Men Who Marry Their Yoga Instructors. ~ Michelle Marchildon

Via Michelle Marchildon
on Jul 1, 2012
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My husband, who is an intelligent, conservative businessman with an Ivy-League degree and a way around a rifle from growing up in Montana, loves to tell people that his wife is a yoga instructor.

Right? Because the subtext is, “Woooo hoooo, you should see where she can put her legs.”

This goes over great at cocktail parties and recently at his high school reunion, until it turned out that just about everyone there was also a yoga instructor.

So when Alex Baldwin married his 28-year-old yoga instructor recently, I’m sure I heard the snickering all the way from New York. Come on people, he married her for her, um, brains? Why would a 54-year-old millionaire marry his yoga instructor? Because he can.

In reality, marrying your yoga instructor is not as sexy as you might think.

If you are currently dating your guru, here are some things you should be aware of before you say “I do.”

  • >>It only sounds sexy to be able to put both feet behind your head. In reality, it’s kind of freaky.
  • >>Yes, most yoga instructors are very flexible. However, they are probably inflexible about what you eat, if you can drink, and how often you should practice.
  • >>Yoga instructors like to spend their vacation time at retreats, most of which are vegan. This was a shock to my husband who was looking for a single malt scotch to go with the buffet.
  • >>Yoga instructors do often have a hot body. However, most teachers I know go to bed early to be up for morning meditation or practice. So that window of opportunity opens and closes pretty fast.
  • >>Yoga instructors are cheap dates. My husband noted at one holiday party that every single yogini was drunk, probably because we are underfed and dehydrated. This was awesome, until my studio manager at the time walked right up to Mike, kissed him with tongue, then turned around and threw up. And you know I can’t make this stuff up.
  • >>Yoga instructors are not known for their cleanliness. I often teach two classes in a row, then take one myself, and go to the grocery store looking like a drowned rat. My teenage son once told me that when I pick him up from school, I look like I just got off the pole.

So congratulations to Alec Baldwin from the Yogi Muse. May you both find happiness as you embark on your journey down a long and winding road, which I know you will enjoy in many positions—probably all before 9:00 p.m.


Editor: Kate Bartolotta

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About Michelle Marchildon

Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s an award-winning journalist, and the author of Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga. Her second book, Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga, is for yoga teachers who want to inspire their students. Michelle is a columnist for elephant journal and Origin Magazine and a contributor to Teachasana, My Yoga Online and Yoga Journal. She is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and teaches in Denver, Co where she is busy raising two boys, two dogs and one husband. You can follow her on Facebook at Michelle Marchildon, The Yogi Muse. You can find her blog and website at And you can take her classes on


32 Responses to “Men Who Marry Their Yoga Instructors. ~ Michelle Marchildon”

  1. fat chance says:

    Michelle, this marriage should work out just fine. Given his age, he's probably in bed by 9pm anyway.

  2. Rachael says:


  3. Michelle Marchildon says:

    You made me laugh!

  4. Marjorie says:

    Laughing out loud Michelle. Thank you

  5. yogasamurai says:

    "So when Alex Baldwin married his 28-year-old yoga instructor recently, I’m sure I heard the snickering all the way from New York. Come on people, he married her for her, um, brains? Why would a 54-year-old millionaire marry his yoga instructor? Because he can."

    You got to be fucking kidding me! In this setting she is the gold-digging vixen. He's child's play to a woman on the make who has this much psychological and spiritual leverage.

    Amazing that you would propagate the male dominant stereotype? I'm not angry, just dumbfounded.

    I've been in that setting. It's the women doing the preying. No doubt about it. The fact that he consents to it, or sees it as a free or equal exchange just says a lot about Mr. Baldwin. I'm afraid.

    Hilarious. "Because SHE can," you mean.There are tons of female instructors who would love to be in that position – and then pretend – play to the prevailing cultural stereotype – that he somehow seduced her.

  6. thoreau says:

    So why did his yoga instructor marry him?

    By all accounts Alec Baldwin is an angry and selfish twit. Surely a yoga instructor wouldn't put financial consideration above kindness and respect.

    Or would she?

  7. Michelle Marchildon says:

    Who really knows why anyone marries anyone? And why would we want to?

  8. yogasamurai says:

    Tell me you're not that naive. For some women, benjamins are the ultimate aphrodisiac. He probably tipped her well? "Oh my God, Alec Baldwin's in my class. Oh My God. It's a sign from Shiva. Oh My God what do I do? Ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. We could make such a beautiful yoga empire together. It's a sign!!!! It's a sign!!!" 28-year old yoga teachers are really really deep, you know? Haven't you worked with any?

  9. Thanks for such a great perspective on this, from the inside out. Having dated one or two yoga teachers and being over fifty myself, you've inspired me to write a blogpost for my Men After Fifty site about midlife crisis and marrying your yoga teacher 🙂
    Thanks so much,

  10. Vision_Quest2 says:

    Fanned and faved ….

    But they met at a vegetarian restaurant in NYC.

    Kinda sounds like the Robert Sturman and Meghan Currie story, except those two are both young …

  11. yogasamurai says:

    Young? None of these people are young — they "affect" youth and cheerful vitality to conceal the depressed and angry inner child within. You can see it in their faces.

    I have studied a lot of the videos these folks make – Budig, Ippolitti, Brower and you can rather easily detect the disjuncture between their public persona and their "real" person. It's quite scary actually. You could see it in John Friend, too.

    I would see this as a continuation of the borderline personality disorders that so many women suffer more openly in earlier periods of their life, but here they're reconfigured, re-sculpted, toned, and bikini-waxed through the discourse and practice of yoga. Tuh-dah! It's the new "enlightened" me – but this time the "makeover" is "spiritual" – which is possibly the best – and most disguised – makeover of all time.

    I'm nowhere near as trained as some of my colleagues, but if you had a team of perceptive in-depth social psychologists descend on the American yoga world, we'd end up with a lot of people in institutions and therapy programs – in fact, so many of them came from these at an earlier stage of their lives (and at a rate that far exceeds that of the general population, I suspect).

    American yoga is morphing into a deep social pathology, and quite aside from cults and incipient cults like Dahn Yoga, Anusara and "Geshe" Roach's Buddhist group – where the psychological bombardment is unusually intense – it's more broadly "branding" people's lives in a way that mimics what genuine sub-cultural movements do, but in this case, it lacks the kind of grounding and authenticity that comes from movements that speak to real "protagonists" in the context of ongoing social struggles and problems.

    In the end, it's the market, its external imperatives ("buy-buy-buy") and "internalized" ones ("measure up-measure up-measure up") that are driving this entire enterprise, laving it dangling somewhere between commercial fad and pop-culture trend. It's what Jean Baudrillard and others have called essentially, The Spectacle. Somehow the vaunted quest for meaning and purpose – the "mind-body consciousness" – has become a form of complete narcissistic self-absorption – a desire to be seen and heard, in classes, in studios, in blogs, on You Tube, in the mirror, everywhere, 24-7. "See me at my yoga – aren't I deep? You're deep, too. Hey, want to go to a Yoga Rave? Look, I put Shakti on my Glo-Stick!""

    We were warned long ago by real sages about unleashing the power of the Tantra into the pathological cultural maelstrom of the West – but did we listen? Of course, not.

    The good news is, American yoga seems to have already "peaked," in a way, and we are seeing real signs of "implosion." That's one thing you can count on in American capitalism especially – planned obsolescence. There really is no permanent market for anything – not even the new yogic "Self."

    Zumba, anyone?

  12. VQ2 says:

    Oh, yes … maybe … lol

    Beto loves the Spectacle, it's starting to drive people out of yoga …

    Mellow '60s era Lounge-style yoga (NO party tricks), omnivore (with wine/beer) bars in the front, invading Hipster Central in Billyburg … also attract those who may have lost their dancing legs in the yoga wars …

    But I can already tell that yoga refugees have invaded my 5 Rhythms class …

    Pilates mat class is right now priced to move …

  13. yogasamurai says:

    8 limbs, 5 rhythms – and just 4 horsemen

  14. Vision_Quest2 says:

    And now we're down to the 3 wise monkeys:

    See no evil
    Hear no evil
    Speak no evil

  15. yogasamurai says:

    Well, equally on point

    don't forget that unhappy couplet — Jekyll and Hyde.

  16. yogasamurai says:

    Dancing legs, yes. For some, there's not enough movement in yoga, and for the fit, the aerobics falls way short, while posturally speaking, ballet is far more elegant. The lines! Yoga has a nice little niche and if it could accept its "place," it might be fine. But its Aryan master race ethos and mass marketing megalomania is becoming a real BORE. Worse than pretentious now, it's just a yawner…..

  17. Vision_Quest2 says:

    No, yoga doesn't accept its place. Commercialized yoga thinks it's Olympic pole dancing or Olympic rhythmic gymnastics …

    Maybe I'm being a little fussy–a little too much of a diva–but that Briohny nonsense helped crystallize my nascent decision to branch out of just doing yoga, just a little … I miss chakra talk just enough (I'm weird that way), that I'm on to JourneyDance next … even WITH my bad feet ….

    I'm not lying. I recognized refugees from power yoga (maybe even Breakti) in a conscious dance class …

  18. yogasamurai says:

    It will be interesting to see the latest consumer data. Yoga Journal seems to be stalling on the release of its latest 4-year report, which was due out in mid-June.

    There have been refugees almost from the very beginning – a case of new prospects barely keeping pace with those who were trying the new yoga – and finding it wanting. The lats two YJ reports have shown the paradox – the number of yoga practitioners had actually declined by almost a million between 2004 and 2008 – while revenue had doubled.

    The industry found new ways to exploit the existing consumer market – mainly through accessories, videos, retreats, teacher training programs (very lucrative and keeping many of the studios afloat) and clothing counted as "yoga" sales. We saw a surge from $3 billion to $6 billion in gross sales.

    People are throwing around figures like 20 million practitioners. I really doubt it. Also, what''s the definition of yoga practitioner in the surveys? Someone who has taken "more than one yoga class in the past year." Well, that's one definition, but it tends to confuse people who are just checking yoga out with people who are even minimally engaged.

    Haven't been impressed with the YJ studies, but they tend to get out to the public more broadly, because they are not "proprietary" in nature – privately owned and for sale, but prohibitively expensive. YJ uses the 4-year study to promote the industry, not necessarily to report on it accurately, especially if the news isn't so good.

    If you look broadly at the fitness and exercise industry, aerobics and dance are growing at a much higher rate than yoga, and even sports like tennis are really taking off. I really think yoga, as we now know it, despite the continuing buzz on so many levels, has "peaked."

    The industry has only itself to blame, if it has.

  19. yogasamurai says:

    As for numbers, we may be down to one crazy partridge in a pear tree? Which is what a lot of yoga videos sound like to me.

  20. […] Men Who Marry Their Yoga Instructors. ~ Michelle Marchildon […]

  21. MirrorMirror says:

    You “have studied a lot of the videos these folks make” and muse about the mental pathology of others. Incongruous.

  22. Katy Poole says:

    Excellent response. Brilliantly perceptive and articulated. Thank you.

  23. HJCOTTON says:

    The problem I find with the yoga industry is that there are too few qualified yoga teachers who can guide their students safely through asanas practice and pranayama. Teacher trainings do not make a good yoga teacher. Most of the yoga teachers on the market can benefit from longer apprentichip periods with good mentors before they start teaching. I stopped going to classes but workshops because none of the teachers in my hometown are helpful in advancing my yoga practice safely. I don't want to waste money on a bad vinyasa class with poorly trained teachers. As Mr. Iyengar said, it is better to study yoga from a good book than a bad teacher.

  24. yogasamurai says:

    Not at all. It's my training as a sociologist. That's what I do, and it's research for my forthcoming book. Would you like to be interviewed?

    Your own bias is showing. If I as a woman had said that I had examined these videos for a study in "feminist public speaking" you'd probably be pre-purchasing it in bulk?.


  25. yogasamurai says:

    Please inquire and research before you speak. Normally that's a condition for a successful scholarship, yes?. If indeed you are a trained scholar of some kind. YS

  26. yogasamurai says:

    So many people agree, but they don't want to touch this issue. It's the power base of the different yoga brands — and it's the main income generator for the yoga studios.

    There's no "yogic" justification for the way yoga teachers are mass produced – and everyone in the industry knows it, but becoming a yoga "teacher" – practically a euphemism now – is viewed more through the lenses of self-empowerment than genuine professional or public service.

    The "service" is primarily to those seeing a career in "self-expression for hire."

    The ones who should really be riding herd on this phenomenon are some of the older teachers, but they won't. They are too implicated in the phenomenon themselves, either because they own studios, or so many of their friends do. Most of the really greater teachers I had a decade or more ago have simply fled the industry.

    I know one or two yoga studio owners who do have a very keen perspective on this, and have encouraged them to write. They've come under enormous pressure from their peers not to, however.

    The other aspect here is the Yoga Alliance, which provides a patina of "accreditation" for "teachers" who are willing to register and pretends to function as some kind of yoga "trade association."
    Another euphemism. Why that organization even exists is beyond me, except that it's part of this informal protection racket.

    – YS

  27. Andie says:

    Great! My husband can attest to it all! Thank you for the laughs.

  28. I love those holiday yogi parties –pretty sure I was at that one, but who can remember these things with clarity?

  29. […] Even as you sit in your yoga teacher training talking about ethics, and among those is “don’t date your students,” yoga teachers do it all the time. […]

  30. […] Even when the teacher is married to a celebrity. […]