White Yoga Instructor Still Can’t Pronounce ‘Namaste’ Correctly

BROOKLYN, NY – In hushed tones, students arrange their yoga mats on the hardwood floors of Brooklyn-based, Shanti Yoga Studio. Men and women clad in Athleta tanktops sit patiently on their mats as the instructor makes her way to the front of the room.

Behind where she sits, a giant Lord Ganesha mural painted by some guy named Luke covers the wall. She introduces herself, “Good evening everyone, I’m Natalie. We’re all on this journey together so let’s begin with some breathing exercises.”

Natalie begins counting, “1, 2, 3. Good, now breathe out.”

She stands up and effortlessly transitions into the Vinyasa routine. Coming out of Warrior Pose II, Natalie walks around the room adjusting student’s postures ever so slightly – including that of 26-year-old Anu Mehta, who found this class on her ClassPass 2-week trial.

Having 5 years of yoga experience, 4 weeks of which were spent in India in an ashram (according to her blog), she’s a Brooklyn legend. Natalie has an ‘Om’ tattoo and has been to an Indian restaurant twice. Her circle of friends consists of mostly other yogis and fitness professionals; all white women in their late 20’s.

Today’s class is 18 students: 16 women, 2 men. All blondes and brunettes, minus Anu.

While finishing up the last pose, Shavasana, Natalie sits back on her mat at the front of the room and instructs the class to open their eyes.

“Thank you all for being on this journey today,” she whispers, “all together now, na-ma-stay.”

The class recites back, “na-ma-stay.”

With the Ganesha mural staring back at her, Anu doesn’t renew her ClassPass trial.

Written by Rani Shah

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