Yoga, Sizeism, and Randy

Talking NonsenseA fat yoga instructor and blog reader asked that I blog about this, and it’s my pleasure to do so because it’s important that we discuss the ways and places that fatphobia rears its oppressive head, and that we remind ourselves that fat bodies aren’t the problem, fatphobia is.

The fat yoga instructor asked the 20,000+ members of a yoga teachers group on Facebook to please consider dealing with any weight-based biases they might have that are keeping them from being able to properly welcome and teach fat students:

Yoga one

A svadhyaya is an introspection or self-study. “I’d like to ask all y’all to do a little svadhyaya…” Sounds like a reasonable request to me, but apparently not to Randy Hodur who took it upon himself to speak for most of the group, insisting that the post offended a whopping 90% of its members.

Despite having to deal with someone proving that he is an asshole by pulling percentages out of it, the OP remained calm and collected:

Yoga 2

As if striving to prove the OP’s point for her, Randy immediately misplaced all of his shit (trigger warning for misogynist bullshit and language from here on out. Feel free to skip Randy’s messages if you don’t feel like dealing with it.)

Yoga 3

Remember – this isn’t some pathetic reddit fat hate group, this is a professional group for professional yoga professionals…

Yoga 4

It’s ending with “just a thought” that really puts the shit icing on this crap cake. I’m not 100% certain that anything he’s said here qualifies as a thought, but we’ll leave that analysis for another day. It turns out that Randy’s girlfriend owns a yoga studio and people in the group were wondering if maybe nobody should ever go there lest they run into Randy.  He decided to fix the situation by attempting to win gold in the Non-Apology Olympics:

yoga 5

We’ve replaced this actual apology with some bullshit…let’s see if they notice…

Yoga 6

And it goes on…because it wouldn’t be a real non-apology unless the person who did terrible things attempted to make themselves the victim

Yoga 7

There is a great breakdown of the “apology” here.

Randy’s girlfriend reached out to the fat yoga instructor to apologize for her boyfriend’s abuse and to assure her that Randy does not teach in her studio, which is definitely a relief.

The Yoga world has many issues including appropriation, racism, sizeism, ableism, classism, queer and trans phobia and more.  A great place to start understanding and dismantling these issues in addition to the excellent teachers mentioned by the OP (and in addition to ongoing svadhyaya) is Decolonizing Yoga.

In general, notice fatphobia when it happens, call it out when you can, and always refuse to normalize it or blame the victim.

Ready for a world where fitness doesn’t come with a side of sizeism:

Click Here to Register for the Fat Activism Conference

The Fat Activism Conference is all online, so you can listen by phone or on your computer wherever you are.  Plus you get recordings and transcripts of each talk so you can listen and read live and/or on your own schedule. The conference is happening October 6-8, 2017!

If you enjoy this blog, consider becoming a member or making a contribution.

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff:

Become a Member! For ten bucks a month you can support fat activism and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you.  Click here for details

Book and Dance Class Sale!  I’m on a journey to complete an IRONMAN triathlon, and I’m having a sale on all my books, DVDs, and digital downloads to help pay for it. You get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! If you want, you can check it out here!

Book Me!  I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

If you are uncomfortable with my selling things on this site, you are invited to check out this post.

17 thoughts on “Yoga, Sizeism, and Randy

  1. And he’s a yoga teacher?? Wow, just gross. It goes to show how full of it some of these people are, and how little it has to do with spirituality these days. Yuck.

  2. As we are creatures of habit, we can assume that he’s done this before (and got away with it). I hope his girlfriend passes on better values to their kid.

  3. I can’t believe someone would actually date this mine and that his girlfriend had to apologize for him. I would be mortified.

  4. Well I am disgusted and horrified by his comments, but not really surprised.

    ‘may have hurt’ is such a classic way of not actually apologizing and it shows up way to often.

  5. Wow. That was a blinding ball of misogynist rage.

    OP called for people to examine their motives. In a group with 20,000 members this can hardly be misconstrued to be an ad hominem attack by someone with a clear head. If this made people uncomfortable–good: teachable moment. If they were not ready for school, all they had to do was scroll on past. Randy did not reply with mere heated words or even heavy tone-policing, he went straight for the very very vulgar ad hominem attack on OP’s body and apparent gender, which is classic loser strategy. You can apologize for raised volume in a heated argument. Trying to shame and silence someone by insulting their genitals is of another order entirely.

    If I were OP (and I applaud her on all fronts), there would be mighty little he could do to atone for the gross and violent insults. There is, IMO, pretty much no apology that would cover this kind of completely over-the-top abuse anyway, let alone his weak attempt. (I would accept a REAL apology if he explained he was having some kind of flashback from a serious traumatic event or some kind of genuine mental illness.)

    I feel pretty sorry for his partner.

  6. This is heartbreaking. You know what breaks my heart the most? That his girlfriend and co-parent, who gave a heartfelt and lovely apology directly to the OP on his behalf, because SHE gets it, is apparently still dating this guy.


    I’m afraid for that poor kid, with a father like that, because he excuses his behavior by saying that he even treats his girlfriend like this. That does not bode well for their future. And what is he teaching the child? That self-reflection is unnecessary, and calls for it are wrong? That it is OK to “lose my mind” (there’s another issue) and go off on a horrible hissy fit, and then faux-apologize to everyone except the person you abused, in the first place?

    Also, everything that Ragen said.

    Now, I’m glad that the jerk does not teach at his girlfriend’s yoga studio, anymore. I almost wish that we knew the name of her studio, so that we could go there (although he name was deleted so that people would not avoid it, in an attempt to hurt the man, who isn’t even there, now, or an attempt to protect themselves from the man they thought was there). On the other hand, I want to find out where he DOES teach now, or just where he practices yoga now, so that I can give him a wide berth. However, that wouldn’t be fair to all his co-workers and co-exercisers, would it? Dang.

    Also, apparently, this guy had at least some members of the group agreeing with him that asking for self-reflection about teaching fat people yoga was a horrible thing, and that they shouldn’t do it, which makes me think that a lot of yoga practitioners do not understand yoga, but just think “Yay, stretches.”

  7. OOOOOH! Ragen! I clicked on the link for “Decolonizing Yoga,” and after about a count of three, I got the “Subscribe” pop up. Normally, I just click to get rid of them, and move on to the content, but I was transfixed by the image they had in their “Subscribe” pop up!

    It’s a fat lady doing yoga!!!! And it’s beautiful. OK, I say “It,” because it’s a picture of a sculpture of a fat lady doing yoga, but YEAHHHH!

    Thank you for that, today, Ragen, and Decolonizing Yoga.

  8. I’m not on Facebook, so I don’t know their rules, but why didn’t Randy’s comments get him banned? Or at least suspended until he deleted his foul language?

    I understand that few websites have the staff or volunteers to pre-moderate comments (any moderation they do is after the fact). However, it seems like his comments are bad enough to violate any sort of terms of service agreement.

    And if not? Then I’m *really* glad that I’m not on Facebook!

    1. Because in general. Facebook does not take action against misogynistic speech or threats made to women from men. Posting a graphic with “men are trash,” however, will get your account suspended.

      1. It goes to show that these male employees cannot be trusted to be objective, and they’ll do whatever gets their rocks off (I’ve heard of double standards on Instagram too where thin women can be almost naked but a fat woman in a swimsuit has gotten her photo deleted.)

    2. It sounds like he may have been removed from the group (God I hope so) but being banned from Facebook, or even having a post or comment removed is so hard. Like Maggie said, it’s very racially and misogynistically skewed in what they will remove, but first it has to be reported, then I don’t know if an actual person reviews it or if they’ve got some kind of program that tries to analyze it, but whatever they do they are doing it very, very poorly.

    1. I’m with you, Denny. I’m 61 and I’ve never spoken that particular word aloud in my life, much less written it. When we were growing up, there were words you just DID NOT use.

  9. Randy’s girlfriend should dump his sorry, misogynistic ass toot sweet. Sadly, she instead apologized for his gross behavior.
    Then he goes on to make his fauxpology all about himself.
    What a true jewel of a man.

  10. Great post. Decolonizing Yoga is a great blog too. I have been practicing yoga since 1997 and I became a yoga teacher in 2003. I don’t teach or even go to yoga studios anymore. It’s just too difficult to find a studio where the teachers actually have a deep understanding of what yoga is (and is not), and stay true to that when they teach. So much pretentious nonsense being spouted these days. The barrier to entry in YTT programs is way, way too low, and spiritual bypassing is rampant.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.