A Miami man is claiming Bikram yoga teachers encouraged him to keep taking class until he finally snapped, literally. Eric Oriol, 58, injured his back in the Navy years ago but he says it was the persistence of the teachers at Bikram Yoga North Miami to keep practicing that finally broke his L5, fifth lumbar vertebra. (The storied and vulnerable L5!) During “the bow and arrow” pose Oriol heard something crack and felt bolts of pain shoot up his spine.
The incident happened in December 2010, and after more than a year of rehabilitation, Orial went ahead and sued the yoga studio in March 2102. And won. Initially demanding $5,000 an agreement was reached for $1,500.
Studio owner Kristina Vecsesi maintains it was “a total scam” and that she only paid Oriol on advice from her attorney because “it was probably cheaper to give him a little bit of money just to have him go away,” Vecsesi told the Miami New Times.
But Oriol has a different story:
“Instead of suggesting that I go see a doctor, all the instructors in unison told me that I needed to continue with the practice because my pain was mostly mental and that the yoga was going to fix whatever problem I was going through,” he claims. “I was even told by some of the best instructors that my lower back pains were a manifestation of the financial issues I was facing in my life.”
We don’t know if was a scam or not, but unfortunately, we tend to believe these types of situations happen, and teachers have been known to say this stuff. While it’s a case of he said, she said, stories like this are wake up calls for students and yoga teachers alike. Whose fault is it really? Generally, waivers relieve studios and teachers of liability in the case of injury, but that doesn’t give them license to offer reckless, irresponsible advice. Then again, at what point do we stop listening to our bodies and hand fate over to the professionals of positivity?
But the most interesting part about this particular story? Oriol tried to go back to class! However, when attempting to join a different studio in North Miami Beach he was denied. Vecsesi had gone one step further and alerted the community to put Oriol on the no sweat list. “I had put the word out to the studio owners that I knew personally because I didn’t want them to end up getting scammed by this guy,” Vecsesi said. That’s really bad karma.”
Bad karma or insanity? We know the definitions of both.