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Yoga Teacher Learns Doggie Ahimsa the Hard Way, Is Charged With Animal Cruelty

in YD News, Yoga Crime

Your latest in Odd and Beastly News:

Apparently yoga teachers in Boulder don’t get lessons on doggie dharma. Or at least this one in particular missed the session on Chihuahua-himsa – as in you don’t “walk” a dog outside your car while you drive it! Acupuncturist and yoga teacher Joan Renee Zalk was dogsitting the pup when she had the little thing running at 10-15 miles an hour alongside the car, for a “walk”

For reference, this is a chihuahua:

Zalk was spotted by the upstanding citizens that do reside in Boulder who phoned the police. She was subsequently booked on suspicion of animal cruelty and menacing felony (witnesses said she made a gun-related threat when approached), though seems to not have an issue with the incident.

“If it is illegal to walk the dog that way, just tell me and I won’t do it again,” Zalk told police.

To which the Boulder community cried, “ride a bike!” Geez, you’d think with all the cyclists in B-ville, car dogwalking would be unheard of. It wasn’t even a Prius.

[Daily Camera via Gawker]

Further interest lies in the comments on Gawker where the discussion turns to the credibility and “real job”ness of a “professional yoga teacher” in the world we live in, where both sides are debated with gusto.

Just a snidbit:



22 comments… add one
  • Banana Republic Resident

    Perhaps Ms. Zalk should have been made to run alongside the police cruiser while “leashed” to it on their way to the station.

  • a “real” professional yoga teacher practices what s/he teaches – any yoga instructor who does not have even a passing familiarity with the 8 limbs (the first Yama being non-harming of oneself or others) should not be teaching others. this woman is no professional yoga teacher, she merely teaches yoga-like classes for money. (full disclosure, I AM a full time professional yoga teacher and I make an effort to EDUCATE my students about the philosophy, lifestyle, etc that I practice myself). I sincerely hope that this woman is fired from every yoga job she holds and is unable to secure any other such employment until she fully understands what it is that she wants to teach.

    And far from being useless, yoga teachers help their students survive their lives and even thrive; some of my students have looked me up and thanked me for helping them overcome depression (sometimes suicidal), learn how to eat healthy food (some of them losing weight), understand how to be in a healthy relationship. Others teach for free in jails (teaching inmates how to be better human beings), at women’s shelters (teaching abused women and girls to realize that they are valued and treasured).

    • Sam

      This story isn’t so much about the yoga teacher aspect so I’m not sure why you have posted such a long discussion of what being a professional yoga teacher is all about. What I am concerned about is her sheer stupidity, cruelty toward and innocent animal, and plain lack of common sense.

      And why would you “carwalk” a dog? Get off your ass and walk for god’s sake. I’m so glad the police caught up with this person.

      • Banana Republic Resident

        I believe Sandra’s “..long discussion..” is in reply to “Unhappy Vegemite”‘s remark posted right under “Just a snidbit:” at the very end of the article.

        • Sam

          If that is the case Banana Republic, she should have made that more obvious. That being said, this isn’t the proper place to reply to any of the “snidbits”. That is another post and “Vegemite” won’t have access to her reply on this site.

  • Wikipedia presents this definition of a professional:

    The main criteria for professional include the following:
    Expert and specialized knowledge in field which one is practicing professionally.[6]
    Excellent manual/practical and literary skills in relation to profession.[7]
    High quality work in (examples): creations, products, services, presentations, consultancy, primary/other research, administrative, marketing or other work endeavors.
    A high standard of professional ethics, behavior and work activities while carrying out one’s profession (as an employee, self-employed person, career, enterprise, business, company, or partnership/associate/colleague, etc.). The professional owes a higher duty to a client, often a privilege of confidentiality, as well as a duty not to abandon the client just because he or she may not be able to pay or remunerate the professional. Often the professional is required to put the interest of the client ahead of his own interests.
    Reasonable work morale and motivation. Having interest and desire to do a job well as holding positive attitude towards the profession are important elements in attaining a high level of professionalism.
    Participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs b : having a particular profession as a permanent career c : engaged in by persons receiving financial return[6]
    Appropriate treatment of relationships with colleagues. Special respect should be demonstrated to special people and interns. An example must be set to perpetuate the attitude of one’s business without doing it harm.
    A professional is an expert who is master in a specific field.

    I think description of professional may be doubtful from this story. As with everything, we are only presented with the media side of the story. I know it sounds like a cruel and boneheaded thing to do, but I want to reserve my opinion until more is known about this woman and her story is heard.
    Remember that “non-judgement” thing?

    • Sam

      What part of this do you not understand:
      “Zalk was spotted by the upstanding citizens that do reside in Boulder who phoned the police. She was subsequently booked on suspicion of animal cruelty and menacing felony (witnesses said she made a gun-related threat when approached), though seems to not have an issue with the incident.

      “If it is illegal to walk the dog that way, just tell me and I won’t do it again,” Zalk told police.”

      She was seen by people “carwalking” and she admits to it. Enough with the “non-judgement” fluff. Get over the fact she is associated with yoga. This is simply a story of an idiot.

      • Banana Republic Resident

        Sam, read “Unhappy Vegemite”‘s comment posted under “Just a snidbit:” at the very end of the article and you’ll *clearly* understand Sandra’s and Genevieve’s posts.

  • Chris

    This woman is a nut-job.

    She is right up there with those who foolishly attempt to do Yoga AND Meat.

    It’s Himsa to car-walk a dog.

    It’s also Himsa to raise and kill animals, just because one covets the flesh on those animals.

    People aspiring to Yogihood must make a choice between their Mat and their Meat. It’s one or the other !

    • Banana Republic Resident

      “..foolishly attempt to do Yoga AND Meat. ..” ??? “..covets the flesh on those animals…” ??? “…Yogihood..”???

      Whatta crock. I know PLENTY people who practise Yoga on a mat daily that are not vegetarians and are doing just fine.

      • Chris

        Oh boy, another one of those ! Here we go again !

        Looky Banana, it’s like this :

        The Principle of Ahimsa (Non-Violence) is enshrined within the Hindu Science of Yoga.

        Therefore, any violence towards any living creature is expressly forbidden for a Yogi, via the Principle of Ahimsa. Therefore, a Yogi may NOT kill any living creature. Therefore, meat is off-limits for any Yogi.

        The people who get all bendy on a Yoga-Mat, and then roll off their Yoga- mat and stuff their faces with animal-flesh are NOT Yogis.
        They are merely Carnivorous-Bendy-People-Yogi-Wannabees (CBPYW).

        The CBPYW are running up a huge tab on their Bad-Karma-account, and when their Bad-Karma exceeds certain pre-set limits, their Karma will bite them in their respective, yoga-toned asses.

        Banana, do you get it now ?

        • Yoga Police

          Yeah! They should be more totally yogic like you and tell everyone what to do based on their simple understanding of a practice exported from another culture, orignating from another time, and evolving over time. They should totally act superior about how other people should be more like you, because that would totally be more yogic. Real yogis totally get on the internet and become message-board warriors, so they can tell everyone else how to behave under penalty of being declared Not Yogic. There can’t possibly be any disagreement because it’s not like the Indians debated this precise issue throughout their history. Never! Since the Pradipika discusses cutting your tongue so you can use it to catch the drip of sweet, age-defying nectar from somewhere inside your skull, we’re going to rant on people who don’t do that next, aren’t we?

          • Chris


            The topics you mentioned will be discussed in a more Advanced Yoga Class.

            At present, we are still trying to draw a simple diagram, which explains to Yogi-aspirants the link between Yoga and Vegetarianism.

            Everyone gets this concept, but some just don’t WANT to get it, owing to their meat-addiction.

          • Yoga Police

            @Chris. Yes, please do get the the advanced topics soon. Please get to the history of cattle consumption in India, the Jainist and Buddhist influences related to cattle consumption, the history and evolution of ahimsa and notions of non-violence, the debates regarding ahimsa and and the Vedas (including the ritualistic slaughter of animals), the response, at various points in history, of the distinct philosophical schools arising out of the Vedas to the doctrine of ahimsa, the relative frequency of vegetarianism in the various castes in Indian, and yoga’s historical and philosphical relationship to all of the above. Once you’re done, perhaps you might try think about how trolling the message boards of a site called Yogadork meaningfully advances whatever your notion of ahimsa is and whatever it means to you to be a yogi. Perhaps you will think about what is says about *you* that you troll internet boards, throwing up statements that you hope others will respond to so that you can self-righteously proclaim that only people who agree with you can be considered as true yogis. Perhaps you will think about if you are helping your cause by your example. Perhaps, but not likely.

            Chris, do you get it now?

      • Sam

        Don’t feed the Troll Banana. Chris frequently appears on this site and lectures everyone on his beliefs.

        • Chris

          Hey Sam,

          Be nice. Why so grouchy ? Or is it snowing already in Canada ?

    • Mel

      Chris…worry about your own Himsa

  • Jamie

    Banana Republic Resident is definitely a troll. Don’t feed!! Maybe it will find a home on another blog.

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