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!!… :}

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  24. Kathy says:

    Boo for cynicism, superficiality and sarcasm.

  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???

  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.

  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.

  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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