Drug Testing Yoga Teachers: No Place in Industry

I was contacted a few weeks ago by a new yoga studio, asking if I would consider being involved in their upcoming teacher training program.

I was interested.

Considering that the studio owners were people who took the At One Yoga teacher training many years ago (in which I taught a segment), I thought it was cute that they wanted me to come in for an “interview.”

I arrived for this “interview” and sat down facing them in their office.

“Yeah Dave, thanks so much for coming in,” the female studio owner said with a warm smile.

“Hey, this is great what you guys are doing, I’m happy for you,” I replied.

“So this interview is more just to see if we could make this work with you, Yeah Dave,” the male studio owner continued.

When people call me Yeah Dave, I can only assume they are familiar with my lighthearted, festive approach to life.

“We just have one request, Yeah Dave,” the female owner followed up.

“Yeah Dave,” said the husband, “We’re gonna need you to take a drug test.”

I felt such an intense reaction, as if my head spun around 8000 degrees all the while getting a surprise shocker from an angry transvestite in Tijuana.

“What the f***?!” were the words that slipped out of my mouth. “Are you f***ng kidding me? A drug test? What the hell is wrong with you guys?”

I do not like to cuss, and felt terribly for my unyogic slip of the tongue. But asking a yoga teacher to take a drug test is like asking… a bird to walk….or a baby to stop crying…or yoga teacher John Friend to play Notorious BIG’s ‘Nasty Girl’ during his workshop, cause it makes you a little bit horny.

Let’s get one thing straight. I am NOT a druggie by any stretch of the imagination. The reason I reacted so strongly is because drug tests have no place in the yoga industry.

People choose to be in the yoga industry to avoid things like drug tests.


The Rise of Medicinal Marijuana

I walked inside, enjoyed the beautiful lighting fixtures, calm ambiance, friendly customer service, and GIANT JARS OF MARIJUANA.


That’s right.

Giant jars of marijuana stocked the shelves. I was not in Amsterdam or some third world country but walking down Abbot Kinney, one of the trendiest boulevards in Los Angeles. This was one of Los Angeles’s 800+ medicinal marijuana dispensaries.

You needed a license to purchase, but you might not for long.

On November 2, California citizens will vote on Prop 19, very possibly making California the first state in the union to fully legalize marijuana.

Rest assured, it won’t be long before someone opens a Yoga Studio + Pot Shop called “Dope Asana” or “108:420″ or “BRYC-Y!” (BongRipYogaCity–Yeah!)  where members can legally smoke pot while perusing Spiritual Gangster guru mats and Be Present tanktops in the boutique before going to Sara Ivanhoe’s 4pm Power.

Everybody [in the Yoga Alliance] Must Get Stoned…

Point being, as the yoga industry approaches its tipping point, the successful companies will be the ones who know their customers. This is not a statement about whether pot should or should not be legalized. It’s simply Marketing 101.

The primary yoga customer is not necessarily a pot smoker, but someone seeking freedom, rebellion from the norm, optimism, and hope. Therefore, whenever possible, let’s keep the rules and regulations out of yoga.

From the Yoga Alliance’s efforts to regulate yoga teachers to yoga companies seeking to drug test employees, as Bob Marley once said, “WAKE UP AND LIVE”… in this moment!

America Needs to Legalize, Just As It Needs Yoga…

It’s a time of unemployment and intense struggle for the vast majority of Americans. But growing in the widespread cracks of our fractured system is [the yoga industry] a movement, business, and science driven by personal freedom and soul liberation.

To impose rules and regulations is to pour cement in the cracks or better stated, to put our finger in our own mulabandha. (Translation: to give yourself a shocker, which of course is totally unproductive).


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