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

Via Lee Anne Finfingeron Oct 6, 2011

Bonus! Best yoga video you’ve seen for a long time.

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. 

Like elephant yoga on Facebook.

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

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: www.lafinfinger.com.

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

  1. Annie Ory says:

    Eating vegan isn't an "over zealous diet" – it is a choice to eat food that is good for your health, good for the health of the environment, good for animals, and just plain good.

    I've been practicing yoga for over 20 years, teaching for over 5, and wouldn't know Kirtan music if it marched past me on the street in a parade. Mala beads are for meditating, they're not jewelry. People go through many of these processes whether they do yoga or not. Hair color for example, is a journey for all women.

    I will admit I do get tipsy VERY quickly. Two drinks now leads to a serious hangover for me. Which of course isn't something I "do" but something that happens to people who do yoga.

    And yes, some of this is funny. Stereotypes are funny. Stereotypes are also unfair and unTRUE, but they are funny. Some of the nicest most decent fair minded people I know will laugh if someone makes a "JAP" joke or says Asian people can't drive, it's instinctive. Yesterday I saw a joking post on FB about "sluts" and everyone was having a good ol' time with laughing about sluttyslutsluts. Not nice. But if you're laughing at yourself, it's OK. Perhaps the writer is laughing at herself?

    • Rachel says:

      I agree regarding veganism, and would add that gluten free is not over zealous either… For those with celiac disease it’s life or death.

  2. nunh says:

    I laughed – nice! I like what I can see of your tats in the pic also.

    I like the comments to this one even better though – lol!

    • Marina says:

      Oh man! I would so take Gilbert! Best love story ever! The movies are awmeose and I’ve read all the books. The best! Hmm…I may need to watch the movies this weekend! Frommer’s Disney World is on my bookshelf right now. Exciting huh?

  3. [...] The 10 things you’ll do once you start yoga (that have nothing to do with yoga). Scary funny. Guilty of all, including the not taking myself so seriously part. Fantastic piece by Lee Anne Finfinger, who seems like someone who’d be fun to have a glass or two of wine with. — originally published on Recovering Yogi, reblogged on another favorite, elephant journal. [...]

  4. iHuman says:

    The author forgot to add- getting inked with yoga-inspired tats all over one's bod. Which really has nothing to do with yoga. Kirtan, vegetarianism, reading sutras, etc on the other hand all do. Poor article- not funny, a mere attempt at getting attention.

  5. yourconsciousness says:

    In fact, it'd serve Ms. LA well to start reading the Sutras and other scriptures and stop obsessing about her butt size (as this whole thing reads like a self projection)- this way she could learn a thing or two about yoga !

  6. OleManJake says:

    Wow. I like your style: no punches pulled.

  7. theresa says:

    Oh man! you so called me out. I am a happier person in general, however. Great article. Thank you

  8. kylah glenn says:

    I wish yoga could cleanse some of your uptight asses!!! Geez it was humor … people that constantly take themselves too seriously are missing out on some of the biggest joys in life. Yoga should teach some of you love and compassion for humans not just the animals you refuse to eat… smh, the article actually sparked something in me to take my yoga practices more seriously and actually take the journey with it, the article was really about the journey being serious about your beliefs takes you on and how sometimes you can lose other areas of yourself while on that journey… I thought the article was great

  9. Joy Ali says:

    Best!! Such a light lovely read… and true!! :)

  10. Michelle Wolfshagen says:

    She speaks the truth!

  11. Robyn says:

    People are so serious and easily insulted! I liked your article. You know why? Because it shows how so many of us think we need to be a certain way but on the inside, we find that challenging. That's just reality. That's admitting our shortcomings.

  12. Mark King says:

    Kirtan = yoga of the heart. Yoga Sutras = Raja Yoga… What a lame blog entry by one uninformed teacher.

  13. John says:

    You attract what you want, good job!

  14. anastasia says:

    This made me so freakin happy- Screw the poo poo assholes who arent lighthearted, obviously they need more yoga- I am a yoga teacher and i have tried EVERY one on this list! Great writing, now i'm off to stalk your blog!

  15. Thomas Machi says:

    A lot of the people who posted here really ought to take another look at #10.

  16. Crystal Dawn Webber says:

    So….. making an effort to be more mindful, spiritual and compassionate have nothing to do with yoga? That's only true if you are doing yoga purely for the physical side of it. Which is fine, if that's all you want, that's cool. For a long time that was all I wanted too, so I understand. But let's be honest, the physical aspect is less important at the heart of yoga than the things you are making light of and poking fun at. Choose what you want from yoga, but don't try to make fun of those who want more from it and try to understand it on a deeper level and as a whole.

  17. Jennifer says:

    Love it!!!!

  18. Stephanie says:

    Veganism is "overzealous"? Watch Forks Over Knives, Earthlings, Vegucated or Gary Yourofsky's speech and then let's talk.

  19. Nadi says:

    #11 you will come into right relationship with your ego, and begin to realize all the ways you use to think of your body size and image no longer exist and you therefore don't need to be acknowledged for how you look or what you eat, or why you wear mala beads. As you dive deeper into your true self these stereoypes can unlock even further…keep it movin'–don't stop with the image of yoga you've created around yourself-move beyond it. yoga IS everything you learn. om shanti

  20. @DanaHotYoga says:

    Funny, but most have quite a bit to do with Yoga. Perhaps a tweaking of the title.

  21. eastdragon says:

    After reading the article & the first two pages of comments (especially those accusing others of being "oversensitive" & "lacking a sense of humor" or whatnot), I feel that although there is some humor in the article, the title would be a lot less misleading if it had simply said "10 Things You'll Do Once You Start Taking Yoga Classes that Have Nothing To Do with Yoga Asanas (Postures)". Especially with regard to point #5 and reading "the Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, or the Upanishads"; which, as some responders have posted, are what yoga is based upon.

    A lot of "yogis" don't begin their yoga careers with some deep spiritual goal in mind, but rather, are usually first attracted to it because of the exercise aspects of it–losing weight, becoming more flexible, etc. This appears to be especially true in Western society, IMHO. Thus, to a lot of people who don't know much about yoga at all, that's all yoga is to them: a series of exercises. Usually the philosophy & other aspects of it, such as vegan-ism or listening to Kirtan music, don't enter the picture until later, after a practitioner has gained a deeper understanding of what yoga actually is; which is something that goes much beyond the asanas and poses.

    Just my two cents.

    (Personally, could never do #1 cause I love bacon too much; and as a guy, never worried about #3, #4, or #8 either. However, I am a bit guilty of #7, probably cause the yoga studio where I practice is always having photo contests involving yoga…) :-)

  22. Radha Kauai says:

    Kirtan is the very essence of the Bhakti Yoga process, The word Yoga doesn't mean exercise- it means union with God. Unfortunately with the Western culture of self-worship the practice of Hatha Yoga has become just a superficial means to get in shape. True Yoga is a process of self discovery, Bhakti Yoga is the spiritual essence of Yoga.

  23. Mrs Boss Lady says:

    Loved it! Totally true. Just find balance in all you do even when you need to read Vogue for a change. Much better than animals fighting on the other blog- Maya and 50 Shades of whatever.

  24. I would love to do yoga of this kind !
    Thanks

  25. path guy says:

    OMG so totally true.

  26. judy says:

    Lolz..I must confess I love posting my Yoga pics on facebook!

  27. Andy says:

    i had a good laugh when i read this, its good to know other yoga teachers went through the same thing! i would even include something about being lower maintenance– stop buying makeup, hair products, wearing deoderant… haha maybe just becoming a hippie a lil bit too..!

  28. bocobound says:

    Funny, but the whole "been there, done it, beyond that" yoga guru piece is getting a little old. Soon, we'll add another one to the list…#11…you'll write a few paragraphs trying to distant yourself from the fads and the wannabes!

  29. pixel says:

    Obviously the author has some deep rooted shadow issues and feels threatened by the beauty of a deep yoga practice which includes silent reflection, mantra, ahimsa and compassion towards all beings.

  30. saucyjk says:

    yoga was not intended to be in classes, or for financial gain, and is a lot more than hatha, or poses, and yes, the sutras do belong in a complete yoga practice, while the kirtan we know in the us is stretching it to qualify as bhakti, it does qualifdy in small degrees…western yoga is vanity oriented, 95%hatha(sexy body!) and weekend kirtans…like a bar scene…in truth meditation should far surpass hatha in daily practice

  31. Bring vegan or vegetarian is not an over zealous choice, its a conscious decision to bring your awareness to how what you do affects the planet.

  32. Joe says:

    Yeah, definitely guilty of #5. I'm not sure #9 is physiologically accurate, wouldn't a healthier body be able to handle more alcohol. Anyway, post made be laugh, cheers.

  33. Pauline says:

    Love the read! Silently giggling at the thought that I'm not alone! Thank you for the article! Much love!

  34. Mimi says:

    BRILLIANT!

  35. Cma says:

    This is the first article, of many I have read, from this site I actually enjoyed. Cute and clever, really fun to read.

  36. Marko says:

    Some of those have a lot to do with yoga, but doing asanas isn´t necessarily doing yoga. So, there´s a misunderstanding here somewhere along the line of thought.

  37. Inaia says:

    Also, Being vegan is not a fad or over zealous. I understand each person has a right to make their own choice but why put down other people's choices or trivialize them? I have been vegan for 25 years and every single day I still feel it is the most important choice I consistently make. It makes me-and many others- happier, healthier, more peaceful, more vibrant and it makes a world of difference for the living beings I love and for the planet.

  38. Alli says:

    So I guess every woman who practices yoga is a size 8 and absolutely must lose some weight so she can fit into all those clothes she sees in fashion magazines? I don't relate to any of this article, nor did I really find any of it funny. I have been practicing yoga for 14 years, and have been a vegetarian for 20 years. I am all for laughing about things, but this was just superficial and ridiculous, if almost insulting to people who actually care about their practice and their impact on the earth.

  39. Nora says:

    This is a cute article, but being vegan is not some overzealous silly diet to try to fit in to tighter pants or look better in a bathing suit. It is a commitment to ahmisa, nonviolence. Watch http://www.meatvideo.com and see why on my death bed I will be very proud of all my years of not eating tortured animals.

  40. Micah says:

    I would do none of these if i did yoga.

  41. Callisto says:

    Removing gluten from the diet isn't a fad. It s a legitimate problem many people suffer from due to the fact that gluten quantities in wheat over the past 50 years has increased greatly.
    "Gluten intolerance/sensitivity.." -Symptoms include bloating, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea- due to the inflammation of the digestive tract. Headaches, lethargy, attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity, muscle weakness/disturbances and joint pain.
    So claiming it to be a fad seems ignorant, or uneducated..
    As for Celiacs…It’s only been in the last 20 years that scientists have come to understand that celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder, so perhaps it isn't ignorance on your part, perhaps the sentence you wrote comes from a misunderstanding of the disease. :P

  42. LA!!!! how wonderful to read your writing!!!!!!

  43. Helen says:

    What about: You won't care so much about being on a size 6 or 14… Is really this about beauty stereotypes?

  44. Megan horsley says:

    Hilarious! Have to admit I’m guilty of a few of these.

  45. Tanja says:

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  46. Michael Mark michael says:

    Maybe add another : read yoga poetry: :) http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/03/yoga-dream

  47. Scott says:

    One other thought that I didn't see: having been practicing for a year now, I have indeed lost a couple sizes and had to replace a fair amount of clothing … but I'm male and so I have no interest in fashion magazines and there's no chance I'll ever wear a size four or six of anything. Also, what little hair I have left is the same color it's always been …

  48. Steve says:

    Fabric is not as durable as carpeting, which is

    thicker and can stand up to cats scratching

    better. I have a cat tree available in every room of my home.

    Shipping rates are based on weight, and shipping costs for a piece of cat furniture made with cardboard posts will be considerably less than a comparable model with wooden posts.

  49. Erica says:

    hmmm. Is it un-yogic of me to say that of the 10 things, the only thing I've done is cut my hair? To be honest, I didn't try to read the Gita, I devoured it chapter by chapter, researching and contemplating much of it along the way. Then I read Yoga Journal magazine.

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