Down with the Yogalomaniac (yanking the EGO out of YOGA)

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i love talking to you about me postcard
You heard me. Fie on the megalomaniacs, those yoga “teachers” self-dousing and drowning in ego, with delusions of grandeur and omnipotence; the ones I am officially coining YOGALOMANIACS.

I’ve read a few disturbing articles as of late, namely:

I have scads of experience with ego. As a practitioner and eternal student, I am challenged by my own each and every day, on and off the mat. It is quiet, personal; there is determination present. However, this movement of certain teachers toward achieving and believing their own “celebrity” status is repugnant.

The whole of this makes me want to bust a few yogic caps in the collective asana. So here I am, stocked up to the sirsa with ammo, guns blazing.

Yanking the Ego Out of Contemporary Yoga:

  1. Guru means teacher. It does not mean holier than thou, more vast than the universe, and deeper than the black hole. To think being a teacher makes you untouchable and godlike really just confirms that you’re an ass…hole.
  2. If you were truly tapped in and pranically plentiful, there would be no need for pomp, circumstance, and a dramatic class entrance. You’d understand that you are the container to hold your students, to uplift + elevate, and your brilliant energy would naturally be everywhere.
  3. If you’re telling me, directly or indirectly, that the most important thing about yoga is that it induces weight loss, perhaps we should work together on increasing your brain mass. And filling your shallow persona pool.
  4. Some of you have transparent dreams of being superawesomelyfamous actors and actresses. That’s fine, but don’t make teaching yoga your route thereto. That’s blasphemy of the worst kind — like pissing in the mouths of those dying of thirst.
  5. I didn’t come to class to hear you belt out an aria which sounds more Chicago than chant. Take off your headset, ditch the bling, shut your mouth, open your ears and heart, and let’s do this. Elvis has left the building yoga studio.
  6. To the spiritually bereft masquerading as peeps bringing love and spirit power to the yoga people, you will likely be called on your shit. Loudly, passionately, and intelligently. I am honored to know some seriously badass yogis and yoginis who possess wonderfully strong voices. Some people cannot and will not be fooled.
  7. F*cking your students is like f*cking yourself. And nobody wants that. Stop being a f*cker.


Let us bring an end to the strokefest by not providing ego lubrication.

Mad love to all the teachers doin’ the damn thing with grace, humility, surrender, and the spirit of offering.

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soothsayer. illusion slayer. intj/mastermind. writer + artist + strategist + innovator. california born, city of angels bred. gypset world traveler. la face with an oakland booty. queen of the jungle who doesn't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep.

33 Comments to Down with the Yogalomaniac (yanking the EGO out of YOGA)

  1. OMG I LOVE LOVE LOVE this on every single level! Sing it sister!!!!

    As yoga teachers we earn a living TEACHING other people not giving them a big feathered fan to cool us off with or requiring them to feed us grapes. I look at my teaching in front of a class as a GIFT from my students who have graciously given me an hour or more of their time. They give ME their time and screw anyone who takes advantage of that lovely offering.

    Let’s face it, we are there for the students and anytime that scale is tipped in the opposite direction it is no longer about teaching yoga, sorry. Yoga is about going within rather than projecting out… a teacher with ego the size of Cinncinnati is someone to be avoided. If all they care about is singing their own praises or making the students feel small then they are 100% not yoga. I’ve been to workshops with some of these types and I will never ever return, ever. my two cents.

  2. Holy FRACKOLY!!!! I’ve been saying this for a few years now. I feel like the rogue yogi because no one wants to talk about this topic openly.
    I am reposting everywhere. I think I have come to the point that for me “Yoga” is private and personal. I love taking classes but I don’t like all the BS that comes with community/sangha and the competitiveness of teachers (whose popular, who plays great music, etc….)
    I’m a little turned off honestly.
    You know, I had a fall out with my mentor that was devastating. But through that experience I learned a lot about myself. I struggled with the ego issue big time. I was asking my mentor over and over how to work with the ego and I basically got the answer “meditate and don’t question my authority”. He didn’t say that. But I was asking about how to deal with the ego and his ego came out full force, although I’m sure his version would be more about how I was a bad “chela” (disciple).
    No Thank You!

  3. This resonated with me … sometimes find myself thinking who the hell does this teacher think she is? Liking the suggestion to be open to the students rather than shove a prepared lesson at them. Enjoying your blog :-)

  4. Oh my lord i’ve been transported back to 1995 and YIFY has gone Riot Grrrrrrl!!!!! Whoop!!!!!
    I love this post, as I’m sure the whole cyber-sangha will… I’ve been dealing lately with the new level of teacher ego at my new yoga studio, I’m talking about the singing songs midclass, the late entrances and early exits of the “teachers”- I love yoga so I can simply ignore it to go firth with my practice…
    But I can’t help wondering… Who the eff are these yoga teachers from another planet?! Thanks for putting a whole new voice over the sounds of their own. I just luv ur shiz!!

  5. I’ve had some strange teachers but only one borderline ego-manic(besides myself, hehe). I do think there is a certain aura that people put around yoga teachers(gurus and ministers)that is problematic. Sometimes, I can feel myself buying into that. So, I think those egos are feed by our quest for something outside ourselves. my 4 cents!

  6. Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
    I am always impressed by “celebrity” teachers who can film DVDs, write books and teach weekend workshops and still maintain heart, humility and a sense of humor. Unfortunately I have just as often been disappointed by the yoga rock stars and wannabes.
    I just want to share yoga, to teach and be taught and to find my way inside to the place where we all connect. If you get that, meet me there.
    Excellent post.

  7. Like Nancy said, sharing our love of yoga is a service. And coming from a complete rookie teacher, when students allow us to guide them in their practice, they give US a gift. They give us permission to move into an intimate space, a sacred part of themselves – whether through allowing a physical adjustment or allowing a moment of emotional vulnerability to surface during class.
    Needless to say, you da girl! Keep singin’ it, sister! [just sans headset, please – btw, you’re telling me people actually use headsets? And sing?]

  8. Pretty easy to smell a rat and not go back…but then some people want that. I know I don’t. I also don’t subscribe when brand takes over the yoga teachings. I feel like that is happening over at my studio but hopefully it is only a transition while they find their feet again through a lot of changes. Celebrity bores me too – I work in tele so I deal with “celebrities” often. Give me an artist who has something to offer and share that uplifts the lives of others.

  9. playing devil’s advocate so I have a question:

    this Newsweek story is making the rounds — and if I were still blogging I’d also write about it — but how many students will stand around the yoga “master” who performs at the asana circus of a yoga conference and then applaud after the performance? the article DID speak to students being the enablers of the narcisstic yoga teachers.

    I can only speak for myself, but I have walked out the room anytime that circus started — never saw the point in the show that only emphasizes the body. if I want to see a performance I’ll go to a theater…or a gym meet.

  10. I hear ya, sister. all the ego and the flash in some of the yoga scenes today is just crazy – definitely an oxymoron in a sense, but perhaps an inevitable effect of the capitalization of yoga.
    As my yogi boyfriend always says though – “people get the teacher they deserve” :)
    It would be super sweet if you would put my blog on your blogroll (speaking of ego! haha…)

  11. all i can say is.. i hope some one gives me a big samadhi upside the head if i ever get so full of myself that i play final count down when i walk in the room.. and we pay these people to teach us.. damn..

  12. Right on, Lo! Luckily, I’ve only ever had WONDERFUL yoga teachers. None of them have ever been into the betterment of their ego at the expense of their students.

    In fact, I attribute everything I’ve learned about being a teacher to the good examples they’ve set.

    AND personally, I think any teacher that is not also a student (studying with other teachers, constantly renewing their knowledge) is on a slippery slope towards thinking a little too much of themselves!

    Humble pie man, all of us need to keep eating that stuff! Should be one of the main food groups I reckon… :)

  13. What?!? I won’t lose weight doing yoga? Have I been wasting my time all these years? I guess I’ve read too many “Do Yoga and Lose Weight” articles in “More” magazine.

    Great post, Lo!


  14. Been waiting for someone to finally agree with me on this!! Agree 110%!! Need to share this with a few teachers at the studio I go to…..

  15. Totally agree with this. I’m a student and a teacher and have seen too much of this. Teachers who turn up 20 mins late for class to make their big entrance (erm, your students are paying for this time), talk about what experience they had at the weekend (can we just get on with downdog please), give deliberately complex instructions to make it sound more intelligent/other worldly (drawing in concentric circles around the spleen the core draws in – do you mean pull in your navel?). Tedious. What’s worse is trying to prop it all up with Yoga. It’s ok for them to be a rampant egomaniac because they’re like really spiritual and enlightened yeah?. No.

  16. I love what you said, think many of us have complained about this before! Love how you wrote it, awesome!

  17. Great post! Echoing what Svasti commented – even teachers still have things to learn. And often our greatest teachers (after ourselves) is often our students. Thank you for the brutal honesty of your words!

  18. I am practicing Hatha Yoga and I really find it fruitful for my nervous system, glands and vital organs. One should surely try it and yes, I liked reading your blog.

  19. “I didn’t come to class to hear you belt out an aria which sounds more Chicago than chant” – priceless : )