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An Open Letter for the Bad Yogi Haters

One of the things that has surprised me most on the journey to build Bad Yogi hasn’t been the outrage…

Honestly, it’s been the kindness. Bad Yogi is made up of some of the loudest, most supportive, fiercely loyal people in the world and each and every one of you is one more reason why this community is so great. But a few times a week, punctuating the positive stories, comments, and encouragement hitting my inbox, there are those who have something nasty to say. Occasionally it’s constructive (“you should do longer videos”), sometimes it’s just unnecessary criticism (“so and so is so much better,” etc), and other times it’s downright mean (“you’re so fake!”).

I got a few in a row recently that accused me of being disingenuous, fake, and telling me that what I say about eating meat and telling people not to stress over following a certain diet is “wrong.” I won’t lie to you: my first gut reaction is to get pissed and fire back to defend myself (and us!), but I know that this does little more than perpetuate the exact aggressive attitudes that we’re all trying to change here at Bad Yogi.

Plus, there’s a reason why people will try to tear you down. 

We’ve all heard the argument that bullies “bully” because they’re insecure about themselves, but I’d take it one step further. Especially in the yoga world, there’s a TON of competition to be the best, most knowledgable, most spiritual, most “inspiring” teacher out there, and anytime someone sees another in front of them speaking in a way that they disagree with, their knee-jerk reaction is to make sure that other person knows that they’re wrong. I think it’s because they hope that somehow it brings the person already out there down enough to stop trying.

Want to know what I really think though?

It’s sad that these bullies believe in themselves so little. They don’t think they have what it takes to be the ones putting themselves “out there” so instead, they turn to the ones already doing it and try to make them bend to a different belief so their own are validated.

Whether you’re in the yoga world experiencing this, or putting yourself out there in other ways, the naysayers will always be there. But remember that it’s part of the journey, and every single successful person in the world has a group of people who disagree with them, no matter how much good they’re doing. Sometimes it comes in the form of people telling you you’re wrong, sometimes it comes in the form of people doubting you, betting on your failure, telling you that you’ve “changed” in a bad way, etc. None of it matters, though. 

Bottom line: STAY TRUE TO YOU, no matter who tells you its wrong. If anyone is benefitting from your work and your influence, then stay on that path and keep going for your dreams.

***

Over to you: have you ever been doubted? Do you have a story of triumph over people who maybe didn’t believe in you OR flat out discouraged you? Are you currently facing that? Do share!

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16 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Jade

    January 21, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    I think the discussion often comes forth from what people think ‘yoga’ means. Some say that yoga is not about the poses and movements, but a way of life; a way of being. They say that the western/youtube/instagram kind of yoga is like stretching, but has nothing to do with yoga. So when you call it ‘yoga’, it upsets them. Personally, I don’t really care. “What’s in a name?” you know. For me, yoga is the combination of holding postures and flowing through movements while focusing on my breathing. It makes me feel better, both physically and mentally. And that is such a good thing. So what I don’t understand, is why people feel so bothered by the name ‘yoga’ and why they feel the need to tell me that what I am doing is wrong. It’s not wrong, it makes me feel wonderful (and feeling happy, to me, is basically the meaning of life). Why would you want to try and take away something so wonderful from someone?

    I agree with you Erin, they are just trying to bring you down. Don’t let them! You make my day, every day. 🙂

  2. Avatar

    Kimberly Smith

    January 21, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    No matter how much good you do, there are always going to be haters. I feel like some people just have to hate just because. It doesn’t make any sense! You have made a community that doesn’t judge, accepts all, and is made up of the most unique people in the world! Everyone is welcome and if that is so wrong, then we don’t want to be right! Bad Yogis unite! We have your back Erin and if anyone has anything negative to say about a fellow Bad Yogi, they have a whole community to deal with. We love you! Haters don’t seem to know what being a Bad Yogi is about which means that don’t understand all the good that you are doing which is sad because they do not get to experience the awesome Bad Yogi experience!

  3. Avatar

    Marjolein

    January 21, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    This is EXACTLY why I love Bad Yogi. Yoga is not something you do for someone else, you do it for yourself. I was never the sporty kind and when I tell people now that yoga is my go-to exercise and relax methode, I get very sceptic glances. But you know what, it doesn’t matter, because I (and I think many of the Bad Yogi crowd) am here because it feels good and there’s no pressure to be perfect. There will always be haters, but there are so much more lovers!

  4. Avatar

    Maggie

    January 21, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Just this morning, I kid you not, I was wondering how you stay so positive and how you deal with negativity. I had a few instances recently at work where I received some really insensitive, ugly, negative comments and it just devastated me and left me doubting everything. You are so right on. Thank you so much for this timely post! It has helped me put things in perspective.

    1. Avatar

      Erin Motz

      January 21, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      sorry to hear you dealt with that! it’s terrible, always. i think it comes back to focusing on the support you DO have instead of what you don’t. always easier said than done, but it’s a practice just like anything else 🙂

      1. Avatar

        Maggie

        January 23, 2016 at 7:24 pm

        So, so true. Thank you, again.

  5. Avatar

    Shannon

    January 22, 2016 at 5:40 am

    Wise words, as usual, Erin. It frustrates me sometimes that people hear “I feel it’s ok to do such-and-such (eat meat, drink wine, run around butt naked, whatever)” and they translate it to “Everyone who doesn’t do such-and-such is wrong and stupid and my beliefs are the only right ones in the whole wide WORLD!” Folks need to calm down.

    And not that you need the vindication, but… You promote total acceptance and you totally accept. You’re the real deal, and we all love you for it!

  6. Avatar

    Marta

    January 22, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Whenever I came accross these situations I think of the sentence “What others think of me is none of my business” I believe it is from the Tao Te Ching

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    Jennifer

    January 22, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    Yoga is such a unique journey for each person that it drives me crazy when people set limits as to what it can look like.

    Bad Yogi to me is more “yoga” than these people who insist you stay within the lines. Yoga is about focusing on yourself and accepting your world (and those in it). Bad Yogi is about acceptance of all and focusing on yourself.

    Great job at building this community Erin!

  8. Avatar

    Kavitha

    January 23, 2016 at 3:30 am

    Thank you for writing this, Erin. I’ve had my fair share of naysayers when I decided to quit my job, teach yoga and travel, which hurt at the time.

    Few months down the line and some of them are still trying to put me down, but I’m learning to tune them out. I believe in my path and trust the Universe – all is well and all will be well.

    Oh, and thank you for being you, Erin. You’re full of heart and someone I can totally relate to. Much love xx

    1. Avatar

      Erin Motz

      January 23, 2016 at 1:03 pm

      you said it right: believe in your own path and trust. it can make all the difference. for what it’s worth, i blieve in you too 🙂 <3

  9. Avatar

    Leah

    January 25, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    I was just thinking about asking you how you deal with negativity! This year I started teaching a college class and I’m 23 years old. At the end of the semester the students get to submit anonymous evaluations and a couple of them were very mean. It hurts to see that someone is willing to tear me apart even though they know I’m young and I’m new to teaching. Thanks for sharing this! It helps to remember that even the pros in all professions get negative feedback. I love Bad Yogi, it has made me feel more comfortable doing yoga than I have since i starred doing yoga six yeas ago. You’re the best, Erin! 🙂

  10. Avatar

    Lexi

    February 3, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    I have to say that the self righteous angry snobbery of vegans against anyone who isn’t vegans (even just vegetarians)…is inducement enough to make me NOT a vegan! Because I’d rather eat eggs and be compassionate than be a vegan and be mean to everyone else, you know? Ahimsa is not just about food, but about actions. To me, yoga is about being kind to myself (something that is shockingly difficult for me) but also to everyone else. I can disagree with someone without hate or hard words.

    The fundamentalists who insist that if you’re not following such and such tradition always get me…because yoga was pretty much, you know, forbidden for women! If you followed yoga tradition, no woman would be allowed to do it. And the blind following of gurus? Yeah, we only have to look over at Bikram to realize how wrong that can STILL go.

    Yoga is the most generous gift that any culture has ever offered to the world. Anyone who approaches their practice with conscience, questions, curiosity and compassion, toward themselves and everyone they come across, is a yogi in my book.

  11. Avatar

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  12. Avatar

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