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Yoga & the F Word

Yes, you read that right. The title of this blog is yoga and the F WORD! Seems crazy that the two should go together at all but apparently it’s a new trend in yoga classes.

When I was away on retreat back in February I had a wonderful conversation with two lovely yoga teachers after dinner and this topic came up. One of the teachers described several recent classes where a teacher had yelled FUCK right in the middle of the class. She was horrified and so was the person she was with. They found it a huge turn off.

So I chimed in with a story about a teacher using fuck while teaching. This is true and it happened more than 15 or 16 years ago so I guess this trend isn’t so new. I was in the early years of teaching and was planning a trip to LA to take from a number of teachers I wanted to study with. A friend from LA said there was a class I had to check out- it was advanced and I would need to get permission from the teacher to attend. So I went to the studio one day to try to catch the teacher and get his permission to attend his advanced class. I explained who had sent me and my background but he was thoroughly unimpressed and dismissed me right away telling me to come take the regular level 2/3 first.

I walked away feeling a little funny because he seemed so harsh with me but thought “ok I’ll give it a try and see how it goes”. I came back the next morning for the level 2/3 class. The class was predominantly women- most of us (myself included) somewhere in our 20’s. Things got under way quickly as it was a vinyasa flow class. Then the teacher proceeded to lay out his “theme” for the class which was this…..”Fucking versus making love”. I kid you not- “fucking versus making love” was his philosophical/spiritual theme for the entire class. He consistently and continually came back to this. It was all supposed to be a metaphor for how we were approaching our poses.

Needless to say the sexual energy coming from the teacher was palpable. At one point (I think to test how focused I was) he poured water on my back when I was in standing splits and my head was down. At another point he instructed that ladies deeply folded forward in double pigeon might need to “pick their breasts up and lay them over their shins” if they were too big and in the way. I left as soon as class finished and didn’t wait to see if I had been approved for the “advanced” class.

Let me say that I am not opposed to swearing at all- and actually there are times when there is no better word to use than fuck. It does really lend itself perfectly to some situations. (For a good laugh google Fuck and Osho). When I am not teaching or not around my kids I can talk like a trucker.

But I firmly believe there is really no benefit to using it when teaching a regular public yoga class. You don’t know who might be in your class and who might be triggered or offended by its use. Practice time on the mat should be sacred space- and that space is held and guided by the teacher. Don’t we have more effective ways of delivering a theme or encouraging people to challenge themselves?

So to all the teachers out there have integrity and don’t rely on shock value for attention. And to all students of yoga demand integrity from your teachers! Save the foul language for another location.

4 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    oh so THAT’S the teacher that poured water on you! It’s amazing what people do. The less shock in life the better. We are all trying to open into safe sacred spaces inside and out. A yes vote for integrity in the yoga space and an F bomb for the appropriate time and place!

    Reply
  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    that sounds like the yoga class from hell! Nothing like being sexual harassed when you are in downward dog! I am appalled and hope this asshole is no longer teaching

    Reply

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