The 10 things you’ll do once you start yoga (that have nothing to do with yoga). ~ Lee Anne Finfinger

Via Lee Anne Finfinger
on Oct 6, 2011
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The 10 things you’ll do once you start yoga (that have nothing to do with yoga).

  1. At least once, you will force yourself to try to be vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten-free (insert any over-zealous diet here)/drink Kombucha/buy bottled water before class and pour it into your sustainable water bottle before the teacher/students/Whole Foods cashier next to you sees.  (If you’re craving meat, just eat it! On your deathbed, will you really be glad that you didn’t have that steak on your 30th Birthday?)
  2. Your iPod will now include a heavy serving of Kirtan music that you will listen to on your very long commute to your yoga studio. (It’s cool; if you want to listen to Kirtan occasionally, go for it!  When you start listening to it while driving and falling asleep—time to go back to your old playlists. Do not switch over to NPR!)
  3. You will pretend not to notice that your ass now fits in a size six instead of an eight, but you’re secretly thrilled.  (When you get down to a four though, watch it. People will talk.)
  4. You will go back to your natural hair color/remove your hair extensions/cut your hair short in an attempt to stop paying so much attention to your vanity. (Try not to cut it too short—the growing out process is a bitch and then you’ll just need more hair extensions. I did.)
  5. You’ll attempt to read the Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, or the Upanishads while your stack of fashion magazines calls to you from the next room. (Really, why can’t I like Rachel Zoe and yoga? Now that I’m thin enough to actually wear her clothes, why should I pretend I don’t want to?) (See #3.)
  6. You will take a retreat. Hello, Kripalu!  (It’s ok—those other people probably are weirdos. So are you. Eat your breakfast and shut up. No really, shut the f*ck up—it’s a silent breakfast.)
  7. You’ll start taking photos of yourself in yoga poses. Often. And you’ll think that other people care.  It’s like the modern-day version of the vacation slideshow. No one gives a sh*t, but they’ll pretend like they do so that you do the same when they whip out their own photos.
  8. You will at some point wear mala beads, which will break all over the floor of your 6:15 A.M. class.  (Basically, it’ll end about as well as when I wore my Grandmother’s rosary beads to dinner at age six. Silver Lining: The company was kind enough to re-string them for free, and now I just wear them like a really cool wrap bracelet. It’s very hippie chic. Thank you September Vogue.) (See #5)
  9. You will become a cheap date. Remember, you just dropped two sizes and you continue to spend at least an hour a day sweating and twisting and breathing. You’ll be buzzed from one drink!
  10. You’ll get over yourself. If you teach yoga, you’ll hope that people show up because they like taking class from who you really are. If you practice yoga, you’ll keep showing up and you’ll realize that the other sh*t doesn’t matter. 

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 Originally published by our elephriends over at Recovering Yogi on September 19, 2011. 
Photo courtesy of Anton Belovodchenko


Relephant Read:

Yoga People Do Strange Things.


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About Lee Anne Finfinger

Lee Anne (LA) Finfinger is a full-time Yoga Instructor, born and bred Pittsburgher. She and her husband live with their rescued cat, Harmony. When she’s not in a studio, LA can be found baking, traveling, hanging with family and friends, mentoring in the community (yeah that looks like B.S, but it’s not!), reading, writing and knitting. She can be found at:


248 Responses to “The 10 things you’ll do once you start yoga (that have nothing to do with yoga). ~ Lee Anne Finfinger”

  1. Rhonda Leigh says:

    I LOVE this!!… :}

    • Francesca says:

      yoga is a lifestyle not just asanas not a sport!
      Its not for everyone and not everyone should TEACH it!! sad article. I usually always read smart readings on EJ.

  2. Kim says:

    Kirtan and reading the Yoga Sutras have nothing to do with yoga? Kirtan is part of a bhakti yoga practice and reading texts like the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita is part of a jnana yoga practice.

    • Be nice. says:

      that's not what she was saying. Why do you and so many people on here try so hard to find negative things to say about people's work?

    • Dax says:

      Thanks for enlightening us, Kim. Where would we be without you? Oh, I know… enjoying a light article on EJ.

    • Actually they are the foundations of a true yoga practice. And where ( asanas) yoga came from.

      • nolagirlincali says:

        No they are not! The texts mentioned are the foundation for Hinduism not yoga. Yoga was around long before Hinduism. In fact, the practice of yoga was not approved or accepted by Hindus until much later. In yoga school, I was taught to believe exactly what you are saying but sadly it is not true. This is the very reason that so many people believe that yoga is a religion. This misinformation is dogma not yoga. The only thing you must do to be a yogi is breathe and any notion of connecting with your true self is Hinduism or enlightenment is Buddhism. Yoga is very, very simple. Breathe. That's it. No dogma, no diet, no kirtan, no books required.

    • jonathan says:

      yours is not a harsh or negative statement, it is simply accurate. it is truly bizarre how the article presents the most sacred and essential texts as having "have nothing to do with yoga". i'm all for levity, but levity that misinforms is careless.

    • Hmm What says:

      The author doesn't say anything about them not being a part of yoga… confused

    • Jamie says:

      Kirtan is part of naad yoga. There are 8 limbs of yoga and reading the yoga sutras and practicing naad yoga is a part of yoga in the true and traditional sense. Yoga means to unite, and to yoke, and there are a number of ways to unite yourself with God. Yoga is not just a posture/asana – there are 8 other limbs.

      "Real' yogis concerned about there health is positive..maybe not relating it in terms of being a size 6 or 12, more its about being the most healthy, happy you.

    • guest says:

      The title states " The 10 things you’ll do once you start yoga (that have NOTHING to do with yoga)."

  3. jwoods says:

    soooooooo true

  4. Thaddeus1 says:

    Got to go with Kim on this one…kirtan, the yoga sutras, Bhagavad-gita all seem to be pretty intimately connected to yoga. I would even go so far as to include non-violent diet considerations, given that ahimsa is the first of the yamas. If you don't think that the yoga sutras and Bhagavad-gita have anything to do with yoga, where praytell do you think yoga came from?

  5. yogiclarebear says:

    LOL! Love this, funny Lee Anne. No need to over analyze the humor here everyone!

  6. Tyger says:

    "On your deathbed, will you really be glad that you didn’t have that steak on your 30thBirthday?" – It's not all about YOU you know… I scored a mere 3 out of 10 anyway.

  7. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  8. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Love it!

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  9. tensirk says:

    brought a smile to my face. Love the humor behind it, plus its true 😉

  10. Scott_Newsom says:

    I think I'll start asking all of my female students to dress like the one in the upper picture, cause that is so appropriate for the practice you know. Maybe a little too much covered up top, but hey, we will get there. Before long, yoga "journalism" can objectify women just like they deserve.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Scott brother, needless to say, but seems like saying it is needed, she's making fun of yoga as fashion, yoga as lifestyle…I think you two are on the same "side." Humor!

      • Scott_Newsom says:

        The article was funny. I laughed. I lked. The pic is just another in a long line of abuses of the female form on EJ though. I wish EJ too the Yamas and Niyamas more to heart, especially within the Yoga section. Brahmacharya in practice would bring great beauty to these pages.

        • Why is showing a woman as a sexual being "abuse?" Not trying to be argumentative…just find that idea surprising…it isn't a pic that is exploitative in any way that I can see. Maybe sometimes the objectification is in the eye of the beholder…or it is what you make of it?

          • Scott_Newsom says:

            Context is important and so is the purpose of the pictures. Here, the context is yoga. Yoginis I know are not trying to "be sexual" when they are doing yoga. They also don't dress like the woman in the picture when they do yoga. The picture really does not relate to the content of the article either. That makes the purpose of the picture pretty much only to drive traffic to the article. In this case, women's sexuality is being used for a purpose that does not serve women or promote healthy sexuality. This is done all the time in the mass media and the effect on women is abusive. Even professional, successful women are made to feel that they are not worthwile unless they meet some media created ideal of attractiveness. I believe this violates the yogic practices of ahimsa and brahmacharya. It does not belong here of all places. I hope this further clarifies my point of view.

          • Except for the high heels and bracelets, I might wear something similar to a hot yoga class. When I look at #3 & #7…the photo does seem to fit the article. And really, the article is meant to be a funny…as in..let's laugh at ourselves and the silly things we do.

            I understand what you are saying, I just disagree that the photo doesn't serve women or promote healthy sexuality. I think it illustrates a woman posing herself as she is becoming more comfortable in her skin…a wonderful thing even if the woman in question is less conventionally sexy than the woman pictured above. To each his/her own…

          • Scott_Newsom says:

            The high heels and panties are there, you can't just ignore them. Or maybe you can. I won't.

          • Josie Mosser says:

            Thanks Scott. I was also offended by the picture of cannot nor will not ignore the constant imposition of patriarchal images on a practice i hold dear.

          • Lauren says:

            There are entire degree programs about why this picture is exploitative and damaging. It's a pretty blatant version of the corpse trope found in magazines. If it were an asana it would make sense, but it isn't. It's a woman, contorted like a broken rag doll, in high heels and underwear.

          • Mel says:

            Thank you, Scott. I also find the photo offensive and unnecessary. I get tired of the "oh, but we were being FUNNY/ironic/whatever!" excuse, too. No, you (EJ) found a photo that was ….. eye-catching. You played on the same crap that any other magazine does.

          • Dawn Wesselby says:

            Thank you Scott. I considered subscribing to EJ because I thought here was an informative yoga website but after commenting on a picture of a semi-naked woman in a fridge (and that has what to do with yoga?) and being told that I had no sense of humour because I objected, I decided to keep my cash. The female form is beautiful but it would be nice to see pictures of both men and women that were more respectful of a spiritual practice and less 'titillating'. We are so used to seeing sexualised images of women in the media I think many people don't event recognise it as such, it would be nice to think that the yoga community wasn't falling into the same behaviour. Perhaps more reading of the Yoga Sutras is required! 🙂

    • Erin says:

      THANK YOU!!!!!! This picture disgusts me. Not only would Iyengar cringe at this unsafe posture, but it's totally one of those lifeless "rag-doll" or "corpse" (and I don't mean savasana) poses that fashion magazines use to objectify women. Actually, this whole article pisses me off. She obviously has no CLUE.

  11. peaches says:

    that made me feel kinda dirty.

  12. yellow says:

    really not helpful. sarcasm and the "who cares" attitude aren't congruent with the mindfulness of Yoga.

  13. Mike says:

    I agree with the last few posts. The sarcasm and objectification could have been excluded. And I don't appreciate the jab at vegans and vegetarians.

    • elephantjournal says:

      I think, personally, as a vegetarian (trying to move toward veganism despite mean vegans hating on me; last night I found a "cheese" that was okay, yay!)…she was making fun of those who try on veganism or vegetarianism as a sort of fad, not those who practice it out of personal passion and compassion. ~ Waylon

      • Mike says:

        Try giving up all dairy for 21 days and not replacing it with vegan "cheese" until the 21 days is up. It will be infinitely easier.

    • Wow. says:

      There was no jab. Stop being so defensive. This is life.

      • Mike says:

        Really? I live my life perfectly fine without taking jabs at other people's lifestyles. Strange world you live in.

        • arumdev says:

          you could live it even finer if you weren't bothered by anything you perceive as 'jabs'. So maybe someone took a what? If it really doesn't matter (it doesn't), don't take it so personally, or seriously. simple.

    • Bijou says:

      I agree. Why would anyone encourage something that would hurt animals or is so destructive to the planet is beyond me. Personally I'm a little tired of the attitude towards animals and the people who try to protect them. If she had said buy a puppy from a pet shop all these people would be up in arms.

  14. Heh says:

    #11 You will become–or continue to be–overly sensitive about your "image" regardless of having embarked on the yogic path. Humour will only serve you if it boosts your ego, instead of deflating and humbling it. Yoga will become another article of fashion you place upon your self-objectified self.

  15. #11 You'll fall into the (ironically very very Western) romantic idea that everything in India/Tibet/prettymucheverywherebuthere is pure and spiritual and everything western is impure and inauthentic.

    • elephantjournal says:

      Love that. So true. In Boulder, there's always a few Tibetan "Rinpoches" (teachers) who haven't studied, don't practice, party (which is great, no probs there) and are supported by donations.

  16. justin says:

    Definitely kinda funny and true but honestly what actually has the least to do with ‘yoga’ is yoga asanas. Very interesting how twisted we have made the yoga practice so that spiritual scriptures and non violent diets are considered not to have anything to do with yoga.

  17. Jason Gan says:

    My thoughts exactly

  18. spinty says:

    #11-You'll get a cheesy tattoo of an Om or perhaps a verse in sanskrit. Hey, at least it's a step up from barbwire or a Tasmanian devil.

  19. Molly says:

    nice stereotypes!

  20. Anthony says:

    You guys are all assholes. It's funny. Stfu.

  21. Guest says:

    some of it was funny and some of it was pretty ignorant and disrespectful to real yoga as it reads like a lame Cosmo article. Real yogis shouldn't care about clothing size and also can wear and use malas without concern for image. Real yoga is about spiritual union and self-realization. This type of humor and self-mockery only makes yoga seem like a hobby and not a serious practice for anybody that reads it. I appreciate some humor in these articles but this was in poor taste IMO and catering to the weak-hearted. We need some more inspirational articles too.

  22. bdbbluff says:

    Regardless of who we think we are or who we are trying to become we will always have teeth and fists.

  23. Shallan says:

    Eating gluten-free in response to celiac disease has nothing to do with being over-zealous. I am not sure why it was included in this article, since it is an auto-immune disease and not a choice.

    • Jennifer says:

      I had the exact same reaction to the comment about the gluten-free comment. It is not a "lifestyle choice" I would wish on anyone else.

    • Linda says:

      I think she was also meaning folks who try gluten-free diets as a fad or fashion, not those who are gluten-free out of necessity..

    • NSNY says:

      As someone who doesn't have celiac disease I'll add this: When you take on Yoga you become more conscious about everything you put in or on your body. Most grains containing gluten are the product of Big Ag and GMO's. It's the same as avoiding pesticides and toxic chemicals. Though I do empathize with those of you who are gluten intolerant. I personally rarely eat bread, pasta, crackers and the sort anymore.

  24. Kathy says:

    Boo for cynicism, superficiality and sarcasm.

    • Julia says:

      I'm guessing you're american. I dont reccomend visiting the UK if thats how you feel, though you might like how our grumpiness tends to stamp out superficiality dead in its tracks… Oh yes Humour also features highly.

    • Hilary says:

      Werd. While I appreciate humor and making fun of ourselves, it is this kind of attitude that perpetuates the image of yoga as a workout, when it is an extremely important, life-changing spiritual practice for so many of us. I don't mind yoga being trendy, and I want more people to be exposed to it. However, ahimsa is an integral practice, and I think I would be very proud on my deathbed knowing I did NOT eat a soul (steak) on my 30th birthday.

  25. Aaron says:

    FYI eating gluten-free is often recommended in association with many popular diets including Paleo for reasons other than celiac disease (i realize that you don't need to be GF to follow Paleo – that's not what I said). The author is clearly not saying that the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads have nothing to do with yoga, but that her decision to read these texts over the magazines that make her feel like herself was an anti-yogic decision. This article is funny and true (no matter what you believe) because it is one persons account and it is "all about the author" because this is a blog post which is by nature meant to be "all about the author." If you are taking this article personally, you may want to revisit point #10.

  26. […] The 10 things you’ll do once you start yoga (that have nothing to do with yoga). ~ Lee Anne Finfin…. […]

  27. Loved this! Sooo true! Confession though…after many many years of practicing yoga, still not a huge Kirtan fan (but am sloooowly willing to change my attitude about that;) And p.s. I have Celiac & wasn't offended by the gluten free comment…lots of folks doing it because it's trendy, "clean," or they heard someone famous was doing it & assumed they would lose weight…whatev.

  28. Valerie Carruthers says:

    Lee Ann, you are a yogi after my own heart.

  29. […] The 10 things you’ll do once you start yoga (that have nothing to do with yoga). ~ Lee Anne Finfin… […]

  30. whatever says:

    if you weren't into yoga you probably wouldn't need to mention that your cat is a rescue cat.

  31. ARCreated says:

    blech — nothing to do with yoga? really the sutras have nothing to do with yoga???

    • Thaddeus1 says:

      It seems to me that if some of the "Recovering Yogis" had actually spent time with the yoga sutra and the Bhagavad-gita that they might not have ended up in the situations they did. If it's true that we really our the creators of our destiny and what have you, then the ultimate burden of responsibility for my life rests firmly upon my shoulders. While it might seem that we are not always in direct control of where we find ourselves, we always have the choice of how we respond, react and categorize our particular experiences. The fact remains that many of us are lured into POMOYO (postmodern yoga) for whatever reason (again this lies firmly with the individual to figure out) and then lament the fact that it left us "unfulfilled." And then, so to put the icing on the cake, those scorned turn their ire towards the contorted version of the authentic path by adopting another "new-age, self-help" approach.

  32. KBDC says:

    Whatever it takes to get more people doing yoga. if you already know, does the rest matter? Humor is an essence. 🙂

  33. Manolo Garsía says:

    Sorry,… i don't understand nothing… are you speaking about Yoga or what…?

  34. Portia says:

    I'm not inspired to take a class with this woman.

  35. Rose says:

    there r ppl who practice yoga and still dye their hair and such…..taking care of one self doesn’t mean its vanity. You r judging ppl who do not practice yoga to b vain. There is nothing wrong with eating meat either. For some indigenous ppl….its a diet requirement for survival (especially cold areas – such as the inuit)…..and for some eating meat is sacred. I suggest whoever wrote this absurd article to TAKE A RETREAT and A STEP BACK and observe your ego. And a suggestion…… go on a retreat down to the Amazon….engage in a healing ceremony of Ayahuasca and see for yourself how much bull your actually full of.

    PS…..your higher self is beautiful :)…… but you have a lot of work to do.

    • Julia says:

      You pretentious twat!! You should take your own advice…

      • Scott says:

        Julia, don't waste your time on anyone who uses a comment thread like a Twitter post. What person who actually wants to be taken seriously actually abbreviates a three letter word? OR A TWO LETTER WORD??? It is "be" not "b". Grrr…."r", "ppl", "b"? Use words words Rose, your words…

  36. chad says:

    Let's see–haven't done eight of the ten things on the list, and I've been practicing for over 30 years . . .

  37. allison says:

    Funny and true! Love it 🙂

  38. […] saw this article on Elephant Journal and think it’s just […]

  39. Becky says:

    I love you for you, and you teach an awesome class! You crack me up, please continue!

  40. Ali Magnano says:

    So funny, and so true. Thanks for the insight 🙂 I think all of them have applied to me at least once.

  41. Fred Teno II says:

    "3.You will pretend not to notice that your ass now fits in a size 6 instead of an 8, but you’re secretly thrilled. (When you get down to a 4 though, watch it. People will talk.)".
    This is bothersome to me. Weight and shape should never enter into the yoga equation and as a matter of fact, drawing that parallel is the antithesis of what yoga should represent. A healthy mind and body does not equate to shrinking dress sizes. Something to think about.

  42. yogi tobye says:

    People need to read article titles more often (especially the parenthesis).

    That said… don't men do yoga as well? In fact, I'm quite sure that they do…..

  43. yogi says:

    actually, feel free to listen to kirtan all you want, its perfectly ok to do, kirtan all the time everytime! and also feel free to be vegetarian…also perfectly ok…no need for steak. cynical yogis are morphing this tradition into a materialistic hobby…please raise your vibration!

  44. Ivan says:

    There is nothing "over-zealous" about LIVING YOUR VALUES being the change you want to see in the world. I believe in kindness and compassion towards ALL living beings — not just humans. I like to walk the walk, and not just talk the talk.

    Our food choices have SERIOUS consequences on other sentient beings. These beings are tortured, branded, mutilated, beaten, castrated, and ruthlessly slaughtered. Thus, I have a problem with Lee Anne when she says tings like "If you’re craving meat, just eat it!" Lee Ane, how do you think the sentient animals feel about that?

    When we lift the veil and see the suffering our food habits cause, when we connect with the reality of the defenseless beings who suffer so terribly because of our food choices, our indifference dissolves and compassion—its opposite—arises, urging us to act on behalf of those who are suffering.

    If we are sincere in our quest for human peace, freedom, and dignity, we have no choice but to offer this to our neighbors, the animals of this earth. Cultivating awareness, we can transcend the imposed view that animals are mere food objects.

    • Guest says:

      We should staet a campaign to feed all the lions and tigers in the wild vegetables. This would then stop the inhumaness of nature as these big cats kill other animals. Nature so got it wrong when it invented carnivores but I am glad we are here to correct this oversight.

      • karlsaliter says:

        You and me agree, I think, in respect for nature. But in exploring veganism, a person is not so much
        thumbing their nose at our animal nature, though it might appear that way.

        The real effort to correct the oversights of nature is taking place in the factory farms and fisheries, Guest, where hormones are injected into living beings left and right to produce eggs and grow poundage. Concern for viability in a very low profit margin undertaking reduces the basic humanity toward the captive animals to zero, and below.

        The current meat eater's diet is far removed from the wild you speak of. What is on today's carnivore plate is a product of prolonged captivity, increasing deprivation, and ruthlessly applied medicine. It is not natural to eat this.

    • Julia says:

      Be the change and STFU

  45. Guest says:

    If yoga cannot stand up to the attention of satirists perhaps it and those who profess to practice it have become too self important. If I were truly blended in mind and spirit, ate only to nourish my body and dressed only in a way that was a reflection of my inner peace and beauty, I wouldn't give a fuck about what people said about my practice, diet or fashion sense.

  46. Benjamin says:

    AMAZING! Yoga should not be taken so seriously and this definately sees the light hearted side of it! Kathy…relax and breathe, maybe giggle a little! Thanks namaste!

  47. terry says:

    Lighten up….it's funny….we can be reverent and laugh at ourselves, and how others may see us as yogis and yoga teachers…..I like finding humor….it draws others to our light spirit!

  48. Your Beautiful Child says:

    I love that this represents the light heartedness in yoga, and all that you mentioned are true….
    On the serious side, after all these things are bought or done. The real yoga happens in the heart and is totally free and comes with us wherever we go…

  49. SwamiHenderson says:

    OMG if some of these comments are indicative of the unfun over sensitive attitudes of some of the people who do yoga, I never want to take a yoga class.

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