the yoga class that wasn’t { i am a student. not your therapist. }

- - Lifestyle

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At the risk of sounding like pure, pure assholio-ness, I have to say that I had a completely strangé (yes, accent on the “e”) yoga class today.

I paid to be a yoga teacher’s therapist.

You read that right. And I did. If you’re looking for the bright side, you could say that my yoga for the day was providing an (unintended) open ear for a teacher who was obviously in need of verbal and emotional release. But I have to be honest and say I feel abused.

The Yoga Class That Isn’t a Class:

  1. 5% asana, 95% dialogue.
  2. Said dialogue is of the verbal diarrhea, personal trauma, my life sucks, my relationship is in a shambles, wahhhh nature.
  3. I should call the popo because you just R’d my ears and my time.
  4. This is the ONE place where it’s okay to bring my shit along with me in hopes that it will dissolve into my mat. Call me an asshole, but I don’t have enough room for your shit. Isn’t that why you take classes, too?
  5. When three people leave — one slamming the door behind her in a huff, uhhh, there’s a PROBLEM.
  6. I don’t wanna talk about my feeeeelings. And I don’t want to hear the dregs and depths of yours. We only have 90 minutes, you know.
  7. Your strange physical ailments are not proper class inspiration. I need you to speak Sanskrit to me.
  8. For the love of Patanjali and everyone else on the 405, work me out, don’t talk me out. Nobody needs to be exposed to my frequent bouts of road rage. Help those little drivers. They need you.
  9. I understand that YOU are not MY therapist. This should be a two-way street.

But I was polite. And understanding. I nodded and looked sympathetic. For an hour and a half.

Any bulldog bill collectors out there? I’m due money for yoga therapy services rendered.

artwork credit: Charles Schultz, with a little help from YIFY

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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.

25 Comments to the yoga class that wasn’t { i am a student. not your therapist. }

  1. Wowza! And here I am, giving myself grief for thinking I talk too much – about *yoga-related* stuff – when said dialog takes up no more than 5 or so minutes of the class.

    No one needs to be downloaded on like that, especially not when you’re a “captive audience” (sorta, coz obviously people walked out) AND when you’ve paid for a yoga class.

    A yoga class isn’t a therapy session for the teacher, although it might well be for some students. It just doesn’t work that way. The teacher should work all her shit out with her own friends and/or on the mat with her private practice.

    Lo, if I was you I’d be inclined to make a complaint to the studio (if it was at a studio). That sounds really, really sucky. xo

  2. WTF? Wow that doesn’t sound like a yoga class at all to me, that’s not what you pay for.
    I second everything Svasti wrote :)

  3. LMAO b/c this is my #1 pet peeve. I cannot stand when teachers come to the mat “unclean” and share their shizzle with you. I mean seriously? I’d file this one in the “not gonna take it again” column. A good therapist is always available for phone/txt/email chatting and NOT teaching you how to fold your way through their drama.

  4. Quote of the day: “I need you to speak Sanskrit to me!”


    Other than that, you have my total sympathies – how awful! I would ask for my money back!

  5. That blows. I third everything Svasti wrote. Especially the part about making a complaint.

    I would’ve sat there and taken it too if I were you, but then I’d be kinda pissed about it. That’s bull****.

  6. Blimey, I went in tears to teach a class but made sure I was composed by the time the 1st student arrived, & no one commented, & I felt so much better after the class without so much as mentioning my emotional angst.

  7. I have to agree girl, file a complaint. If this teacher did it in your class, she did it in others.

    And I second the quote of the day: “I need you to speak Sanskrit to me!”

    Om Prem & Shanti

  8. Yes, you should tell studio owners. I know a teacher that actually carries on a conversation (she wears a mic) while teaching 50 people. PLus her divorce was a endless topic for over a year while she taught class. So unprofessional.
    I will admit sometimes I have cried to my students (I have a son with a life long illness) but I have been with those students for years. we have all cried to each other over the years. We actually all arrive 30 minutes before the class starts so we can chat. It started with a few and now it’s most of the class. Once the class starts, it’s as if my switch has been flipped and I’m “ON”.
    Def go tell studio owner. I take a lot of classes and do not appreciate their shit ruining my time on the mat.

  9. When our job is to help other people, in whatever form, our responsibility is to leave no trace. Most folks get into the helping business because they need help themselves and then, if they’re wise, they do their own work, SEPARATELY. Sounds like wisdom was lacking here. But that doesn’t mean you have to acquiesce and take on her stuff. Here’s hope that venting, with humor, helped you let it go. xo

  10. an excellent example of why in my teacher training, candidates will be required to do a 10 day vipassana sit before they get my piece of paper AND have a regular meditation practice, i.e., DOING THE WORK. IMO, teachers have no right to sit up there on their mat in front of a class unless they are working hard on their own shit — what svasti said.

  11. I think the message here is great, especially for new yoga instructors. It’s important to know where the boundaries are and not hold your students hostage with your personal stories.

    However, you must talk to the studio. Passive-Aggressive posts don’t solve problems but a conversation with the studio manager could.

  12. We all have our days, right? I know it is frustrating, but it was very human of you to be there for her when she needed it.

    With that said, I’m not a fan of yoga teacher verbal vomit.

  13. oh goodness!! what an awkward position. i’d have been really disappointed too. i think you did a nice thing by staying and maybe she felt better after the class. i agree with the other commenters that you should probably talk to the studio owners. yoga class is your time and i’m sure you look forward to it.

  14. Oh, that sounds dreadful.Totally invoice her for your time back! Seriously, the great thing about yoga class is the appeal of leaving it all on the mat.

  15. Haha!Been watching alot of Frasier recently so this post brought funny ‘the psychiatrist is in session’ mental images… Guess to put a positive spin on things,it’s quite flattering that someone else feels she can confide so personally in you…Hope your Yoga teacher doesn’t read this post ;P

  16. “I need you to speak Sanskrit to me.” When will I learn not to drink hot tea while reading your blog (FYI: it hurts while be snorted out the nose).

    Sorry you had a blah class (can you call it a class?)!

  17. I had a lot of time to think about that class and that teacher …

    It seems to me that your class, and in particular, the regulars in that class (who come to the studio/class at least weekly or semi-weekly) have demonstrated compassion for the instructor, and have generated a lot of positive karma …

    In 21st Century terms, she owes these regulars one …

    [if they stick with her …]

    Perhaps before or after class, she might help them out with a certain challenge they have …

    I’m not sure about “invoice her for your time”, as stated above … yoga is commercial enough already …

    However, if a student distrusts the instructor NOW, he or she has every right to not come back to the studio …

    That works, too …
    Particularly as the class isn’t free …

  18. i had a hatha teacher like that years ago. glum. one time the director of her program practiced in the room and suddenly the teacher became energized.

  19. Ask her to teach all eight of them to the class on non-class time, as a special make-up mini-workshop, next time and for free … … by that I mean, really TEACH with extremely limited demoing during … lol

    I’d had a similar situation with a teacher with too much attitude, who did not want to teach. I chose not to return to the studio … lol

  20. oh that’s a no-no. Another one for my “annoying things yoga teachers do.” But as a teacher I sometimes use this tactic to connect to people. I often spill my guts for like a minute and then some how relate it to what we’re doing. Often I find, there’s someone there going thru the same thing. But I hear ya on the 90 minutes of release for the teacher… it’s very irresponsible and the teacher is obviously disconnected from her students

  21. This happened to me once as a drop in student while I was traveling for work. I heard all about the teacher’s family trauma. It was pretty intense. I felt uncomfortable considering it’s not like any of us could really go anywhere since we were sitting on our mats waiting for him to tell us what to do… haha I thought maybe that was normal for that studio ;)

  22. This one was also intertwined with telling us we needed to forgive the terrorists for 9/11 along with some vague Hindu/Buddhist mangled philosophy, and laughing loudly when she made mistakes. I thought it was a one time thing, but when it repeated for two more classes I had to find a new studio.