If You Care To Read The Truth

Dear Denver Yoga Community:

I am very sorry that my article, Queen Bees Who Zap your Ass-ana, may have caused harm. I was only trying to shed light on a problem in the workplace where women sometimes do not treat each other well.

I used an anecdote to illustrate the story about a time where I worked with a woman who behaved a bit like a Queen Bee. This was semi-fictional, based on a true incident in an unidentified studio with an unidentified teacher. It was meant to demonstrate the behavior, not be punitive toward an imaginary teacher. Obviously, I could have written it better, or more clearly, and I apologize for not being a better writer too.

Now there is a woman in Denver who is claiming to be that teacher, and that I have persecuted her. She has embellished the story to say that I called her certain names and that I confronted her face to face, which I did not. Anyone can read the original blog if they care to see what exactly I said about Queen Bees generically, and not necessarily about the fictional teacher in the anecdote.

I thought I was being as careful as I could be to describe a situation of workplace hostility. I have worked in a half-dozen studios with more than 300 teachers, many of whom were former dancers who are very nice people. I am not anti-ballerina! Some of my best friends and teachers were once ballerinas. I have also worked in major corporations where there was even more of this behavior than in yoga studios.

Since this article was published, I have heard from hundreds of people that this very same thing of Queen Bee conduct has happened to them. I have heard from men and women. I have heard from yogis and non-yogis. Nearly 3,000 people have read the article so far, so I hope there was some good to come of it, which was my intention.

Meanwhile, it never occurred to me that someone would claim that this blog is about them to garner sympathy, or that I confronted this person face to face. I only met her briefly many years ago. But now that it has happened, let me say again, I am very sorry to have caused harm, especially to a person who may be already suffering. I hope we can someday separate the discussion of the writer versus the fictional ballerina to focus on women in the workplace, which was my intention all along.

Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She is the author of “Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga,” and “Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga.” She is a Columnist for Elephant Journal and Origin Magazine, and a contributor to Teachasana and My Yoga Online. She is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and teaches Hatha Yoga in Denver, Co. You can take her classes on www.yogadownload.com.


  1. Michelle on March 9, 2013 at 8:38 am

    🙁 this behavior has happened to me at yoga studios and yes, at non-yogi workplaces too. But we tend to think that it wouldn’t happen in a yoga studio. we’d like to think it wouldn’t. I was getting angrier as I read this, but then you said you were sorry that you caused harm to someone who may already be suffering. I remembered that people who find offense in these types of writings are possibly suffering from a personal insecurity. At least, that’s been my experience.

    • Michelle Marchildon on March 9, 2013 at 9:21 am

      I really kicked a hornet’s nest here. I might be more careful where I tread.

  2. deborah whipple on March 9, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Please don’t apologize. Don’t let the bullies intimidate you. Fuck That.
    Call the bullshit out for what it is. And if someone is feeling like you might have targeted them, thats their shit not yours.
    And good on you for doing it cuz you speak for so many of us (who have put in a lifetime of study, dedication, svadyaya, sadhana, and discipline – and are not some fly by night fast track gimme the spot light wannabe).
    If someone is “feeling it” then they are probably guilty of “it” therefore : suck it up buttercup! Looks good on her. BwaHaHa. And I don’t buy the “victim” schtick – thats right out of the narcissitic guidebook on “how to get attention and pretend to be the vicitim” (meanwhile, guilty as shit)!
    You speak for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of women who have likewise been pushed aside by these narcissistic “ballerinas” …
    And I for one am grateful. Pranams.

    • deborah whipple on March 9, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      shit – i said shit alot in that comment. excuse the expletives — but that shit makes me as mad as shit. 🙂

    • Michelle Marchildon on March 9, 2013 at 2:30 pm

      I had a lot of people tell me “Do Not Apologize.” I really had a hard time with it too, because it contributes to the further empowering of the Queen Bee structure, as the people claiming to be it are continuing to sting my ass. But, there is a very disturbed person out there who is craving this attention most of all, and inadvertantly, I contributed to her self-flagellation. As a yogi, even an imperfect yogi, I do not want to create, cause or contribute to harm, and I did. So I apologized for that. I’m not apologizing for shining a light on a very disturbing behavior in yoga, because obviously if it didn’t exist, it wouldn’t be the shitstorm it is in Denver right now.

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