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Student Sues Hilaria Baldwin, Alec Baldwin’s Wife, For ‘Emotional Upset’ In Yoga Class

in Lawsuit-asana, YD News

Hilaria Baldwin YogaUh oh. Is suing yoga teachers the new suing fast food chains? Who’s to blame?

Yoga teacher Hilaria Baldwin, who also happens to be the newly pregnant wife of actor Alec, is being sued for ‘negligence’ among other things, the NY Daily News reports. According to the papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, the accusing student Spencer Wolff says he suffered “serious” and “severe” injuries and “emotional upset” during Hilaria Thomas’ Jan. 15 class at Yoga Vida in NYC. Yikes.

Alec and Hilaria Baldwin

There are no further details of the injury or the event, but in the documents Wolff, a 32-year-old Yale Ph.D. candidate and Huffington Post blogger, blames the “overcrowded” class and Thomas’ “negligence” as two causes of his alleged accident.

Now we know Americans have the unalienable right to sue the pants off of everyone for alleged wrongdoing, and we’re glad some people get their rightful justice, but we also know of something called a waiver as well as some serious opportunity to score some cash.

However, giving the man the benefit of the doubt, we’ve been in packed mat to mat classes and while no injury has been sustained to us because of that, we could see a potential hazard: cramped space, less available attention from the teacher, crazy neighbors, etc.

On the other hand, there is that waiver we mentioned, plus might the responsibility of limiting students in a crowded class fall on the studio not the teacher? Probably even worse of an outcome is risk of fire hazard. Shhh. FDNY pretend you didn’t hear that.

Alec Baldwin has already taken to twitter to state his opinion on the matter, like he does.

Whether or not this is legit, it begs the broader question of, is this setting a precedent for packed mat to mat classes and potential to sue popular/celeb yoga teachers? Or, alternatively, should we reconsider bursting at the seams yoga classes as not really safe for students.

[via]

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69 comments… add one

  • mae

    I do think it is important to have spotters and assists- from teacher trainings- We churn out teachers without the requisite teaching time. I asked my teacher why she did not have assists as another teacher Rodney Yee always does. She responded, ‘Paying so much for training they do not want to invest in what I think would be valuable. About Suing do not know the particulars and I am not litigious- however I do find many over-crowded yoga classes dangerous for many students.

  • I’m a yoga teacher and I’ve taken classes in NYC and taught classes in Los Angeles. And I have to say the popular NYC yoga studios have been the worst yoga experiences I’ve had. I couldn’t teach mindfully in a class space that is so overcrowded. It’s impossible to be attentive to students and give personal cues when you can’t even walk over to someone because there’s no physical space to do it. I’ve been in situations for teacher trainings in the city where as many as 50 students were packed in a room that could maybe fit 30 comfortably. It’s stressful, especially to have someone’s feet, hands or butt inches from your face, and some people don’t even try doing all the poses because they simply don’t have the space.

    I heard a well-known yoga studio owner say her rent costs $3000 a month. Maybe that’s why they’re filling the rooms up like sardines. But I think it’s at the detriment of creating a truly zen space for people. It’s like we minds well be doing yoga on the subway for the kind of atmosphere it creates even with the most compassionate teachers. I personally like my yoga studio to be a retreat from the world with adequate personal space and calm, not feel like all the craziness of the world is crammed into the studio with me. I personally find many yoga studios to be overrated. You can get more space if you take a yoga class at a gym. My first yoga teacher was at Crunch in NYC and she inspired me to teach. She had a fair share of students and there was plenty of space in her class to get my zen on.

    Since the rents are so high, it’s possible that NYC studios can’t afford to accept less students in their classes unless they charge more. I would be willing to pay more for a yoga class to have personal space and a mindful teacher’s attention. This may not feed some teacher’s egos to have a smaller class, but I do believe it would benefit the students and lead to less stress and injury.

  • kb

    Try Zenyasa Studio (www.zenyasastudio.com) on West 72nd St NYC !!! THE BEST, and NOT CROWDED

  • The responsibility for ones safety lies ultimately with the student. It is our own responsibility to do as much as we can and know when to abstain from a challenging posture or rest. All yoga teachers worth their salt tell this to students.

  • Cris

    This guy sounds like a real douche! Take responsibility for yourself! Class too full, easy solution – leave! Not comfortable in a pose – don’t do it! SO sick and tired of people blaming everyone but themselves for things easily in their control. Grow up! Sheesh!

  • Cris

    Also, it has to be said… Would he be pulling this nonsense if she wasn’t the wife of a well known actor? Doubtful.

  • Robert Hoyle

    YD…waivers/consent forms, etc, are generally not protective (legally) if there has truly been a wrongful (negligent) act committed by the defendant (Hilaria Baldwin, Studio, etc).

    The courts will likely look-past a waiver (if there is a reasonable chance such a negligent act did in fact occur), and let the case proceed to trial for the final answer.

    [Public Policy (in law) forbids the legal system from protecting wrongful behaviour (like Negligence in Torts, as here) -- and strictly honouring a waiver (before trial) might offer such illegal protection, if the lawsuit was thrown out even before it had a fair hearing/evaluation at trial.]

    Yet the waiver itself, when presented as evidence at trial, might end-up, eventually, being the deciding factor in *favor* of the defendant (Hilaria). [So, waivers are NOT useless. ] But it most likely won’t keep the case from going to trial.

    The plaintiff (Spencer Wolff) perhaps knows this — that his claim stands a good chance of at least going to trial (since no waiver protection to keep it out of court) — and that this may force Baldwin to “settle” (for $-damages). Maybe, as you pointed-out, this is what the plaintiff wants anyway — a $-settlement — and some publicity. Such things are sometimes a regretful feature of our legal system.

    But, unless Spencer (plaintiff) is filing and representing himself in court (pro se/pro per), it is unlikely that there is not at least “some” merit to his claim. No “responsible” (and wise) attorney would file such a lawsuit, without a fairly good chance it would “sound reasonable” to a court of law. [The law imposes substantial sanctions against an attorney that files what is called a "frivolous" lawsuit. FRCP 11.]

  • YD

    Ah…Thank you Robert for adding the legal expertise!

  • Robert Hoyle

    Tks, YD — yo da Man for bringing such things out in the open.

  • Stewart J. Lawrence

    Robert, since you’re one of the few people who seems to have any (legal) brains here, I will post with you in mind –

    What if we got a bunch of injured students together and filed a class action lawsuit against the studios where they were injured (assuming we have enough cases per studio) but even moire so against the Yoga Alliance for issuing “certifications” to these teachers on the assumption that they were qualified to teach people in a non-harming way.

    I don’t think it would be terribly hard to make a prima facie case that yoga as practiced historically has required years of parient apprencticeship between teacher and teacher trainee and that these studios, rubber stamped by the YA, have created what amount to “asana mills” simply to keep their studio doors open and to promote yoga to the public – at the expense of consumer protection.

    I think it constitutes a kind of professional malpractice, actually. Maybe even prosecute criminally under the RICO statutes as a form of racketeering? There’s gross negligence and reckless disregard here. The initial core of studio owners who set up thee YA were well aware of these issues and simply disregarded them, I would argue.

    I could get affidavits from yoga teachers saying that teacher training in their professional view is unsafe, and there are teachers who could report treating multiple injuries to yoga students from others classes and the studios that sponsor them.

    There are also unpublished surveys among yoga teachers – William Broad quotes one – in which 70% of yoga teachers say that their fellow teachers’ poor training was responsible for injuring students.

    It’s really time to end this carnival show, and to quarantine the circus actors from the rest of yoga. Legal action tends to be the only way to make real change in these settings. it seems to me that with enough complaining parties, we might have a cause of action recognized by a judge.

  • Lalalala

    I came into this conversation late. I like Robert’s response. I am a lawyer/yogini. Stewart, I hear what you are saying, but I think it really depends on the circumstances. Here’s why: the plaintiff has to prove causation, which is very difficult. It will depend on the type of injury and what steps were taken to prevent injuries from occurring. For example, if the room is packed, but the teacher teaches simple poses and constantly warns people to skip the pose if they have x,y, or z condition/injury, then the teacher probably acted reasonably. On the other hand, if the teacher taught inversions in a crowded room to beginners and didn’t advise people with x,y, or z conditions/injuries to skip, then there is a problem.

    I think that many teachers teach poses before students are ready to do them. How many times have you been in a class with a physically fit student who arguably is strong enough to get into headstand, but who doesn’t know how to get into it safely and who, despite the repeated warning “Don’t kick up into headstand!,” still kicks up.

    At the studio I go to, even the master teachers will not invert if there are more than 30 people in the room.

  • sjpbf

    Most yoga teachers aren’t worth suing. You’d get nothing after their insurance policy paid for the cost of representing them in a lawsuit. Oh yes, that’s right, that policy you paid for includes the cost of defending you in your coverage, and that gets paid before any damage award gets paid. Hard to know where this guy’s claims would land him or what kind of coverage Hilaria or the studio she was teaching at carried. I am highly suspect of his claims.

    Sincerely,

    Skeptical Lawyer who is usually on the side of the people doing the suing, but things this dude is a money-grubber.

  • Robert Hoyle

    Yes sjpbf, I’ve heard said that most yoga teachers are “poor” and thus “Judgment Proof” (no assets for the plaintiff to claim). So, why would anyone sue them? Yet…what about wage garnishments, etc, as a Remedy? Could go-on for a long time?

    And… just the aspects of litigation and a trial itself — that can take over one’s life (and finances) in a very bad way, for a very long time — would be reason enough for a yoga teacher to steer clear of any chance for legal liability (mostly Negligence).

    Best to get to “know” the law –and abide by it?

  • Lalalala

    I think this is a good point. The safest studio I have ever practiced at is also a large, corporate chain of studios. They have a lot to lose, so maybe that in and of itself inspires safety,

  • Obviously he was in the ego mind and not in Yoga (integration). Too bad he’s not taking responsibility… reaction -reaction – reaction off the mat. Solution.. more Yoga!

  • Henry Wallace

    No, the solution is a judgment, which will help rid American yoga of over-privileged celebrity bimbos likes this one for teachers. There are a good 50,000 teachers who are manifestly unqualified (out of the 70,000+ total). Minimum. Send a signal to establish some decent training standards, and yes, formal legal limits on class sizes (or teacher student ratios). It would be a real contribution to consumer protection. A settlement in this case is the only thing that will scare the shit out of the rest of the industry to start policing its own. Bring it on!

  • Honomann

    Yoga Allowance won’t change. They are riding the yoga gravy train too.

  • Henry Wallace

    Nice nickname. I was trying to be kind. U right though. They really just be pimpin’ these girls out, and taking their cut.

  • Honomann

    A link to Yoga Alliance’ financial statement. They be ballin’ it… at the expense of the yoga community at large. http://www.yogaalliance.org/ya/a/Financials_2011.aspx

  • Henry Wallace

    Thanks for those numbers. Karpal appears to have gone to the Bikram school of yoga money management? Well, it looks like only the dudes really know how to make any money off of yoga. All of the major brands and properties (e.g. Yoga Journal) are owned by men. Aside from a few of the leading corporate saleswomen and product models (e.g. Stiles, Rea,. etc), everyone else, the women who think they “own” yoga now, are poor-mouthing. Hmmm…..”the more things change, the more…..” What can we say, men rock!

  • imapixie

    hilaria thomas is a very wonderful, experienced teacher, and she had led thousands upon thousands of students through her classes without incident before she ever became the wife of a celebrity. i have taken her class literally hundreds of times throughout the 6 years that i have known her. she helped me when i was going through my 200-hour certification training, and she has been a dear, dear friend. she is an excellent instructor, and she is a sweet, intelligent, knowledgeable, passionate woman who only wants what’s best for her students and her studio. do not pass judgment on someone you do not know, and kindly do not call her a “bimbo”. it’s not very yogic to sling out harsh, hurtful names.

  • I understand and teach the idea of listening to one’s body and finding your inner teach but I don’t think the conversation ends there. When I step into the role of teacher it becomes my responsibility to create a safe, learning environment for those who have already realized the above and even more so for the students who are still exploring their edge, tuning into their inner voice, and beginning the journey.

  • Bum Shoulder

    I can’t believe I’m reading this. I took a class with her ~ February/March of 2012 and hurt my shoulder so badly, I was out commission for over 4 months. To be fair, Yoga Vida offers cheap prices and caters to mostly young, vibrant NYU students who probably crave the faster pace offered in this class. Students are in general good shape, so they probably don’t need/want that much attention. I should have known better and walked out. On the other hand, though, I specifically remember Hilaria checking her phone incessantly DURING class. I only remember her specifically, because after getting home that night with said bum shoulder, I saw her on the entertainment news and they identified her as Alec Baldwin’s fiancee. Every time I see her mentioned I think of how long it took me to recover from that one class. Ommmmmmmmm

  • Michelle

    That’s very interesting; I was going to comment that this is almost certainly an extortion situation, someone who knows that a Yoga teacher is wealthy – however, your comment gives me pause. I feel very strongly there is NO call for a YT to be checking her/his phone during class, never mind more than once. Really, that is very irresponsible even for the student to do. To clarify, Hilaria was the teacher and she was looking at her phone?

  • Bum Shoulder

    Michelle, your comment had me thinking. I do recall seeing her texting a lot, but come to think of it, I think it was before class begun; but I am not sure now. It’s been a year since that happened. I may have written this as a knee-jerk reaction, because I was in so much pain/discomfort for so long after that class. The truth is I don’t know if I would remember her name if she wasn’t a pseudo celebrity (if by association). My original message will be deleted, of course. I should not have written it to begin with. Namaste.

  • Hash

    Was it what she taught in the class that injured you or did you injure yourself by how you did the pose?

  • Bum Shoulder

    It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for a year. I am a beginner and made sure to ask before class whether the class was suitable for me. They said yes. It was a crowded class. To be honest, I don’t think any one teacher could have possibly kept an eye out for that many people. I know I am respnsible for my own body and how it feels, but as a beginner it is difficult to gauge whether something is bothering you because it’s new or because you are hurting yourself. Bottom line is that the studio offers very affordable classes and is probably the reason these are crowded. Who is at fault? This is a tricky question. It’s just life I guess. A valuable lesson was learned. I am much more careful now, that’ for sure.

  • Henry Wallace

    Look at the picture of her elsewhere on the web. She is “teaching” on an outdoor platform while preening for the camera. She has students behind her fully clothed in jeans and shoes trying to keep up in Warrior poses. She’s not even looking at them. And they’re surrounded by onlookers. Absurd, and yes, she’s responsible. She’s offering the service and using the mantle of yoga to make a buck.

    I would set an example and also pull her certification. It’s high time that the Yoga Alliance did more than rubber stamp the greed and incompetence of the yoga studios that certify morons like this woman to begin with, just to keep the teacher training $$$ rolling in. Time to clean the money-changers out of the Temple, and she’s the perfect person to start with. The YA is starting to take new steps, a suit like this is a good catalyst.

    You should have sued her yourself. Maybe you could contact the plaintiff and agree to testify on his behalf? I suspect dozens of people will come forward.

  • Vision_Quest2

    A class-action suit would not be punishment enough for laughingstock limelight-seeking teachers who have nary an ounce of professionalism when it comes to teaching a live yoga class, but it would be a start.

  • imapixie

    yoga instructors often check their phones to make sure their running class on time. just FYI. :)

  • Honomann

    You make it sound like it’s common training for a 200 hour RYT to check your phone.

  • Missing OM

    I miss OM yoga.

  • Vision_Quest2

    Me too … and I’m too sick and poor to consider going there, now.

    For a trendy vinyasa studio, they knew about modifications, personal attention, and making every class feel intimate.

    With their own world-class “celebri-yogini” at the helm.

  • I think that negligence will be a difficult standard to meet. He can certainly sue for it, but it doesn’t mean that the court will hear the case (they can throw it out on lack of merit before it even gets anywhere).

  • Honomann

    Celebriyogis tend to attract shit-tier students. No surprise here folks.

  • Henry Wallace

    Celebriyogis are the consummate shit-tier students.

  • :)
    wise and insightful comment

  • Honomann

    Good one Henry! But you are implying that Hilarious actually studies yoga.

  • Henry Wallace

    Well, apparently she does study yogis — starting with the bulges in their various pockets.

  • Honomann

    She did marry Alec Baldwin. The bulge she saw in his pants was his big wallet.

  • Henry Wallace

    I would really love to see Hilaria pioneer something like
    “Vini-vixen-yoga.”

    She could also do a book with Tara Stiles –
    “Slim, calm sexy – and hitched.”

  • Chris

    Coming soon to Yoga, Inc. :

    Painted, mat-sized outlines on the floor of the Yoga-Studio, with ergonomic Instructor-passageways provided between each painted Mat-Slot.

    Park your Yoga-Mats within the Mat-Slots, please !

    Good students will be provided with their own designated Mat-Slots.

    Can you hear Rishi Patanjali groaning already ?

  • stewart j. lawrence

    Robert, since you’re one of the few people who seems to have any (legal) brains here, I will post with you in mind –

    What if we got a bunch of injured students together and filed a class action lawsuit against the studios where they were injured (assuming we have enough cases per studio) but even moire so against the Yoga Alliance for issuing “certifications” to these teachers on the assumption that they were qualified to teach people in a non-harming way.

    I don’t think it would be terribly hard to make a prima facie case that yoga as practiced historically has required years of parient apprencticeship between teacher and teacher trainee and that these studios, rubber stamped by the YA, have created what amount to “asana mills” simply to keep their studio doors open and to promote yoga to the public – at the expense of consumer protection.

    I think it constitutes a kind of professional malpractice, actually. Maybe even prosecute criminally under the RICO statutes as a form of racketeering? There’s gross negligence and reckless disregard here. The initial core of studio owners who set up thee YA were well aware of these issues and simply disregarded them, I would argue.

    I could get affidavits from yoga teachers saying that teacher training in their professional view is unsafe, and there are teachers who could report treating multiple injuries to yoga students from others classes and the studios that sponsor them.

    There are also unpublished surveys among yoga teachers – William Broad quotes one – in which 70% of yoga teachers say that their fellow teachers poor training was responsible for injuring students.

    What do you think? It’s really time to end this carnival show, and to quarantine the circus actors.

  • Yogaga

    Some of us don’t have another job, and aren’t put to “racketeer” anyone, we just want to help people. Government gauges us on taxes and you would prefer teachers don’t get paid at all? That’s a good way to ensure “quality.”

  • stewart j. lawrence

    Robert, since you’re one of the few people who seems to have any (legal) brains here, I will post with you in mind –

    What if we got a bunch of injured students together and filed a class action lawsuit against the studios where they were injured (assuming we have enough cases per studio) but even moire so against the Yoga Alliance for issuing “certifications” to these teachers on the assumption that they were qualified to teach people in a non-harming way.

    I don’t think it would be terribly hard to make a prima facie case that yoga as practiced historically has required years of parient apprencticeship between teacher and teacher trainee and that these studios, rubber stamped by the YA, have created what amount to “asana mills” simply to keep their studio doors open and to promote yoga to the public – at the expense of consumer protection.

    I think it constitutes a kind of professional malpractice, actually. Maybe even prosecute criminally under the RICO statutes as a form of racketeering? There’s gross negligence and reckless disregard here. The initial core of studio owners who set up thee YA were well aware of these issues and simply disregarded them, I would argue.

    I could get affidavits from yoga teachers saying that teacher training in their professional view is unsafe, and there are teachers who could report treating multiple injuries to yoga students from others classes and the studios that sponsor them.

    There are also unpublished surveys among yoga teachers – William Broad quotes one – in which 70% of yoga teachers say that their fellow teachers poor training was responsible for injuring students.

    What do you think? It’s really time to end this carnival show, and to quarantine the circus actors.

  • lauren taylor and friends

    Robert, since you’re one of the few people who seems to have any (legal) brains here, I will post with you in mind –

    What if we got a bunch of injured students together and filed a class action lawsuit against the studios where they were injured (assuming we have enough cases per studio) but even moire so against the Yoga Alliance for issuing “certifications” to these teachers on the assumption that they were qualified to teach people in a non-harming way.

    I don’t think it would be terribly hard to make a prima facie case that yoga as practiced historically has required years of parient apprencticeship between teacher and teacher trainee and that these studios, rubber stamped by the YA, have created what amount to “asana mills” simply to keep their studio doors open and to promote yoga to the public – at the expense of consumer protection.

    I think it constitutes a kind of professional malpractice, actually. Maybe even prosecute criminally under the RICO statutes as a form of racketeering? There’s gross negligence and reckless disregard here. The initial core of studio owners who set up thee YA were well aware of these issues and simply disregarded them, I would argue.

    I could get affidavits from yoga teachers saying that teacher training in their professional view is unsafe, and there are teachers who could report treating multiple injuries to yoga students from others classes and the studios that sponsor them.

    There are also unpublished surveys among yoga teachers – William Broad quotes one – in which 70% of yoga teachers say that their fellow teachers poor training was responsible for injuring students.

    What do you think? It’s really time to end this carnival show, and to quarantine the circus actors.

  • null

    I don’t really know anything about this lawsuit, a few years ago Hilaria injured me from a shitty adjustment in a class, it never healed. She deserves whatever she gets.

  • Vision_Quest2

    Several other articles busted this man as countermanding Hilaria’s comment/instruction to him not to do this pose again. FYI, this pose was a full handstand. My take on this is the commercial nature of this and similar studios.

    At the price point they market themselves at (a lot like Yoga to the People) should obviate the teaching of poses more advanced …

    Private sessions are the only way you could learn something this advanced in classes that could be very good, very exciting even–but for the most part phoned in at that price …[even if the class is not grossly overcrowded, such as also could be the result of Hilaria's celebrity]

    Add in the fact that it’s almost a truism that young people taking up yoga tend to be much more competitive about it. The teacher completes the picture. This is not “gym yoga” which has an insurance company to please, and will not teach even headstand in many cases. This is just not gym yoga except for the price point for students.

    Competitiveness also goes with their being student-age and students. (Students get a sweetheart deal on the price.)

    It goes with their general territory, whether these college students be athletic or not.

    Don’t these yoga studios know just who are they marketing to?

  • LA Girl

    Handstands in a packed class? Good luck with that. What about headstands for new students who are certain to fall over – probably into me – I seem to attract it. Maybe because I am older and a well experienced yogi (and teacher) and seem to incite the competitive spirit. I have my own teachers who tease me about this so I’m not just paranoid.

    I gave up going to Crunch here in LA because the classes were so crowded with beginners and advanced students as well. It was when, for the THIRD time, I got kicked in the face by some moron who could not do Warrior III – or Half Moon. And I stopped going to a certain studio because the handstand people seemed to be taking over vinyasa flow. And crashing into other students or best of all, from my view, into the floor or wall (sorry, my bad).

    And yoga teacher training? My favorite moment was when we went around the room and said why we wanted to take the course – one of the men said it was so he “could meet hot guys”. Believe me when I say I was shocked – that it was said out loud – but moreover the trainer did not seem to think this was inappropriate.

    But I just kept looking and found several studios/gyms that offer classes that I like and that are not crowded. And very UNTRENDY – just yoga.

    Yoga Alliance? Don’t get me started.

  • S Knight

    The yoga world attracts some authentic, skilled and caring teachers. It also attracts the failed dancer/singer /actress who now looks to yoga to fulfill their need to be the center of attention and become well known more for how they fit their lululemon than their teaching skills. There is one such in London who ironically actually is a Lululemon rep. It is sad as it drags down the industry as a whole and reflects poorly on the actual hard working, honest teachers who are in it for the right reasons… to teach.

  • Poppy

    Is it just me or are the “yoga lawsuits” getting crazier and crazier?!! Over here in the UK one of London’s most popular teachers (and my favourite teacher) got sued by a student in an Employment Tribunal because she wouldn’t allow her “Medic Detection Dog” to come on a residential yoga teacher training with her. She claimed her yorshire terrier had special powers and could smell when her blood sugar levels got low as she had hypoglycemic tendencies and therefore suffered Disability Discrimination by not being able to bring her dog (who was not a registered assistance dog by the way) with her to the training. Oh and as compensation she wanted, get this, a gym membership because she would have to keep going to the gym if she couldn’t be a teacher, a business class ticket to California and hotel costs to study with Shiva Rea because she claimed there weren’t any other Vinyasa Flow YTT’s in the UK and she wanted over £25,000 for loss earnings she claimed she thinks she could have made covering classes and consulting. Oh and the poor teacher was 4 months pregnant with her first child when she sued her. Needless to say the woman failed miserably in her attempt and was told by the Court that she hadn’t suffered any losses and got no money in the end. Still, the very fact she could file such a frivolous, money grubbing claim for free in an Employment Tribunal, ( in order for the Tribunal to hear her case she claimed YTT courses were Vocational Trainings which made them “Employment Service Providers”) really shocked the yoga community in the UK and pissed off a lot of teachers and studios. Certainly put me off teaching just for fear of being sued! If you want a good laugh you can read the woman’s frivolous claim as a studio posted it online on the link below under Philippa Copleston-Warren vs Beyond The Mat Ltd. Truly jaw dropping.

    http://issuu.com/philippacoplestonwarrenyoga/docs/philippa_copleston-warren_employment_tribunal_clai

  • Hash

    Did this actually go to an ET or get thrown out before?

  • Vision_Quest2

    I saw something about it on FOX News … with regard to “Racist” comments alleged on the part of Alec Baldwin, to a photographer where they mentioned this incident, that sparked the paparazzi in the first place …

  • Poppy

    It actually took up almost a year of the ET’s time back and forth with a handful of pre-trial hearings to determine if they could even hear the case or if it was a Civil Court issue as they weren’t sure it qualified as an “Employment Issue”. In the end they told the woman she hadn’t suffered any losses either way as far as they could see (she represented herself btw so she wouldn’t have to pay for a solicitor) but that if she persisted, she may actually incurr costs (ie: the other sides legal fees) if she wanted them to hear the claim as her case was pretty weak. Mediation was orderd in the end and as far as I know nothing came of it because the teacher later posted on her site that she wouldn’t change her dog policy and that the case had been unsuccessful.

  • Vision_Quest2

    My bad. I thought you were talking about ET – in the United States, that is short for Entertainment Tonight …

  • Vision_Quest2

    I see the future and this lawsuit–however frivolous it may be–can give yoga students a lot of leverage with pushy-ass teachers.

    Another watershed moment.

  • eleonora

    Guys you r all missing an important info.
    He was doing a headstand in a OPEN LEVEL. OVERCROWDED CLASS, WITH NO ASSISTANCE and suddenly the window collapsed on his leg cutting his leg in 5 pieces.
    He is not suing a teacher BUT a studio for having not reinforced window and the building as well.
    This informations are important.
    This accident was very bad.

  • Vision_Quest2

    He didn’t PAY enough for a class in NEW YORK CITY to warrant any assistance. In the future, he sucks it up and shells out for a private session or a much less crowded studio, or he learns the patience and santosha of being exactly where he is and no further, for that day. Wash rinse repeat for the next day.

  • Hash

    When Spencer Wolf, a 32-year-old literature student, attempted a handstand in her class last month, the only space he could find was up against the wall. And when he went off balance, he accidentally fell against a window, shattering it and tearing his legs to shreds.

    Surely there is an element of personal responsibility here?

    However I very recently attended a handstand workshop from a well renowned teacher. When I got to the studio I was shocked to see that they had laid out the mats side to side and end to end. There was no space in between. I have never seen anything like it. The girl in front of me was very inexperienced and her legs kept flailing out all over the place. Several times I nearly got kicked in the face by her even when she was just extending her leg behind her. I retreated to to the back of my mat and missed some of the poses while she was doing her thing because I didn’t want a foot sandwich for tea. Then a girl a couple of mats across actually did get kicked in the face by the person in front of her. The kicker was mortified and luckily there did not appear to be any blood. However we were all put in this position because the $tudio allowed too many people to $ign up for the work$hop.

  • Lalalala

    Google Spencer Wolff’s name. You will see that he is a lawyer and has studied and/or has degrees from many of the top universities in the world.

  • A picture says more than words. The photograph of Hilaria facing forward away from her students shows that she has been negligent when teaching. The alignment of the people in the background looks like she needed to adjust half the people in the room. In my yoga school, I tell the students on the first day that when you are teaching is not time to do your practice. Teaching yoga is not a follow the leader activity nor a time to show off in front of a class. Your eyes must be on the students at all times. Had she been paying attention, she may have noticed Mr. Wolf was near a window and needed to refrain from doing a handstand. Handstand practice needs a lot of space and when I teach it in my training, all students must work with a spotter. Nobody is allowed to do it on their own kicking up in random places. Students need to be careful and take responsibility but teachers need to be aware and keep an eye on their students at all time. Handstands, shoulder stands, plow and headstand will probably be banned from studios after enough litigation ensues. Many gyms already have rules that blacklist certain risky poses. This is just common sense.

  • Vision_Quest2

    “Teaching yoga is not a follow the leader activity nor a time to show off in front of a class. Your eyes must be on the students at all times. ”

    Then the students would actually learn something from the teacher. And start doing a dreaded home practice. Which is the commercial yogis’ nightmare and possible competition. Can’t let that happen.

    [They think they're teaching aerobics. But unlike with aerobics, they have a chance to be a STAR.]

  • yogafresh

    The Student is absolutly right …

    Please Check out this video ;
    Here
    Alec Baldwin’s wife Hilaria Baldwin’s ”dangerously crowded and unhealthly Yoga? Studio”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9Gph5HSIwc

  • Honomann

    Is this the new normal for yoga classes? Hipster live band/dj with supermodel teacher just watching herself in the mirror, while clueless 20something white chicks try to do half assed asanas.

    This is not yoga folks. It’s not even good enough to be called a cult.

  • Vision_Quest2

    Back in MY day, it would have been called aerobics–but that’s only if the celebrity scene reviewer were in a GOOD mood …

  • Yogaga

    I guess if you’re a whore twenty something female you should just stay away from yoga. Other people are judging you.

  • Yogaga

    God, that is supposed to say “white,” not “whore,” but the autocorrect is amazing in context.

  • Honomann

    Sorry for stating the obvious. I stand corrected. There are a couple of white dudes in the class too.

    Maybe if you did yoga correctly, you wouldn’t be so concerned about being judged by others.

  • Yogaga

    What do you mean by “do yoga correctly”? You mean, privately, by myself, in my own breath?

    Dude, I don’t know you and I’m not making assumptions about you but you’ve posted a negative comment about white girls who go to a yoga class and you’ve suggested I dont know how to do yoga, knowing nothing about me at all. I’m not judging anyone. What are you doing?

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