Yoga Teacher Types ~ Yoga School of Satire
Everyday that dawns brings with it yet another group of yoga teacher training graduates. Soon, yoga teachers will outnumber yoga students.
And it’s no wonder, teacher trainings are everywhere, affordable and have no standards! We recently heard about someone calling a studio to ask about taking some intro classes after his doctor recommended yoga for his back pain. And when he called to inquire about his first class, they offered to put him into the yoga teacher training program. He’s now teaching in Detroit. (Yes, this really happened.)
While everyone might be a teacher, there are only so many types of teachers. So join us, the Yoga School of Satire, as we take a look at every yoga teacher
cliche type that actually guarantees a profit (or at least a laugh)!
Claiming to have begun their practice in infancy (because: childs pose!), these teachers know that there is only one truth and one way to practice, because it’s the only way covered in the training they just graduated.
Proving that you can’t learn anything if you think you already know everything, Newbs believe that flexibility is for the body, and not the mind. They will only teach one way, regardless of student skill level, contraindications, or likelihood of injury and declare all other approaches, perspectives, and lineages are “wrong.”
Litigation soon follows.
They don’t believe in anything esoteric – no prana, no energy, no philosophy, no benefits beyond what can be measured at the most gross level. They only teach asana, focusing on anatomy and physiology. Teaching in a style that is part alignment/part terror, students are expected to exactly adhere to every instruction or suffer from grievous bodily harm. Kind of like pharmaceutical commercials, but with the side effects being the main selling point. Yes, fear sells!
The Eternal Student
You see them at every workshop and in classes all over town. They have stacks of DVDs at home and stream classes online. They read incessantly and exclusively about yoga. They’ve taken no fewer than 4 teacher training courses. If there’s a visiting teacher coming through town they will be the first to register their spot!
Everyone knows them and everyone wonders how they manage to pay for it all on a yoga teachers salary.
Unable (or unwilling) to put in the hours necessary for an asana practice, these teachers are self-declared intellectuals – the kind who failed gym in high school. They still hold a grudge and practicing “yoga of the mind” is their revenge!
They took a few philosophy classes in college and/or really enjoyed that one text covered in their teacher training. That is all they need to present themselves as preeminent experts in their field. Putting as much effort into their philosophical study as they do asana, they are armed with non-prescription hipster glasses, no knowledge of Sanskrit, and a heaping dose of arrogance. A living embodiment of the Dunning–Kruger effect they are usually seen shamelessly promoting their personal commentary on the Yoga Sutras or The Bhagavad Gita.
When asked about the practice they will tell you how they can have sex for hours. And talk about genitals. And women’s health. And women’s genitals. All in spiritual terms of yonis and lingams and divine union.
Then they try to get in your pants. We have seen such “tantrikas” tell women all about the sacredness of their yonis, and how all women were empty vessels waiting to be filled with his “mantras.” I’m thinking “mantras” was a euphemism for his penis. Or STI’s. We can never be sure, as we are still so very, very “empty.”
All asana, all the time! For them, a yoga class isn’t an opportunity to share their knowledge – it’s a chance to compete with other yogis! Also, to prepare for the non-consensual instagram photo shoot they will force on their partner/roommate when they get home.
They don’t adjust students in poses, they don’t give instruction. They just call out the names of poses as they do them on their mat. Preferably on a stage. With flattering lighting.
She’s a goddess, and she only teaches other goddesses. Part yoga, part aromatherapy, part tarot reading, the classes devolve soon after the sun salutes with the goddesses laying on their mats and talking over one another about how they don’t feel heard.
Just a bottle of chardonnay away from staring at their yonis with hand mirrors, they leave class feeling more loved as they head home to have dinner with their cats.
This teacher is special. He is a spiritual warrior, a savior, an old soul. He is the change we want to see in the world. He paints with the colors of the wind. We know all this because he told us.
Sure he hears voices, but they claim to be long dead famous gurus. Just one successful yoga festival away from starting his own Jim Jones-like cult colony in Costa Rica, what he wants most is to share his precious genius with the world, so that the world can worship him.
The Guru is the The Visionary realized. They have decades more experience than The Newbs, are more well read than The Philosopher, and have a better personal asana photo collection than The Asani.
A big part of their appeal is their longevity, they are old men and that is enough to earn them respect.
They have earned their place as yoga royalty, and their mega royalties for their books, DVD’s, and line of custom yoga props.
Better than celebrity, The Guru has disciples instead of fans. Part positivity, part prosperity gospel, they travel the world delivering their darshan and their positive messages exclusively to those that can afford the steep fees they charge.
Kind of like The Guru, only without the army of adoring disciples and gobs of cash.
They live the practice, and display real human emotion. These are the true gems of yoga, and are often called the hipster gold of the practice, because no one has ever heard of them.