actually, in this case, "not present" in mind, in a led class) as a paying student – who does not follow the teacher's lead.

      Could never help but see them out of the corner of my eye – there were plenty of those around, too. Somehow, though, when it was the type 2's turn to teach a class, I was pleasantly surprised at how well most of them taught. In an otherwise intolerable yoga shala.

  14. Ernesto says:

    Never met any of the above… I saw in the comments that the author said
    this was about her… A few things to work on then?

  15. Britt says:

    I have found so many articles on ElephantJournal that I love. I got a kick out of this was one. As a student [I am not a teacher- yet :) ], I even had a yoga teacher one time threaten to call the police on me because she found out I was practicing at another place as well; she said because I was doing it with other students that we were stealing her business. She was mentally unstable and controlling; avoid those teachers as well! The reality of the yoga world is, it's not perfect! I can relate to many articles on here, so thanks.

    • Guest says:

      What do you mean …. the yoga world is NOT PERFECT?!? I had NO idea! Apparently, I'm too much into my own practice to notice, LOL! ;)

  16. Joe says:

    Funny article. I travel the country for work and have taken classes in most major cities. As tongue-in-cheek as this article is meant, there is a big kernal of truth to it. I recognize at least 3 of the types. You should add type #6 (of which we're all guilty)….Yoga Police. To those who are offended, nothing is more yogic and forgiving than being able to laugh at ourselves and our differences. Remember, yoga teachers are human and suffer the same insecurities as students.

  17. A4D says:

    I'm finding the comments more interesting than the article (which I enjoyed because . Surprisingly hostile reactions.

    • Nancy says:

      Not surprising to me… there are a whole lotta "yogi"s out there (or at least here in LA) who do NOT appreciate being called on their bullsh*t. And a whole lot more who just take themselves a LIT-tle too seriously.

  18. D.C. says:

    then there is the yoga teacher who stalks your boyfriend for 3 years after he attends class because she believes that they are "soul mates"

  19. Hazel says:

    Agreed E.J please screen this is just badly written and pointless.

  20. Karyn Austin says:

    Didn't really "get" this article. I found it odd as well that a picture of Greer Childers was used to demo what teacher you should stay away from. She is the founder of "Body Flex", an exercise program that truly works. In the picture she is performing a variation of Lion's Pose which she then incorporates isometric contractions along with a special breath technique. This article seemed a little vague. I am a yoga teacher and do not do any of these things AND my fellow teachers do not either. Oh well…freedom of speech, I guess!

  21. Alison says:

    I think the article highlights that your practice is your own, every teacher has a unique voice and it allows students to find their individual practice. We are all different, and that is what makes yoga beautiful, you can find the space that works for you and the teacher to guide you to it.

  22. liz says:

    Funny article! I'm surprised so many people took offense to it. Can't please everyone!

  23. Sarah says:

    What a shallow piece. All teachers, and students for that matter, have good and bad days. For the author to stand in judgement is really casting the first stone. Go to classes and teachers who inspire you and write about that, or write a thought-out substantive pice with a point.

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