No feet

Published on March 18, 2014 by      Print
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By Kate Stone

Heard in: Various Yoga Studios, Boston

Filed under: “Misappropriated Yoga Tenets”

It doesn’t always make sense to align our modern lives to each of the Yamas and Niyamas of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It doesn’t always make sense to wear a shirt with an unfulfill-able mantra on it. And sometimes, what we’re saying in and around the yoga studio just doesn’t make sense at all.

Kate Stone feet

“Be thankful that you have feet, because some people don’t have feet. And if you didn’t have feet, you wouldn’t be able to take yoga.”

Said by: Instructor, during class

Yoga tenet(s) assumedly targeted: Santosha, Aparigraha, Gratitude

Reasons why this is weird: Yoga doesn’t necessarily require feet. And while we shoot for #grateful, it’s not because other people don’t have things. Like feet. We can be grateful for feet without pitying amputees.


“I was excited to get the flu because I thought, ‘now I can lose those last four pounds.’”

Said by: Student, after class

Yoga tenet(s) assumedly targeted: Tapas, Brahmacharya, Positive thinking

Reasons why this is weird: It glamorizes disordered eating and dysmorphic body image. Also, WHAT. No one wants the flu.


“My friend is gay and she says coming out as a lesbian was easier than coming out as a vegan and I really think this is so true.”

Said by: Student, before class

Yoga tenet(s) assumedly targeted: Satya, Tolerance, Something

Reasons why this is weird: Your diet is a choice. Comparing the eye-rolls you’ve experienced from your food choices to the pure vitriol that can be the public unveiling of sexual identity will never be equal. Especially if that unveiling ISN’T EVEN YOURS.

 yoga block

“The blocks are to help you if you can’t do a pose – like, if you can’t do something, you use the block, and then you can do it.”

Said by: Student, during class

Yoga tenet(s) assumedly targeted: Accessibility, modifications

Reasons why this is weird: If you actually, physically can’t do something, the block will not magically transform your abilities. The block is to move the floor closer to your face, or to support your joints to align correctly. It will fail you if you use it like a genie lamp.

 hard yoga pose

“I keep telling him to do teacher training because he can do poses that even I can’t do.”

Said by: Instructor, after class

Yoga tenet(s) assumedly targeted: Svadhyaya, Advanced asana, Humblebrag?

Reasons why this is weird: Teaching is not a stage to show off your asana practice. If you can do an advanced pose? Great. If you can’t explain the steps to get to that advanced pose? Bogus. Your talents aren’t useful if you’re not articulate. If you can’t make what you’ve learned accessible to others, what is the point?
Kate Stone

About Kate Stone

Kate started taking yoga in middle school as a rebellious move against sports camp. After years of gymnastics, not having to flip over after a backbend was a relief, and the practice stuck. After college, Kate moved to Chicago to teach mean children how to read. She was marginally successful but felt severely, physically ill-equipped to deal with the fighting in her classroom. As someone who takes things literally, she became a personal trainer. Kate spent eight years in Chicago working in gyms, bars and museums, feeling like she was supposed to have a real job. In 2010, she realized she doesn’t ever want one of those. Kate spent all of her money on yoga training, and is now a yoga teacher, writer and bartender living in Boston. Follow Kate on Twitter at @kstonetraining


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One Comment !

  1. Trish Tillman says:

    Haha the yoga blocks comment is my favorite- it sounds like the student just meant you use the blocks to steady and align yourself, but put it very poorly and ended up sounding kinda magical or superstitious. The feet comment makes me squirm because I hate invocations of negative gratitude, i.e. the whole “starving kids in x country” trope. Other people aren’t going without just to provide fodder for new-agey parables of gratitude. Great article!

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