Who’s a yoga bitch? ~ Gitte Lindgaard

Via elephant journal
on Sep 21, 2012
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Are you a yoga bitch?

Even though I’m a yoga teacher, I still enjoy taking other teachers classes and workshops. I do this to get inspired and learn something new. And, almost every time I attend a new class I see them—the yoga bitches.

We all know the yoga bitches. They are the super skinny, super flexible girls, that arrogantly look at you like you are something the cat dragged in. By the way, I hate you yoga bitches back!

I teach restorative yoga, so I’m not the most flexible yoga teacher. Even though yoga is not about competing I just hate seeing them being more flexible then me or doing a pose that I haven’t mastered.

Not so long ago I went to a yoga workshop. Since I was a little late, I had no choice than to lay next to the queen of yoga bitches for three hours. Every five minutes she told me, and the girl to her other side, that we would not be able to do the same things that she could—because she was: hyper-mobile, super-flexible, hyper-flexible and some other words I’m sure she had made up.

At some point, I was actually able to do a pose as well as her. She looked at me and said:

Sweety, you shouldn’t do that. It’s not healthy for you, and I’m only doing it because I am super-hyper-flexible!”

I took a deep breath and just smiled at her.

Do you know the feeling where you are thinking:

“I may be smiling on the outside, but in my head I’ve killed you five times

She was really getting on my nerves. Unfortunately I guess my “I hate you” face must look a lot like my “tell me more” face because she just kept on going, starting to correct me in my poses and telling me all about what she could do and all the years she had been doing yoga and all the places she had been doing this yoga.

She was acting like she was doing me a favor by talking to me. All through class she had an expression on her face like she smelled something really disgusting. It was a great workshop but it would have been so much better if I had been placed anywhere else in the room.

This was actually a very special workshop because I’d convinced my husband who doesn’t do yoga to join me. Since we were late, we  were placed in opposite corners of the room. In the car home, I told my husband about the yoga bitch and he told me that he had been next to one as well.

Not as bad but after he had placed his mat, she had giggled and smiled at him, telling him that he had it upside down. My husband, who is a proud, dynamic and competent man who likes to be in control, felt embarrassed. When he told me, I could see the situation like a little movie in my head and I couldn’t stop laughing. Yes, we all know the yoga bitches, but we also know the newbies.

They look like deer caught in the headlights with an expression of disbelief on their faces if they are asked to do complicated poses. They always make me smile, not in a mean way, but it is kind of funny. While I’m thinking this I’m still laughing at my husband and suddenly it hits me—what a yoga bitch thing to do!

I started to think if there are degrees of being a yoga bitch. Maybe I am a little yoga bitch when I am not teaching? What made me even more scared was that I actually know the girl who helped at my husband and I don’t see her as a yoga bitch, but to him she was.

What if the yoga bitches don’t know they are yoga bitches?

Maybe we should all ask ourselves: Who’s a yoga bitch?


Gitte Lindgaard lives in Denmark with her husband and two daughters. She has a degree in Nutrition and Health and specializes in empowering people to be aware and take responsibility for healthy living. Gitte practices yoga and after recovering from whiplash, she began teaching yoga to people with disabilities. She believes in doing something every day that her future self will be proud of. Connect with her on TwitterFacebook or her blog.

Editor: Colleen Simpson


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24 Responses to “Who’s a yoga bitch? ~ Gitte Lindgaard”

  1. Edward Staskus says:

    Aren't yoga mats always both right side up and upside down?

  2. livetstrae says:

    Not this one 🙂

  3. Lokken says:

    god, this makes me NEVER want to do yoga! so much for finding inner calm, serenity, etc.!

  4. Lokken says:

    ps.. Elephant journal… I don't see this piece as fitting your purpose

    elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet.

  5. anonymous says:

    No, this piece is very much needed.

  6. @bill66912 says:

    Here's the thing about Yoga: We here in the West have this jacked-up perception that Yoga is all about being so limber that we can place our right ankle behind our left ear. It's all about holding eagle as long as we can. That it's all about how flexible and double-jointed we are. And THAT attitude is COMPLETELY wrong. The word "yoga" – literally translated means "union" – the union of breath, of body and mind. I promise that nowhere in the Upanishads are the prerequisites that one needs to be "hyper-flexible" to experience a little enlightenment and peace. The postures, the asanas are all about loosening up the body; the muscles, the skeletal system; so that when we sit for meditation, we can really let go for a few minutes. Really let go; without one's left leg or butt throbbing in pain. The postures are just to loosen the body up so that when we sit, we can gently calm our brains without worrying about the body's aches and pains. Yoga is the condition that we come IN TO, not something that is "done". That experience of being connected to everyone and everything – even if just for a few seconds or fortunate minutes – that is what we strive for. That's why we practice each day; so that we can take just a little bit of that "perspective" that we can come into after a gentle posture practice and meditation into our lives each day. And with any luck, affect those around us enough to make them want to "do a little Yoga" too. (: Happy International Peace Day!

  7. livetstrae says:

    thank you anonynous 🙂

  8. livetstrae says:

    Dear Lokken – I am sorry you feel this way – there are biches everywhere, but this story is not about the bitches – I wrote this story to make people look at themself. We are so good at blaming others and forgetting our behavior. Let's take responsibility for our own actions and not just point fingers at the ones who are different or make os feel insecure. I believe this will help us to live a good life and that's also good for others <3

  9. Vision_Quest2 says:

    Yoga is only vaguely about the asanas …
    Proving that yoga bitches are not advanced yogis at all … since they fail to embrace the true intention of yoga … and, of course, a little humility enters into this somewhere …

  10. Dylan says:

    hehehe, elephant journals purpose has become quite stretched….the topics here jump all around…cracks me up…

  11. Dylan says:

    lets keep on judging, it really is good for us, ya know? yoga bitches for sure are there though, as they arein every walk of life

  12. Vision_Quest2 says:

    Having found more than my fair share of yoga TEACHERS to be yoga b**ches, I'd picked their brains enough and yes, they are very bright, some just fell out of their handstands, if you will, into teaching; and–at Lululemon'ed bottom–are not suitable to teach yoga …

    Must have been that I hadn't been far enough along on my path at the time … to meet the right teachers …

    Maybe still not far enough along, but how should I know … I have just enough time to complete lengthy home yoga practices and take different conscious movement classes here and there ….

  13. Vision_Quest2 says:

    And, yes, the assumption is that I deserve a teacher without ego, etc.

    An advanced beginner (even after years) such as myself deserves "too much" … but – yoga seems to cultivate the brusque, the truthy (as opposed to truthful), and the blunt … and this hothouse flower (emotionally, not physically–in appearance anyway) does what is right for her …,

  14. Scott says:

    Everyone, no matter their label, is entitled to the same opportunity of awakening. Be the light of yoga in every aspect of life. There is only one answer. Love.

  15. Yoga? says:

    How about doing something that you can be proud of today and not waiting to be proud of yoursef in the future? This piece reads like a narcisistic highschooler's ranting. I can't believe it is written by a yoga teacher.

  16. Heather says:

    "I teach restorative yoga, so I’m not the most flexible yoga teacher. Even though yoga is not about competing I just hate seeing them being more flexible then me or doing a pose that I haven’t mastered."

    Hate to say this, but if you see yoga as only being flexible and you cannot stand others for that….you have missed the true intention of yoga. It sounds as if you might have some work to do on these issues. And quite often we might attract outside comments based on our own unconscious thoughts and feelings.

    You remind me of a student who every time I demonstrated something as a teacher would give out such a sign of disappointment (re: she felt undermined and discouraged because she saw herself so far away from the physical). All she was looking at was the physical performance…And believe me being on the receiving line of this was not very fun!

    From the start I reminded her to focus on her strengths….Example: so okay, your backbend is not as full as you wish, but your forward bend is nice and flat. And has the ability to calm your mind. The point was the more you focus on your downfalls and weaknesses, the more you lose sight of your strengths.

    Teaching a person like that was very draining….because she never changed her attitude. Once she even challenged me in the class by asking could I do what I had just said was the right way or the technical way in a posture. My response was to politely demonstrate it.

    Don't you go to yoga to free yourself of comparison, work on your self, change your attitudes and become a bit more generous person in thought and in practice?

    Just something to think about.

  17. Vision_Quest2 says:

    Well, I for one, never ever congratulate the pose braggarts.

    All I tell them is, "haven't you ever heard about 'beginner's mind'? You master that, but you are STILL not "there" … There is no "there" there.

    Usually, it's a Dharma Mittra (or someone from that lineage) trained student who goes that (materialistic) route.

    So, if they are going to get "congratulations" for that, it's not coming from me.

    They then (if they are aware, not all are) find they have to hold the pose longer … because there is no "there" there …

    I also know too much about possessing internally rotated hips to know that I don't congratulate someone for having some inborn physical attribute that they may have "developed" "quickly" through what is supposed to be a lifelong practice.

  18. livetstrae says:

    Dear Heather
    I am sorry you felt you had such a draining student and I am sorry that you need to "judge" me because of two lines I wrote. As you can see in the infobox about me I started doing yoga because I got a whiplash so for me yoga is very much about healing and that is also why a teach yoga to disabled people.Yes I would like to be more flexible, what is wrong with that?
    By the way – When I have a student who is skeptic or asking about "everything" I keep trying to reach them until I find a way to connect with them.
    Take care 🙂

  19. livetstrae says:

    Hi Yoga?
    I do things every day that makes me proud. Writing this story and being honest about how I feel made me very proud. No one is perfect and we all have stuff to deal with. Let's find something to forgive ourself for today. Say to yourself: "How human of me to have done that".
    Kind regards 🙂

  20. Heather says:

    So sorry, you felt judged..it was more of an observation. No, nothing wrong with wanting flexibility…but why hate others for theirs. There is something in THAT, which needs healing.

    Hm..too many questions from a student can also mean too much noise in one's head. Does that mean you silence the student? No. Does it mean you don't review what you can offer as a teacher and strive to help them understand? No. However, there is a balance….and teaching is all about that. PJ (Pattabhi Jois) used to say sometimes too many questions was a busy mind. So in that sense some questions are not answerable by the teacher alone but the student….So the teacher leads the student to discover for themselves!

    Best regards.

  21. livetstrae says:

    ahhh Heather come on – obviusly I don't hate them – it's not literally hate – it's just a way of sayng that it's difficult not to compete and even though it's not part of yoga, a lot of people does it – and I am one of them. And still I get the point that the entire purpose of practice is to increase our ability to love: self, others, the world. 🙂

  22. Heather says:

    Actually you were probably being more honest before:-0)

    I'd say learn to compete with 'yourself'…and let others inspire you to do so! Competition is not necessarily bad either by the way…..it has more to do with the fact that none of us really know how to play 'good' games and not get petty, bitching and our backs up. We take it way tooo seriously even though it is serious.

    Truthfully in the end, it is you and you and you…and your maker. That's the rest test..and to learn to practice from your center.

    Thank you for your comments, however.


  23. Kalikala says:

    I enjoyed this! As a yoga teacher i've seen quite a few yoga bitches. I consider them to be wonderful reminders to myself. Sometimes i hear them say things i've said. Sometimes i catch myself saying things that could be taken wrong while i'm in front of class. And sometimes they are just a reminder that we have to let go of other's criticism and just do what we can do at that very moment.

    And yeah. I've had a mat upside down before. And i was nowhere close to being a newbie when i did it 🙂