**DISCLAIMER: The following blog is about yoga instructors that I have personally encountered, and does not depict all existing yoga instructors in the world. You can’t judge an entire group of people based on the actions and words of a few bad eggs. That’s what they do in Russia.**
Having said that….. yoga instructors. *eye roll* *tooth suck*. What is their childhood trauma? Before I get all finger pointy on this soapbox of mine, let me just say that though I don’t practice yoga as often as I would like, I still have a very healthy respect for it. I have experienced its physical benefits, and I am a massive fan of the spiritual aspects and intangible lessons that can be learned in a yoga class. I actually believe in most of these lessons and was very happy to be surrounded by people who seemed to believe it too. For years, it was even my job to recruit, audition, hire, and work with yoga instructors, and I have seen quite the cross-section of these so-called spiritual gangstas.
But damn. Some yoga instructors that I’ve personally encountered: *eye roll* *tooth suck* Sheeeiit! Have a look:
1) The yoga instructor who is just waaay more yoga than you.
Again, I am not an expert. However, one of the lessons I’ve gleaned from yoga is that it’s a personal journey. The poses, the breathing patterns and the flexibility all come with time, and it’s supposed to take however long it takes. In a class environment these instructors preach non-judgement, but as soon as those studio doors open, they’re just so much fucking better than you at life.
– “Your diet should consist of these items because I AM MORE YOGA THAN YOU!!”
– “This is how I feel about parenting and you should listen because I AM MORE YOGA THAN YOU!!”
– “This is how you should feel because I AM MORE YOGA THAN YOU!!”
During a performance review, I once had a yoga instructor tell me: “Remember TJ, I am older than you, so you have more to learn from me than I do from you”.
Well. I know how to not act like a stupid bitch. Can you learn that from me?
2) The yoga instructor who puts on the yoooooggggga voice.
Outside the studio, these ones speak with a regular vocal tonality – very pleasant, bright, etc. As soon as class begins, they all of a sudden sound like Toni Braxton singing He Wasn’t Man Enough For Me.
They speak on a lower register, they get breathy, and all their words seem to blend into one hour-long sigh.
“Hey guys, my name is Eloise, and I will guide your practice today. I also want to remind everyone that the studio will be closed next week due to the holidays. Now let’s begin… So brrrreeeaaaatthhhhheeeeeeeee…. open your chhhhaaaaaakkkkkrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…. exhale through your mmmmooooouuuuuuuutttthhhhhhhhhhhh…. set you intennnnnttttiiioooonnnnnnsssssssssssssssssss…..”
And then eventually it just turns into random words and breaths:
“Thhiiiiirrdddd eeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeee……. unnnniiiivvveeerrrssseeeeeee…… brrrrooooccolllliii…. iinnnnttteeerrnnnnnneeeeeeeeeeeeeettttttttttttttt *cough* *sputter* *gag*.
What happened here, Eloise? Where did your voice go?
3) The yoga instructor who gets flakey because their chi is off-balance.
This is totally a specific incident, but I once got a voicemail from an instructor: “Hi TJ, it’s Gwyneth Paltrow. I’m calling to let you know that I can’t teach my class today. I just feel like I’m off-balance, and my emotions and head space are a little cloudy. So I don’t think I’m in a position to lead the practice. Oh, and it’s supposed to start in 20 minutes so can you please find someone to sub it for me?”
*blink* yeah *blink-blink*
4) The yoga instructor who loves themselves. But like, really, really loves themselves.
You know who I’m talking about: their outfits are on point, a perpetual wind is billowing a coloured scarf around them, they have all these fucking beads all over their bodies, and all their pictures are just straight up yoga porn.
The ones that I know personally are also the ones that can’t stop talking about how amazing they are, and how many class students they amass. And they all talk a good spiritual game about how humbled and honoured they are to be able to share such a beautiful practice. As soon as things don’t go their way, like when one of their classes gets cancelled for example, they completely lose their shit: “What? Why is my class cancelled? How does she have more classes than me? I’m a great yoga instructor! I am wearing a coloured scarf for Chrissakes!”
To counter all this hate and vitriol, please allow me to share a story about a yoga instructor whom I loved! Let’s call her Odi, and upon meeting, her beauty automatically struck me. And it wasn’t her great skin, or shiny teeth that did it. She was bursting with inner beauty, and her positivity, her laughter and her light were what made her so physically gorgeous. I could tell that yoga had done a world of wonders for this woman and she wash genuine about her desire to share it with others.
The interview was amazing and what sealed the deal for me was when, unprompted, she said something like: “TJ I understand that my yoga style may not be what your establishment needs. I’m just excited to see if this is a good fit and if we can work cohesively. And if I don’t get this job, it will still have been a good learning experience. I will be able to find a place to work, and you’ll find the teacher that you need because yoga is happening everywhere”. And it wasn’t pretentious, sycophantic, or pompous. It was genuinely what she was feeling at that very moment.
The thing is in every sub-culture, there are always going to be a group of people who have to boast about how awesome they are:
– “I am more sports than you!”
– “I am more dance than you!”
– “I am more crossfit than you!”
– “I am more paleo than you!”
– “I am more science than you!”
– “I am more business than you!”
– “I am more hipster than you!”
So let me say that it’s just not yoga instructors who act like this. They just happen to be pissing in my coconut water right now.
Personally, I’m a product of today’s age, and I’m as narcissistic as the next guy who has a blog and social media outlet, but I have honestly never felt like I was better than anyone else for simply existing. I have a lot of empathy, I don’t judge others, I continually put myself in other people’s Converse sneakers, I work with a common goal in mind, and I am innately aware of everyone’s uphill battle. So with all due spiritual respect to the yoga instructors that I’m grousin’ about… I AM MORE YOGA THAN YOU!!