Not to twist the story of the fired Facebook yoga instructor into the pretzel-like yoganidrasana position, but there was one thing I didn't know when I first wrote about the drama that I know now -- and you should, too.

You remember Alice Van Ness, the San Carlos yogi who taught classes at Facebook while working for the company that contracts to run the Menlo Park company's fitness center. She was canned after she gave a Facebooker a dirty look for pulling out her cell phone in the middle of class.

Apparently, Van Ness had been warned by her bosses before the class that she could not enforce a cell phone ban while she was teaching yoga. That's what the termination letter that Van Ness shared with The Associated Press says.

"At Facebook and a number of other institutions we work with, instructors cannot preclude fitness center users from answering their phones," David Milani, a spokesman for Plus One Health Management, which runs Facebook's gym, told me. He didn't want to tell me a lot more, other than that "there is no doubt that this instructor knew that."

Now whether staring daggers at someone who is disrupting your class constitutes "precluding fitness center users from answering their phones," I'll leave up to the lawyers in the crowd.

And I hate to sound stubborn, but I'm not sure the policy of barring instructors from instructing students to behave as if there are others sharing the planet with them makes any difference to my bigger point: Smartphones have become a rudeness accelerant. Too often, too many use them to talk, type or text at times and in places where civility would dictate that they stop it, stop it, stop it.


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In fact, I'd say that a rule prohibiting instructors from encouraging common courtesy only bolsters my argument. Think about it. A company brings in a program and a professional to foster relaxation and self-realization and then at least implicitly says: Sure, relax. Breathe deep. But keep that cell phone handy.

Contact Mike Cassidy at mcassidy@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5536. Follow him at Twitter.com/mikecassidy.