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. catybell says:

    Jesus glad I dont do Yoga…..

  2. Jeffrey Scios says:

    She looks like a porn star in the top picture! Yoga?

  3. Maya says:

    i did not relate to this AT all!

  4. […] not sure if I was amused or horrified that I could totally identify with this funny article on Elephant Journal. I sure did get a laugh though. And yes, I’ve done all […]

  5. Scott says:

    I thought this article was fun and made me interested in finding out more about yoga. After reading the posts of so many people claiming a commonality with yoga and also seething with negativity, I have decided i know enough about yoga as I need to know. Thanks for helping me check one more curiosity off of my list.

  6. 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…

  7. Scott says:


  8. maru says:

    How come restraining yourself from flesh has nothing to do with yoga? Ahimsa sounds familiar?

  9. SwamiHenderson says:

    No kidding. If the self is like an illusion, shouldn't we not take it so seriously?
    Who wants to live in a world without laughter?

  10. SwamiHenderson says:

    lol yeah, I didn't know downward looking drama was a yoga pose.

  11. tea says:

    honest,open article where i felt that author shared her experience and perhaps others can relate,being doing yoga for 5 years and topics just didn’t is what it is

  12. layne says:

    Pretty funny article – guilty as charged (except I dye my hair). But I want to know where these stock photos are coming from. Is this chick in a yoga pose…in her yoga boots & panties? 🙂

  13. […] not sure if I was amused or horrified that I could totally identify with this funny article on Elephant Journal. I sure did get a laugh though. And yes, I’ve done all […]

  14. BrajaSorensen says:

    Number 6 got a burst of laughter outta me….well done. But you forgot the "Will wear several layers of ultra thin, uber cool yoga gear, all different lengths, each piece showing somewhere thru or on top of the other, and combinedly hanging at different levels over your Hardtail foldover damned hot yoga pants. You've never worn so many layers and you wish like hell you didn't have to, but how can you just do yoga in ONE T SHIRT?? Loser!"

  15. 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.

  16. Hmm What says:

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

  17. Hmm What says:

    Oh duh, the title…… I just took it as a funny title.

  18. I've done numbers 5 and 7!

  19. Sara says:

    I love this list because when I first started practicing yoga, I’m fairly certain I did all or most of the things on the list. Then, I got to Number 10 and my practice really took off- not just in asana, but in how I am in my daily life too. I’m still semi-vegan (OK- I eat local meat once a week because my husband loves to cook, and he was starting to be sad that I wouldn’t eat what he made),I’ve studied the yoga sutras because I want to and not because I felt like I “had” to, and I try to practice ahimsa in my words as well as my actions (which is more than I can say for some of the posters on here…ahem). Yoga is about being true, living from your truth, and keeping it real- whatever that is for you. Maybe we could pass on the heavy helpings of judgment that are being handed out and try out #10 for size- you know, just to see what happens :).

  20. Sara says:

    Love this again.

  21. jonathan says:

    As a guy, I'm definitely not relating to this.

    I feel like the Yoga community needs to start focusing on the other 7 Limbs. We'd be much stronger if we could do so.

  22. Anne-Li says:

    So fun, honest and true 🙂

  23. meganromo says:

    Any yogi who doesn't love this has, uh, shall we say: issues. It's fantastic. I've been practicing for seven years and have been a vegetarian for five, cut my hair off (pixie cute, I think!) three years ago, have lotsa kirtany music on my iPod, go to yoga festivals, and dropped two sizes.

    The especially good part: I'm happy with my choice. And the better part: I can laugh about all of it. If I've made myself into a cliche, no biggie. I like life this way. Awesome article.

  24. […] The 10 things you’ll do once you start yoga (that have nothing to do with yoga)–Lee Anne Finfinger […]

  25. denise says:

    hahaha! I love this

  26. LeighC says:

    Erm, been practicing for 7 years and NONE of these apply to me…not especially the "buzzed after one drink" part…o.O Oh, and I was a vegetarian BEFORE I started practicing…lol

  27. guest says:

    hmmmm….I've been doing yoga for probably 9 years now and I've never done any of these things…..kinda stupid if you ask me…I get sick of all these articles in here that pander to all the yoga BS that is out there.

  28. cathywaveyoga says:

    11. you will wear your tight yoga clothes everywhere.. they are the latest.., you know.
    12/ You will wear your 'yoga hair' style everywhere.. a scrunched pony tail up on top..
    13. You will have a bunch of positive friends.
    14. You wil write about yoga and comment on others' works.

    Nic ewlist.. I couldn't resist.
    Oh, and I decided to color my grey due to yoga.. those darn mirrors and upside down poses revealed more grey than I choose to.

  29. meldeliz says:

    I got a great chuckle out of this. I love sarcasm and a sense of humor! And I do love how yoga snuck in and made me a lil bit of a hippie! 😉 The only thing I would like to suggest is to not mention pants sizes. I rock at yoga and I am beginning to teach it. I work HARD to eat healthy. But I may never be even a size 8… and that's ok! 😉

  30. […] The 10 things you’ll do once you start yoga that have nothing to do with yoga. ~ Lee Anne Finfinge…. […]

  31. Katherine says:

    Love it!
    Awesome 🙂

  32. Angie says:

    #11 – You will begin to budget for replacing furniture broken while practicing headstands and handstands.
    Lighten up y'all! None of us know everything. ~Love.

  33. 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.

  34. Hello says:

    Love it.

  35. Ltiscia says:

    #11 – doing awkward upside down poses that have nothing to do with Yoga and posting them on Yoga related websites…..

  36. bobcat says:

    Love it. Many of us are obviously haven't reached number 10 yet. Keep practicing and all will come…and go…

  37. Shelby Yoga says:

    To me, yoga is all about freedom, and exploration; and this article is all about that! It's funny, light-hearted, sarcastic, silly, and a little controversial. So what? We are blessed freaking people, here! Look at us all — we all have the freedom to express ourselves and our opinions! I have a feeling that the author of this article had a good time poking fun a few of the quirks/generalities of the yoga industry of the west. I'm guessing that her passion for yoga and insights revealed to her while practicing, are credited in lending humor to this subject!

    We all experience yoga differently. Personally, one of the lessons I am continually learning through my practice is non-judgement. If we disagree or feel we are experiencing a different truth than another person, instead of casting judgment about right and wrong, why don't we give the person props for feeling free enough to express him or herself? When we build each other up and have compassion for other peoples' experience, that's where the magic of shared one-ness and love happens! We can't take life too seriously — it's good to have some fun, make some jokes, and laugh at ourselves. Who wants frown lines, anyway? *wink*

    #10 on the list is my favorite:
    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 shit doesn’t matter.

  38. Mary says:

    First of all, poking fun at vegans or vegetarians shows that you do not have respect for the way others want to eat. Read the book "China Study" and maybe you will be enlightened! Also, listening to NPR news is intelligent and refreshing compared to the extreme right wing news you hear on the radio!

  39. the_virtual_kid says:

    Believe it or not, some people actually believe in vegetarian diets!

  40. Guest says:

    This is so true. Been there done that 7 years ago. However, I don't agree with #10, you'll get over yourself. The yoga/new age movement encourages a self-absorbed obsession with finding yourself, your sacred mission to the rest of lowly humanity, and the bragging of the newest psychic experience (how does an inflated, ungrounded, ego truly contribute to society). In that yoga/new age scene I've met the most narcissistic, self-absorbed, demigod type people ever.

  41. […] >>Yes, most yoga instructors are very flexible. However, they are probably inflexible about what you eat, if you can drink, and how often you should practice… […]

  42. joanespring says:

    Since when was practicing a kind, compassion diet "over-zealous"? I'm pretty sure Thich Nhat Hanh doesn't consider being a vegan giving anything up. I know on my deathbed I will not regret having celebrated another year of life without depriving another sentient being of his.

  43. Jessica says:

    Don't be so sensitive! We have to laugh at ourselves once in a while. I've definitely been guilty of getting caught up in a pretentious (and non-yogic) mindset in response to how I THINK a yogi should be. People going through this will come around. Lighten up 🙂

  44. Yoga with Nicci says:

    Lee Anne, I absolutely loved this – thank you so much. In fact, I loved it so much that once I had stopped cringing and laughing at myself, I had to repost it on my blog…. It makes me giggle even more to see how many people have managed to get their knickers in a twist about your wonderful humour. Kind of proves a point to me…. Anyway, thank you and please keep up the wonderful writing.

  45. 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.

  46. Yogini_mama says:

    "real yoga"… (sigh)… "real yogis" (facepalm)!!!

  47. ianbatt says:

    Everyone LOVES my photos of me in yoga poses.