2.7
August 24, 2012

When Clever Yoga Scam Meets Clever Yoga Teacher.

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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gdr23 Jul 4, 2013 12:41pm

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.

Hido Aug 26, 2012 2:04am

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

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Heather Morton

Heather (Morton) van Hettema is a Canadian educator and teacher turned mother, writer and frequent traveler. She is better known for her progressive classes and individual attention to the student. After producing Freedom of the Body DVD; one of the first instructional videos on back bends, it has reached students all over the globe. Visit The Yoga Way and connect on facebook.