10 Reasons your Yoga Classes Suck.

Via Mark Kreloff
on Jul 31, 2010
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Editor’s note. Many of our readers “hate”—hate—this snarky articolo. Mark rubs a lot of folks the wrong way. I find making fun of myself and what I love cathartic, and so appreciated this. As they say, there’s no legislating whether a joke is funny or not. 

“Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.” E. B. White

Please quit your day job and become a stand up comedian.

Have you observed these and other classic FAIL situations in yoga class?

1. Teachers that refer to your ass as “Booty.” KC and the Sunshine Band called.  They want their lyrics back.  Skinny-assed white teachers should not be using this word. Ever.

2. Teachers that refer to the collective as “My Friends.” Are you running for class president?  Is this some kind of stump speech? Friends don’t charge their “Friends” $18 to take a yoga class.

3. Punctuating a lame observation with YA? “This posture is good for your spleen YA?” Do we live in Deutschland?  Did you do your teacher training after you finished medical school?

4. Half assed/off-key OMs. There is nothing like a near-empty class of tone-deaf college students and soccer moms chanting OM to set a positive tone for a yoga class. Can we first hear a clean G major chord from an instrument to get us on key?

5. Spray bottle noises before class starts. What are these people doing exactly? Don’t they realize its 130 degrees in the studio? In a minute, you and your mat will be soaking wet.

6. Paying $18 for a drop-in class that is taught by a recent graduate of teacher training. These teachers should be paying us $18 to suffer through their clunky flow…and trite observations on life.

7. Shameless plugs for teacher training before and after class. Okay, we get it. Teacher training is a huge profit center for the yoga studios. But do we really need to be pitched on the up-sell every single time? Can’t you buy a Super Bowl ad to reach everybody in America at the same time once a year? [or, slightly cheaper, an ad on ele? ~ed.]

8. While doing sit-ups, teachers that say “only 20 more minutes of these.” Har Dee Har Har! Please quit your day job and become a standup comedian.  Soon you’ll be telling jokes to your friends on “open mike” night.

9. Pools of sweat from the class that just ended. As if the toe nail clippings aren’t bad enough.

10. People that come to class a minute before it starts and ask if they can squeeze in next to you. Listen fellow yogi/yogini, I snuck out of the office 30 minutes before the lunch hour officially started to get this spot. Who do you think you are?  Russell Brand?


About Mark Kreloff

Mark Kreloff is an entrepreneur in Boulder, Colorado. He started his yoga practice 10 years ago with a “donation only” class in Santa Monica taught by Bryan Kest. To this day, it was the best class he has ever taken in his life.


91 Responses to “10 Reasons your Yoga Classes Suck.”

  1. JoeC2K says:

    #6 is a good one 🙂

  2. Dawn says:

    I'm so tired of the goddamn snarky cynicism. Really? You have a problem with the word Booty? My seven-year old twins love it. What the hell is wrong with a teacher saying booty? And the rest of it? This is what you spend your time worrying about? This is all too easy and pointless.

  3. pardon me says:

    I htink #8 is funny.

  4. Yogitucson says:

    This post clarified my desire to unsubscribe to Elephant Journal.

  5. Yogitucson says:

    This post clarified my desire to unsubscribe Elephant Journal.

  6. devacat says:

    What a mild piece of humor to inspire so much vitriol. Your local Y doesn't charge $18/hr and you might find better teachers there than you find at the image-conscious studios. I've taught at both for many years, have trained widely, and can attest to that.

  7. Rob says:

    Ditto. Nothing to do with Yoga, in fact it's practically the opposite of Yoga, which is what most of this website is now.

  8. missbernklau says:

    The thing that I think is getting SO tired is the people kvetching (with much venom, I might add) about newly-certified teachers. As if these people (the ones kvetching) never did anything in their lives for the first time or ever had to practice at something to get better at it. It's as though these people forget that all the yoga teachers that they like that now have many years of experience under their belts ALSO had to go through their awkward first few months/year of teaching and "finding their voice". I mean, I know some people just really like the taste of Haterade, but it's getting so incredibly old.

  9. Jamie says:

    Rather unfortunate this was posted. Mark, you should look into understanding Ahimsa a little better. Best of luck on your yoga journey- you have so much more to learn.

  10. Morgan says:

    Wow. First of all, I can't believe how incredibly snide this "article" is, especially considering the site it is posted on. Secondly, if you can't have a sense of humor at all about the goings-on in a yoga class, you shouldn't practice. My teacher can call my "booty" whatever she wants as long as I am fortunate enough to be working it. I would rather practice to the rushing sound of spray bottles if it meant I wasn't going to go home with ringworm (and besides, who cares if you hear them BEFORE class starts, anyways…). As a yoga teacher with a two-year old and a 6 week old, I gotta eat, too, so if the going rate for my class is $18 and you don't like it, (or my "trite" observations on life), don't take the class. And as a practitioner mother of two young ones, don't assume to think that I (or anyone else) have a choice when we show up one minute before class starts. I just got done pumping my breasts so that my baby can eat while I try to become a better human being for her to live with. Maybe, Mr.Kreloff, you should assume less about others and work more on your Self.

  11. bikesandmath says:

    I'm always so shocked when readers get judgmental about a piece being too judgmental! Lighten up, this is funny and I find it hard to believe no one else ever has snarky comments run through their head every now and again in yoga class 🙂 I know I do!!!

  12. bikesandmath says:

    funny 🙂

  13. Jamie says:


  14. Jamie says:


  15. Alice says:

    I think a lot of the people above need to get a sense of humor. It's funny. It's obliviously a joke people, lighten up. And I do #8 … will have to stop myself now. Heh heh.

  16. guest says:

    thank you.. I would like to upvote this comment more than once.

  17. maya says:

    haha, that was hilarious. Thanks for the laughs!

  18. jag says:

    Isn't yoga about eliminating such negative attitudes? And in regards to #6, how do you expect new teachers to become great teachers?

  19. bce says:

    LOL here here, talk about writing an article that goes against the eight limbs. it sounds like he should be a in room by himself.

  20. julian says:

    err i think it was meant to be taken as a fun post. like a joke ! , thats when someone says something, ohh never mind , you'll figure it out one day

  21. mila says:

    So well sad!

  22. lisalo says:

    i agree w the comment about teacher training! our studio charges 2500. for this! seems kinda materialistic & unyogic to me

  23. JeffG says:

    This is not really funny and somewhat offensive.

  24. Addison says:

    Sounds like you're going to a yoga class for all the wrong reasons. You don't go so you can have the oldest teacher in the world instructing you, or to have clever descriptions of the butt, or to critique the tone of the Om like it's supposed to be perfect pitch every time, or to judge every single word or phrase as if every single thing out of the instructors mouth has to be unique. The purpose of a class is to calm the fluctuations of your mind by moving and breathing. All the other stuff about the class is just there, you should be connected with your breath and your body and less focused on the aesthetics of the rest of the class.

  25. Lana says:

    I'm always amused, because these types of articles speak more about the author than the classes or teachers they're making fun of, unfunnily.

    Relax, dude. Yoga is what you make of it…you seem very dependent on external factors to enjoy a class. That must be a bummer.

  26. DiAna says:

    I usually get a big kick out of the articles poking fun at how silly the yoga world can get these days. This one not so much. There is a fine line between sarcasm and just plain being mean. I wish you well on your journey.

  27. amphibi1yogini says:

    At those prices, I DO focus. On aesthetics. It's like going to the theatre, these days. You just wait for the star to flub a line or two. In this case, I can forgive. But consider that this is just what some people DO..

  28. Greta says:

    Is this the best you've got, Elephant Journal? The author of this article was trying to be funny, but missed the mark with all of his snark. Not everyone can chant in key, some people sweat a lot, and some people don't have a luxurious enough schedule to arrive 30 minutes early to class. This piece is overly critical, and even though I even agree with some of the points, others were just plain mean and short-sighted. The fact that you're sharing this on Facebook over a year after it was published really shows that you haven't read the comments. Please try again, and try to be more of a platform for positive writers.

  29. elephantjournal says:

    Hi Greta: thanks for your feedback. We'd welcome something more positive from you. ~ ed.

  30. platof says:

    Done well, humor can change people's opinions and perspectives for the better. But when its done badly, as is the case here, the reader gains nothing of value. I would much rather be in a class filled with sweaty out of tune chanters than some snark that rolls his eyes, grimaces or sighs dismissively at every turn.

    The author wants to be Russell Brand, but came across as charmless as Donald Trump with a bad hangover and hemorrhoids.

  31. onesadhaka says:

    tell it!

  32. onesadhaka says:

    Hmmm…this comes off more snarky than funny. I suppose if we look closely enough, Iyengar or Kirshnamacharya would do something in their classes we didn't like, or their students would. It always amazes me how two people can be at the same class and have two different experiences. Sorry you seem to have chosen to have this type. It is also sort of ironic that after ten years of practice, you didn't get what is really happening in those classes.

  33. yogainitsglory says:

    Modern day yoga. Gotta take the good with the not so good. Articles you agree with, articles you don’t. Classes you love or wish you never had the spare hour to waste. It’s all we got! Embrace the humour, the sweat and the opinions of others. Otherwise I highly recommend you take your “practice” back to the comfort of your own home or park… the choice is yours 🙂 Namaste Modern day yogis.

  34. rye says:

    I usually look forward to your articles, but I have to say that this one was pretty snide. I charge my friends for class because I provide a service, just like I paid my best friend for her time when she photographed me for my business cards. I make my students a priority and get to know them, so they are absolutely friends. I also trained hard and practiced and didn’t make my classes suffer through “clunky classes” because I dedicated my time to practicing my cues and adjustments. And I don’t provide trite little nuggets of wisdom. I share things with my students that have rang true with me and its up to them to decide whether it resonates with them. And yeah, I say booty occasionally. Get over it. The people attending my class don’t seem to mind.

  35. Dan says:

    One of the very first class I attended I was late (I was often late to class early in my practice). The teacher (whom I had never met) was not at all judgmental and welcomed me. During class he was observing my pose (I don't remember what it was), and asked me how many classes I had been to. I told him, "three." I'll never forget his reply, "That is really very good. You should do yoga for the rest of your life."

    And I have. At the time, I was going through a very painful divorce, career change (related to the divorce) and my mother had just been diagnosed with demintia (all of this is true). That instructor's encouragement meant the world to me, and he literally changed my life.

    Today, when a student enters late, I make a very conscious effort of make space for them. If the student adjacent to me is not particularly accommodating I ask them to move to help make room. Aside from the obvious fact that none of us have any proprietary right to any particular space in the studio, no one enjoys being late. When we enter late we Students are self-conscious and feel uncomfortable. A friendly smile, nod or other welcoming effort by others contributes to the kula. Regardless of the benefit to others, these simple acts of kindness will aid your practice and contribute to your own well-being (on and off the mat).

    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
    -Source seemingly disputed

  36. Tyler says:

    I feel like this was just a bitch fest…. I wouldnt say that there isnt ANY valid information here, but for the most part I think it sounded really pretentious and off color for elephant journal, which is usually about spreading a positive message and energy. This was neither.

  37. msannomalley says:

    Why do I have this feeling that the people who are mad about this post are probably guilty of some of the things on that list?

  38. Julie says:

    People on the internet just LOVE getting offended.

  39. JenniferH says:

    This is light hearted and funny…..get over it or read another article if u don't like it.

  40. jsh says:

    Bryan Krest's Santa Minica Studio is the pits….I was so excited for this class and to be at his studio. The teacher held on to his Starbucks and checked his phone several times. The staff at front were self indulged stereo typical Hollywood types.

  41. Sarah says:

    Sheesh people. Remember that breath in breath out and let it go stuff your constantly going on about. This is not about you this is not directed at you. These are his observations that he finds amusing, others might others might not. If you feel offended you should look inside yourself to see why.