Today programme on Monday morning between Paul Fox, chair of the British Wheel of Yoga (of which I am a member) and Swami Ambikananda from the Traditional Yoga Association. The subject of the debate was the possible introduction of National Occupational Standards for yoga. This is not the place to go into the rights and wrongs of this; suffice to say it has been the hot topic in yoga forums in this country and beyond.
For many months now I have been in a closed group on Facebook just for yoga teachers and with the aim of offering mentoring and support. It is supposed to be a nurturing, safe environment in which you can ask, for example, such and such happened in class and I didn't know what to do. Has anyone else experienced this? It is not supposed to be a general discussion forum, but understandably this BWY vs TYA topic has prompted a lot of interest. I put in my two-penn'orth, of course, but was responded to with such venom from some people that I have decided to leave the group completely. No great loss to them, but a huge relief to me.
The point of this story is that it made me realise how easy it would be to let this situation escalate into full-blown cyber-bullying. I'm sufficiently grown-up not to want to have the last word on this occasion, but I can quite see that once you start the ping-pong exchange of insults and abuse, matters could quickly get out of hand.
There is a saying oft quoted in yoga circles that we cannot control what other people do or say, we can only control our response to it. Good advice, no?
Hi Julia, that all sounds really frustrating and surprising behaviour. 'Cyber bullying' is the curse of our internet age - allowed through the vacuum of relative anonymity and safe distance from the target. I remember being taught how to use email in its early days and I remember the guidance - don't write anything in capitals as that gives the indication of shouting, and don't ever write anything you wouldn't be brave enough to say to someone's face. Good advice.ReplyDelete
I've met some angry yoga teachers from time to time, but never had cause to back away in fear before!Delete
Crikey .... Cant wait to hear what you saidReplyDelete
I've hear of this type of thing happening to others. What a shame for you but you were right to retreat before things escalated.ReplyDelete
It just made me realise how easy it would be to get drawn into a slanging match that nobody could win.Delete
Social media is notorious for this kind of bullying, Julia, and it's one reason I never enter any discussions on FB about politics or religion. I've been shocked at the venom with which some people 'discuss' opinions. I suspect it's partly because they can hide behind their computer when posting. You did the right thing - and I love that philosophy of controlling our responses.ReplyDelete
It took all my yogic deep breathing skills, Rosemary!Delete
Not the sort of thing I would have expected from yoga teachers. Like Rosemary, I'm careful not to reveal my views on certain subjects on social media because you don't know who might see it and take offence (although I'd never deliberately set out to offend), but you should be able to have a civilised discussion in a private group. Better to show your self-control and walk away without replying. I'm guessing you won't be the only one. :)ReplyDelete
Of all the places that you might expect support and tolerance of others' views, a yoga teachers' forum should be one of them. It just goes to show that we're mere mortals after all.Delete
That's the beauty of an online forum--you can walk away. Literally. With the click of a button. Way to go--having the courage to leave a toxic situation.ReplyDelete
I been prompted by this event to withdraw from other things, such as cancelling newsletters and the like from sources that are no longer serving me. Thanks for taking the time to comment.Delete