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. ARCreated says:

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

  2. 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..

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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…

  7. Scott_Newsom says:

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

  8. KBDC says:

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

  9. Manolo Garsía says:

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

  10. Portia says:

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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 . . .

  13. allison says:

    Funny and true! Love it 🙂

  14. Anthony, you're hired.

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

  16. Becky says:

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

  17. Ali Magnano says:

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

  18. 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.

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

  20. 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…..

  21. 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!

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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!

  26. 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!

  27. 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…

  28. 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.

  29. looker says:

    bunch of angries on the yoga board.. I read and enjoyed the article.. envious of the size 6 thing.. (and the 8) Keep on keeping on friends.

  30. Nate says:

    Cruelty free? I just want to fill you in on a couple of facts. Humans are no different than lions, hippos, primates, canines, or any other living creature. We are all animals. We just happen to be humans and have the brain power to question our role on this planet. In the end though, like all other animals, we are meant to feed on eachother as a means of survival. This is what we humans have decided to call "the food chain." Everyother animal on this planet is driven by instinct. So the fact that cattle, pigs, and chickens are edible and quite frankly delicious, we eat them. If the human population didn't eat them, I am sure evolution would figure out a way for them to eat us since cattle, pigs, and chickens would vastly out populate the human race in less than a decade. So in all honesty, Vegans and vegitarians who are choosing this lifestyle to be cruelty free, pull your prude heads out from the depths of your rectal cavities and become a part of the world God intended for us. Thank you.

  31. Julia says:

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

  32. […] My good friend and fellow yogini WH sent me this link today, which really burst my yogic bubble. And all along I’ve been thinking I was special and finding The One Truth! (This awesomely funny yoga humor is copied from Lee Anne Finfinger’s article on Elephant Journal). […]

  33. Julia says:


  34. Bippim says:

    total bag of crap.

  35. Julia says:

    There is no such thing as a yoga "Bible." The Bible is the bible yoga is yoga

  36. Julia says:

    She knows what real yoga is. she's just laughing at herself and what a Joke commercial yoga can be

  37. Julia says:

    Be the change and STFU

  38. Julia says:

    Perhaps some of the self righteous angry vegans venting on here need to be reminded that ahimsa extends to how you communicate with other humans as well as your diet. A little humour and self deprecation never killed anyone. The article made me laugh because I too have wrestled with vegetarianism following study of the yamas. I continue to struggle with it despite my best intentions because my body still craves meat occasionally (the spirit is strong but the flesh is weak!! AAAAHHH)! If you are vegan and you feel healthy and strong and dont look like a wilting plant I salute you… you are very lucky. You are going straight to yoga heaven… Just dont hate on those less holy than you.

  39. Julia says:

    Yeh it's a tenet of yoga to wear your spirituality on your sleeve to "be the change" and make sure everyone knows about it 😉

  40. Julia says:

    who named you yogi? Yourself? Thought so

  41. 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.

  42. Julia says:

    Brilliantly put

  43. Julia says:

    lol 😉

  44. Julia says:


  45. Julia says:

    Good point but I think what you really mean is yoga should be taken seriously and ourselves not xx

  46. yamilet says:

    Hilarious!!! but doubt number 10 is the real thing about Yoga 🙂

  47. yamilet says:

    no doubt .. I meant to say oops

  48. 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.

  49. Anonymous says:

    Wow. You really can tell who is a fool when they open their mouth. The author has no clue what yoga is or what its purpose is.