Sri Darth Vader, angry yoga teacher

Published on April 15, 2011 by      Print
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By Matthew Teague Miller, Joslyn Hamilton and Robert Fortune

We had an epiphany while reading old Star Wars quotes recently. With a teensy bit of imagination, you’ve got yourself a pretty realistic yoga tale, starring Sri Darth Vader, Angry Yoga Guru (terrifying students and egomaniac instructors galaxy-wide). For example…

A Scene from the Sri Vader Yoga Studio

“Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.”

The basso profondo voice of Sri Vader rang out behind me, as he spoke to his own guru, Sri Palpatine. Though chilling, I was glad there were two teachers at my first yoga class, as the flagging energy in the room was palpable.

I was strangely drawn to Sri Vader, though he was rather menacing, in a phantom sort of way. He didn’t speak much, but when he did, you paid attention. Many teachers pander to us with upbeat and tired clichés and aphorisms—sounding like clones—but much of what Sri Vader says strikes back at the vapid world of lighthearted yogis.

For example, as class wore on and we were entering into a particularly grueling purvottanasana, the studio humid with exertion, he said: “Impressive. Most impressive. You have learned much, young ones. You have controlled your fear. Now… release your anger.”

I didn’t know what he meant, but I went with it, and delved into my darker feelings. Later, when he said. “You don’t know the power of the dark side!” I remembered the sign on the wall I had seen as I entered the studio: “Teacher Training with Sri Darth Vader! Sign-up today!”

I thought back to my first teacher, Sri Yoda Yogi, and what he had to say about doing a training: “Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Yogi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Yogi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. You must unlearn what you have learned. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

And yet I was still mesmerized by Sri Vader and his forceful personality. I called upon the hologram image of Sri Yoda Yogi to ask his timeless advice. After many silent, knowing pauses, he whispered: “It is too late for me, son. The Emperor will show you the true nature of the yoga. He is your guru now.”

He turned to Sri Vader and conceded: “The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the yoga.”

And Vader replied, “The yoga is strong with this one,” pointing to me as I lay in savasana. His ujjayi breathing suddenly turned ragged and hoarse. Vader spoke: “You do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me, and I will complete your training, starting this Saturday, 9AM. The cost for the training is just $900! That’s a steal. Search your feelings; you know it to be true! We would be honored if you would join us. ”


For more on the Star Wars / yoga connection:


Ahem: “Explore the unifying “force,” or energy that connects all living beings. Yoga can help you recognize and develop your force within, and then it’s up to you how you choose to use it. This class features Princess Neesha Zollinger exploring the Galactic connection between Yoga and Star Wars!” (Grammar fuckups not ours.)

Oh, and there’s also:

We kid you not.

And our very favorite:

Why beat ‘em when you can join ‘em? The dark side ain’t so bad.


About Matthew Teague Miller

Matthew Miller lives in San Pedro, CA with his daughter, Lark. He is employed in the auto industry, a full-time dad and part-time yogi. He makes pretty good spaghetti sauce.

Matthew on Twitter

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About Joslyn Hamilton

Joslyn Hamilton spent ten years in the yoga industry as a teacher, studio manager, and minion for an alleged yoga guru who shall remain tactfully nameless. Eventually, she tired of the hypocrisy, egomania, and insidious competitiveness inherent in the yoga-for-profit world. She left her yoga life and began to see a strong possibility of Life After Culty Yoga—a life that was good, and smart, and funny. Joslyn lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where it is practically illegal not to be a yogi.

Joslyn on Twitter

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About Robert Fortune

Robert Fortune took his first yoga class in 1990, in LA, after getting sober (yes, L.A. AA cliché, he knows) and fell in love with it. His least favorite jargon words are “integrity” and “authentic” — people who actually embody those qualities dont go around talking about them. If pressed, he would describe his spiritual practice these days as: be nice, tell the truth, meditate, smile. Robert’s practice of yoga lately is fitful. He feels that it the yoga scene has become a shallow, trendy lifestyle affectation, with inexperienced teachers leading chants in languages they don’t understand; fake hippie chicks in designer yoga crap calling themselves yoginis; personality cults and and high school drama.  He is moving to Austin this summer, and looks forward to getting back into class again.

More stories by Robert


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