Yoga Workshop Handed Lawsuit for Improper Adjustment Injury, Are All Studios Doomed for Sue-dom?
by YogaDork on November 3, 2009
More lawsuits! Improper adjustments! This time not as naughty as you’re thinking. Can we just be happy for a moment this is not about sexual assault? OK.. moving on.
It’s suddenly a rocky road for Boulder, CO studio Yoga Workshop, Richard Freeman’s joint (he and his wife relinquished ownership and management earlier this year update: they took back ownership 9/09). News hit late yesterday that the studio is being sued by a former student due to instructor Luke Iwabuchi’s “unsolicited physical manipulation” resulting in injuries causing “permanent disability.” yowch! Basically an unwanted adjustment gone terribly wrong, says the CA man, Robert Heit, who’s filing the suit. OK here go…we don’t know the Yoga Workshop, we’ve never experienced an Iwabuchi class, but we’ve certainly experienced plenty of adjustments in our time as yoga students, some not always what we thought as the safest maneuvering for the human body. Seriously ouch! There have also been several occasions where we wish the instructor would pleease come over and give us that extra nudge, but what are we supposed to do? snap our fingers? shout at the teach? *sigh* We digress…
So let’s break this down…
Date of Incident: approx. 4:30 p.m. Dec. 6, 2008.
The Accuser: Robert Heit, former Boulder resident now residing in Santa Rosa, CA. Other info we don’t know? Age, physical condition prior to the incident, yoga experience, etc.
The Claim: “unsolicited physical manipulation” resulting in a torn medial meniscus (that precious soft band under the kneecap – the victim of outrageously frequent sports injuries) that required surgery.
by elephantjournal.com on Nov 3, 2009
Will the venerable Yoga Workshop be forced to cease adjustments? Will your favorite studio?
This blog is based on the report of The Daily Camera, Boulder’s paper of record. Link to article and excerpt below. It is intended solely to be a support for our yoga community friends.
Not if the great yoga teacher in question has a lawyer worth anything, and community support. This lawsuit is ridiculous—and, if successful, would represent a stultifying, dangerous precedent for yoga studios throughout the US.
We could write a lengthy explanation about how adjustments are key to yoga practice, that’s why you have a teacher, and how if you don’t get them serious injuries will result much more often, and about how we’ve known Luke since the mid-90s and know he knows his stuff, he’s gentle, and about how Luke probably doesn’t have any money, so this is just ridiculous, and about how this is the seventh sign of hell…a man is suing a yoga studio for an injury that, he claims, is the result of an unwanted adjustment.
But, that’d all be reallllly obvious. Really. It’s like suing a swimming pool for getting water in your mouth, or a park for offering you a mountain bike trail that you fell on, or suing the sky for snowing on a tree that then fell on your car.
So, we’ll just offer this one, simple, direct assessment: “Ridiculous.” This is serious stuff. This could put one of America’s truly great, original yoga studios out of business. This could ruin a great young teacher’s life, and career. Adjustments are part of what yoga class is about. You want them. Injuries happen. Adjustments are suggestions, at most. Optional. As I’ve been told a thousand times—in the Yoga Workshop, where I practice—yoga is not about pain. If you feel pain, stop.
Man sues Boulder yoga studio over unwanted adjustment
Among Heit’s injuries, according to the lawsuit, a torn medial meniscus — a fibrocartilage band spanning the knee joint — that required surgery.