Is Your Yoga Teacher Mean?

I’ll never forget the time a yoga teacher looked at me in a pose (it was a variation of Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose), scowled, shook her head, and announced loudly to the entire class, “I can see we’ve got a LOT to learn!”

As former YJ Samadhi and the City blogger Valerie Reiss wrote in her latest post at, some yoga teachers are not interested in infusing our practices with warm, fuzzy feelings. And, whether they intend to or not, sometimes they can be just plain ol’ mean. “Have I just been jaded by my old Bikram practice where the teachers often wear their harshness like a badge?,” writes Valerie. “Or is it New York, where, frankly I have had some excellent teachers but very few I would call
remotely warm or fuzzy?”

I don’t think it’s New York, Valerie. You can find grumpy people everywhere–even yoga studios. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a lesson from them–yoga, self-restraint, compassion, or perhaps even what NOT to do.

Have any of you ever had an encounter with a mean yoga teacher? How did you deal with it? Did you go back?