Can We Get a Little Integrity Around Here?

Now that Facebook is deleting a multitude of fake accounts, I wonder when they will get around to deleting the fake yoga teachers?

You know the ones I’m talking about. Yoga is more than just poses. There is a system of integrity behind it which seems to be almost forgotten these days.

For example, I have been the “Yogi Muse” since 2012 when I copyrighted the name, published three books, wrote a gazillion articles and joined Facebook.

Now suddenly there’s another “yogimuse,” who happens to be in a state of partial undress on Instagram. I am mostly okay with this because I think that a naked yogimuse can only help my ratings. I am still the “therealyogimuse,” who wears very cute clothes by KiraGrace.

What I’m not okay with is bad behavior by fake yoga teachers.

For example, there is a studio in Washington D.C. that took entire chapters of Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga, copied them verbatim into their teacher training manual, and did not even give credit!If this strikes you as odd, illegal, and un-yogic, you are right. It will cost me $5,000 to sue them, but I doubt this studio can pay me back. I know who you are “The Studio in D.C.,” and I’ve seen the manual. (PS, It's so easy to make this right, by giving credit where credit is due, and, um, an apology.)

There is also a studio in Cologne, Germany who did the same thing, and went further to offer a Theme Weaver weekend workshop. I guess imitation is the best form of flattery.

There is a more subtle fakery going on as well. These would be the yoga teachers who are “triggered” by other yoga teachers. I teach yoga too and I tell students that if I ever see any of them “triggered” on the internet I will send them back to Yoga 101.

You see, a real yogi is not triggered. A yogi breathes. A yogi has compassion. A yogi meditates when shit gets real. They do not send their followers to write threatening messages and nasty reviews all over the targeted yogi. This is not yoga. It is manipulation, but unfortunately, it has been proved over and over again that yogis are highly susceptible to manipulation.

And then of course there are the comments, like this one left on my blog The Broke A** Business of Yoga: "Fuck all you yuppies who gentrify where ever the fuck you go. You all feel entitled. How so happy that as an indigenous person I by nature do not age as fast as you do."

That is actually one of the nicer things said to me over the past few years. Others involve words that rhyme with runt and witch. Aaaaaauuuuuuuummmmmmm.

Lastly, there is a yoga chain that is currently being sued by 5 of their 20 studios. That’s not cool. And don’t get me started on the hundreds of #metoo gurus that have abused women and men. There are even yogis who call people on the internet “fat, smelly and disgusting.” OMG! You know I can’t make this stuff up. It’s appalling.

So, when I saw that Facebook was cracking down on the fake accounts, I got a little excited. I thought maybe some of this bogus yoga behavior could be cleaned up too. I’m not triggered, I’m hopeful. After all, I’m the “real” yogimuse, and I meditate when shit gets real.

Michelle Marchildon is the (real) yogimuse. She is an award-winning journalist and the author of three books on yoga. She is also an E-500 RYT in Denver, Colorado. She is a real voice in yoga, and never yoga voice. Or naked. She’s never naked on Instagram either.