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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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. 

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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. Mrs Boss Lady says:

    U need to find balance between humor and seriousness

  2. guest says:

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

  3. I would love to do yoga of this kind !

  4. path guy says:

    OMG so totally true.

  5. judy says:

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

  6. 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..!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Pauline says:

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

  14. Mimi says:


  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Nine says:

    Guilty. My left upper arm now sports a dancing Ganesha and the second yoga sutra in Sanskrit.

  19. 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.

  20. 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 and see why on my death bed I will be very proud of all my years of not eating tortured animals.

  21. Micah says:

    I would do none of these if i did yoga.

  22. 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. 😛

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

  24. Helen says:

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

  25. Megan horsley says:

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

  26. Tanja says:

    Often, the source of water is a leak a leaky roof,

    pipe or appliance but it could also be, condensation on pipes, flooding or poor water drainage, or

    poor ventilation in humid rooms. Preventing mold growth in

    other parts of the home requires containing the mold spores within the infected area.

    First, the area must be partitioned from the rest of the home requires containing the mold spores within the infected area.

    Preventing mold growth in other parts of the home requires containing the mold spores in the air.

  27. michael says:

    Maybe add another : read yoga poetry: 🙂

  28. 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.

  29. 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 …

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. joy says:

    man…my ass hasn't seen a size 6 or 8 or 10 since I started yoga 5 years ago…wonder what I'm doing wrong….

  33. loren says:

    Yoga Sutras have nothing to do with yoga? Hm, I'd beg to differ. Asana, if anything, has less to do with yoga than the sutras do, and yet we objectify asana to no end in the west. My prayer is more of us read the sutras, not less.

  34. FYI: There are 'asanas' inscribed on the temple walls in Egypt long before its inception in India….

  35. Lizzie says:

    Humour is more than acceptable – at our yoga retreats (which are not just about meditating), we spend a lot of time laughing our heads off! But all this is simply about the embarrassingly bad superficiality of a 'yoga' practitioner… Doing things unconsciously, wanting to be 'thin', following the herd, etc!

  36. Lizzie says:

    If this article was called, 'The 10 things you’ll do once you start yoga (some of which YOU THINK have nothing to do with yoga), if you have no clue what yoga is actually about and are doing it because you think it's cool and you want to be ridiculously thin,' THEN it would be funny! 🙂

  37. Petra says:

    Just love it. Its so true….just listen to my yoga-mates in the rest-room..i will try to not laugh the next time when hearing this 🙂

  38. Noemi says:

    I started yoga a week ago! I'm very happy of my choice. I honestly don't know what to think of the article, because I know a few about yoga, but it doesn't convince me at all. Thank you anyway, it made me smile.

  39. Rachael Wharton says:

    Most of the things mentioned in this article happen to you as part of the transformational process which yoga, when taken seriously, actually instigates. They are not meant to be done as part of the in yoga thing to do. You can’t actually help falling in love with Kirtan and wanting to be vegan when your heart opens. And you genuinely care less about dying your hair, clothes, etc because you learn to love and accept yourself as you are.

  40. Ashley says:

    Thank goodness there are people who understand that kirtan and the yoga stutras have Everything to do with yoga. You do realize that when asana first came into existence it was to prepare yogis’ bodies for meditation, right? Yoga is not only about contorting yourself into poses (and taking pictures of yourself in them)–and if you think that, you have a misguided and shallow understanding of it.

  41. Hannah says:

    Elephant journal, I am veeeerrrrrryyyyyyyyy disappointed with you. You have become increasingly sold out over the past few months and this article is very characteristic of that. Stop trying to get more clicks and weed out this shit. What impact is this having?
    P.S. the picture at the top of this article is absolute bull. That is not a post, it's bad for your neck, and its overly sexualized and sexist and gross and representative of the ways the West has seriously messed up yoga. You can do better.

  42. elephantjournal says:

    Hey there – this is actually an old article! And it's supposed to be funny/fun. We also have a diverse realm of readers and writers, so not everyone will like everything.

    If you have something to say you are welcome to write too!

  43. sabine says:

    to the writer who commented that animals would find a way to eat us if we let them; so therefore let's eat them first:




    no compassion in that Yogi heart of yours, is there.

    Keep reading articles and looking at pictures, maybe do a class once in a while to upkeep your mental image of yourself as a Yogi and leave the world to the rest of us who give a crap.

    peace out,



  44. Danielle says:

    kirtan, the yoga sutras and mala beads do have something to do with yoga. also, although not necessarily being vegan, being a vegetarian is following ahimsa- 'to cause no harm, no violence, no injury'- one of the 5 yamas listed in the yoga sutras. following these 'trends' actually perhaps reflects a deeper understanding or a pursuit of a deeper understanding of yoga as a philosophy and not just yoga as a fashionable form of exercise or fitness and a place to wear some super expensive new yoga pants to.

  45. burnadebt says:

    You may not care about eating the steak at your 30th birthday party, but the cow certainly does. Ahimsa and vegetarianism are a huge part of yoga. Western animal agriculture is torture: for the animals, for human animals, for public health, and for the environment. It is not something to joke about.

  46. Bobby says:

    Should be retitled “10 Things Privileged White American Girls Will Do When They Start Yoga”

  47. Rochelle says:

    I agree the sexing up of yoga is cringeful and stinking of ego driven voyeuristic distortion of a beautiful spiritual physical art form ….those who use the excuse "oh why is it a problem showing women as sexual" have missed the point…. there is nothing wrong with women as sexual beings, we are and have always been so . Woman is a beautiful and powerful being. Its the contextual objectification of women's bodies that is disturbing. wow the abuse of women and our bodies is so entrenched in our unconscious mind set that the blatantly obvious has been dumbed, numbed and repeatedly regurgitated as freedom. If you understand the power of energy Prana and life force you will understand what Scot Newsom is saying…..there is a fine line , I Know and can be hard for some to detect … but one knows the difference between practice and abuse.

  48. 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.

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