In this addition of “Yogis Don’t Eat Tacos,” I’m going to do something I normally don’t do while writing a blog; rant. A few weeks ago The Huffington Post released an article written by a yoga teacher admitting to “6 things she does.” In this post, the teacher admits to drinking alcohol, swearing, enjoying forms of exercise besides yoga, not practicing yoga everyday and even eating meat!
OMG, stop the presses, burn her at the stake. You mean to tell me that yoga teachers are actually just normal people, who live like the rest of us, experience stress and aren’t perfect? But your are so calm and are always smiling, how can this be possible? Maybe this applies to younger yoga teachers, but definitely not to the more experienced ones. Oh wait that’s not true either, as there have been countless yoga scandals between “enlightened” teachers and their students. Just ask John Friend who saw his Anusara yoga brand come to shambles after we found out he was sleeping with multiple students or Bikram Choudhury who has more than one pending accusation of sexual assault on his hands. Here’s what got me so fired up about the article; it saddens me that the author felt she had to come out and “admit” to all of the wrong things she does in the eyes of the yoga world. It was like she knew she would be chastised for being true to herself. I’m sure the author is a very kind, open and powerful person, if she wasn’t, she wouldn’t have felt the need to put herself out there in order to help others. So here’s my response to The Huffington Post, Yoga Journal and Lululemon: stop the bullshit, go drink some more organic juice while you’re at it and get off your high horse.
Many teachers and practitioners of yoga are amazing people, just as many of those who’ve never stepped onto a mat before are as well. So, let me say this; just because someone practices yoga (or teaches it for that matter) doesn’t mean they are a good person or even that they have a moral compass. This is actually a major hangup of many practitioners- a “holier than thou” attitude. Yoga is a $30 billion a year business in the U.S. and there are plenty of teachers, companies and brands reaping the benefits, leveraging on the truth that many of us are looking for something to complete our lives and that we are willing to pay for it- I’ve met yoga teachers that have horrible relationships with money and are extremely unthoughtful of others, I’ve even witnessed first hand, as one of San Francisco’s most popular teachers threw a tantrum because she only had 30 students show up to class, meaning she’d only be making about $100 instead of her usual $250. Maybe I’m just justifying my behavior, as I love to drink beer, chase women and lift weights about as much as a college frat boy and I eat enough meat weekly to feed a small village. I’m the brunt of jokes and get accused of being “hypocritical,” because of my Gemini like behavior, but that’s me and that’s my choice. We all get to decide how we want to be, not doctrine or social expectations. Or maybe I’m just tired of the yoga world pretending to be something it’s not- perfect. I’d like to see more teachers come out and say: “Yes, I am not perfect. I do not have it all figured out and I’m on my own journey too, along with everyone else.” Modern yogis don’t need an ideal or a guru to look up to, they need role models. And by role models, I mean teachers who can be examples of how to find balance in a crazy world, how to live life in a healthy and purposeful way while still living on this planet. There’s enough of us with our heads in the clouds already, so maybe it’s time for more teachers to come on down to earth too.
There are some great resources and people pushing the edge of nutrition, yoga and wellness out there. Some of my favorites are Stephanie Ring of endureyoga.com, Dean Pohlman of manflowyoga.com, Mark Sisson of marksdailyapple.com and Tim Ferris of fourhourworkweek.com/blog. Also check out the original “Yogis Don’t Eat Tacos” blog here for more real talk about being a modern yogi and loving pizza.