Yoga Teacher Fired After In-Class Facebook Ban, Maybe We Just Need to Get Over Other People’s Phones

COMMENTARY | Facebook firings seem to often make the news — perhaps a result of our own fears that use of the social network will backfire and come back to bite us in the ass professionally or personally.

But as we reported yesterday, one yoga teacher who was contracted with Facebook to provide yoga classes has been fired over Facebook, and what makes this instance notable is that it was Facebook abstention that did her in — most notably, in the classroom setting.

35-year-old yoga instructor Alice Van Ness required students power off their mobile phones at the start of each session, because, as she explains, she’s “just not really OK with anarchy.” And it’s a slippery slope from scanning a smartphone screen during the downward dog to keggers breaking out all across the studio, people. Focus on your core!

Van Ness, who began teaching classes at Facebook’s Menlo Park campus in March, found her ownself kicked out after trying to enforce the Facebook-free policy at Facebook. One female attendee of the class glanced at her glowing screen and received a glower from Van Ness, as the errant Facebook thoughts entered her mind in the safe-yoga space.

Van Ness was soon told her services were no longer needed, and a letter explaining the termination sent from Plus One Management to Van Ness read:

“We are in the business of providing great customer service… Unless a client requires us to specifically say no to something, we prefer to say yes whenever possible.”

Van Ness believes she is still in the right, because of course she does. Despite the fact that both Facebook and the people paying her don’t agree that she should run classes like a gulag, she huffs:

“Hello – this is only Facebook… We’re not talking about the U.S. government here. We’re not talking about Russia is about to bomb us. We’re talking about Facebook. Something can’t wait half an hour?”

Yeah, geez. People are so self important when it comes to their opinions about Facebook in yoga classes!


Anyway, the story seems to, at its neatly-toned core, reveal a perhaps-inconvenient truth about our society as it exists today. Aside from driving, phones, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become a part of the human experience.

And if you find yourself constantly trying to interfere with someone’s use of them in the space you’re micro-managing, you’re probably the one with the problem.