nightmare in yoga class

I was late to yoga, and when I walked in, carrying too many things, everyone was already on their mats.

Yoga is still really new for me. It still feels awkward and difficult, and I’m still at the point where I feel really proud of myself for going. Look at you, being all healthy! I think, of myself, as I enter the building. I nod a modest “your welcome” to my dysfunctional spine. I am here for you, I think. Because I love you. 

So even after arriving late, I was feeling pretty good about everything.

Ten minutes in, though, I noticed, while in some twisted, intimate pose, that there were holes in my pants. Exactly where you don’t want holes. Especially when you’re doing yoga, and the person behind you will see parts of your body that not even your kinkiest boyfriend wanted you to display like that.  Oh no. This is bad.

The pants were black. My underwear was white. My only white pair, I think.

I craned my neck. There were three holes…no, five. In a row along the inner seam. Perfect. There’s my vagina.

But actually, there wasn’t anyone behind me, just a wall. So maybe I’d get through the class without having to scandalize any of the other innocent yoga goers.


Definitely not.

“Pick a partner,” the teacher said, halfway through the class. “I’m seeing some really creative versions of the sun salutation around here, and I think it’s time to work things out. Remember, there’s no such thing as doing it wrong in yoga, but we can always learn from one another.”



My partner was nice. We joked around about how there might be a way to do things wrong. We each went through the sun salutation. I showed her the part where I sort of collapse on the mat, instead of doing something more…yogic. It’s where you transition from plank to knees, chest, chin, whatever, and I suddenly get confused and floppy.

The teacher came over. She put her hand on my shoulder. “You’re the main reason we’re doing this little exercise,” she said, smiling.

“Oh, thanks!” I said, sarcastic, but laughing.

“Nothing to be ashamed of,” she said. She called out, “Get into bigger groups of four, and share your questions. Someone in each group can volunteer to demonstrate a question to the class.”

“That sounds scary,” I said, getting a laugh.

“It’s not scary,” said the teacher. “If you have a question, you can show the class what you’re working on.”

“No thanks!” I said.

Our group of four huddled briefly. No one wanted to volunteer to perform in front of the class.

“Kate!” the teacher called. “Come up to the front.”

“Whoa, whoa,” I said, laughing. “Wasn’t I the one who said I didn’t want to demonstrate anything?”

“Come on, you’re going to show the class your question.” She gestured at her mat, front and center.

Shit. This is getting worse really fast.

“Please don’t make me do this,” I said, as I passed her on the way to the mat. I kept the joke in my voice, but I was serious. I have holes in the crotch of my pants and I suck at yoga. Seriously? Does this need to be happening?

“Run through the sun salutation,” she instructed.

I lifted my hands into high prayer. I swept them down, showing off how unflexible I am—I still can’t quite touch my toes. I went into the straight backed table pose. Back down. And into plank, stretched out above the floor.

“There,” she said, to the class. “Now what is the problem here?”

She held me by my waist.

“Her lower back!” someone called out.

“Exactly. It’s not straight.”

Um, yeah. Because I have scoliosis. It’s really hard for me to straighten my back.

She tugged at it for a while.

“Go on,” she told me, finally.

Oh no, oh no.

The next pose was one I never wanted anyone to see me do, let alone an entire class. Let alone an entire class the day my underwear are showing.

This pose:

(sorry, woman in this picture! i hope you don’t mind!)

I stuck my butt in the air and put my chest down on the mat.

“Stop there,” the teacher said.


There I was, ass sky high, face pressed into the squishy blue mat. I could feel myself turning bright red.

“What’s her problem now?” the teacher asked.

“You realize that this is probably the most humiliating thing I’ve ever endured,” I said, into the mat.

Light laughter. The teacher did not laugh.

“It’s not a flattering pose for anyone,” she said.

“Her elbows!” someone called out.

“Yeah, her elbows are sticking out!”

At least no one is saying “Her vagina! I can see it!”

Finally, finally, she let me move through the rest of the sequence. There were minor issues with almost everything. And then she set me free. I stood up. There was scattered applause from my group. In honor of my survival, I guess.

I returned to my mat in the back, avoiding eyes.

The teacher asked if there were any other questions, even though there hadn’t been any to begin with. Another woman raised her hand. The teacher asked if she’d liked to demonstrate, and the woman agreed. She came up to the front and ran through sun salutation.

“See?” the teacher said.This is how you do plank.” And then, “Yes! Perfect. This is how it works.”

But…I thought there was no wrong way to do yoga?

By the time we got to “crow,” where you support your entire weight on your hands, perched somehow above them, I was just about done.

(like this)

“Kate,” said the teacher, “You’re not lifting off.”

“I don’t really want to,” I said.

“That’s okay!” she said quickly.

“Great,” I said. And then I sat there, on my generous butt, which had before been so generously displayed to the class, and I felt perfectly fine with my decision. There is only so much of my underwear that the world needs to see in a day, and I figured we’d reached the limit.

*  *  *

Embarrassing exercise/yoga stories? Share them here! Also, can anyone reading this do the crow pose?

Unroast: Today I love my feathery, wild eyebrows.

Note: My mom was horrified by this story. ”This is not how yoga is supposed to work,” she said, over and over, as I told her. She has back problems and practices yoga herself, and is the one who convinced me to give it a try, because of my back issues.

P.S. I am leaving for Switzerland tomorrow. Bear has week-long business in Europe, and I’m tagging along. What a life! I am not well-traveled, and getting to see the Alps is just about the most thrilling thing I can imagine right now. I wanted to let you guys know about this because I’ll be briefly in London, Helsinki, and Amsterdam next week, as well, and if anyone who lives in any of these places wants to meet up and show me around a little, please write to me at and let me know! Otherwise, I’ll just wander happily.


Kate on April 12th 2012 in exercise, life

114 Responses to “nightmare in yoga class”

  1. rachel responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    This is a big pet peeve of mine: the vagina is internal; one needs a speculum to see it. The word you want is vulva.

  2. Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    It’s frustrating to write a whole story and have the first comment be this one.

  3. Also Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Oh my god, that is SO not how yoga works! I am /furious/ at that instructor on your behalf.

    The only reason I manage to drag myself and my anxiety to yoga class is the whole non-judgment thing. The instructor humiliated you in front of the ENTIRE CLASS? That woman needs someone to show her (gently, I suppose, but firmly) how to instruct a group with various levels of experience WITHOUT shaming or singling anyone out. I’ve never even been to a class where someone was asked to volunteer because the instructor thought they were doing it *wrong*.

    I’m just… holy shit. So angry right now, and also a little scared that someday I will go to a yoga class where someone makes me feel like that. I’m used to instructors who say things like: “don’t try to compete with your neighbor; where you are is FINE”, and “if you need to rest in child’s pose, that’s ok! Don’t push it” and “if you’re not falling, it’s not yoga!”

    Maybe you should find a different yoga studio? =(

    (Also, my boob sort of popped out of my top once during yoga. I’m still telling myself no one saw it because it’s easier to think about that way.)

  4. Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    @Also Kate
    That’s what I thought! I was like, “Am I crazy, or is this supposed to be really non-judgmental?” So thanks for confirming this.

    And LOL!!! to the boob popping story. Amazing.

  5. Ashley responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    Wow. I would have wanted to cry. I applaud you for hanging in there as long as you did. I have kind of been thinking about taking up yoga, but now I might spy on a class before I join just to see what their practices of teaching are.

  6. ashley responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    vagina or vulva..either way..i would of been like “uh..i have to go….now” as soon as i realized there was an issue.
    you’re so brave haha. have fun & safe traveling <3

  7. Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    I should have just left at that point! Your instincts are clearly right!

  8. ashley responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    argg..i meant…have fun & be safe traveling.

    is it friday/pay day yet?!

  9. Ashley responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    I think “vagina” sounded funnier in context…just saying.

  10. Emily responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    Kate, I am so sorry this happened to you. As someone who is incredibly shy, I would have been mortified, angry, and just generally much more hostile than it sounds like you were– so good on you for handling this BAD instructor with such calmness. I would have been like “NO. BACK OFF, LADY!!”

    As someone who has been practicing yoga for 14 years, I agree 100% with your mom– this is NOT how yoga is supposed to work. If you want to just be in your own space and not have attention drawn to you, you should have that right. That’s totally how I am and I would NEVER want to be ‘chosen’ to go to the front of a class and be critiqued!! That is just awful. So not yogic.

    Re: chaturanga (the transition from plank to upward facing dog) and crow, they come with time. I still have days where I can’t do a full crow– it takes a massive amount of arm and ab strength, as well as balance and mental calm. I would definitely not be able to do crow if I had just been subjected to a very upsetting experience like the one this teacher put you through. I have to be in a state of complete calm in order to focus enough to do it. But someday you will do it, too– under the right circumstances and when your body is ready. Chaturanga also takes time to build up strength for, and honestly, most people can’t do it properly. Most of us just don’t use our triceps that often, and that is the main muscle you use for that pose. Keep practicing and you will do it soon. Also, never feel bad for what you ‘can’t’ do in yoga, no matter what the teacher tells you– yoga is a process and the ultimate goal is peace and union with your body and mind. That’s it. Not being able to do something that someone else can, or looking good in front of a class, or measuring up to someone else’s expectations.

    You could always give my favorite website a try: TONS of yoga classes you can download. You’ll never get bored, and there are lots of very welcoming beginner classes with awesome instructors. It can also help save a lot of money. Good luck and know that you were completely justified in feeling how you did after this bad experience.

  11. Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    That was the idea :-)
    I hear you, but I’m really not so much about correct terms as much as I am about a good story!

  12. Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    Thank you for this! And for the link. I will check that out.

  13. Emily responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    I also think vagina sounded funnier, because you probably felt like the whole class had the speculum view. Ignore that commenter. We’re with you.

  14. aly responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    Oh my gosh — that sounds horrible. I probably would have cried and would never go back. I’ve never been brave enough to go to a yoga class because I am very self conscience about doing anything remotely athletic in front of anyone. Being singled out would be an absolute nightmare! Literally, a nightmare. You should ask the owner of the yoga place if that is standard procedure. Pointing someone out as an example of how NOT to do something seems very wrong in ANY teaching enviroment.

  15. poet responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    Oh wow. I agree with your mom: This is really, really un-yogic behavior on the side of your teacher. The last person I witnessed doing this kind of public-humiliation criticism on someone in a sports class was my strict-as-hell ex-Soviet ballet teacher when I was 14, and she was nearly the most unpedagogic teacher I’ve had…

  16. molly responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:52 pm #

    THIS IS THE OPPOSITE OF HOW YOGA CLASS SHOULD GO! I can’t even fathom what kind of background and experience this woman has had in yoga that lead her to believe this was a helpful, productive, nurturing thing to do in her class. I am so sorry she singled you out at all, especially on a day you were feeling a little… exposed.
    I stopped taking bikram style yoga for this very reason — it is highly regimented and the teachers are sometimes hostile or confrontational about any modification you might make to the “sacred” (copyrighted) routine. I have broken my right foot in the same place a number of times and have trouble supporting my entire body weight while standing only on the damaged ball of my right foot. The instructor very rudely asked if there was a reason I was sitting a pose out. Hey, I’m listening to my body and doing what I can. Why don’t you do the same, right? It is THIS attitude that has people getting hurt in yoga classes! It drives me crazy.
    I love yoga. It is such a meaningful part of my life and brings me such health and solace, physically and spiritually. But I know now that if I teacher is making me uncomfortable or even just giving me a funky vibe, there are dozens more who won’t and I’ve lost nothing by turning right around and leaving.

    And, as for being a little embarrassed… I once let out the loudest, longest fart known to humankind in the middle of a very silent, intense pose. The guy behind me laughed so hard he FELL. DOWN. Fell down. Collapsed on his mat. And I don’t even blame him. It was like a FOGHORN.
    Or, in a moment more comparable to your exposed panty pain, I was watching 30 Rock reruns on the treadmill (guilty pleasure… even if Liz Lemon would be appalled) and I laughed too hard. I totally wiped out. As I lay on the floor, still laughing over some throwaway punchline from the show, I realized my neon pink panties were on full display through a massive hole in the crotch of my black leggings. Talk about insult to injury, right? Ah well. Laughing at yourself is the best remedy, I think.

  17. Reckless Housewife responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    I can’t do crow anymore, but I eat it frequently.

    Even when I could do that, I couldn’t do it everytime. Some days I just have no balance, and others I do.

    Sorry you were singled out. With or without holes in your pants. That type of story is one reason why I am letting the unlimited month of yoga I bought on GroupOn expire without ever being used….

    Enjoy your wanderings!!!

    Embarrassing exercise stories… too many in roller derby to list. I embarrass myself pretty much everytime we have practice. Keeps me humble!

  18. Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    I really liked the rest of your comment, too, of course, but OH MY GOD. THE FARTING. You made me laugh so hard. I am sitting here alone at my computer, dying all over the place.

  19. Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    @Reckless Housewife
    I’m impressed that you could do it EVER. It seems almost magical to me, like watching a trick. Wait…that’s possible? No way…It’s an illusion! :-)

  20. Kelli responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    I think that is inapropriate for a teacher to do that in any type of class. I’m not much of a yoga fan in general, it just isn’t my thing, but I work out regularly & attend classes, & I don’t think I’ve ever seen an instructor single out a person that way before! That’s horrible! Seriously, I would never go back to a class that she teaches again. How frustrating.
    The story made me feel sad & mad all together.
    The end part where you talk about going to Switzerland, Helsinki, London, & Amsterdam though made me feel very happy for you. How wonderful! Have fun!

  21. Kristine responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    While reading this story I wanted so badly to pull you out of the classroom! That sucks, but you handled it as best you could.

    I have scoliosis too. There is no way to make your back straight :(

  22. maggie responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    ummm, wow. that is horrible. awful. this is something they taught us in teacher training to absolutely NEVER do. you never single someone out. you never make a student demo unless you know them well. you NEVER say that someone is doing something wrong (unless it could hurt them, in which case you walk by them as you’re teaching and correct them in a whisper, or if it’s something lots of people are doing, you demo it yourself). i would not go back to this teacher! i hope you try out my studio (yoga vida) – i love their basics classes so let’s try to go to one together sometime. i don’t think it’s possible to feel humiliated or embarrassed by any of the teachers there.

    enjoy the trip!

  23. Dorothy responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    Ugh, that’s awful! I was called out in yoga class for the same reason – that g-dawful point where you transition from plank to cobra. I don’t have a lot of upper body strength so my elbows do weird things. The teacher stopped everyone so they could watch me do it “wrong” not once, but twice in the same class. We were also banned from drinking water during class, and banned from wearing shorts or capris. I never went back. Now I found an amazing new teacher who starts every pose with “you can do this… or you can do something else”. Don’t give up!!! Have a great trip!

  24. Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    right?! I wanted to get your opinion about this. I can’t believe this happened RIGHT AFTER we were talking about yoga. And yes, I’d love to try your studio.

  25. Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:16 pm #

    OK, even though I’m really sorry this happened to you, too, I’m also kind of glad it happened to someone else. And that someone else understands how hard that particular transition is!!

  26. Andrew responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    “Your welcome”????????

    Also: oy, was not expecting this to be your embarrassing yoga story. Might fly in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, if Larry David had a vagina. Or a vulva. I never got into that show. I tried.

    On the plus side, now I have yet another reason not to go to yoga with my girlfriend: UNEXPECTED VAGINAE. This will hold her off for a few months. *tips cap*

  27. Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    lol!! Should I be offended that my story would maybe be included in a show you don’t really like?

    I’ll take it as a compliment :-)

    And sorry you had to read about my genitalia. Whatever it might be called.

  28. Christina McPants responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    Oh. My. Gods.

    I cannot believe the teacher did that to you. I am astounded that they consistently heard you saying no, no, no and kept pressuring you into it and then called you out like that. That is ridiculous and mean and exacerbates any issues a self-conscious person would already heave. I just… a world of no. You should say something to her if you haven’t already. One of my favorite yoga sayings is ‘keep your eyes on the four corners of your mat’ (really, I need it as a life saying, whenever I start inappropriately comparing myself to others to find myself wanting) and that is not possible when she’s asking others to comment on your body.

    As for my yoga stories – I started crying in yoga class a couple of times, from sheer physical frustration. My favorite favorite though, was being in yoga class after a period of inactivity and being unable to do have the things I’ve done previously and just being so incredibly mad at myself for being out of shape and then being mad at myself for feeling mad at myself and making me feel bad which then ended with me (mentally) shouting “I HAVE TO LOVE MYSELF” while frustrated and dealing with footcramps in the middle of Warrior I. (Warrior I & I are not friends)

  29. Christina McPants responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    @Dorothy, there is kind of a reason not to drink water in yoga – the idea being that by generating heat, you sweat out toxins and they want you to keep generating heat and releasing toxins (which makes me go RELEASE THE TOXINS in a Wrath of the Titans way). That being said, you should be encouraged not to with an explanation why, not forbidden. Sheesh. Sometimes people get too into these things.

  30. Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    @Christina McPants and everyone else
    Actually, I’m trying to decide if I should do anything. Should I talk to her? I feel so awkward doing that? Should I report the whole thing to the studio? Is that bratty? I really hope she doesn’t do that to other people, because it was incredibly uncomfortable, but I also don’t want to in any way get her in trouble at work just because she made me uncomfortable. So I’m not sure if I should do anything. Thoughts?

  31. Alicia at Poise in Parma responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    You’re mom is right – that’s NOT how it’s supposed to go. I’m going through teacher training so I expect a bit of tough love from my teacher, but in an everyday class, there’s no need for that type of instruction.

    It always breaks my heart when instructors (and I use that term on purpose because I do NOT consider that woman a teacher) break people down instead of building them up. Please don’t let that be your view of yoga. I know what yoga can do for so many, especially for those with scoliosis. If she was using you as an example b/c of your scoliosis, she should have asked you if that was okay with you first…

    ugh this entire situation is making me stabby.

  32. Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    P.S. Not drinking water just sounds like a generally bad idea to me! Ack!

  33. Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    I don’t think she was, because then why would she act like my curved back was this big problem/ something I was doing wrong, when obviously I can’t help it?

    Maybe I should have said something at that point. Blech. The whole thing was stupid.

  34. Lili @ Relatable Style responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    Oh wow what a b*tch. I don’t even make my students say something if they don’t want to, let alone perform something. I don’t think I’ll ever do yoga if it’s like this. I would have flat out refused to do this.

    You know what, I think there sould be a name for these women. The smiley ones, who are actually being really bad, but you can’t resist because they look and act like a ray of sunshine and you’d be an ass to be rude to them, while they’re actually being rude to you. Sunshine bitches.

  35. Christina McPants responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    @Kate – it really depends on how you feel about it. I have a really hard time sticking up to authority when I feel minimized, but I think this would make me angry enough that I would feel the need to say something to her, but either one on one before or after the next class. The thing is, she’s supposed to be a teacher in a very body & self positive field and what she did was… not a positive thing. And she may not even realize that she did it that way.

    But maybe she does, but may not realize the effect it had on you. I’ve had yoga instructors who were mean and ended up leaving their classes because I couldn’t stand listening how awful they were to their less advanced students.

    Again, for me, I would go to the instructor first, then the studio if the behavior doesn’t change. The same way that you would try to work with a colleague and if things continue to go poorly, talk to the boss.

  36. Andrew responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    It’s solidly worth writing about. Don’t apologize for having genitals. Everyone has them, I think.

    My competitive spirit tells me to tell you to stick with it, out-yoga this instructor, and then challenge her to a duel on the banks of the Hudson after you humiliate her with your smooth yoga moves. Preferrably Jersey side. Make her come to your home court.

  37. Diana responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    I just peed a little. You are hilarious.

  38. Amanda responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    I used to be able to do the crow pose, but I didn’t know it was called that. It’s just something we were required to hold for 21 seconds or something in my junior high P.E. class. Now I can’t, thanks to my left wrist deciding it’s old, but if that would straighten out… maybe? I don’t know, it’s been awhile!

    I’m not doing yoga but I just had my second belly dancing class last night and I think I can safely say it isn’t a natural gift for me. I mean, I can be doing snake arms or a shoulder shimmy and I’m fine… until I think about what I’m doing. Then I completely lose my ability to perform and have to shake my body as if I’m having a seizure just to get myself relaxed enough to get back on track. ARrrgh!!! Oh well, at least I’m not the only person in my class suffering with a complete lack of natural coordination. It’s fun.

    I even bought two hip scarves today, with jangly coins on them. I may not be good, but I’m in this for the long haul :)

  39. Jenny Cs. responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    Similar problem happened to me when I was in a riding lesson as a young teen. My breeches (skin tight, non-flatteringly flesh-tone pants) split up the back and my instructor kept asking for us to do “two-points”, (similar to a jockey-pose, with your ass sticking up and out of the saddle). Mor.ti.fied.

  40. Emmi responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    I am so mad at this teacher on your behalf! If I was in your place, I would probably write all this on a yelp review of the studio and never go back. You are SO much more tolerant than I am. I would’ve walked out at the groups-of-four thing. I do not play well with others and I hate group activity things like that.

    I’m trying to figure out why this made me so mad and I think it’s because I have scoliosis too. I had a fusion surgery to correct it half my lifetime ago, and now there is a significant portion of my vertebrae that don’t move and my spine doesn’t have the natural front-to-back curve in the lumbar area. That really messes with a lot of yoga poses, and I have to modify them appropriately to work with my anatomy. If an instructor ever chastised me because I wasn’t doing the poses right, I’d probably whip up my top and display my 18 inch long scar in her face (they had to go in anteriorly, through my left side to access the front of my spine) before walking out.

    Man, it sounds like I walk out of a lot of stuff. I kinda do, though. I know my limits and where the line is between what I will and will not put up with. I’m sure that shocks you about me ;)

    I like Andrew’s idea of challenging her to a yoga duel. I’ll bring the boom box with Eye of the Tiger blaring.

  41. Carol Lindsey responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    what the yoga teacher made you do sounds pretty mean! Clearly there IS a wrong way to do yoga, and she was using YOU to demonstrate it! If she wanted to show the class an example of bad yoga form, she should have used herself as an example and purposely demonstrated a yoga pose done wrong. Sheesh!

  42. tirzahrene responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    Wow….that’s SO not okay.

    You might consider writing her a note saying that you were uncomfortable and embarrassed and will be finding another teacher (as tactfully as possible), mostly because if she doesn’t have an understanding of scoliosis – put this in there too – she could HURT SOMEBODY.

    Yoga normally is much less stressful than that. Except when I wear shorts to do yoga and have to face my knees in downward dog. They are wrinkly like elephant knees then and that kind of scares me! I’m very glad that the place I did yoga didn’t have mirrors.

  43. San D responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 8:28 pm #

    My exercise class is divided into 4 experiences; cardio, machines, balls and bands, and ends with yoga. The yoga part is gentle and emphasizes the calm awareness of your body. I do have a balls and bands funny story for you. First of all, I am known far and wide as the “faller”. I fall all of the time. I do however, bounce right back up and keep on ticking. We were doing stretching exercises on the ball, where you sit on the big ball, put your one leg out and do circles with your foot. My circles apparently weren’t large enough and the leader of the class (who by the by has 9 kids and is used to barking orders), barked “San D make those circles larger”. I said “you don’t want me to do that”, she said “oh yes I do”. “Ok”, I said “but I will fall of the ball” and as I said that I rolled right off of the ball. I was tempted to wear a false cast when I came in the next day. I don’t mind being the poster child for bad form, because it makes everyone else in the class feel better. Schadenfreude!

  44. Blair responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    Oh my God, yoga class is mortifying! I’ve been classes where I’ve been the weakest one and supporting all my weight on my neck during headstand (VERY NOT SAFE! and scary!) and when my body has made all kinds of, ahem, embarrassing intimate noises post-shoulderstand (does this happen to any other ladies?) Thankfully, sometimes I can make it to the yoga class at the Hillel center at my school, and even though I’m not strong or supple or even Jewish, for that matter, I always feel so worn-out-in-a-good-way and happy, almost to the point of tears (sometimes). I wish all yoga was like that yoga.

  45. Yan responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    THAT is the wrong way to do yoga — that instructor, that method of “teaching.” HORRIBLE. I don’t know that I’d go back to a class like that.

    I don’t mind being corrected by my instructors — that is why I go to a class rather than working to a video. But called out as a mess in front of people? It’s mean and not very yogic.

    Upside — you survived this and got a good story out of it. You might need a new yoga studio (and some new pants).

  46. Val responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    And they wonder why some of us hate formal exercise sooo much.

    Ei-yi-yi, what a horrible night. And yet, you were brave and did not leave!

    I think that’s seriously impressive.

    And just so you know, at this point in my life I’m not about to start using anatomically correct names for body parts.

    I’ll call em what I want, especially since everyone knows exactly what we mean.

    One of my pet peeves are spelling freaks–the ones who get all out of joint about spelling errors. Pbbbfflt.

    Out of respect for all the very wonderful dyslexic people in my life, I reject that kind of thinking.

    Anyway, you brave woman, I was cringing along with you. First time I read the story I actually had to stop I was getting SO uncomfortable.

    But I came back and it’s, oh so awful. love, VAl

  47. Jenn responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    Yeah, I would have run away. I can’t believe the teacher singled you out like that! I’m really lucky because my schedule is ridiculous, so I take yoga at the least popular time (seriously, sometimes it’s just me and one other person, once it was Just Me for the first fifteen minutes… I was pretty nervous, but I figured I drove all the way down there… and at least I would get corrections without an audience). Last week the teacher decided I need to work up to a bridge (which I have never done in my life), and I actually got up to resting on the top of my head (I think my arms are too weak for me to actually push off). So, I’ve been working on it, and I thought if she spotted me I might get off the mat today… but we had a sub. He was great (showed us mods, explained the philosophical stuff, went at a pace all three of us could handle), but he kept coming closer to us than I’m used to when he demonstrated things… and he had this perpetual grin that was somehow… condescending? It was weird.

  48. Vicky responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    I have to admit this post made me laugh, but I know I would have been mortified! Probably would’ve run straight out the door. You were really brave to hold on! Is there any way you can find another instructor, though..?

  49. RJ responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 9:18 pm #

    That is just so exactly not what Yoga is supposed to be about. That is a teacher/studio to avoid. I applaud you for not storming out and kicking the teacher in the shins on the way to the door

  50. Mallory responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Wow. That sounds like a terrible instructor! Are you going back to the class? I wouldn’t. I’d give my money to someone else, someone who embodies the calming nature of yoga. I took two kinds of Vinyasa Yoga. One was a nice calming class and It was my first time going but I learned just fine. The other was in college and let me tell you.. It was NOT the yoga I wanted!

    You are a brave girl!

  51. Jen responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    Another yoga instructor chiming in to say that that is sooooo far from what should have happened. And yes, please do have the ‘that was unnecessarily demeaning and a very bad teaching method’ conversation with her. It doesn’t need to be a huge and dramatic confrontation, but I know that if I were your teacher, I’d like to know that I’d done something that made you uncomfortable so I could try to not do it again!

  52. Zellie responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Your instructor sounded like she didn’t know you have scoliosis. She needs to know ahead of class. She should never single you out. If she sees you’re having difficulty doing it correctly and she can’t help you adequately in a moment during class she can take some time after class or another time.

    She should give you alternatives or ways to adapt or transition. Lots of people can’t do everything. Maybe it’s being in New York that skews what the range of normal people is.

    Yoga is for all ages and abilities. This place doesn’t sound like they understand the true purpose of yoga.

  53. mia responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 10:45 pm #

    One of the most impressive things I’ve seen in my yoga life was in one of my first classes. My teacher was wearing a white leotard, and in the middle of demonstrating a pose, it became apparent that she had suddenly gotten her period. She was obviously embarrassed, up there in front of 20 or so men and women, all strangers, all staring intently at her body to make sure they understood precisely how the pose was done. She had half the class still to go. And there was a red stain spreading between her legs. What did she do? She reached over and picked up her sweatshirt and tied it around her waist and carried on. It was stunning. It’s been at least 20 years, and I still look back and think, What poise!

  54. Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 11:17 pm #

    Such a huge compliment! The pee, I mean.

  55. Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 11:18 pm #

    The really crazy thing is that she actually should know. At the beginning of every class, we go around the room and introduce ourselves and share what we’re working on and if we have any injuries/issues. I always say that I have scoliosis. So…I’m really not sure what the deal was. Maybe she forgot?

  56. Kate responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 11:19 pm #

    Laughter is encouraged! :-)
    But yeah, I was mortified.
    At least it makes for a good story!

  57. Anna responded on 12 Apr 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    I had something similar. About a year ago, I weighted about 55 lbs more than I do now. Since my inner thighs touched, the inner thighs of my pants would wear out and bust at random times (something I noticed doesn’t happen anymore, which makes my pants live much longer, stress-free lives). But anyway, it’s first class of the day, I’m sitting there, taking notes, when I get up to grab something from my bag a few feet away, and THAT’S when my pant leg decides to bust. When I’m 40 miles away from my home and my other, whole pants. And all of my classes require cross-campus running to make it half the time.

    I attempted (badly) to hide it for the next hour or so when one of my friends finally spoke up and lent me his track team sweat pants >.<; I still don't know how to make it up to him.

  58. Karen responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 2:15 am #

    Can I just say that I totally admire your cool in that class? I think I would have just left once I found out about the underwear situation.
    Talking about yoga: does it help with your back? I have an incredibly stiff back so I’m hoping maybe to find some way to stretch better and become a bit more mobile there. Any reccomendations? I’m a complete yoga newbie and there are so many kinds apparently…
    And have fun on your trip! I love London and Amsterdam and Helsinki aren’t too shabby either. Hehe.

  59. bethany actually responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 3:14 am #

    Adding my voice to the choir, to say that sounds like just plain bad TEACHING, whether it was in a yoga class or a welding class. Not listening to you, making an example of you and then pointing out all the stuff you’re doing wrong, etc. Just…NO. Bad teacher. I hope you can find another yoga class with a more understanding, go-with-the-flow instructor.

    Also! I won’t be in London or anywhere else in Europe this week (sadly), but since you’ll be in London you could pop into a bookstore and pick up an excellent book that I will recommend to you right now. It’s called Eleanor & Park, and it was written by a good friend of mine, Rainbow Rowell. It’s actually her second novel, and because of some publishing weirdness is being released in the UK before it’s released in the U.S. I’ve read it (I was privileged to read the proof copy) and it’s a funny, geeky, sharp, heartbreaking story about first love between two misfit teenagers in 1986. So if you’re looking for something to read, now you know what to look for.

    Safe travels! Have fun!

  60. Aezy responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 4:46 am #

    I have got a massive unroast for today: yesterday I modeled my sisters underwear designs for a catalogue photoshoot in front of about 30 people, alongside professional models, and totally rocked it. A year ago you would never have gotten me doing that. Then I came home and ate a massive chocolate pudding :D

    Also, I have had many a wardrobe malfunction regarding trousers and skirts… some more awkward than others! I hope the yoga class gets better or you find a more understanding teacher.

    Anyway, have a wonderful time in London and Amsterdam, they are both beautiful cities! Have never been to Helsinki but have fun there too :)

  61. Alpana Trivedi responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 6:43 am #

    Kate, do you need me to kick that teacher’s butt for you? Because what she did was very unprofessional, especially calling you out like that. Let me know if you need me to “sailor-talk” her. E-mail me if you need to vent more.

  62. Mandy responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 9:09 am #

    I think you should talk to her–sometimes people don’t realize what they’re doing unless you say something. Sort of like not telling someone they’re walking around with the zipper of their pants open–it might be a little embarrassing, but a sensible person would thank you for telling them.
    If she gets angry with you for speaking up, she doesn’t have the temperament to be teaching yoga.
    And the previous posters are correct–she could injure a student by trying to force them to do it “right,” regardless of their physical limitations. ANY exercise instructor needs to take this into account, and the fact that she wasn’t tells me she doesn’t have any business teaching yoga.
    I think the thing that bothers me the most about this is the fact that she didn’t listen to you. And, if she won’t listen to you during your talk, go talk to her boss. I’m sure the studio would like to avoid losing students because of the instructor is humiliating and possibly injuring people in class.

  63. Celynne responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 10:29 am #

    I’ve never tried yoga and odds are I never will. If it makes you feel any better, I can’t touch my toes either! I’m the only one in my belly dance class who can’t do it during our stretches. I think you need to find yourself a new yoga instructor :P

  64. Charise responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 11:15 am #

    I have, shall we say, thick thighs. So my pants (jeans and stretchy yoga/workout pants alike) always end up wearing out at the inside seams. I toss the really hole-y ones, but will still hear the somewhat hole-y ones around the house (or even just working out in my neighborhood). Once, though, I accidentally grabbed a pair for the gym. When I was meeting with my (cute male) trainer. And had to do things like v sit ups with my legs up and spread. Wheee!

  65. Valerie responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 11:18 am #

    Hi Kate!

    I think your stories are hilarious. I also did yoga,
    and can relate to how you feel :)
    I live in Amsterdam, when are you here?
    If I have time then, I could show you around a little if you like.
    If you promise not to get angry at me for asking you everything about New York, as I wanted to go since i’m like 12.

    Let me know!

  66. Jeneveve responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 11:51 am #

    I was going to ask if she know about your scoliosis, but if she did then I think it might be worth having a chat with someone – she’s being irresponsible as well as unfeeling and that’s definitely not on.

    Well done for powering through the underwear situation. My only comment… at least you had some on. I’ve seen a similar situation in a gym where the gentleman didn’t.

  67. Sheryl responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 11:54 am #

    That’s really not fair that she kept pushing you (and singling you out!) after you expressed that you weren’t comfortable with what she wanted. Even after you told her she was humiliating you she kept doing that. Not cool.

    Also; not a workout embarrassment story but equally funny. My last summer in university I was running to make a bus so I could get to work and my entire boob popped out of my shirt and my bra. So I’m running down the bus shoving my boob back where it needed to be and EVERYONE on the street and bus saw. So I feel your holes-in-the-pants pain.

  68. Kate responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    For some reason, the boob popping out image is ENDLESSLY hilarious to me! Thanks for sharing! :-D

  69. Kate responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    A duel it is!! Clearly, that is the only valid course of action. First, I need my moves to be smooth. Then, onward!

  70. Sarah responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Aw MAN I was cringing for you this entire time! I am sorry. At least you knew about the hole? One time in yoga, this woman in front of me had a serious issue just like yours, but worse in two significant ways: (1) She wasn’t wearing underwear (!), and (2) She was ignorant of the hole. Megfghhhh…I felt sorry for her. And myself, a little bit.

  71. rose responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    Um, I know lots of folks are suggesting talk with her, but it sounds to me like perhaps she’s a bully who doesn’t have respect for peoples boundaries (and certainly she wasn’t open to listening when you reminded her about your scoliosis) so talking might just be a frustrating, fruitless exercise. I’d maybe leave her a note or letter, explaining why I wouldn’t be back, and then find a new studio/teacher. It’s soooo worth it to have a teacher who you respect. When I was practicing regularly, I went to a partner class (big deal for an introvert like me) because the teacher was so brilliant and understanding.

    And you’ve definitely beaten my worst yoga teacher moment: she said, “anyone can do a headstand, if you release your fear.” (no, and my fear of compression in the vertebrae of my neck is well-founded) and “If you’re having trouble today, it’s because mercury is debilitated.” (at which point I thought, ‘wait, a planet has exploded?! WHY are we just sitting around here?!?” then it sunk in… oh right, astrology)

    So better luck next time. :)

  72. Diana D responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I went to a yoga class – once. Took 6 months of talking myself into wanting to enter the studio. The first 30 minutes were fairly easy; just lots of stretching then a water break.

    The last 30 minutes were hell because exactly the same thing happened to me. I was called out in front of the class and struggled to twist myself into a pretzel in front of the entire class. Women watched in horror; men turned away. It was awful. I feel your pain completely.

    Have fun overseas! Bon Voyage!

  73. Twyla responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    That does not sound like a supportive yoga class/teacher. I love yoga but it’s not about perfection and definitely not about comparing, it’s about doing what’s right for you.

    And I do know the crow pose – in fact I like any pose that requires balancing on my hands. They’re challenging and I fall over a lot, but I love when I finally get it.

    Wish I were still in London when you visit! Best of luck on the travels!

  74. d-day responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    rawr!! I’m glad there are so many people chiming in sounding horrified! I too am curious how this woman got certified, she seems to have missed the whole point of yoga..

    re: talking to her or not.. Would be nice to let her know, either in person or with a note, how way off base her instruction methods are. As with another commenter above, I probably would have just left a scathing yelp review and never gone back, but I think the better-person thing would be to talk to her about it first.. Either way, I hope you find a much better studio!

    @molly: I almost died giggling over your farting story.

  75. Sonja responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Wrong on so many levels… Any teacher in any class who picks a “volunteer” to perform something and then invites the class to point out what this person did wrong needs a few reminders about how to respect her students.
    I’m glad you stuck to your guns about not lifting off later.

  76. rowdygirl responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    This horror story is exactly why I DO NO participate in ANY exercise classes. This would humiliate me to the point that I would have to cancel my gym membership and never go back. You are a brave soul. :)

  77. Suzy Marie responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    I have never tried yoga, and now I’m not sure I want to! It sounds like school, how awful that you were singled out like that! But definitely bravo for continuing with the class even though you had multiple holes in your leggings. And ‘vagina’ is MUCH funnier than ‘vulva’ so never mind about being all correct about it.

    Also, molly (if you see this), I just nearly died laughing.

  78. Sunflower responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    I’m really glad other people have said yoga isn’t supposed to be this way. My own teacher works with everyone’s injuries, limitations, and preferences. My husband won’t do handstands and she is totally fine with that. We build our class together and it’s very individual and cooperative, with a ton of all-out laughter and lots of joking, questions, and talk about the poses and reaching understanding. I feel very lucky to know her. Definitely go to another class for sure. As for telling her why you left–well, honesty is a gift and you have to decide if you feel you owe her even that much of your time and effort. There’s no law that says we have to tell anyone anything. Good luck on finding something better, and enjoy your trip!

  79. Zellie responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    It may be she is insensitive and didn’t take your comments to heart. When you expressed yourself laughing at the same time or saying, “Please don’t make me do this,” while continuing to walk forward, she may not have taken you at your word, thinking you’re kidding.

    While we’re expanding beyond exercise, I’m small and used to go without a bra and wear size large scrubs in a past job, and a group of us were standing talking to the office manager and I crossed my arms and stood there with my breast completely exposed but no one said anything until much later.

  80. Bianca James responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    People whose pet peeve is people using “vagina” to describe the supposed “vulva” are my fucking pet peeve. Nobody fucking says vulva. Maybe vagina medically means the internal part, but in common, cultural use, people say vagina. The meaning has evolved. Fucking deal with it!

    Any yes, this yoga teacher sounds like a dick. I get pissed at teachers who try to force me to stretch my body further than it wants to go, or who bully me if I need to stop a minute. I know my body better than you do, thanks.

  81. Melanie responded on 13 Apr 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    I do not like your yoga teacher. That is all.

  82. Lynellekw responded on 14 Apr 2012 at 3:38 am #

    I’ve never taken yoga, but I used to regularly do exercises other than what was being demonstrated in Pump/Body Balance/Body Box classes, because there’s some stuff I just can’t do. Pushups hurt my RSI-damaged wrists if I put my hands flat on the floor. Holding a bar above my head (or even just holding my hands up with my elbows bent to make a 90-degree angle) makes my hands go numb. The plank position sometimes causes my 30-year old abdominal surgery scar to hurt (although my doctor tells me I probably won’t do myself any major damage). Anyone who says I HAVE to do what they’re demonstrating for any reason other than risking injury if I do it wrong will be subjected to a very nasty glare (that’s mostly as aggressive as I get, really).

  83. Lexie responded on 14 Apr 2012 at 7:36 am #

    Hahah, oh, you have to laugh, don’t you? This story has made so many people giggle, and not at you but with you; when mishaps like this happen, you just have to see the fun side. Yoga has ethics, and yoga teachers *sometimes* are not yoga philosophers but just teachers. So they always tell us our butt is too high, our back too arched, our face too clenched (Oh, sorry, I don’t usually stand on my head, that’s all) But it’s hard to find a nice place; I came across a huge rented out room with people leaping and dancing all over the place, sweating and dancing with their eyes closed in these crazy hindu movements; then they’d all stop and meditate. THAT is what I like to see as relaxation, yoga, and meditation; absolute freedom of mind, body, and soul. They didn’t care what anyone thought, because nobody was watching. It looked incredible. I want to go, but I’m so nervous!

  84. Christine (Girl on Fire) Reed responded on 14 Apr 2012 at 9:58 am #

    I am going to say this as simply as possible: this teacher is an ass.

    The SECOND you showed any hesitation in being in front of the room, she should have BACKED THE HELL OFF.


    Also? Biomechanically, the woman doesn’t know a thing. A lower back should ALWAYS MAINTAIN A CURVE. This is one of those things that is taught incorrectly in almost all yoga trainings. It is blatantly WRONG. Period. People can argue with this all they want.

    Furthermore, someone should never CORRECT you if she hasn’t seen an x-ray of your body.

    Can you tell that stuff like this infuriates me?

  85. Karolina responded on 14 Apr 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    Oh, that must have been horrible! I know how you feel:) I’ve had a similar situation (yes, with the holes in my pants) during P.E. in middle school.

    I do have many a yoga story, most of them show what an awful human being I am. The first time I did yoga was the first and the last time I went to a yoga class with my oldest friend, as names such as “downward facing dog” and “super-active cat” (which, believe me, sound even more ridiculous in Polish) made us both (then fresh out of high-school) burst into giggles. I got an even larger giggle attack when I noticed that my friend has fallen asleep during relaxation.
    And my second inappropriate yoga giggle-burst happened on a terrace of a five-star hotel. My yoga club usually had classes in the gym of my old elementary school, but for the time of the renovation works in the school it moved to the fitness club in this hotel. The classes were held either on a terrace with a fantastic view of Kraków’s old town, the Wawel Castle, and the Vistula river. Everyone was quiet and relaxed, we were doing the tree position. Then, a pigeon or a seagull hit the mat of the girl in front of me with its poo. It was both funny and terrifying, so I couldn’t restrain myself and laughed so hard that I lost my balance and fell down, still laughing.

    Some fellow practitioners gave me the stink eye, but luckily the instructor was a great person and we ended up going for hot chocolate AND cake with the girl with the ruined mat. :)

  86. Madeline responded on 15 Apr 2012 at 3:14 am #

    Hi Kate, I’m really sorry this happened to you in the class, (totally not normal or acceptable for any yoga class) and I want to weigh in regarding next steps. I think what she did was unprofessional, uncaring, and dangerous.

    If that had happened to me, I would go directly to the owner/director of the studio to report what happened. I would email all this to the director. Email is best, because then there’s a written record of what you experienced which carries much more weight that a verbal account.

    There’s nothing to be gained by addressing this to the teacher, because she’ll likely just write you off as being overly sensitive and continue business as usual in her classes, even if she claims she won’t to your face. Then more people will continue to be humiliated and possibly injured. However, if she hears feedback from her boss that will have much more of an impact on how she conducts her classes.

    As women we worry too much about speaking up and “getting someone in trouble” where there is clearly a problem that needs resolution. So we keep quiet, don’t take action, and allow messed up stuff to continue to happen to us and to other people.

    Keep in mind, it’s not just for your benefit you’ll be speaking up, but for the benefit of everyone else who pays money for her classes. Speaking of money, if I were you I would also ask the director of the studio to have my payment refunded for that class.

    And I would take care to point out to the director that you did let her know you have scoliosis, yet she continued to do what she did, emphasized how you should straighten your back, etc, which could have caused you injury.

    I know it can be scary. Believe me, I’ve been in similar situations. But I really do hope you speak up, not just for your defense, but for any other people who will certainly have to go through what you did in her classes.

  87. Lali responded on 15 Apr 2012 at 9:25 am #

    I am a curvy yoga teacher who does not fit the traditional teacher stereotypes, and totally agree with what everyone has said about allowing space for students to experience poses in a way that feels right in their body. But I will play devil’s advocate for a moment and say that when I see students doing a pose that may, over years of practice, lead to pain or injury, I will try and quietly, gently offer them another way to do it. There is no wrong or right, but there is safe and less safe (especially where backbends, headstands and yes, chatturanga is concerned).

    Having said that, her approach was awful and I would give the owner of the studio feedback. I wouldn’t choose that instructor ever again. And I would stick with doing yoga…the world needs more funny, irreverent yogis like you!

  88. Marissa responded on 16 Apr 2012 at 1:02 am #

    Wow. Kate, I am so sorry that this was your experience. Please don’t give up on yoga on account of this. It has the capability of being wonderful.. transcendent… I swear!! I promise!! I never would have believed it myself. I was a huge skeptic. It seemed like a bunch of new-age hocus pocus, but… I had a series of fantastic experiences and wonderful instructors (mostly just one)… and well, I truly did feel better both mentally and physically. And as for the underwear… I’ve been there. And I got over it. As we do when it comes to these things. Please don’t close the book on yoga. It has the potential to be a positive influence on your health and your life…

  89. The Woman Formerly Known As Beautiful responded on 16 Apr 2012 at 2:01 am #

    Kate — you don’t know it but we’re meant to be together. I haven’t tapped your phones or pinged you, but I am reading you and we have many things in common.

    I bring into evidence Fact A: I frequently write about my vagina (and who was that obgyn in your first comment? Does she use her speculum as a sex toy or to trowel her garden to plant basil? wtf? Doesn’t she know the herculean machinations you performed in order to’ve wrought that fine tale?)

    Back to you and me.

    Fact B: I am also very jealous. I am a little jealous of you. I consider you a fine writer which annoys me, because I’m not quite where I’d like to be (i.e. Christopher Hitchens, Martin Amis and Eric Roth — there’s something about the intellectual masturbatory male that I adore – don’t know what it is).

    Fact C: I also frequently write about body image having recently sold myself down the river by having nude photographs taken of me at 46 in the exact same poses I did at 26. What the hell I was thinking I do not know.

    Fact D: I also post at HuffPo.

    So there it is. I won’t be in the Alps any time soon, but perhaps our paths will cross in the not too distant future. And in terms of flashing your panty-clad vagina in class, embarrassing yes, but not quite as embarrassing as emitting a thunderous vaginal fart whilst forcing yourself into shoulder stand (I forgot to mention I’m a little competitive.) Danke, S

    P.S. Your yoga instructor seems like a bitch.

  90. natasiarose responded on 16 Apr 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    LOL. Ahhh! I love this story. I would have probably run out of class. Eek.

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  92. Kate responded on 16 Apr 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    @The Woman Formerly Known As Beautiful
    I’m glad we’re meant to be together! Obviously, I will also be having nude photos taken of myself at 46.
    I’ll look for you at HuffPo! What section/s do you do?

  93. Kate responded on 16 Apr 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    @People who were concerned
    I’m not going to stop doing yoga– I’d hear my mom’s voice in my head telling me what a bad decision that was all day long (it’s basically my only form of physical exercise and I think it actually is good for my back). But I’m going to switch classes.
    Also, it’s sweet that you were concerned! And your defenses of yoga definitely made an impression on me.

  94. Kate responded on 16 Apr 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    @People who were mad at the commenter who talked about vaginas/vulvas in the first comment
    I thought this comment was annoying, too. But let’s not be too mean! It’s so easy to be mean on the internet. But on the other side of the screen, somewhere in the world, is a real person. Sometimes it’s a person who you know better than, or who pisses you off, or who is frustrating in some way, but still.

  95. Kate responded on 17 Apr 2012 at 10:10 am #

    And the world needs more curvy yoga teachers! :-)
    I really hope any yoga instructor I work with will correct my poses, so that I’m not doing anything damaging. Especially since I’m so inexperienced, I really don’t know what’s OK and what might not be. So I don’t think you’re too much of a devil’s advocate, here– just a good instructor :-)

  96. Malisa responded on 17 Apr 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    Sounds like you are learning a good foundation. I know exactly the kind of teacher you mean. As soon as you said you were afraid, she called you out. Yoga is all about conquering your fear. You can’t have a good practice if you only do yoga at home or never get corrected. Yoga is a physical and spiritual practice.

  97. camelshoes responded on 17 Apr 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Wow, just like most people, I needed to comment to say that what happened in the class is so not how yoga classes are supposed to be! I can’t believe she singled you out like that instead of quietly coming around to give you pointers whilst everyone was practicing.

    My teacher frequently says “if you can’t get your legs straight, it just means your legs aren’t straight”, “it’s ok if you fall” and “don’t worry, you’ll get it next week, or the week after that”. Yoga is always a work in progress, I think.

    I tried crow for the first time just this week. Was so surprised when I actually got into the pose that I only held it for a split second before falling over.

  98. frauGrey responded on 19 Apr 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    And thats why i’m constantly in a mirror checking for mishaps^^

  99. yogacathy responded on 23 Apr 2012 at 9:13 pm #

    So glad to hear you aren’t giving up yoga! AND that you are not returning to that class. As a yoga teacher and a student I feel very angry reading this. You get back the energy you give out, so I imagine her classes dwindling. I’m sad to see so many people saying that these types of stories are why they won’t try yoga. Yoga does not have to be about advanced poses that aren’t right for someone. It isn’t about the ‘pretzel’. It is about coming home to self, and the union of mind and body. There are so many beautiful levels to yoga! On some level, everyone is always a beginner. Perhaps a Kripalu-trained teacher? Namaste!

  100. Rebecca responded on 24 Apr 2012 at 3:22 pm #


    Your instructor was really harsh, but before you write about this on Yelp, or complain to the studio owner, please talk to the teacher in private.

    Maybe she doesn’t realize how she’s coming across, or maybe she genuinely believes that she’s helping. Because we all have different learning styles, maybe her use of you as Exhibit A was how *she* learned best?

    It’s worth it to talk to her.

    And find another studio. :)

  101. Rebecca responded on 24 Apr 2012 at 3:24 pm #

    Addendum: If the teacher is hostile towards your criticisms, *that* is the time to approach the studio owner.

    (I’m a huge fan of talking to the person with whom I have a problem first before escalating any conflict)

  102. Bethany responded on 26 Apr 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Oh, that story is too funny. One time, I was wearing a pair of gauchos over tights (It was really cold, so it kind of made sense) and did a cute little skip and my pants fell all the way down to my ankles…. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention- I was at work *face palm*.

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  104. Penny responded on 21 May 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    I’ve lived your story. Thanks for sharing.

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  106. Katy responded on 21 Jun 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    I just started teaching yoga a few months ago and… I’m so sorry that that happened to you. So sorry. The real purpose of a class setting is to give you a sense of community, a sangha, and put you in front of a teacher who can keep you safe while you try and learn how the poses work in your body. Eventually, we’re supposed to gain the confidence to move our practice away from a class and make it our own. Everytime you go to your mat it’s a private and personal experience. Some days rock and some days stink like balls. We need both; it’s that beautiful dichotomy that helps us train the ego–which is the WHOLE point. The thing is, though, that a lot of teachers let that ego run wild. If something like that happens, just remind yourself that it’s not you, it’s their ego. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to practice, but there’s a right and wrong way to guide someone safely through their practice and I think what happened to you qualifies as the latter. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re out of alignment you need correction, but there’s a mindful, respectful, and loving way to be there for you. I hope that your experience, however long ago this was, didn’t ruin your relationship with your mat. Yoga classes need someone like you in them.
    P.S. I’ve been reading you for a while and I don’t know why it took me so long to tell you how grateful I am for this blog. Have a lovely day, Kate!

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  110. Rebecca responded on 28 Apr 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    I just found this site and want to thank you! I love your story. I started yoga a few months ago, after talking a friend into teaching a small group of us. She’s amazing, and I love my classes, but I’m moving soon and will have to find another teacher. It’s good to remember that yoga is good, but some teachers are not! And Molly,your story about the fart nearly killed me!

  111. Carol Phillips responded on 07 Aug 2013 at 1:28 am #

    This is hilarious; you have a great sense of humor. And the first comment from Rachel; is that for real????? Thanks for making me laugh!

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  113. Mary Ann responded on 31 Oct 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    i never experience this kind of humiliation in any of my yoga classes and the teacher/instructor supposed to know if any of his/her students have problems like scoliosis so he/she can adjust the pose for you

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