Rodney Yee. The Yoga Teacher Fantasy. And Sex

Rodney Yee in Yoga Journal

Leave it to New York Magazine to breath some new, fecund life into some old yoga dirt. But here it is.


Today, for some reason, perhaps providence, Google alerted me this standard muckplucking article.

It's worth noting not because it's newsworthy (it isn't), nor because it involves problematic yoga celebrity entertainers (whatever), nor because it involves sexual scandal (that's at least as old as yoga in the west). It's worth mentioning because it illustrates a fundamental flaw with yoga and yoga teachers these days: the teacher fantasy.

When one says that they are a yoga teacher these days, one invokes a problematic ideal that involves some dubious positioning; namely, that (whether or not they can twist like a pretzel) they are also a knowledgeable, "spiritual" guide.

It's not entirely their fault, many yoga scriptures —as sweet and wise and divine as they are— reel with an almost laughable (at least in their English translations), B-movie kung-fu, Grasshopper style. So the tradition is embedded with said authoritarian style. Admittedly, these texts are actually speaking from truth, as truth; which in our era is difficult to fathom.

Furthermore, who wants to study under (or hire) a yoga teacher that admits they're as much of a schmuck as the rest of us?

And this inherent positioning isn't merely job security, it's an illusion that we students are often too eager to invest in, promote and uphold.

Needless to say, even amidst today's burgeoning yoga world with its countless studios, yoga celebrities, yoga teachers, and students. Very few speak with any real knowledge. And of these, fewer still speak on loudspeakers, at conferences, on magazine covers, or even rant on blogs.

And sex further complicates the issue. What else to say? Students will relate to their students on a sexual level, for thousands of reasons. But frankly, the fantasy that we are Yogi Victor incarnate, doesn't help anyone.

posted by
Spiros Antonopoulos

TAGS — Rodney Yee, scandal, sex, video, yoga, yoga teaching, YouTube

Remarks

5 total remarks for this post. Add your own remarks below.

Thu 11 Jan 2007 at 10:16PM

frelkins

actually what made me the most nauseated was the glowing wedding review in the ny times sunday style section. barf.

the problem is that i'll never be able to take another workshop from rodney yee again. my husband will freak out.

and it does put a damper on having guys as private teachers in my home -- because once again, all guy yoga teachers are on make, or so rodney's bad behavior will resonate in the minds of the general public. . . .

Mon 15 Jan 2007 at 01:29PM

Spiros Antonopoulos

Word. Karma ripples through communities as well as through our selves....

I just looked up the details in the NYT. I'll post it, even though I don't want this site to verge too deeply into gossip... Let's just consider it a case study...

Mon 12 Mar 2007 at 12:15AM

Lynn

I agree wholeheartedly. I found the NYT post about their wedding nauseating. Two beautiful yogis. Who cares? And while no one talks about it, I've always hated the whole "hipness" of yoga nowadays, all the "ommmm" stuff, all the yoga magazines with people doing impossible poses, trying real hard not to show pain on their faces... trying to act like the pose is real easy for them when in fact you know they are trying REAL hard to be the MOST flexible person on the planet, because it's like being a movie star of the yoga world. Then there's the whole underlying "sex" thing.... tantra, being flexible enough to do all kinds of sex positions, etc. I got a brochure recently from Omega Institute and reading through it, I got a real sense of "popularity", with photoes of some of their yoga classes appearing to have 100+ people in the class! Ugh!!! I do yoga simply for exercise/flexibility and to help de-stress. All that other crap I can't deal with.

Wed 18 Apr 2007 at 03:32PM

J. Smith

I came into my practice via one of Rodney Yee's yoga videos and for that I owe him some gratitude. His video was a good introduction to my practice which is now over 9 years old and still evolving, but now I have lost respect for him as a teacher and most of all as a yogi. I don't see how someone can call themselves a yoga teacher if they don't practice what the teach. From the articles that I have read on this whole debacle (with his new wife) he does not act or speak as someone who I would want to study with. He speaks of the yamas and niyamas and how his asana practice is an exploration into these philosophical ideals but in life he acts in the completely opposite way. He went completely against brahmacharya by engaging in infidelity and finally leaving his wife. I used to give him full props for being, what appeared, so grounded a yoga teacher while at the same time being a father and husband-an admirably mix, but now he seems so scatter brained. In one article it mentions how he shows signs of jealousy when he is away from his new wife. From everything that I have read on the yogic view, jealousy is incompatible with it. I used to look on Rodney Yee as a mentorlike figure, but now I look on him as I do any of the other flaky celebrities. He just puts a new age spin on it.

Tue 30 Oct 2007 at 11:55AM

mark

This is all part of our ongoing education: Take what you need, and leave the rest alone. .

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