Things Your Yoga Teacher is Dying to Tell You (But Probably Won’t). ~ Alice Williams

Via on Aug 28, 2013

angry-teacher-pointing

Despite what every ill-informed medical professional tells you, not all yoga is good.

Bonus: Yes, I’m a Serious Yogi, But I Still Do These 6 Things.

Ha! There, I said it.

Just had a vertebra removed/hernia operation/six months pregnant and your doctor told you ‘yoga might help?’ Then this Power class is for you.

When we say ‘notice any intense feelings in this pose and let them go,’ we mean ‘Stop looking at me like I’m Hitler.’

Please don’t giggle when we say ‘perineum.’ Just think about the muscles of the pelvic floor: how would you describe them?

You in the back, who keeps checking your mobile phone, see the way you’re jamming your arms straight, crunching your lower back and throwing your head back? You know how your mouth was moving before? We’re saying ‘don’t do that.’

Can’t do yoga because you’re ‘not flexible’? We admire you more than you realise just for turning up. Having said that, if you insist on contorting your body into the most advanced version of every pose ‘cause that’s real yoga,’ then send my love to your chiropractor.

Like you, our Chakras aren’t always aligned. But when you’ve had a bad day, chances are you can hide behind your computer. When we’ve had a bad day we have to pray like a mother*** that we can let it go before our 5:30 class.

Twenty percent of yoga teachers came to yoga through anger management problems, 10 percent through injury rehabilitation, and the rest of us are raging control freaks trying to keep it in check.

Most of the time we have absolutely no idea what is going on in your knee, shoulder, pinkie toe. Here’s a tip, if something’s really pinching, don’t do it.

If we drone on about ‘respecting others,’ it’s only because the two girls catching up on gossip in the back row are giving us the shits. That or we’re trying to tell the lady behind you that covering up her hastily smoked Marlboro Lights with lashings of J-Lo’s Dream isn’t working.

Sure, we see you as a ‘whole person, beautiful in your completeness,’ but when you step onto the mat, we also see you as a collection of joints that are in or out of alignment. So when we manually adjust your pose, we’re really just helping you to align, not trying to pinch your bum.

Wow, yes, do answer your texts during the forward bends. Did you come to yoga to just ‘chill, get some me time, y’know tune in?’ Then start by turning off your mutha-loving phone.

We don’t like it when you leave before Savasana, for the same reason that Jamie doesn’t like you taking your lemon chicken out of the oven ten minutes early: you’re undercooked. And also, it’s really rude.

No one cares what you wear. Having said that, those leggings are more see-through than you think.

Like you, most of us can’t put our foot behind our head. And yet we have the gall to call ourselves yoga teachers. Go figure.

In an average class, there’ll be a depressed person, a blissed-out person, and a one-bitten-fingernail-away-from-going-postal person. Some want to sweat, others want gentle coaxing. But if you think our class is “not as good as my other teacher, Satya’s,” know that it’s impossible to please everyone. (Oh and by the way, Satya’s real name is Karen.)

After a long week telling people to breathe in and out, there’s nothing better than lying on the couch to watch a jolly good beheading on Game of Thrones.

If the class theme is ‘equanimity,’ chances are we’re trying not to take it personally that two people turned up to last night’s class. Ditto ‘body love’, ‘Patience’ and ‘forgiving those who’ve wronged us’.

Some teachers like to be idolised, others don’t care for it. But if you do, you’re 80% more likely to hear that they’ve been involved in a sex scandal or killed their own prey.

Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you eat meat / get injuries / were found drunk in the gutter!’ Yes, that’s right, we’re human. Need to learn from someone perfect? Good luck with that.

The people who tell you how amaaaaazing yoga is are usually the ones who don’t turn up regularly. Serious about your practice? Turn up when you’re irritable as hell, then have the balls to take three deep breaths without running away.

Physical postures are just one part of yoga. There’s also meditation, philosophy and a bunch of other stuff. You don’t have to be spiritual, or even a nice person to try—but if you decide to take it seriously, your life will turn upside down. And it will be worth it.

Your shit doesn’t frighten us. So cry if you need to cry, be grumpy if you need to be grumpy. Heaving sobs in a hip stretch? Excellent. I myself mouthed swear words through my first five years of practice.

You look so peaceful in Savasana. You look like you really need a rest.

We will never tell you what we really think of Bikram unless we are drunk.

 

Like elephant yoga on Facebook.

Asst. Ed: Renee Picard / Ed: Sara Crolick

 

About Alice Williams

Alice Williams is a Melbourne author and yoga teacher. She blogs and teaches media writing at the University of Melbourne. Say hello on The Twitter or The Facebook! Read more from Alice Williams...

529,836 views

120 Responses to “Things Your Yoga Teacher is Dying to Tell You (But Probably Won’t). ~ Alice Williams”

  1. West Anson says:

    Brilliant piece of writing!

    "Twenty percent of yoga teachers came to yoga through anger management problems, 10 percent through injury rehabilitation, and the rest of us are raging control freaks trying to keep it in check."

    Classic……and more accurate than people think and Yoga Practitioners are willing to admit. Namas…..oh forget it, I am out of here.

    • breathe says:

      as a business owner that has the joy of meeting, hiring and seeing countless yoga instructors lets up that percentage to around 50% are dealing with personal depressions and unhappiness and become teachers–sorry but true. Sadly even afterwards those issues still exist, managed better maybe but gone forever, absolutely not!

    • Cj says:

      Isn’t yoga about non judgement? Because a yogi enjoys the taste of meat at times , are we saying you are right and they are wrong?

      This is the very essence of what yoga is…. Acceptance

    • Megan says:

      The healers are the ones who have needed or do need the most healing. They know the experience first hand and that's why they make the best mentors, philosophers, yoga teachers…yada yada.

      And the people who I see judging this article are simply doing that, and maybe in need of really learning how to be honest with themselves. I know only because I was and still am one of them… Shy from judgement and lean towards discernment…

  2. Ann says:

    Oh my, it's like you can see inside my soul! Loved this highly entertaining, and true, read. Thank you!

  3. Livicus says:

    Love game of thrones and I eat meat. There, I said it. Thanks, I loved reading this!

  4. Chel says:

    haha i def have had many of these thoughts while teaching and am guilty of some things as a student! ;) LOL

  5. John Hilliard says:

    I enjoyed reading this very much. I mean I very much enjoyed reading this.

  6. Amy says:

    Alice too true and too funny!!!! It's like you opened the window and a gist of fresh air came into the room. Hehe….loved the bit at the end about bikram….so true….
    Keep on procrastinating !! ;) xxxx

  7. michelle says:

    haha – We will never tell you what we really think of Bikram unless we are drunk.

    best. line. ever.

  8. Rose says:

    drunken meat eating yoga teachers? I def prefer to learn from someone who actually has the holistic approach that authentic yoga demands and not some americanized abomination thereof. Just please don't call yourself yogi's and yoginis. Those monikers are reserved for the real deal, not someone who looks at this ancient practise as exercise. funny article nonetheless.

    • Itsme says:

      ^^^^ Everything that's wrong in the world…

    • Michael says:

      It does not seem like you even read the article. Nonetheless, I am pretty sure that "someone" to which you refer is named Satya

    • Mel says:

      I consider myself a yogini – or a yogi, for that matter, on heavier tomboy days. I consider myself a seeker and seer. I am a teacher. I am a student. I am innocence, stupidity, and knowledge. I am tried and true. I pursue wisdom and insight and I will call myself yogini at anytime I feel the might. I am your yoga teacher- one day, one life. Whether you know me or not, whether i fit your authentic yoga lifestyle, your full 24/7 holistic approach or not – i would kindly like to say: Definitions, dear Rose, are limited and labels ugly. Be careful with the word demand and your use of it. I suggest using the beautiful verb "desire" instead.

    • guest says:

      I totally agree with rose. I've been practicing yoga for 15 years and have met many genuine people living compassionately and sincere lives. wow this article really annoyed me. seriously , you have a chip on your shoulder and you assume everyone agrees with you. I appreciate a few of the remarks but overall very poor taste my dear.

    • Scargosun says:

      I think I would rather have someone that can understand the flawed human that I am rather than someone 'holier than thou' as my teacher. Any 'real deal' yogi will tell you there is no such thing as a 'real deal' yogi. That is the whole point. Your first criticism wreaks of judgement and I don't think your found that in your 'real deal' class. This author never said she was a 'drunken meat eater' – that was your twisting of her words.

    • missbernklau says:

      Wait. Rose:

      Wouldn't it be a more "holistic approach" if you were learning from someone whom is "imperfect" because technically, no one is perfect…and…holistic is defined as "characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole."

      Which is to say, Yin and Yang, light and dark, clean and unclean, are dependent on one another to create "the whole", and therefore, just because a teacher drinks or eats meat doesn't mean that they cannot share Yogic wisdom. Who knows, maybe some of those people are still trying to stop doing both of those things, even if they aren't planning on stopping, if you leave that class feeling lighter, happier, injury-free, and inspired to share positivity and joy, then, what is the difference what your teacher likes to eat?

      Judgement is a funny thing. Yes, there are some really terrible, completely unqualified Yoga teachers out there that are causing injuries to their students and providing false information. It doesn't mean that non-ascetic teachers are bad and that their knowledge/wisdom is irrelevant (by the way, I just noticed this, no one ever gets mad at their Yoga teacher for being sexually active, i.e. not practicing Brahmacharya to the letter, but some get pretty judgy when they find out their teacher likes to smoke weed sometimes or enjoy the occasional organic, free-range, grass-fed, filet mignon)

      No one ever "arrives" at this magical place where they are a perfect person (okay, perhaps when you reach Samadhi you'd be close to "perfect", in which case, you should share your experience so others can experience pure consciousness and divinity too…sharing is caring you know.), and a lot of the time people that question the "perfection" of certain people are much further from this imaginary point of human perfection.

      I feel like the only people that actually have a right to say anything (re: drinking/smoking, eating meat and how partaking in such things means you will never reach enlightenment and that you're a bad teacher) about the "right" way to practice are Sadhus/Sadhvis living in caves. And, aren't Sadhus really only concerned with their own enlightenment anyway?

      Light and dark…they need each other for life to continue the cycle. It is up to each individual to decide for themselves which people in their lives (be it family, friends, doctors, professors, even Yoga teachers) are helping them to evolve as a human being, and which ones are holding them back from spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical growth and transformation.

      With love,
      Heather

    • missbernklau says:

      By the way, I just want to say that I'm not advocating for this article, I thought it was a bit sophomoric and I've heard so much of it said before with slightly different words…I just wanted to point out that it's ludicrous to judge people based on what they put in their mouths…it might be best to judge them by what comes out of their mouths instead. I think the Bible says that somewhere?

    • Helen says:

      I prefer to learn from someone who is kind, compassionate and gives me space to practice and strength to continue when it gets tough. I don't care if they eat meat or get drunk. The people who teach with love and flaws are the people yogis learn from. I always wondered what the real deal was; no judgement at all on your view but in my humble opinion, if it isn't the flawed human being, who is it? Much love to you. Namaste.

    • Spacecatmoonbeam says:

      Then you need to go to India and study there….everything else is an imitation. Except of course the real yogis were all men…so you wouldn't be able to get the authentic experience.

    • Yogi-bear says:

      The article is alright as a light/superficial/humorous take on being a "yoga instructor" but Rose is absolutely correct in making this point – Alice and others certainly don't sound like "yogis" in the traditional sense. Yogi Bhajan has a simple definition: "Yoga is the union of the individual’s unit consciousness with the Infinite Consciousness. The definition of a yogi is a person who has totally leaned on the Supreme Consciousness, which is God, until he or she has merged the unit self with the Infinite Self. That is all it means."

      I'd be surprised if anyone in this thread could claim anything remotely close to this level of spiritual understanding. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with not being a "Yogi" for heavens sake – you have to work towards it like any worth while attainment – it doesn't come easy. So why not just respect the title for what it is and stop misrepresenting ourselves – claiming levels of enlightenment we have yet to understand. simple. until then lets just call ourselves what we are "yoga practitioners" who still eat meat, have sex and smoke – then if we are dedicated and genuine in our practice we may one day become "Yogis" but by then we probably wont give a shit what we're called or what people call us lol.

    • Yogi-bear says:

      The article is alright as a light/superficial/humorous take on being a "yoga instructor" but Rose is absolutely correct in making this point – Alice and others certainly don't sound like "yogis" in the traditional sense. Yogi Bhajan has a simple definition: "Yoga is the union of the individual’s unit consciousness with the Infinite Consciousness. The definition of a yogi is a person who has totally leaned on the Supreme Consciousness, which is God, until he or she has merged the unit self with the Infinite Self. That is all it means."

  9. yoga person says:

    Really true and awesome. However…..spelling mistakes? There's a few. Attitude? There's a TON. Are you speaking to people who you would want to take your class? Because I'm not sure I would want to. Most of what you say is true, and funny. I wonder where the chip on your shoulder came from.

    • Jane Smith Alias says:

      I like to think perfection isn't required in most areas of life, with one exception: when criticisizing. "There's a few" is grammatically incorrect, which trumps a spelling error…

    • Deborah says:

      Learn how to use ellipsis and then you can comment on spelling mistakes. Sheesh and who cares where a chip on the shoulder came from? I.am.sick.of.people I believe this is the writer's opinion. Not a chip. #grump #judger

  10. Tomasz says:

    Patronizing. Inappropriate. Quite offensive. Perhaps the Author teaches too many classes, and needs a sabbatical? As much as I can appreciate humor and 'free speech', this article makes me think that teachers are gossiping behind students back, making funny comments about them. Only here, it's done in public. Ethically very questionable. Sorry… Just my two cents.

  11. Patricia says:

    I wanna take your class!

  12. michelesandlin says:

    interesting that some readers want a teacher that rides a 'high horse', self-righteous and riddled with perfectionist tendencies…
    got authority issues? need someone to project on? teaching and learning should take a person deeper inside themselves and away from judgment, discursive observation and away from the world of the senses and toward the soul… I say, whatever it takes and whoever takes you there is highly subjective.

    • Carol says:

      agreed. and what other people think of you is none of your business anyway and is merely says something about their character and not your own :)

  13. yoga_bug says:

    Having worked in the natural medicine world for 20 years I thoroughly enjoyed this. The author has pinned down the realities of working in a healing field. Most people become healers because they wrangled through something of their own and realize they can share their knowledge and hopefully help someone else. If they go into it for the guru worship….. well, that's just crazy in a can.

    I've been the health food store manager struggling to quit smoking. I've been the massage therapist with a hangover, I've been the nutritionist eating (fill in the blank with whatever you deem unacceptable). However, I show up. I committed my life and my knowledge to helping others while I still worked on figuring out myself. Howzabout cutting your teachers some slack?

    When we look for a perfect human to emulate, we are always disappointed. Why? For the reasons the author lists. Your teacher, your therapist, your chiropractor, your doctor all have human frailties. And yes, you, the student or patient, are going to drive them batty some days. Guess what though? They still show up. They come to the office or they lead you through a yoga class because they believe they have something to offer, even when they would rather watch Breaking Bad while drinking beer and eating pizza.

    Alice, I loved this piece. Thank you for the laugh and the reality check for teacher and student alike.

    • Deborah says:

      I loved this comment! Progress not perfection as they say in 12-step-land. Hooray to you!

    • Sarah says:

      i, too, love your comment! spoken like someone who lives in this field! i relate to your words so very much… honestly this comment was better written than the article itself

    • jeannemel says:

      Well said! This is a great article and points out the realities of making a living in a world where our time, education and talent are often under appreciated! I often walk in to teach a class feeling like it is going to take every last ounce of mental and physical strength. I LOVE what I do and generally finish a class feeling better for having been there to teach it, to actually SHOW UP and do my job leading people through a satisfying practice.

      I agree with most of the article, except for the Bikram thing. I often tell my students to check out a class if they want an asana kicking, but that is one studio that I will not make a practice date to meet them for. Bikram terrifies me. Must be the speedo!

  14. Erica Leibrandt Erica says:

    Hilarious. And I'll tell you what I think of Bikram sober ;)

  15. Carrie says:

    Love every bit of this! Hilarious. Thank you.

  16. Melanie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! As an art instructor for the last seven years, I know exactly where you are coming from, even down to the cell phone usage in class. Keep moving forwards, you are doing good work. It is OK to be fabulous AND flawed.

  17. dem says:

    So what do you REALLY feel about bikram?

  18. Lisa says:

    One, what's wrong with bikram? And two, do you honestly think all people think yoga teachers are perfect, like eating meat and watching game of thrones is a surprise? This was a waste of my time.

    • Sarah says:

      because bikram is a fad, and the guy who founded it is a sexist megalomaniac.
      and if you ask me that question when i'm drunk, i'll probably have more to say

      next, some people are astonished to learn that their yoga teacher is a meat eater, or drinks coffee, or isn't buddhist, or is a christian. not all do, but we get that from time to time

      • Bonnie says:

        A fad, really? Last I checked, Bikram yoga had been around for at least a few decades. People seem to like it, all over the world.

    • ryan85oh says:

      "What's wrong with Bikram?"

      I guess it depends what yoga is all about, to you personally. One thing I didn't appreciate about Bikram is the fact the instructor leads class by dictating the same script, every time. Where's the love and compassion in that? Where's the room for creativity and self expression? It makes the whole experience feel very "rank and file" and too "one size fits all." I feel like a big part of a great yoga instructor's prowess is catering to the energy and needs of each individual group of yogis they're leading. An instructor's subtle nuances, instructional and energy cues have an enormous impact on the quality and feel of a class, in my opinion.

      • Ara says:

        I teach Bikram style yoga (not affiliated with Bikram) and every class is different in it's way. The dialog is absolutely essential in keeping the rhythm and pace. It takes time for a teacher to learn to really teach because first they must hold the energy and conduct a well paced class…it's harder than you think. I may say basically the same things but I weave alignment/modification/information and different energetic focus through each class. We do the same routine because it works, the simple series was designed for total body health and healing as well as preparing the mind for meditation. Some people really crave the discipline and the quietude, others may not like being told what to do …it's not for everyone. It takes an experienced and connected teacher to impart this so students can understand why it is that we do what we do. I have had so many students thank me afterwards for explaining this as well as help them with postures they had been doing incorrectly for years. Bikram himself….. I don't feel to be a good person anymore. At one time I think he was, but is now lost. The yoga is amazing, I have witnessed so much beautiful positive transformation over the years. I understand where the criticism is coming from but it usually comes from the periphery and not someone who really understands the yoga. Try not to judge. It upsets me when I see comments like these and in the article because it is ignorant.

  19. Eve says:

    Yoga IS good…it's the medical doctor [ill informed] who fails to tell the patient WHO is qualified as a yoga professional to work with [said injury] safely. As a manual therapist I constantly come across instructors who are absolutely light headed in knowledge about injury recovery, but gladly say "yoga can help" when it can…just not under their direction.

    A poorly trained instructor without a clue can damage uninjured patrons just as easily. Blog that Alice =) please.

  20. m13 says:

    I thought this article was really funny, but I can see why people got a little cranky about the whole drunken meat eating thing. I mean, the whole aspect of non-harm is essential to Yoga. I love bacon, love it, but I know the horrific processes that go into making bacon (and all meats) and the fact that no animal wants to die, every animal feels fear before it dies. It's not that I don't want the bacon, I do, that is what makes me human, what makes me a yogini is not eating it because I know it would cause suffering. I think saying that eating meat is ok and makes you human is fundamentally wrong. Maybe I misunderstood the authors words, because I thought the rest of it was great.

    • Helen says:

      If you don't mind, I'd like to reply to this, just to tell you a slightly different point of view. I consider myself a yogi and I'm a new teacher. I embrace yoga as fully as I can but it's a learning process and a journey; my life before was a socialising meat eater who drank alcohol. My life now is very different but I still eat meat on occasion and drink alcohol. A lot less than before but I still do. I am pretty sure many would want to tell me I'm not a yogi and I'm not following the true path and that's ok because that's their journey and their ideas to live with. I think that Pattabhi Jois himself would call someone a 'bad yogi' but a yogi nonetheless. I don't really believe there is a 'perfect yogi' out there yet; some are at the very beginning of their journey as they step on the mat for the very first time after eating a lunch of McD's burgers and some are struggling every day with mindfulness and yoga practices alongside children, jobs and trying to keep their friends and family happy. But we're all yogis. So, whereas I understand the viewpoint of non-harm, it is one bit of one limb of eight limbs and it's one that many of us will get to during the ongoing process. Namaste. <3

  21. Dale Elson says:

    <chuckle>
    Lots of great points here, and i think the article is worthy of The Onion :-).

  22. bikramlover says:

    I love bikram yoga and it has healed me in many ways, physical and spiritual. Offensive and rude oh and very JUDGEMENTAL. I guess you didnt pay attention in yoga teacher training.

    • ryan85oh says:

      How is the author's opinion any less valid than your opinion? If yoga has taught us anything, I think it's taught us there's no such thing as "one-size-fits-all." I think this applies to all forms of practice and beliefs, and not only within the frame of context of yoga. Such is life, ya know? :) What works for me might be poison to you, and vice versa, and that's just dandy. It's that fundamental truth that makes life so beautiful and interesting. There is no one, true path, there's only the path you choose. Opposition/duality/contrast/diversity are simply water and sunshine in the garden of life :)

    • Devetaki says:

      I have a feeling she may be referring to the founder, not the practice itself.

  23. Charlotte says:

    Oh my, people are so sensitive and take themselves (and yoga) too darn seriously! It's satire, folks and if you're offended and it's pushing your buttons it just means you see as much truth in it as those who find it funny (strange how that works). Loved this article, Alice!

  24. Marly says:

    I loved the headline for this article and the subject which made me want to read it, but I'm left totally bewildered and disappointed by this piece. I'm sure many yoga teachers have their gripes over students, which you can usually tell by the tone of their voice or carefully chosen words directed at a certain student, but your words paint the "meditation, philosophy and a bunch of other stuff" of yoga as a sham. I give you kudos for your angle, but I doubt this piece represents the feelings of most yoga teachers.

  25. Wendy Heath says:

    Just because you occasionally let loose with a rant about those you heal driving you nuts, everyone assumes you’re a jaded, heartless individual who “shouldn’t be doing XYZ if you really feel that way!” As a nurse, I identify a lot with the commenter who’s been the “hungover massage therapist etc.” Sometimes, the people you’re helping are just nucking futs. A healthy kvetch about what pushes your buttons helps to release that energy out and away from you, and enables you to face the next class/work shift/_______ with a lot more grace and compassion.

  26. Danielle says:

    I don’t think the writer has a “chip” on her shoulder at all. I think her verbiage was taken a little too much to haste and judgement. As a guide in tourism industry, we make fun of silly tourist questions and mannerisms ALL. THE. TIME. It’s a way to vent in sincerity, how you are feeling about the situation. There is no right or wrong with emotions, they just are. Obviously this writer and yoga teacher is expressing some emotions in comical, non-judgemental ways about the classical “rude” students who come into a peaceful environment, where connection is key, and are anything but connected to the class and disrupt everyone else. The frustrations of being judged as a teacher, who is unique and “not for everyone” like every other teacher. I found her honesty, yes, to sound a bit like others, but all in all, a not-so-serious literation of what she encounters every day. It is our duty as teachers to be accepting, and present with every class and student and to respond in non-judgemental manners favoring any one person, just as students are challenged to meditate through the disruptions. She is unclassy as one person remarked, she expressing some thoughts. I bet everyone on this post could write a similar article about the people they work with or around, especially fi you are in hospitality or food service.

    And as a teacher, I have ZERO hesitations about expressing what I think about Bikram. Or any other style for that matter. Afterall, an opinion is just that. If you choose to take offense to it, or take it personally, or what have you, thats on you. Thats playing on your insecurities in some way, shape, or form.

    • Marc says:

      Wait, what do you think about Bikram? What's the deal with it? I was thinking of doing it, but based on what she said, and what you said, now I'm wondering

      • yoga ninja says:

        why not ask someone who actually practices/teaches bikram yoga? or better yet – just try it for yourself and develop your own opinion. regardless of what style of yoga you practice… the common thread is: it's YOUR practice.

  27. Lara says:

    What what WHAT do you think about Bikram?? Was seriously considering teacher training until I found out about the rape accusations… And the cult like atmosphere. Not too reassuring though the yoga is great.

    • yoga ninja says:

      separate the man from the yoga. if you dig deep enough – almost everything has its skeletons in the closet. this stated… the tides they are a'changin'…. i suggest consulting with a few of the studio owners in your area. follow your heart <3

  28. Sarah says:

    here's an idea: if you are a yoga teacher who is dying to say something but can't say it, how about spending time thinking of ways to express yourself. you can always deliver a message (even if it's a difficult message to deliver) with love, compassion, and consideration.
    there were so many sentence fragments i had a hard time following some of your points, but i really tried to. i think you're onto something, i am getting pretty annoyed with repeat behavior i'm seeing in the yoga setting too. so after thinking about it, i came up with some of my own realizations:
    i think that yoga class etiquette doesn't exist universally in every student because a lot of people are just living their lives, doing other things with their time, and not thinking about yoga as much as we teachers are. as a teacher, we plan for hours or days before a class is taught, and we bring with us years of informed practice, we make a sequence, we get there early, we make sure the floors are clean, the mats are set, the music is right, candles are lit, and when someone walks in and their phone is going off or whatever, it goes against the vibe we were trying to set. we know how to behave or what is socially expected in a yoga classroom: you take your shoes (and socks!) off, you turn off your phone, you listen, you're careful, you know the difference between cotton leggings from target and athletic leggings meant for yoga, you don't leave during savasana because you know it's really important and also really rude, etc. but your students don't know that. sometimes having direct communication with your students can help them to understand. "we shouldn't skip savasana because…" "please refrain from usage of cell phones unless you're on call or have good reason because…" "i noticed your yoga clothing/attire is not covering up your bits (!?!) like you may think it is" "i don't think you should be taking a headstand right now because you don't have a good foundation yet, let me help you"…
    if you're dying to say something, find a good way to say it!

  29. Marlon says:

    Bikram Rocks!! I love the guy!! He took a boring subject and made it fun and wild.

  30. istafiah says:

    thats really funny re ref to bikram :)

  31. Joyce says:

    Love it! You make me want to go back to a yoga class instead of doing this stuff on my own!

  32. amandasaltydog says:

    Oh my god, I could have *written* this! Thank you, thank you for this. And to those who are concerned about this article making yoga out to be a "sham," I have to heartily disagree. It makes yoga *real.* Also, my dear fellow humans, there *is* room in your practice for a sense of humor.

  33. jane hoe doe says:

    I guess you just need to have a sense of humor to appreciate this article. I'm never in the business of taking too many things seriously especially contorting my body into 5 different pretzels in one hour. hilarious article. thank you.

  34. Nicole says:

    I nearly spit out my wine when I read “Don’t ask me what I think of Bikram”. I used to bite my tongue unless I was drinking, untkl last week, on a total vent sesh with a stranger, over Bikram. Needless to say the stranger is now coming to the beloved donation based studio I frequent. Cheers and Namaste!

  35. lisalooleeli says:

    I loved the article, yes it was a bit abrasive but also very funny and truthful. As a student I have shown up to the mat hungover, which cleared up after a hearty round of sun salutations and twists, but I showed up, I have shown up really angry and it was hard but I kept on pushing through and I felt better after. I think what the author is trying to convey is that with all the bs we go through in life we have found the practice but also she is human and does human stuff which we all do. What annoys me is when I am hanging out with my glass of wine, people who know I practice daily say so you're not supposed to be drinking… that is when those deep breaths come in handy!

  36. Diane says:

    Wow! Reminds me why I practice at home… who needs this attitude and judgement!?! No thank you. Yes, we’re all human, but… I’d rather learn and practice imperfectly than sit under the instruction of someone with this mindset.

  37. Elizabeth says:

    You know… I really appreciate this article. Mainly because I often shy away from classes even though I desperately want to go based on my own insecurities and thoughts that everyone there "is way cooler than I'll ever be". I actually got a bit teary eyed remembering that people are just people. Even yoga people. It's a concept I have grasped in most areas but…. I guess I just really value every thing about yoga on all levels but still feel new and very inexperienced…. and in some kind of reverse pride, prevent myself from embracing because I might embarrass myself. So thank you for the peek behind the curtain. I needed to hear it.

  38. crisnusanti says:

    Yeah haha yes see through leggins are a shame …

  39. The best part about this article is the underlying message to not take ourselves too seriously or anything about yoga too personally. No need to discuss Bikram as he is busy burning his own bridges. I do think that yoga asana needs a biomechanical wake up call. I created a yoga system called YogAlign when I realized that the formal yoga training I was attending did not serve my innate desire to teach from the inside out. Poses seemed stiff and uncomfortable to so many and I did not see people really shifting their posture or getting out of pain. I started working with more clients who were actually hurting from their yoga practice. It took about twenty years but I created a more natural comfortable yet effective asana system. YogAlign puts the curves back in our spine and aligns posture by changing the innate codes in the nervous system. Check it out for those of you who want to get out of the yoga box full of straight lines and right angle asana templates. Nature does not lie and she has no straight lines. I was injured doing yoga and it set me on a new path to create a system based on natural posture alignment, not pose alignment. It is full of humor, self massage and techniques to rewire the way your body moves. Michaelle with YogAlign

  40. loved reading every word. Ha! Yoga students and teachers seem to take themselves so seriously so it makes me happy when we can laugh ourselves!

  41. Abi says:

    Love this – thank you for making me laugh, and also better. I finish my teacher training this month so very timely ;)

  42. robyna says:

    Loved it… stopped teaching because I thought I wasn't yogic enough… thank you for setting me straight

  43. Rogelio Nunez says:

    funny some thruths, but i as a practitioner and almost retired teacher have to constantly work on detachment…..and not be critical of peoples humaness…that doesn;t mean i won't correct someone or tell them to leave the room if they want to talk or use cell phone..
    i don;t see this much crazy stuff in Iyengar yoga classes, maybe because it is classical yoga and not, do as you please yoga, also more mature crowd shows up to iyengar classes…

  44. ali says:

    Bless you! This article makes me feeeeeeeel good. :)

  45. Kelly says:

    Love it.. Super real, very funny. I think its funny how the self per claimed yogis are trashing this article and others are like, "Hey! yeah! That IS what happens in class"! Check check one two one two! Doors to my studio are open for you Alice!

  46. Lena says:

    My sober response to Bikram as a teacher "I'm so happy that his brand of yoga has brought you into this lovely world but personally I find it hard to contribute any money to someone who has treated woman so poorly and who goes against so many of the fundamental principals of yoga"

    My drunk response, let's just say, it's very unyogi and full of colorful names and accusations ;)

    Yoga Instructors are human and have opinions no matter how much we like to sugarcoat them!

  47. Janna says:

    First, I loved this article. I laughed–out loud. We are practicing yoga in 2013, so I’m a little flabbergasted by the super serious, negative, “she’s not a yogi” rants. For the gazillions of you out there, teaching/guiding/instructing/call it what you will is not your job/your calling/your way of servicing the world to pay your bills. Teaching yoga is not what you all study and think about everyday, what you ruminate on before bed or write out on paper. Chances are you aren’t thinking ‘crap, I wonder if my students hated the fact that my class had no warriors today’ or ‘did that life to mat metaphor work?’ eight hours later over dinner with your friends, drinking a bev. We are. Yes, teacher commenting here. We who truly LOVE sharing this ancient evolving practice with others take it very seriously. I’m sure Alice does. And I’m pretty positive this was in jest, having some fun, a breather from holding space and adjusting alignment. Students aren’t perfect, and neither are teachers. And if we’re talking of the yogic path, then good luck finding a 24/7 glowing example of a ‘perfect’ yogini or yogi. Best bet: seek out your jivamukti and don’t be surprised if he or she doesn’t even teach yoga. This all being said, CHILL OUT. Yoga teachers are a dime a dozen these days. Find the one that suits you. No one is making you go to Alice’s class or read her article. In my experience, with my students, vulnerability invites connection, as does humor. Go Alice! I write. I teach yoga. And I would certainly take your class. You’d find me crying in pigeon and silently cursing you in pincha.

  48. Olivia says:

    This is awful. If yoga teachers dont have to be “perfect” than either should their students. Definitely doesn’t make me feel like going to a yoga class if it means the teacher is silently judging me and probably then bitching about me behind my back. I’m not saying you need to be “perfect”, but be professional. In any career there are frustrating things about your clients. Imagine how inappropriate it would be for me as a nurse to bitch about my patients? or for my kids teacher to bitch about my child online? Those people you’re criticising are putting bread on your table.

  49. Lynda Dove-Garcia says:

    This made me feel better. As a new yoga student I enjoyed the humor and the honesty.

  50. Mishel says:

    im a bikram teacher, and i practice other styles/methods.

    it really bugs me when other yoga teachers, most of whom have never done bikram, just talk shit about it. it's not for everybody, true, but dont discount it because you dont practice it. And please, certainly do not boil it all down to the man itself. If you do, you miss the point entirely.

Leave a Reply