Does yoga attract women with bad attitudes, or does it actually help make them that way?

A few caveats:

  1. I do yoga myself in really small classes, and the women in there are cool. That said, I do my yoga at a Pilates studio, and in general the clients there are pretty nice.

  2. If the phenomenon I’m about to talk about applies to guys, too, by all means let me know. I am not trying to make this post sexist. It’s just that I personally know, well, no guys that do yoga.

  3. I’m a spiritually oriented person, and I think yoga is of value in that area. I don’t think it’s the path to enlightenment per se, and I do it mostly because it’s a good workout and good for the body.

  4. The phenomenon I’m about to talk about applies to a certain type of woman who’s really into yoga. I do not think think moderate users of yoga products :slight_smile: get this way.

OK, here’s the phenomenon I’ve encountered. There’s a certain type of woman, and I’m not trying to justify the terminology, but in my head I call them “yoga bitches.” They always seem to be in their mid to late 30s, they do yoga a lot, and instead of yoga making them nicer, more spiritual human beings, they just seem really arrogant, even hateful. They are judgmental of others, and this comes out in their words but also in their overall 'tude. They seem often to be single.

The overall attitude feels like this: “I’m in better shape than you and more spiritually advanced than you.”

It’s a thing I’ve noticed but not extensively researched, and my sample size is not huge, so I’m going to throw it out to the crowd here and see what you guys have to say. Thanks!

I know a fair number of woman who do Yoga, and can’t say I’ve noticed them being more any more or less unfriendly then average.

That said, I can’t say I know any woman who are super into yoga, so maybe that’s the difference. I have noticed a certain type of person who are in their mid to late thirties, aren’t particularly happy with how their lives are turning out, and so end up throwing themselves full-bore into some rather mundane hobby to help themselves feel better. These people tend to take some of their frustrations out on others, and thus can be rather snooty and unpleasant.

Basically, the female equivalent of “Tae Kwon Do Guy”.

I haven’t encountered this phenomenon. The ratio of “yoga bitches” to “regular bitches” (of both genders) seems pretty constant.

I have been doing yoga fairly religiously for the last 4 years and I have a low tolerance for nasty attitudes and anything that hints at bitchiness. I have never encountered the person you describe.

There’s one yoga instructor at the studio I go to that I can’t stand, but that’s only because she takes her “ohmmms” just a little too seriously. All the other instructors and everyone else seem to be pretty cool.

However, I only go to the beginner level classes. I bet if I was more advanced, I probably would run into some rather obnoxious characters.

But it seems to me that’s par for the course when you’re doing anything physical. I’m sure there are quite a few jerks and bitches at the gym too. Folks like this are ubiquitous.

I attended a studio that survived* for a little over two years, as the only male. As an outsider looking in, I recognized two truths:

  1. I have fundamental differences with anyone who can and will pay $80 for a pair of stretch pants.

  2. “Just stay on your own mat” is similar to “Just do your own time,” (I don’t have cable so for all I know this similarity was noted in Orange is the New Black) and it really serves a good purpose.

*the studio was bled dry by “studio surfers” who go for the one free week entry offers, all over the metro area. The non-bitches then had to adjust to the mirrored barn classes at the local megagym, while the real bitches had to put up or shut up by paying $90/hr for in-home personal training.

Yeh just came in to say the same. Every niche has its bitches. Ive encountered some insufferable “SuperNurses” too. The attitude isnt necessary. Ignore.

There are and always have been some folks who project that attitude in every field of human endeavour. Might as well complain about golf jerks, fishing douches, sailing assholes, lawn-care Nazis or bake sale bitches.

“Fishing douches”??? :D:) Wouldnt ya think ONE field of human endeavor would be exempt from attitude assholes? At least its a solitary sport if you want it to be.

Eta: in yoga, I would let it be an exercise in “rising above it” and train myself to let it flow over me like water.

Seriously. I am an enthusiastic if unskilled fly fisherman. Luckily I normally fish salt water and so am spared listening to “technical” casters talk about re-tying at streamside to match the hatch with a new emergent caddis design.

I was noticing some changes in my balance a couple of years ago and signed up for that free introductory week at the suggestion of my doctor.

I can only guess what were the motives behind the instructor’s behavior. Maybe it was competitive in nature and bitchy or maybe she was giving a silent demonstration of what would be possible for me with a little practice. A little self-advertisement.

But I didn’t react well to it. All the while she talked to me she was pulling poses. Some bordered on absurd for conversational posture.

Then there was that smug little smile. I dunno. I kept sensing the message was, “You’ll never be as good at this as I am.” Not my idea of fun.

Or maybe it was just some of my own body-image detritus. At any rate I don’t care to be around folks who stir that old stuff up.

My belly dance teacher on the other hand - absolutely no scent of bitchiness about that woman. She was a woman who invited you to feel uncomfortable in a comfortable way.

Simplico’s explanation is what came to my mind first. Mid to late 30s, still single (or single again), getting kind of frustrated and a bit bitter and with lots of time to throw into something.

So is this a type of person we’re supposed to bend over backward for?

Or is my interpretation of the OP a bit of a stretch?

Fundamentalists are always bitchy, and can indeed be found in any endeavor. Best thing to do is to keep your focus on your own work, and if that becomes impossible, or if your teacher turns out to be the problem or encourages the problem, find another class. There are great yoga classes and terrible yoga classes. The worst thing about the terrible ones is that they tend to drive away the seekers from yoga entirely, rather than inspire them to try a different class or different instructor or different studio with a different style.

When I was taking classes - years ago - I had a monthly drop in membership. And I noticed that the instructor makes a HUGE difference.

MY favorite instructor was a physical therapist for her primary job. She was really into helping everyone at every level with THEIR practice. She was awesome. And she drew a varied and awesome clientele - lots of beginners, all ages - but advances students that frankly didn’t want to give her up and stuck with her beginner and intermediate classes long after they were ready for more. No one felt that not being able to touch your toes was a problem in her class - you’d get there. She almost never took the poses herself - one of her advance students would illustrate the pose, and she moved around us making corrections and alterations.

Then there were the people - I suspect yours would fit into this group - who taught as a way to show off their practice. Yeah, I’m here to learn yoga and have you correct my posture - if I want to watch you stand on your elbow and try and do the same, I can get a DVD and try and stand on my elbow. Those classes tended to draw people who were competitive about their fitness - they would criticize others in the class, and if they couldn’t be competitive about fitness, it was something else - like the $80 yoga pants.

The final group was the “third eye” crowd - who taught yoga as a spiritual practice - monstro’s disliked instructor. I fit it better here than with number two, but never really felt like I was getting a workout sitting in lotus position opening my chakras while being reminded meat is poison and breath is life. I like the spiritual nature of yoga, but as a result of the awareness of my body through the poses, not as its primary function. There was no pushing yourself with the third eye teachers - not physically. You could “sink deeper into the pose” but “only if your body was ready.” The people in here were usually very nice, but internally facing people - they weren’t there to encourage you to touch your toes at a future date, they were there to get in touch with the inner thems - they weren’t going out for tea after class.

If you don’t like the clientele, switch instructors or even studios. Little non-profit studios in hippie neighborhoods are going to have a lot fewer trophy wives in their thirties in lululemon than a CorePower franchise in the 'burbs.

I can’t say I’ve found that among yoga people, but I only go to cheap classes. There aren’t very many candidates for the description there at all, and the genders are usually almost balanced.

I do have trouble finding a teacher I can stand. I just want to do the poses and feel good, I don’t want to hear about “ohm” being the sound of all the molecules of the universe vibrating together, which you would hear if you had clairvoyant hearing. :rolleyes: I also don’t want to hear about I should and shouldn’t do on my period and I don’t want to spend time hanging around upside down because that’s supposed to magically be good for me.

Yeah, the instructor has made a big difference to me too. But I’ve noticed that like with anything, it comes down to personal preferences. For me, I need visuals rather than verbal instruction, so having the instructor demonstrate the pose is critical. If they talk too much, especially in metaphor or woo-woo speak, I can’t hang in there for very long. I also need someone who doesn’t just stand there in the front of the room. I like feedback and interaction. But I know that others prefer the complete opposite. So you really do have to shop around and not extrapolate too much from a narrow experience.

I hate this! I always ignore the “do don’t this inversion if you’re on your period” stuff. Nothing bad has happened to me so far.

If the situation seems really different to you, it may not be the yoga, it may the that you are the token male, and certain dynamics are different in an all-single-gender environment. You may know those type of women in other contexts, but they express themselves differently in mixed company.

yoga is a practice to help in body and mind health. this is then a power tool useful to people who want to fight their way to the top.

I love the encouragement in this thread to open my mind to trying again. Thanks.

Yes. A physical therapist just might be the ticket for me.