A yoga instructor reportedly lost her job teaching classes on Facebook's campus, because of her overly "strict" policy of insisting that students not use cellphones while trying to stretch.
According the San Francisco Chronicle, until last month Alice Van Ness worked for a "fitness contractor" teaching yoga classes to employees at Silicon Valley tech companies. She says that during a recent class on Facebook's Menlo Park campus, a Facebooker stretching in the middle of front row picked up her cellphone halfway through the class, even after the entire class was asked to turn them off at the beginning. Van Ness says that she didn't even admonish the student, but merely shot her a dirty look. After class, the students still complained to her bosses and two weeks later Van Ness was fired.
The company that contracted her said in her termination notice that it was a "pattern of strict behavior" that led to the dismissal, including a separate incident when she asked a Cisco employee not to take photographs of a class in session. (She's a regular Professor Snape.) The company basically admits that their goal is "to say yes whenever possible," which means clients can do whatever they want — including ignoring the entire point of a yoga class — as long they're paying for it.
Van Ness decided not to fight for her job after realizing that teaching tech people to relax is essentially an, um ... exercise in futility. People who take their cellphones into a yoga class don't want to be disconnected for even an hour and the people of Silicon Valley in particular are big fans of not playing by "the rules." If they want to check email while trying to pull off a warrior pose, Van Ness says that's their business from now on:
"The culture of these places is to let them do whatever they want," she said. "And I'm just not really OK with anarchy."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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