February 7, 2012

“Half the people in this room are mad at me, and the other half only like me because they think I pushed somebody in front a bus, so that’s not good.”

“Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.”

Lately, I feel a bit like Cady in Mean Girls, who made the statement above in the movie.  Not because I’ve tried to ruin someone’s life via high calorie nutrition bars or a burn book.  But the responses rippling through the yoga community in light of a scandal that involves not only the yoga community I call home, but my teacher, have made me feel as though we’re back in high school again battling for who gets to be homecoming queen.

What gets my knickers in a twist the most, are the self-professed yogis who are loudly, aggressively and gleefully gunning for the dismantling of a style of yoga they have clearly deemed subpar.  Each of these yogis is chomping at the bit, wearing a malicious grin worthy of Regina George, for the very unsettling allegations which were made, to be not only true, but devastatingly enough to cause an entire system of yoga to collapse under it’s weight?

Excuse me, but which day was it during Teacher Training that we were taught to be spiteful towards others in a time of crisis?

Or maybe it was in the class I missed last week that my teacher encouraged me to kick someone when they’re down.  To respond with hatred, instead of with the highest in mind.

Mental note: stop skipping yoga class.  Apparently, I’m missing some real gems.

Since when do yogis actively hope for the public demise of any other person, not to mention an entire style of yoga?

While I might not practice another style of yoga, I certainly don’t wish any other community or yoga leader harm.  I don’t while away the hours crossing my fingers for a yoga scandal to really rock those (insert style of yoga here) for being so friggin’ sweaty all the time.  I mean what is their problem?  They’re ruining yoga for all of us!

I don’t spend hours holding the faith that (insert famous yoga instructor/icon of their yoga school) will be revealed to have several sweat shops in China which employ hundreds of underage orphans to create cheap t-shirts with their logo emblazoned across the chest.


I certainly wouldn’t applaud, publicly or privately, while hundreds of teachers and thousands of students feel uncertainty, upheaval and concern for the future.

Is this yoga?

Are we now the type of yogis who revel in the misfortune of others simply because our practice looks different from one another?  Do we wish an entire community ill based on the alleged actions of one member of that community?

If you have a personal beef with the person, take it up with them.  But don’t accuse an entire system of sucking just because it didn’t suit your particular downdog proclivities.

What do we gain from becoming the Mean Yogis?  And more importantly, how does it look to the world if as yogis we show our willingness to eat our own for sport?

We are all in this for the same reason, aren’t we?  Who doesn’t want to feel uplifted by their physical practice, calmed in their meditations, renewed by the support of their fellow yogis?

So why self-destruct?

Because what this feels like is a scene straight out of Mean Girls.  In which Cady is brand new, having lived in Africa for most of her life, goes to eat lunch in the cafeteria for the first time.  At every table she approaches, she is turned away.  She ends up, munching her PB and J, in the girls bathroom.

It would be so much more constructive if the yogasnarks could just back up their spite-wagon a bit and show a little compassion.  Maybe even a little support.

You attack one teacher, fine.  But to reign your hatred down on on entire community of teachers, is ugliness.  Your words have enormous power.  What you say can raise us up or tear us down.  Our lives literally depend on this.  Will you continue to mock, to gossip, to create division and discord, which only create greater fractures in the worldwide yoga community?

Can we rise up together, no matter what the outcome of this scandal, and burn even more brightly as leaders within the world at large?

I believe we can.


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