Most yoga classes start out with a request to turn off or silence your cellphones, and a tacit understanding that if you do pull out your wireless device during class, you’re going to get some disapproving looks from the teacher and your classmates. As was the case during a lunchtime yoga class at Facebook headquarters, when a female employee started typing on her phone during a half moon pose. The teacher, Alice Van Ness, shot her a stern glance. Two weeks later, Van Ness was fired from her job…
“They sent me packing, they didn’t even want to hear my side of the story,” says Van Ness, who was called in by a supervisor and handed her last paycheck. Apparently the Facebook employee had complained that Van Ness “made a spectacle of her” by glaring at her during class. Van Ness defends her actions, telling Mercury News, “It’s time to pay attention. I’ve even hurt myself in that pose. … I don’t believe there’s anything that could be going on at Facebook that couldn’t wait a half an hour.”
Her reaction may have cost her a third of her monthly income, but it looks like it will pay off in the long run–the glare-heard-round-the-world has made her something of a celebrity in the yoga world, and new teaching offers are pouring in. Apparently there are many yoga practitioners who take the “no cellphones” rule seriously, and would prefer a teacher who does the same.
So, what do you think of this incident? Do you think Van Ness was in the right to glare at her student? Have you ever used your cellphone during yoga class?