Apparently the folks at Facebook like to Facebook a lot. Trying to endure a 45 minute yoga class in the middle of the day without accessing their social networks is simply too much. Who can be disconnected for that long?

35-year-old yoga instructor, Alice Van Ness was recently let go from her job teaching a class at the Menlo Park, California Facebook headquarters for glaring at an employee for checking her cell phone repeatedly.  Van Ness had previously asked the class to turn off their mobile devices in order to experience the full benefits of the yoga class.

When the woman in the front row continued to check her mobile phone throughout the session, Van Ness stopped speaking out the instructions and gave the offender a stern look. Apparently the offender was then herself offended, and she complained about the incident. Van Ness was subsequently fired by her employer.

Using your cell phone in a yoga class is “very distracting for everyone else in the room, not to mention rude—and it’s vital to pay attention to instructions/demos from your teacher so you can understand the pose better, feel better and avoid injury,” Van Ness says in a post on her blog describing the events in detail.

On the other hand, Facebook had previously told the yoga instructor that employees were not to be restricted from talking or using their mobile devices during the class. At the social networking giant, people have to be social (and networked) all the time.

Said her former employer, Plus One Health Management, “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.”

What do you think? Did Van Ness overstep her grounds by banning cell phones when she’d specifically been told not to, or does a yoga instructor have the duty to defend the principles of yoga? Should she have been fired?



Peter Harris

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