It was with great interest that I read this article in the New York Times about NYC’s “Yoga Sleuth.” It’s about Brette Popper, a former journalist  who runs YogaCity NYC. She visits yoga classes all around the city undercover and then takes notes and writes detailed reviews on the site. Throughout the Times article she appears with dark glasses with her face and hair obscured. Being a journalist myself it took about 5 seconds on google to find her full bio and headshot at the studio she teaches at–Yogamaya. So if you’re a yoga teacher in  NYC, it would be pretty easy to spot the “sleuth” in your class and amp up your teaching to make a good impression.

Aside from that though, I was also a little disappointed to read that if she has a negative experience in a class or feels the teacher was lacking that she keeps the information to herself. Her reasoning is sound– “Everyone’s practice is different, and for me to say something is not good, when there are other students who find a connection, is not what we do.” It makes sense especially in the yoga world of positivity, but as a student who has endured many teachers some who were just not good and others who had a style (like drill sergeant yelling) that was just not for me, I would love an honest resource to scope out a class or teacher before I spend the money, time, and effort to attend a class that I won’t enjoy.

As a teacher too, I’d love to get the feedback, although having my class trashed online would be jarring, I’d love Brette to sleuth on in to one of my classes and let me know if she found something lacking (like she remarked noticing the lack of attention to alignment a teacher gave in her class thus deeming it “not worthy of a review”). In so much of life we get no feedback. After my lay off in January I’ve applied for nearly 200 full-time journalism positions and received no feedback from potential employers as to why I wasn’t hired ( just the generic, “we went with another candidate”). I’m a big girl, I can take criticism, even if it hurts, even if I don’t agree with it, it’s the only way to see outside of yourself and change.