The Day I Called My Yoga Instructor A Douchebag

I’ve recently jumped on the hot yoga bandwagon. After seeing all my “trendy” NYC friends’ excessive Facebook updates and tweets about the glories of Bikram, I decided I would find a studio in D.C. for myself. Although I’ve maintained a flexibility comparable to that of an 80-year-old woman for the majority of my life, I enjoyed the prospect of losing five pounds from sweating.

I decided to buy a five-class deal on Groupon with a girlfriend. Despite the fact that we’re lazy, don’t enjoy sweating, and the studio was a 20-minute drive away, it seemed like a great idea.

The first experience was a curious combination of tortuous hell and pure ecstasy. The actual act of doing hot yoga in approximately 98 degrees made me feel like I was simultaneously burning in a fiery pit of hell and drowning in my own sweat sea of nasty. But the aftermath was amazing. Not only did my mind trick me into thinking I was skinnier and prettier, but the tingly sensation in my body felt like a great high.

A few days later, still high off our last experience, my girlfriend and I tried it again. Although the aftermath of this experience was just as wonderful, we encountered our first warning signs that things might not end all that well. In addition to being greeted by a pool of sweat on the studio floor from the previous class, we were welcomed by a man named Sam. Long hair, skinny glasses, yoga hipster gear in pastel colors, spoke with his hands, complete yoga elitist. A person that encompasses all I despise about today’s yoga culture.

Before the class began, Sam gave a speech. Something about how we couldn’t touch the blinds on the windows of the studio because he didn’t want to replace them over the next two months. He ended the speech with a Namaste and enjoy.

It wasn’t what he said that bothered me. It was HOW he said it. Speaking to a class whose average age was 35, Sam’s condescending tone was similar to a grade school English teacher chiding her students. You could tell in his own mind he thought he was all Zen but in reality he was extremely uptight.

Class three. I knew we were destined for disaster before we even got to the studio. We were running late, we hit typical D.C. traffic, and made it to the class with one minute to spare. Upon entering the studio, we were greeted by Sam, sitting at the desk. When my friend started to speak, Sam instantly shushed her with a sharp sound and pointed finger.

Sam proceeded to berate us for showing up late; he seemed to be under the assumption this was our first class and that we required paperwork and administrative processing. After we eventually got a word in – through his rant – that we had signed up for the class online, he grudgingly went to his computer and started checking us in. And when my friend let out an exasperated sigh at that moment, Sam’s fingers abruptly stopped typing.

“I can no longer let you in because you have bad energy.” Sam said.

HUH? Bad energy? As I tried to calmly negotiate with Sam and explain our situation, his face got redder and redder and he became angrier and more flustered. This was HIS studio, he told us, and he could do whatever HE wanted. He didn’t want people like US in his studio. After approximately eight minutes of unresolved negotiation, Sam tipped me over the edge when he told us we had to leave. I snapped.

“Whatever! Karma is a bitch Sam! I hope you go to hell you glasses-wearing DOUCHEBAG!” I yelled as we stormed out.

Did I really say glasses-wearing? Yes. I have nothing against glasses. In fact, my girlfriend was wearing her black rims as we stood there. And even though it was about as prophetic as a southern sorority girl’s drunken rant, it felt great.

From that moment forward, my friend and I repurposed our getting fit crusade into bringing Sam, the evil hot yoga man, down via passive aggressive Yelp reviews. Success was found several weeks later when we found out Sam was let go due to “poor customer relations” and we received a formal apology from the nice owner of the studio. And in the end, I realized that hot yoga rage is greater than hot yoga high. TC mark

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  • mp90909

    “My Yoga teacher is a douchebag.” – #WhiteGirlProblem

  • Elizabeth Whalley

    Classic, passive-aggressive Yelp reviews. 

  • http://goldenday.tumblr.com Kia Etienne

    “you glasses-wearing douchebag!”
    lolol

  • http://goldenday.tumblr.com Kia Etienne

    “you glasses-wearing douchebag!”
    lolol

  • Anonymous

    why yes, I did look up the yelp reviews for all the yoga studios in DC

    • Asssss

      Which studio was it?

    • Asssss

      Which studio was it?

      • Anonymous

        I wasn’t able to find it! I tried searching for “sam” and “rude” – There were no results for Sam and only one studio with Rude

      • Thinker

        HotYoga USA! “sam” and “rude” should have worked since those words ended up in just about all of their Yelp reviews.

      • Thinker

        ah- it looks like those reviews have been ‘filtered’. probably because sam has since been fired. which is a major relief.

  • Annie

    HAHAHA! I love this! You rock for telling him that. I don’t know if I would have had the balls to say that. I admire you!

  • Rachel Butters Scotch

    I feel like most to all Yoga teachers are douchebags – even the little “trainer” dude on WiiFit that tells me my balance is off. 

  • Guestropod

    “Some background: I’ve practiced yoga asana for 12+ years, with a consistent, almost daily practice the past 7.  I started with Astanga and standard Hatha, dabbled in Iyengar, practiced Bikram for 5 years, and then switched to Baptiste and Anusara.  Now, at the behest of my spiritual guide, who says “if you want to find water, dig one well – deep”, I am focusing on Iyengar and Anusara-inspired Flow.  That said, I make it a point to try out different styles, studios, and teachers, because I teach Kundalini Yoga and students often ask for my guidance with regard to Hatha Yoga.

    I by no means think that my extensive practice makes me any more than a practitioner.  Some days I feel like a beginner, barely able to balance in Vrksasana or Natarajasana.  Other days, I feel strong in my standing asanas and can work into the nuances of the floor postures, getting into those nooks and crannies where emotions and patterns in the body reside.  Anatomically, I have moderate scoliosis.  Yoga, combined with body work, has helped tremendously with this blessing, but more importantly, it has transformed how I connect with myself and my place in the Universe.

    Apologies for the intro, but I feel that it’s needed before I do a review of a yoga studio.  For me, yoga is more than just asana. A good class for me brings out my devotion.  It challenges me in asana, restores me in asana, and uses asana as a greater metaphor for the ultimate truths in this lifetime.  And it focuses on breath, or more accurately, the flow of prana.  When I review a studio, this is where I am coming from.”
    -some asshole on yelp

  • A. Guest

    small confusion: You had been to only one yoga class before meeting Sam. Yet when you met him, you felt he encompassed “everything you hate about today’s yoga culture.” To what other culture were you comparing him to? Last weeks? 

  • camel001

    It’s unfortunate that you were treated in this way, but it doesn’t surprise me that Sam showed such unprofessional conduct. DC area yoga studios (DC Bikram studios included) are full of the pompous douchebags that live in the area. Being the seat of the federal government and the U.S. global hegemony, DC is a hotbed of stress and arrogance. DC Bikram studios do not focus on the students or even offer dialogue-based classes; it’s all about the teacher.

    Furthermore, Hot Yoga USA is not a Bikram studio, but a lame substitute. The classes are shorter and the temperatures cooler.  The teachers are not required to be certified in Bikram yoga. Bikram teachers are required to attend a 9-week teacher training program. I’ve never met a Bikram instructor who was a douchey hipster–Bikram’s teacher training breaks your spirit and molds you into a new kind of person. Bikram teachers are the only yoga teachers who know the medical benefit of each and every posture.

    Please don’t be discouraged from yoga completely by this article. Beyond all the hype, Bikram yoga is a powerful tool that can heal many physical ailments. It will make you more flexible and will make you want to eat healthier and make other healthy choices. When practiced correctly, it’s a great stress reliever and a motivational tool. I know plenty of people who have only been able to overcome their health problems (serious back problems, addictions) using Bikram yoga. Bikram himself was told by doctors that he would never walk again after he was in a serious accident. He then then developed Bikram yoga and within months, he regained the full use of his legs.

    If anyone reading this is interested in finding a great yoga class that
    gives you a huge endorphin rush, changes your body drastically over
    time, and features helpful and friendly teachers, I urge you to get the
    hell out of the DC area and find a good (and real) Bikram studio. Some
    examples are Bikram Yoga Durham in NC, Bikram Yoga Hampden in Baltimore, MD, Bikram Yoga Evanston in IL, Bikram Yoga Fort Collins
    in CO, and many of the studios in San Francisco and L.A.

  • http://twitter.com/kyleangeletti Kyle Angeletti

    The title may as well have been the whole article. 

  • http://twitter.com/kyleangeletti Kyle Angeletti

    The title may as well have been the whole article. 

  • http://www.nosexcity.com NoSexCity

    Super funny, proof no matter where you go an elitist is there to kill the experience for you. Considering all the medical warnings I’ve heard re: Bikram in the last few months, I think I’ll continue to steer clear.

  • Grace A.

    I have nothing against Hot Yoga USA.. just Sam! I know it’s not traditional Bikram but some of the instructors were actually pretty good. I did end up trying Hot Yoga Rockville (which is actually Bikram) and had an awesome experience there. Staff was wonderful and helpful and down to earth. Unfortunately, they are a little far away and out of my price range right now.  I heard the Bikram studio in Dupont was really good too. For now I’m sticking to Pilates and jogging :-).  Thanks for all your comments!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501878782 Alex Forsyth

    “I’ve recently jumped  on the hot yoga bandwagon. After seeing all my “trendy” NYC friends’ excessive Facebook updates and tweets about the glories of Bikram, I decided I would find a studio in D.C. for myself.”
    “A person that encompasses all I despite about today’s yoga culture.”

  • http://www.reiki-shuna.com/spiritual-swimming/ Spiritual Swimming – Reiki Shuna

    […] what it is they practice in an open and un-intimidating way. But all of that is wrong: the arrogance is not incidental or accidental, it is completely essential and integral to the whole practice. […]

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