Yes, I’m a Serious Yogi, But I Still Do These 6 Things.

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I hope that my beloved elephant editors will still love me after this one.

I feel like I’m writing a blog that straight away sets me up for non-success with my fellow yoga and wellness community.

Yet here it is—a list of six things that I still do even though I consider myself a die-hard yogi.

1. Drink alcohol. For me, figuring out how to be a moderate drinker is, and probably always will be, a lifetime dance.

Alcoholism runs in my family and I’ve seen it destroy lives. Still, I can’t deny that a pint of the hoppiest ale that I can stand or a glass of an interesting wine turns me on. So, I’ve dedicated myself to the practice of mindful drinking—almost as much as I’ve dedicated myself to my mindful yoga practice.

2. I get angry. I might be the Hulk. Cute, friendly, bubbly even. Yet, wow, am I ever a Scorpio— because the people who truly know me understand that I can adrenaline rage with the best of them.

And it’s not that I don’t want to change; that I’m not seeking self-betterment (or enlightenment, for that matter). Because I do (want to change and be enlightened)! Yet I have a temper. Yep, there it is.

3. I Enjoy Exercise Sans Yoga Mat. (Sans as in without.) I received my Johnny-G Spinning certification in my third trimester of pregnancy—for real. (It was pretty hilarious for those present, trust me.) I also have a Nordic Track, circa 1980-whatever, and I regularly hike on trails in the gorgeously hilly terrain where I live. So, yoga mat, I love you, I need you—but I’m seeing someone else.

4. I eat bacon—and I like it. This is the one on the list that I think might divorce me from the other elephants, the ones who make my everyday life special. Long story cut short (and, if you know me in the slightest, this is extremely difficult for me to do), I was a vegetarian for well over a decade—actually, my husband was almost afraid to marry me when I began eating meat right before our nuptials. (Remember, ladies, men don’t want you to change after they’ve proposed.) I digress.

Again, the long and short of it is (I warned you that this was going to be a challenge) that, as much as it disturbs me, my body needs meat. There you have it.

Considering that when I was a vegetarian—to the utmost degree, mind you—one of my biggest turnoffs was other solo veggie-eaters who wore leather or ate gelatin (you get the point), it’s important to keep in mind that I’ve long been a proponent of using the entire animal if you do need utilize this form of protein within your diet.

As it turns out, (uncured) bacon (from the farm down the street) is delicious. (I promise, I love—and respect—you, fellow vegan elephants!)

5. I curse—like a sailor. I embarrass my husband, yet sadly not myself. I’m not sure if I need explain this one further.

6. I listen to angsty music. Recently I shared on Facebook that my two-and-a-half year old loves hard-core bands like Rage Against the Machine—and that this has re-connected me with my more rebellious nature (which, to be honest, she innately shares with me—thank God). Anyways, this little Facebook status update of mine didn’t receive much commentary (not unusual, I’m a geek)—but it did get me thinking about my sharing of this personal information, especially since I rarely divulge much about my daughter in writing.

Here’s the conclusion that I’ve come to—I would rather my tiny lady hear music that poses important questions (although potentially riddled with occasional cuss words) than to never hear it at all. So there you go. (Sorry, yogis.)

I’m not sure why I’m sharing this with you. I’m not an exhibitionist—I can barely wear a tank top while hiking on the towpath.

I guess it’s because one of my major pet peeves in life is people who are not authentic. So here it is, laid out on the table—a few things about the “real” me, a yoga lover.

Of course, another reason that I wrote this is that I honestly get extremely tired of yogic snobbery—the this-is-the-only-way-life-exists-and-one-can-achieve-enlightenment mentality.

I’m okay with who I am, maybe you aren’t, and I’m thick-skinned enough for that to bother me—for a minute or two before I mentally tell you to bugger off.

Regardless, there are some things that people won’t easily cough up—because they’re afraid you’ll judge them.

How about this: I promise not to tell on you if you won’t tell on me. (Because we all have parts of our personality that we don’t want put on display.)

But I will, put mine on display. But only for you. If you don’t tell.

Namaste.

 

Like elephant yoga on Facebook.

 

Ed: Kate Bartolotta

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anonymous Dec 21, 2015 8:36am

This is called yoga of convenience. We humans have the wonderful ability to rationalize anything. What you are saying is: "I can listen to angry rock music, booze, be party to the murder, mutilation, insufferable agony and rape of sentient beings, and still call myself a SERIOUS yogi". This is called being a hypocrite. The first step in yoga consists discipline, self-restraint, and ahimsa.

And just because others agree doesn't make it okay. Similarly, just because you can do Shirshasana doesn't make you a yogi.

    anonymous Feb 4, 2016 6:25pm

    That sounds like you think yogis are better than authentic , human beings who are just discovering and challenging themselves?

anonymous Nov 28, 2015 11:02am

There is no one ultimate truth,don’t do anything just because someone told you to or is part of the rules of any system or belief. Connect with innerself and you’ ll exactly know how to act.it looks like not every person is ment to be vegetarian.what is imortant is to be grateful for any food we’ve chosen to eat and completely be aware of the process how it comes on our table. If your innerself is okay with meat and you understand the thing that sensitive living creatures have been kept and killed for you than eat it. I’m an empath and I know that I would never kill any creature for my hunger. So I’ve decided not to eat meat. It was just natural with me. But everybody is original and have different needs. I completely accept that. If we instead of judging try to understand and tolerate each other, the world will be better place to live.

anonymous May 29, 2015 2:00am

1) drugs are vital to the psyche, they are nutrition. if you meditate with lavender, or any scented incense, that is assisted meditation – alcohol is the same, even if it may be physical meditation (we are physical beings, it would be evil to deny or reject this)

2) to suppress and deny emotions is not to control them, it is to fake them. be angry when you are, but learn from it so you might not be again.

3) if you cannot meditate anywhere you are not meditating. to the hills!

4) if the piggy got much cuddling than it is good. for my own meat needs i am planning on raising guinea pigs, give them the happiest life, and baconize them. my version of moral meat.

5) honest expression is universal truth.

6) if life was always happy we'd always be pissed.

anonymous May 7, 2015 7:58pm

Thank you for this article. It resonated with me and has inspired me to keep working towards becoming a better person, without have to subscribe to titles and the expectations of others. I too eat meat, and swear, and lose my temper, and still consider myself a yogi (I also have sex, which 'true' yogis aren't supposed to do). I feel that being shamed, guilted or pressured into stereotypes of what 'true' this or that does or does not do, is part of why there is so much hatred in the world today. You eat meat? You're not a 'true' yogi, despite your journey and intentions. You use birth control? You're not a true Christian, despite your beliefs. You have a penis? You're not a true woman, despite how you feel inside.

To me, it is about your journey to become a good person, a better person. There will be setbacks, imperfections and downright ugly days. But as so many other commenters have pointed out, it's about the journey, the recognition of our humanness and our struggle to become more mindful and give more than we take.

And just remember… Haters Gonna Hate. LOL, sorry, couldn't resist.

anonymous Apr 28, 2015 9:33pm

YES!! Someone finally put it to words!! I love my Moscoto wine, I have to have meat, I indulge in junk food more than I should, I cuss, heaven help you if you are the one who lites my fuse and piss me off! I'm just as much a yogi as anyone else, even when I'm on my bike cruising the mile up to my mailbox!

anonymous Apr 28, 2015 1:03pm

Thanks for the great article! I love yoga, but always felt a bit out of place. My body doesn't like a vegetarian diet, I need meat. I'm not spiritually perfect, etc, though I try to be a good person.

anonymous Mar 15, 2015 12:24pm

Entertaining, well-written article. Thanks for your candor. You ARE a serious yogi.

anonymous Feb 16, 2015 10:53pm

I think if you want to be technical then no, you are no a yogi in the sense of the ancient text,etc. That's okay. You are a present day American yogi who seems to inspire others through your gift of writing and teaching. Ego seems to be all up in the middle of this and that's actually okay too. I am on board with the moderation approach, and I have been involved with yoga and teaching for 14 years. I am a meat eater (Paleo diet makes me feel good) and occasionally will have a drink. Life is good. Lollie

anonymous Jan 22, 2015 12:03pm

I don't know how you practice ahimsa and eat meat. The act of unnecessary killing for food because you like the taste is abhorrent. Animals are divine beings who are tortured their entire life to provide a mouthful of pleasure. So many of the comments seem to admire you for being honest and authentic, I suspect because it gives them license to continue a selfish path. Give up the booze and it might help you get on the path.

anonymous Jan 15, 2015 9:00am

I am not a die hard yogi, but I do have a regular practice and I identify with the basic principles. This article could have been written about me. Striving to be patient, kind, understanding and enlightened… But BAM! Do NOT push me over the edge! (Scorpio rising) I will make several attempts to warn you, but if you do, you will most likely be shocked by the intensity of my anger.
I try to listen to relaxing music most of the time, but there are times when a little Rage or Disturbed are in order. And you can even find me at a small venue playing on the edge of the mosh pit. I eat meat, drink the occasional dark beer and sometimes, I even cuss like a sailor. A habit that formed during my divorce and has been more difficult to break than I would have thought.
Still,… There is nothing that compares to the peace in my heart created by yoga, and I am constantly telling people about the benefits of even a few minutes a day. Without yoga, my body would not allow me to do crossfit, kickbox, or run. All of which I enjoy as much as yoga itself.
Thank you for your authenticity! It is nice to know that in the end we are all human. We all have our daily struggles or just behaviors that we enjoy and embrace. We are all many faceted beings. Thank you for being, and sharing your unique self. I wouldn't want you any other way!
Namaste!

anonymous Jan 2, 2015 11:47pm

wow, its as if i wrote that myself ! So glad to hear that there's others out there on the same wave length. Many feel that we should walking around in white robes…..

anonymous Jan 2, 2015 12:12pm

I absolutely love this! Great article. One of the best I've read on ElephantJournal so far.

anonymous Oct 25, 2014 5:51pm

Congrats.
You're a normal person. So am I. Just because I don't follow Patanjali's sutras and the Baghavad GIta to the letter doesn't mean I'm not a good person. But it does mean that while I have some awareness, I am not a yogi.

On the other hand, having become aware of yama, niyama, and the rest of the ashtanga and the teachings of the bible and the Gita, with a desire to progress in spiritual development, and prayer, meditation, and personal accountability, life improves in unexpected ways at unexpected times.

Yoga chittavritti nirodha, and what you're describing is a set of troublesome but common obsessions, compulsions, and "defects" in the form of habits and worries. I'd be a little careful about certain comparisons in the form of criticisms, descriptions, and complaints and justifications, most of which are unnecessary.

As always, it's about what we can do not what we can't do.

anonymous Oct 7, 2014 9:37pm

Love this! Being a serious yogi does not mean abiding by strict rules. It means enjoying life and doing things in moderation. I admire those who choose not to drink at all, but for me this is not necessary. We all have to find our own path and sometimes that means indulging in something we enjoy that may not completely align with the mainstream yogic path. That's o.k. That's living and I say go for it!

anonymous Sep 19, 2014 2:28pm

Kudos. Well said.
I am glad to know I am not the only one.
I appreciate the authenticity.

I have done my Yoga teacher training and I as well partake in all of the 6 things above. Perfection isn't the goal, seeking awareness and maintaining that curious mind is where it's at ( :

anonymous Sep 19, 2014 9:52am

It's fantastic you're being authentic; however I'm sorry, your body does not need meat, it needs a bunch of micronutrients. I have no respect for your disrespect for other individuals – it's oppressive, it's derogatory, and it's unethical.

anonymous Sep 19, 2014 7:56am

So what makes you a yogi in the first place? Asana practice?

anonymous Sep 19, 2014 7:10am

Great article and agree with everything, except the Vegetarian thing.

Sorry, but unless you raise the animal yourself, kill and slaughter it yourself with love and kindness, you're just shifting the responsibility and guilt to an unknown third party.

If I ever get hungry enough to do the above, I will eat animals. Until then, I will remain compassionate and respectful of my fellow living beings and find something else to eat that won't harm anyone.

Love and light to you and all.

anonymous Sep 18, 2014 2:36pm

This is a great example of how tradition can become "stolen" and then manipulated to suit your fancy. Yoga is not America, it is Indian, and it is thousands of years old. Furthermore, the type of "Asana Yoga" that is all the rage in the West is hardly practiced in India at all as compared to other Yogic systems that are extremely focused on spirituality and devotion. Therefore, you aren't even slightly qualified to call yourself a "serious Yogi" (a label that is hilarious for a self-entitled American to mention in the face of actual serious Yogis in the East). You can't take an ancient word with profoundly deep roots and then carve it out to mean "one who likes to work out and look fit". That is totally bogus. It is distorting what real Yoga is and it is giving the incredibly deep philosophy and practices of ancient India a horrible representation in the West.

A "serious Yogi" is actually a rare soul to find in today's world. They are entirely selfless, dedicated to seeking truth and giving up all things for the pursuit of Love of God. Not eating meat or drinking alcohol are only premature symptoms of one who has just BEGUN the path of becoming a "serious Yogi". That is the true definition of the word with respect to the real tradition that it originates from. If you do not like that definition pick another word, don't be upset because you are "stereotyped" into being the type that word is supposed to define!

"American Yoga" is not Yoga. Anyone who is even slightly interested in real yoga NEEDS to know that fact. And also, the world needs more REAL yoga desperately (compassion), so all this American propaganda is really just heading in the opposite direction of where we need to go. Don't let this be an excuse to enable your unhealthy habits and poor life-choices. It's not hard to live a life free of meat and alcohol. No, you don't need meat for adequate protein there's more in kale per weight then steak. Let's stop this nonsense by embracing the healthy attitude of India, not stealing there "flashy" traditions and then carrying about with all our unhealthy American habits; What then is the real point?

anonymous Sep 18, 2014 11:34am

Thank you for posting something so real! I'm a yogi as well but I do enjoy a nice glass of scotch from time to time and I love how completely honest and authentic you are. I really could relate to this!

anonymous Sep 18, 2014 10:45am

You rule! Fellow scorpion

anonymous Sep 18, 2014 9:50am

Yes! I feel like you took my life story before you wrote this. I love finding pieces that I totally identify with. Rock on my Scorpio sister!

anonymous Aug 23, 2014 6:01pm

I feel like you are my clone! I like all of this. Thank you for sharing—and believe me, there are more of us out there than the yoga magazines tell us.

anonymous Aug 5, 2014 1:05pm

Reading this just made my day! I too consider myself to be a serious yogini, but am also a huge fan of "non-yoga" activities. I appreciate your authentic, witty post. Namaste and Cheers!

anonymous May 15, 2014 11:28am

what is a non-serious yogi?

anonymous Feb 24, 2014 9:30pm

Damn straight!!!

anonymous Feb 24, 2014 7:27pm

Very saddened by this. As a long time teacher and student and teacher of teachers, yeah, when I was in my 20’s and thirties and pathetically into my forties I mixed up the clubbing and the mat. I taught classes hungover and justified myself by saying “it kept me connected.” I too had a family history of addiction and then, low and behold, I had severe issues myself. Unfortunately it harmed my children, my focus, and my health. It’s samskara, yogis. It’s why we practice daily to learn control of the senses, not indulge them.

Many years sober, I look back on time wasted that could have been spent personal spiritual evolution.

Perhaps we are looking at the difference between those who practice asana and those who practice all 8 limbs, because this doesn’t meet any of Patanjali’s criterion.

Your point of view may be popular, mine will be seen as “judgmental”- usually is. And people have tried to doing whatever they like, living for the senses and the ego for thousands of years. According to the texts, they haven’t been right yet.

anonymous Feb 24, 2014 5:04pm

I felt like I was reading a description of myself. Beautifully written and well put.

anonymous Feb 24, 2014 3:01pm

I'm so confused as to when "not drinking" and "not cursing" became synonymous with "a good yogi" and everyone feels the need to write these sort of self-justifying blog posts about the things they "do even though I do yoga." drink your beer, eat your bacon, mindfully and with joy, and who gives a shit what anyone else thinks about you?

anonymous Feb 24, 2014 2:44pm

cool and honest. but what about yama and niyama?cheers 🙂

anonymous Feb 23, 2014 4:31pm

Haha…#6 I find myself blasting 30 Seconds to Mars on my way out of the parking lot after I teach a really chill class..and kind of hope my students don’t see.

anonymous Dec 8, 2013 2:06pm

Well I'm a yogi pole dancer, and I too swear like a trucker. You go girl. We are all united by our authentic, genuine and unique personalities. "The need to be normal is the predominant anxiety disorder in modern life." Thomas Moore, Original Self

anonymous Dec 7, 2013 4:41pm

Love! Love! Love! Your authenticity and willingness to share!

anonymous Dec 7, 2013 10:07am

i heart you. all of you. all of your bacon-eating rage-against-the-machine moderate-drinker dancer. you have a sister in me. you really do. namaste an' shit. 😉

anonymous Dec 7, 2013 9:03am

Thank you for being who you are. You gain points in my book, not lose them, for your authenticity. People have to be true to their nature and your actions are giving others courage to do just that. I'll be you feel a bit exposed after writing that but ultimately relieved!

anonymous Dec 7, 2013 7:44am

Hi5 Sister! You made me feel like I wasn’t a terrible person. You are not alone, you brave and rebellious soul.

anonymous Dec 7, 2013 6:47am

This is fantastic it is as if you were taking dictation from my brain I am so exhausted by the absolutist attitude so many have and you know have of those people, and maybe more go to the drive through with a hat and glasses. OR sneak out back and smoke a cigarette…I have always been befuddled by the Vegan who wears leather clothing and carries a leather bag – I am not judging that as so do I, but I never preach to others what they should and shouldn't do – except to just take care of themselves and be kind to their minds and bodies. I went vegan for about 9 months and got fat and sick – it total through off my thyroid, and my hormones. The first day I had a piece of chicken it was like I could run a marathon. Our bodies are the same outside but no one is exactly the same inside – even our family members. At the same time I eat vegetables and enjoy making healthier versions of recipes that call for meat and it is fine- but the intention is just to be healthy, well and have fun in life. DO YOU! Namaste and thank you for such a fantastic article!

anonymous Dec 7, 2013 6:08am

You just do you girl 🙂 Everyone needs balance in their lives. Bacon happens to be your balance.

anonymous Nov 5, 2013 5:20pm

Can't one be a vegetarian because they don't like to eat meat? If you don't want your yoga community to judge you, you should also not judge others.

anonymous Nov 1, 2013 8:50am

We were separated at birth.

    anonymous Nov 2, 2013 9:08am

    Quite seriously, your comment made all the a*hole ones worth it 😉

anonymous Oct 31, 2013 11:00pm

Just wanted to tell you that i loved your article!
Being a yogi doesn't mean or equal being vegan nor does it equal being this amazing cloud jumping ethereal thing that can do handstands!
Thank you for writing this! A fellow yogi came in with a PBR shirt on and i said NICE shirt while another said, "NICE, a yoga teacher who wears a pabst blue ribbon beer shirt? that's not yogi of you" I had to stop myself from acting out and giving her a piece of my mind!
I drink and ENJOY it and I love bacon!
cheers to being a real person!

anonymous Oct 31, 2013 7:55pm

I think we might be long lost separated twins. 🙂
I do all that too (especially the bacon), and I still consider myself a pretty dedicated yogini. Except I hate hoppy beer–gimmie a Porter or a Stout any day!

anonymous Oct 31, 2013 6:59pm

Well done Jennifer…. We are all human and each have our own closets. Your are living your "satya" and that is VERY yogic!! Cheers girlfriend!!

anonymous Oct 31, 2013 6:18pm

I’m pretty sure you described myself. We’re two yogis in a pod sister!! Thanks for sharing.

anonymous Oct 31, 2013 1:34pm

For me, this just highlights how much more embracing I want to be……of everyone! You could be describing me, down to the bacon…(I do make conscious choices on sustainably raised/range and organic meat). This seems to be a recurring theme as of late and it always takes me aback at just how judgmental seemingly "evolved" people can be.
For me, I will strive to honor and show respect to each. Thank you for writing this..a nice reminder and a good smile :).

anonymous Oct 31, 2013 1:27pm

I think the practice of yoga makes one a yogini, in your case. It doesn't mean you are there. When you are there you won't do the negative things that you find you are doing. No judgment…..but isn't that one of the points of yoga, to form a 'union' with the Divine? That is very different from the practice. Its like people thinking they have to calm their minds in order to meditate. You meditate to calm your mind. You do Yoga,or some people do, to create that union. Until you are there….you are still practicing. Doesn't mean you won't continue to practice. But I think you catch my drift. Practicing Yoga makes one a yogi/male and/or yogini/female. Purifying the self to the point of expulsion and immersion is part of the practice. Not that it matters. Just keep practising and you'll get to that place you think other people think you should be at. At least that is my take on what you wrote.

anonymous Oct 31, 2013 11:43am

I LOVE this!!!!! I am loud, sometimes opinionated to the point of obnoxious, swear a blue streak, and DEF drink too much. AND, I am aware of all of the above, reflect on it, and sometimes even make headway; other times, I just feel 'it's okay to be me'. In fact, more often than not, erring on the side of the latter. 🙂 Great post!

anonymous Oct 31, 2013 11:32am

This list is great. I completely relate. But why all the parenthetical parentheses throughout, and why the plea for shamed secrecy at the end? It all seems to undermine the larger point that we can all be yogis in our own ways. Own it. No applogies.

    anonymous Oct 31, 2013 1:10pm

    ***parenthetical apologies (not parentheses).

anonymous Oct 31, 2013 10:42am

Practice does not only exist on a mat. A true and holistic practice happens with each step and in each moment. Connecting to nature is one of the most important practices of your yoga. Yoga is not only a physical form which occurs on your "mat." A serious yogini should feel compelled to leave her mat and search for herself in every place.

anonymous Oct 31, 2013 8:45am

In my Tantric days I used to say "I _have_ to eat meat and drink alcohol – it's my religion!"

anonymous Oct 31, 2013 6:51am

You go girl! The way I see it life is about striking a balance and always focusing on the things that are good for YOU, whether or not they are good for other people. Perhaps part of this path to enlightenment is figuring that out!

anonymous Oct 31, 2013 4:57am

Great article.. Probably because that's the kind of yogi I am as well! Rock on! 🙂

anonymous Oct 31, 2013 4:45am

I hardly ever eat bacon these days but I'm otherwise loving you as my female twin right now down the hoppiest ale/HULK/RATM details (all the exact examples for me too).

Thanks, rock on& of course…namaste -_-

anonymous Oct 31, 2013 4:15am

I just love this.

anonymous Sep 15, 2013 6:13pm

Thank you for this! The only thing I don't do also is enjoy agnst ridden music.

anonymous Sep 9, 2013 12:44pm

f**k yeah!! loved the read, thank you for this! and also, good for you 🙂

anonymous Sep 6, 2013 10:23am

This is awesome of you to post this. I started teaching yoga three years ago and I've struggled with feeling okay about my less than perfect self. There definitely is a pull for us yogis to live one way and I don't think that's always right for everyone. I am working more and more to embrace every aspect of myself and not compare myself to other yogis. I am exactly where I'm supposed to be:)

Much love, http://www.myomlife.com/

anonymous Sep 4, 2013 9:55am

Is this really a confession? Is what she says all that shameful that she has to put up all those qualifiers? Seems obvious to me that people who practice yoga also do other things in life that are fun and rewarding. I am of the opinion that we are all diverse and eclectic. If anything, yoga helps us to embrace all those sides of who we are, not deny them, or hide them in shame. Yes, even the part of us that, gasp, likes to have an alcoholic beverage. We learn to love ourselves for who we are, as we are. And in so doing we begin to share the light of our truth with others (and that doesn't mean only the sunshine and lollipop version, because it's about truth not some idealized image of perfection). And then an even more awesome thing happens we get to see and embrace others for who they are, as they are too! Namaste. (light to light)

anonymous Jul 23, 2013 5:33pm

You are like my twin. I work out A LOT but still would say I have all of these 6 things going on (minus the bacon, but I've got a sweet tooth)

anonymous Jul 22, 2013 9:10pm

Well, there a lot of thing you still need to figure out and lear. It is my prayer the Inner Wisdom will someday show you how all that 6 things contravene your authentic Self.

anonymous Jul 22, 2013 10:01am

Love this. I'm right there with you, on every item you listed, and I believe that there are many more yogis than you think who are in the same boat.

On another note, I have been so enjoying many articles on EJ lately and getting to the bottom and realizing they are written by you. Love your writing. Keep it coming!!

    anonymous Jul 22, 2013 11:48am

    Oh, my heart literally went pitter patter. Thank you.

    Personally, I'm always changing, evolving, shifting. I think to say you'll never do something is dishonest (even if unintentionally—example is that I never thought I would eat meat), but, more than this, I just want our yoga community to actually be open to love and kindness and compassion rather than judgment, fear and displacement.

    Thanks for your feedback!

anonymous Jul 21, 2013 9:29pm

Humans do not NEED meat to survive, your body does not need it! there are so many other non violent options out there. I truly do not believe that you can be a TRUE yogi in the lifestyle sense of the word unless you are vegan. Yogis are supposed to create a life of change from the energy you are consistently moving through your body and lead the way in non-violence. Yet, what you do each day, eat bacon, creates a life of misery for a gently pig who is actually smarter than a 3 year old child. They do not go willingly to slaughter, they are forced there and there lives are taken from them, so you can have your meat since you NEED it.

Essentially, you are a person who can do yoga poses. NOT a yogi.

    anonymous Jul 22, 2013 11:33am

    Hmmm…normally I would now state my logical, rational opinion, but I honestly can tell that your mind is made up and that this is not the beginning of a discussion but rather a condemnation of my lifestyle choices. The reason that I wrote this article wasn't to get everyone to eat meat or cuss (and it's not like I'm gnawing on bacon all day every day), it was to get our collective yoga community to open up and share ourselves willingly and honestly in order to better promote growth and support (which, clearly, is not your shared mission). Good luck on our journey.

      anonymous Sep 18, 2014 2:52pm

      It's not your position to claim such a "mission" in the first place. The word "Yogi" is thousands of years old and not subject to your "personal Americanized version" of it. This person is presenting the authentic Vedic understanding of a healthy Yogic lifestyle and you are denouncing it because your mission is to "promote growth"? The only thing you are promoting is distortion of an ancient practice and that hardly passes for growth. If you want to make things "your way" invent your own system that hasn't existed millenia before you in another culture on another part of the globe.

      Maybe pick a title that doesn't begin with:"Yes, I'm a serious Yogi…" if you don't want to deal with the criticism you are quite blatantly asking for.

        anonymous Oct 5, 2014 9:30pm

        Totally agree with you Tim and Vegan Yogi. Ms. White, you aren't following the 5 paths of yoga.

          anonymous Sep 27, 2015 10:30pm

          Regardless of ancient history, or other cultures, who is to say she can't define what it means for herself? There's multiple versions of religion are there not? Why then can't there be multiple versions of yogis as well? Why must we be so dogmatic about it? (on either of these really, as religious can be similar) It's great to wanna be a certain way, but ever stop to think that that path, noble as it may be isn't for everyone? That maybe people want to put their own stamp on life and on what they see themselves as or want to strive for? Just some food for thought, we're not all the same, and I think that celebrated rather than be criticized. Life wouldn't be what it is if we all were.

          (I can totally relate to the anger thing as a fellow Scorpio…..I can deal with emotions okay if left alone, but…..if triggered, watch out! lol)

anonymous Jul 21, 2013 9:16pm

why do you "need" meat?

anonymous Jul 21, 2013 9:08pm

I think you are me. Thank you for the mirror, and for your authentic vulnerability. As I like to say, "It's all good, I don't care what it looks like." <3

anonymous Jul 16, 2013 8:51am

Haha, I love this. I just also posted my love of bacon, it's out there now, no turning back. I love that you are free to be you, since that's what yoga is about anyways. *internet five*

    anonymous Jul 17, 2013 6:13am

    *internet five* back. Thanks for your uplifting feedback!

anonymous Jul 15, 2013 9:09am

To me, yoga is all about observing where you are now – and being okay with it. We try so hard to live up to the public's view of what a yogi is, that we forget about the core of it – observing ourselves and being okay. I think you've got a better handle on it than a lot of people who try so hard to be so perfect…and then give all of it up because it is too hard. I am a vegan and it is easy for me, but I know that not everyone is there, nor should they be. I am happy that you've been brave enough to start this dialogue in the yoga community!

    anonymous Jul 17, 2013 6:13am

    Leah, thank you for your sharing your thoughts. I just feel that on a basic level trying to live up to a photograph or an inspirational and cheerful ideological concept is often counterproductive and damaging. Often in practice, people try to make their bodies do what a picture or implanted image looks like rather than letting go and giving into sensation—and this article was meant to be this same thought transplanted into how we could live our every day lives. In other words, stop being phony and start being honest—because positive change can not come from hiding in the dark.

anonymous Jul 14, 2013 5:33pm

Great post- coming from another angle, I'm a little floored that more yogis or yoginis pretend like they don't drink, curse, listen to loud "angry" music, etc. I definitely do- always have. Most that I've known- do. It just feels differently when serious practitioners engage these activities: more of a playful spirit rather than desperation. I love that. I love how you wrote this. I also LOVE meat, & my body needs it (I've tried nixing it & got DANGEROUSLY thin). Thanks for the EFFING FIST-PUMP!

And PS: false piety aggravates the SHIT out of me.

    anonymous Jul 15, 2013 12:15pm

    Andy, thank you, thank you. I agree completely. Every single day of my life I work to be the best Jennifer that I can be—and some days sure are better than others—but, overall, I've found that I'm never at my best if I'm not being real both with myself and with others.
    Thanks again for your feedback.

anonymous Jul 14, 2013 3:22pm

Just today I was contemplating this very subject. While I was baking my bacon for my fresh broccoli out of the garden salad, I was literally thinking about how much I use the F word…..and what it means. It means nothing. I get angry, and that is what I say under my breath. The bacon…..I just read an article about a woman who lived 100+ and she said her secret was bacon every day. The most important piece of being a yogi or a human for that matter, is loving where I am in this moment. That is enough.

    anonymous Jul 15, 2013 12:12pm

    Thanks, Wendy, I love that.

anonymous Jul 14, 2013 12:03pm

You and I should be friends! Yoga is the calming influence in my life but my rock chick partying, egotistical, competitive spirit still lives on.

anonymous Jul 14, 2013 11:38am

We are householders, not saints. But through this practice, we householders can become saints. Some day. 🙂

    anonymous Jul 17, 2013 6:09am

    Nope, I'll never be a saint—and that's fine with me.

anonymous Jul 14, 2013 11:36am

As you continue to do your practice daily, especially meditation, you will find that your vibration rate will become more and more rarefied. You will activate higher, and still higher, centers. And little by little, you will LET GO of the gross, dense, and vile. They will fall away from you gently. And you won't miss them, either. It will NOT be like putting away treasures; it will be like putting the trash out on the curb.

anonymous Jul 14, 2013 11:27am

AWESOME. Kevin Winters said it best above "the journey is the goal. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something…and what they are selling isn't the authentic thing.

Keep on being yourself and enjoy the journey.

    anonymous Jul 15, 2013 12:11pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. The journey sure is a lot more fun without the weight of a mask.

anonymous Jul 14, 2013 10:56am

I dig that you are real! Thanks for sharing.

anonymous Jul 13, 2013 8:58am

I'm a yoga teacher, and you just described me! (I even own a Nordic Track – purchased in 1995 about a week before I gave birth to my first son). I started teaching in 1999, and felt like a bit of a fraud when I tried the Atkins diet. Now, I love the fact that I feel comfortable being real. I've never wanted to be a vegan and I still love my long walks and weighted workouts.

    anonymous Jul 15, 2013 12:10pm

    Go, Amy! (And a nordic track sister! How exciting 🙂

anonymous Jun 25, 2013 11:27pm

Seriously, I hope nobody judges you for that. If they do, I'll sit down to a nice glass of wine and plate o' bacon with you.

anonymous Jun 25, 2013 12:37pm

As a part-time yoga teacher for most of my life and admirer of Buddhist philosophy, I appreciate your honesty and have struggled with many of the same issues you have. However, I have another "sin" to confess. I wear nail polish – on my fingers and toes – and love it!!!

    anonymous Jun 25, 2013 6:15pm

    Me too! woo hoo! Honestly, my fingernails grow naturally long and god-awful strong and it's actually a pain in the arse to keep them short for my yoga practice—oh, the things that I suffer for in the name of goodness 😉

anonymous Jun 25, 2013 5:25am

I am pretty sure I belong to your tribe.That’s for inspiring me to be myself.

    anonymous Jun 25, 2013 6:13pm

    Thank you, Suz! Welcome in. The initiating ritual involves having a glass of good wine and dark chocolate before bed around a campfire of friends and then a cup of coffee when you wake up—and the sharing of your honest thoughts is the only thing that's mandatory.

anonymous Jun 24, 2013 9:56pm

You forgot CHOCOLATE! 🙂

    anonymous Jun 25, 2013 6:11pm

    Oh, I didn't forget chocolate, Niki. Never you fear, dark chocolate is one of the necessary food groups. Hmmm, maybe that's one of the other hundred things I do that I should have added to this list? 😉

anonymous Jun 24, 2013 1:15pm

Sounds like you are, well, human! Flawed, imperfect, striving, self-aware (which sets you apart from many of your fellow travelers). And you like bacon!! If you weren't already married (and my wife wasn't so handy with firearms) I would consider a proposing!! 🙂
Anyone who disagrees with you should be forced to wear those see-thru Lululemons for month! (I share your adrenaline rage issues)

    anonymous Jun 25, 2013 6:09pm

    Well I like that threat! I'll have to keep that one in my see-through back pocket for a rainy day.

anonymous Jun 24, 2013 6:14am

Great article. Essentially you are saying you are human and that you have multiple aspects to who you are. As we all do

    anonymous Jun 25, 2013 6:09pm

    That's exactly it and thank you for your feed back. What a boring place the world would be without our quirks.

anonymous Jun 23, 2013 8:01pm

good to know it's not just me 🙂

anonymous Jun 23, 2013 7:51am

Beautiful post. From the drinking to the swearing, it could have been written about me!

anonymous Jun 23, 2013 6:38am

shocking!

anonymous Jun 23, 2013 3:35am

You are a normal person doing your best to live mindfully. isn't that what a true yogi is? Thanks for this.

    anonymous Jun 23, 2013 5:24am

    I believe so! Thanks for your feedback!

anonymous Jun 22, 2013 6:13pm

Liked your post. The other day I had someone tell me that I wasn't the "typical" yogi. What is a typical yogi these days? Thank you for sharing your quirks 🙂

    anonymous Jun 23, 2013 5:24am

    Thanks for your response, Casey. I posted the link on an earlier comment, but I just wrote a blog called "Warning! Accepting Your Flaws Might Lead to Personal Growth and Change," and I wrote it to share what I think a "real" yogi is. (And I believe that yogis are as free as anyone to be quirky and "atypical"—yeah, what does that mean? 😉 Thanks again.

anonymous Jun 22, 2013 12:12pm

I'm with you on what you say. I don't see anything wrong in doing yoga, getting angry and eating bacon. If it's what your body is asking you, go for it. As for those emotions, well, better out than in. Keep on being yourself and be proud of it.

    anonymous Jun 23, 2013 5:21am

    Thank you, Alma! I try my darndest to adhere to a policy of honesty, especially with myself. If I can't be truthful about myself and my own needs, then how can I ever help make the world a better place for my daughter to live in?

anonymous Jun 22, 2013 11:47am

Lovely post! Thank you for your authenticity. So much of the yoga journey is about recognizing the parts of yourself that you may not be proud of and integrating those parts with whole. One love!

    anonymous Jun 23, 2013 5:19am

    Thank you! And you're absolutely right. The whole, you can't have the light without the dark, flipside of the coin, etc is all true. I think one of the wisest things I've figured out about life, and the players in it, so far is that nothing is black and white, rather it's shades of grey.

    anonymous Dec 8, 2013 2:07pm

    She's got nothing not to be proud of.

anonymous Jun 22, 2013 11:09am

I'm with you.

anonymous Jun 22, 2013 8:47am

I feel like you are watching me and writing about it! Wow it is so nice to here from an authentic person…go on with your bad self!

    anonymous Jun 23, 2013 5:18am

    Thanks, Kelli! It's great that we're all sticking together 😉

anonymous Jun 22, 2013 8:24am

What does "die hard yogi" mean in this place and age anyway? I wonder what it means to the writer. Most "elephants" are certainly not himalayan mountain cave ascetics…so….what?

anonymous Jun 22, 2013 7:48am

Lol, I LOVE your authenticity – totally agree with you and many of the other comments. Thanks for putting yourself out there!! xx

anonymous Jun 22, 2013 6:07am

Gosh, I so needed this article. Each day I rise and am left with guilty leftovers of the day before…And all because I had a few craft beers? Or because my boyfriend fried us up some Tipp City bacon. I love you and I love what you just shared. Thank you for helping this yogi see her "guilty pleasures" as not so guilty.

    anonymous Jun 22, 2013 6:40am

    The real downfall for many of us is the guilt (not these other things, and I write about this frequently.)
    Guilt brings us down—and it causes us to repeat cycles that maybe we wouldn't if we weren't continually re-pigeon holing ourselves.

    Rise and shine—it's a new day, a new you, filled with new opportunities! Thank you so much for bringing your authentic self into this discussion.

anonymous Jun 22, 2013 2:06am

Lovely article. So many people are 'fake' in the yoga world and profess to be soooo perfect but they're not. A teacher once berated me about my messy house and eating habits – in my defence I have 3 jobs and little time for domesticity – only to find when I stayed at her house once that it was worse than mine! Yoga will change you, it will improve you, but it isn't an overnight thing. As I tell my students 'I still get angry… I'm just not quite such a bitch when I do' 😀 One thing that is missing in our interactions with others is authenticity – drop the masks, be nice, be yourself. I don't want to live in a 'pink, fluffy world', I want to live with all of life's beauty and those parts that are not so beautiful too, I like contrast and I love yoga.

    anonymous Jun 22, 2013 6:37am

    Yes yes and yes! (And shame on that teacher.)

    I always say (in regards to dropping the mask) that we need to come out and play!

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 9:12pm

I am guilty of all these. I too respect all my fellow vegan yogis… on the topic of eating meat, I once read a brilliant blog post that one does not necessarily have to be vegan to practice 'ahimsa', and that other incredible actions such as volunteer charity work are equally as powerful, and that our vegan yogi friends shouldn't judge us meat-eaters.

    anonymous Jun 22, 2013 6:36am

    My take is this, because this seriously is the shortened version (I had to eat meat for my own health)—non-harming extends to me too.

    Thanks for your feedback!

      anonymous Oct 31, 2013 4:17am

      woah so never thought of it that way before. non-harming extends to me too..
      i really needed to hear that. I am starting to accept that I need to start eating meat again, as much as it makes me feel uncomfortable
      Thanks for the food for thought

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 6:18pm

This all makes wonderful sense and your honesty leaves no room for judgementss, but to me this all highlights the crux of health and spiriituality, self-bettterment and discipline. Certainly, as we can so see, they can co-exist, interdependently and exclusively with opposing, or at least differening aims, buut still with some sense of peace aand stability. You can live life on the edge, but you still need some kind of rest. What of harmony and prosperity, though? More practically speaking, not posing a problem to yourself or with the fellows of your community is one thing, but what does it mean to achieve excellence and mastery in the eyes of observers and opponents, alike. Of course, such ambitions are not awarded to all, but saftey and success and peace and prosperity and all harmony can be.

    anonymous Jun 21, 2013 10:19pm

    What a wonderful article Jennifer! I believe that if there were more people in the world that are content with being themselves and unafraid to openly express that the world would be a much better place! I’m a yoga teacher too and whilst I have been vegetarian for over 23 years I do still swear, drink beer &/or wine and listen to music/watch films that most would not consider conducive to a ‘yogic lifestyle’. And I also have a temper at times. However, all of this is me & I am content with who I am and whatever I may become in the future. I’m glad to know there are so many people in the world already who accept themselves for who they are. Thank you for your inspirational article. Namaste

      anonymous Jun 22, 2013 6:35am

      You know, Kim, I see it like this—if I can't own who I am, then how will I ever become wiser and more "evolved" on my path towards enlightenment?

      Thanks so much for your kind and generous feedback.

      Namaste.

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 6:10pm

Yoga, like Buddhism for me, is a path, not a destination. To say that a yogi who hasn't completely forsaken meat and drink isn't a "real yogi" is like saying someone who plays football at the college level isn't a "real athlete" because he's not in the pros, or a gymnast who ranks as #1 in the US isn't a "real gymnast" because she isn't a gold-winning Olympian, or a student at a community college isn't a "real student" because they aren't going to an Ivy League school and has not won various academic awards. To use a phrase from the founder of my lineage: the journey is the goal. Anyone who says otherwise is (literally; absolutely no metaphor or ambiguity in saying this) selling something…and what they are selling isn't the authentic thing. Kudos for being human!

    anonymous Jun 22, 2013 5:27am

    Thank you, Kevin!

    It's interesting. Most of the feedback (nearly all, actually) that I've received has been hugely positive. Yet here's the thing that I find funny—I didn't write a list of all the things that I do every single day that show I'm walking the talk when it comes to my commitment to my yoga practice and yogic lifestyle. Those things are shown, first of all, in the other numerous articles that I write almost daily and in who I am. I'm just not afraid of the dark anymore. (Thank you, yoga studies, for that.)

    Thanks again for your commentary!

      anonymous Sep 18, 2014 3:10pm

      There is a difference between "being afraid of your own darkness" and enabling other people to stay in theres. There are tons of bogus gurus out there set up to accumulate followers by letting them do "whatever they want and it's still ok". But it's not in the least beneficial to other people's soul development.

      It's good to not fear the dark, it's ok that you eat meat and drink, and yes there are methods to transmute such things spiritually (It's called tantra and it's typically used by Westerners as a scapegoat to continue their selfish habits); However the transmutation does need to be taken seriously if it's going to be practiced. It's a serious spiritual practice to eat meat consciously, and it is not easy to do. The attitude of this article is "It's ok! I'm a serious Yogi but see how I do all these worldly things!" Again, all those things are ok, but you do need a title change from "serious yogi" to "aspiring yogi" because all these qualities you listing describe the latter and thus you are misleading people into believing they are the qualities of a "serious yogi" or that a "serious yogi" shouldn't be at least attempting to transmute their own darkness.

    anonymous Oct 25, 2014 6:08pm

    Most of us are not ready or willing to become real yogis. There are renunciations which are unacceptable in this day and age and culture.

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 6:06pm

welcome to being a normal human being…isn't it wonderful?

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 5:59pm

Yes! *fist bump* I love your authenticity. I feel so often like I straddle some fence and get so pissed because I can't decide who put it up (was it ME?)! I live in rural midwest, by choice (for some reasons too numerous and personal-boring to detail). I tried to fit in for the first 2-3 years…now, I embrace who I am, and am working on being authentic. I know I freak people out with my liberal views, unschooling family, organic CSA, yoga group, 4-H kids, Doula, livestock farming, rebel and outspoken activist, wine-drinking self. That is OK. This is my life to live. In the words of a very dear friend. Everyone is doing the best they can at that given moment.

    anonymous Jun 22, 2013 5:24am

    Ooooo you sound fascinating to have a glass of wine with 😉

    Keep on doing exactly what you're doing! (And thanks for sharing some of your thoughts with me.)

    anonymous Jun 22, 2013 11:08am

    Me too, in Boganville, Australia. (red-neck country to you). No kids, but not giving in to the paradigm the rest of them get from TV.

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 5:51pm

Love this. Permission to just be who we are! On a path to become better but loving the sh*t out of ourselves in the process. Even the meat eating, angry version of us who loves to swear and drink sometimes.
Yee ha to you Jennifer S White.

    anonymous Jun 22, 2013 5:23am

    Thank you, Hannah! Your feedback inspires me!

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 5:44pm

Ditto all of the above except #1, but I can replace that with 20+ years of smoking (with about 10 yrs overlap with my yoga practice). However, I don't smoke anymore :). Still, we are indeed, human. I applaud you for putting it out there. I laugh at myself every time I curse someone out who pisses me off (when I'm alone, of course). It's all good. We are all good at heart. Namaste, yogi.

    anonymous Jun 22, 2013 5:23am

    Thank you! I could add several others to this list if that would help hee hee
    🙂
    Namaste

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 5:33pm

Love this article and am in exactly the same boat- saaaame!!! I think the best service we can do is exactly what you're doing- be authentic! There is such an overload of yoga- snobbery, it drives me mental, so hopefully every time a yogi gets a little more vulnerable and honest about who they really are, it will inspire others to drop that veil of perfection, which is a load of bullshit anyways, and do the same!!!! XXX

    anonymous Jun 22, 2013 5:22am

    That's just it, no one's perfect. I think of the yoga leaders who have "fell from grace." Each time people are shocked that someone is still human. (not that I'm condoning certain behaviors, mind you)

    Thank you, Kelli!

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 5:29pm

Love this. I am a yoga teacher and a writer as well and I, too, do ALL of these things you write about, plus a few more to boot. My newest favorite t-shirt reads "yoga rebel" and I accept that label wholeheartedly. I spent far too many decades believing I was never "good enough"…whatever the hell that means…and have finally come to the conclusion that not only am I "good enough" just as I am, WHO I am is pretty damn good. I don't spout mindless yogic platitudes in my classes, or anywhere else for that matter and I have no tolerance for those who do and then turn around and behave abhorrently. I say "hellz yes" to authenticity and screw the effed-up expectations of others.

If you lived in my town, we would undoubtedly be friends. Of this I am quite sure.

    anonymous Jun 22, 2013 5:20am

    Tracie, thanks for your comments! Isn't it ironically funny that those of us who are able to admit that we aspire to walk and live the yogic path, yet are, unfortunately, still mortal human beings, are deemed rebels? I'll take it 😉 Thanks again.

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 5:22pm

Hahaha! A lot of us are like that. It's called life "balance". 🙂

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 5:14pm

Thank you for sharing your authentic self and for your timely post. I just signed up for yoga teacher training in the fall and part of my delay in fulfilling this dream is that I didn't think I was "kumbaya" enough. I have so much in common with your list! And I've slowly let go what I thought I "should" be and I am embracing who I am and what I can bring to the yoga community. I love this post! so cheers (with a glass of wine) and pass the bacon. Thank you!!!

    anonymous Jun 22, 2013 5:18am

    Thank you, Linda!
    I have to tell you that one of my absolute favorite people in my own teacher training (and someone who really lives yoga) felt the same way as you describe.

    Have fun and good luck!

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 5:13pm

Oh god, you for me!!! A real authentic. I have such a difficult time with other aspects of living yoga such as 'Life' and where everything fits in without feeling the guilt or it affecting me and feeling the effects. You rock. I Love this article! Namaste

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 2:47pm

<3 so you are LIVING! Yogis tend to be so "rigid" with the imposition of lifestyle choices. I love that you said what everyone else is so afraid to say! I tell students all the time, live your life. Enjoy things moderately and in balance. This is the key and everyone's experience here is unique. It's not a cookie cutter system. It's not one size fits all to reaching the state of awareness within oneself. We get there through hardships and living a real life. And this is what you have expressed here. Thank you for your openess and authenticity beautiful one. 🙂

    anonymous Jun 22, 2013 5:16am

    Thanks, Andie!

    Your comments have sincerely touched and inspired me.

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 2:32pm

Sat Nam, I love this article, thank you. I am a Kundalini Yoga Teacher and have been through the same things as Andrew Paciocco and yourself, I have come to the conclusion that I can aspire to some of the things but as a human being I cant change habits of a life time (53 yrs) overnight. I, like him, still smoke, still eat meat sometimes, still drink alcohol and can get very angry and use some fairly colourful language! I, however, over a long period of time have noticed, I can no longer drink a bottle or 2 of wine (used to be normal-every day). I am contented with just 1 beer or glass of wine and not everyday. I don't eat meat every day anymore, but still have a smoking addiction. So I think I am getting there, slowly, one step at a time. Like Andrew, I was beating myself up for not being "perfect" overnight. Now, I say, "everything is as it should be" and it will evolve over time as it should. Jennifer, you are awesome just the way you are 🙂

    anonymous Jun 22, 2013 5:16am

    I am so honored by your response.
    I've also found that as I get older what "moderation" is changes. (Like you I don't eat meat every day, etc.)

    Again, just thank you so much for your kind words and open heart.

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 10:15am

This is a great article, authentic is definitely the word. It's something I have previously and to a lesser degree still struggle with. Before I "found" a more eastern mindset and an a more in tune with nature type lifestyle I was smoking a pack and a half a day, eating nothing but pepperoni pizzas, bacon cheese burgers, etc. I fell in love with a vegetarian and it changed my life. (For the better! Mostly ;p) I pressured myself to match her devotion and actions. I quit smoking (for a couple months), I went veg with her and even full on vegan for several months, I quit gambling on playing pool and cards for about a year…

The thing was the pressure to perform up to the "right" level was destroying me, the pressure of not being good enough, always needing to keep up with her and feeling weak when I couldn't. As time has passed I've slowly learned I don't need to be the picture perfect perfection of any movement. I'm just me and I'm more mindful than ever and always growing, even if I keep some vices for the time being. I still smoke (American Spirits — Woo hipster), I occasionally eat meat (It's crazy how much better local, real meat is than the bullshit we're trained to like from fast food). And I love to play cards (I also don't even think gambling is a "vice" per say in the EJ realm).

We all are who we are right now in this second. Maybe next week, month, or year we'll be somewhere else but that’s irrelevant right now. It's just been a hard and continuing process to not only accept myself for where I am and who I am right now but everyone else too. I can't say "I accept that I smoke but refuse GMOs because they are bad for you" and turn around and say "Eww look at that girl eating a Baconator from Wendy's that's disgusting" We can't know where anyone else is on their path.

So that lengthily and un-eloquent story leads me to the fact that I'd hope you wouldn't be judged for being brave enough to expose yourself here. There are anyway nay-sayers in every sect but I feel like this is a safe haven to be vulnerable while we learn about ourselves and each other. We can all use those reminders too of “Hey look, I’m not perfect either! It’s okay!”

    anonymous Jun 21, 2013 10:29am

    I can't tell you how much I loved reading your response, Andrew. I think you've just shown that you're much braver than I.

    I relate to, empathize with, and agree with what you're saying. This is one of the major reasons that I don't use the word "never." Never say never, because it'll bite you in the arse.

    As far as being a meat eater in a largely vegan community, I also whole-heartedly agree with your sentiments, particularly that the type of meat you purchase and eat, as well as the type of farming you support, relates directly to both environmental and personal health. Again, I don't want to judge others, as I stated and so did you, but I don't eat fast food. I don't buy my red meat (what I really need in my personal diet) from the regular ol' grocery store—there are so many more options out there than people realize or are willing to put the effort into finding. As far as cost goes, I've been pretty poor at various points in my life, and I always chose to spend the little money that I had on good food and exercise/health related items/activities.

    Good for you for being open enough to try other avenues of living, but, even more, for coming home to yourself. Sometimes vacations aren't all they're cracked up to be.

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 10:10am

Love this. If I had a daughter, I'd want her to be you!!! Or a sista! (And PS, I also use styrofoam cups for my smoothies, take that yogic snobs!!)

    anonymous Jun 21, 2013 10:31am

    hahahaha! ha!

    Oh, Pat, thank you for this. muah.

    anonymous Jul 14, 2013 4:19pm

    Noooo, using styrofoam out of "choice" is nothing to be proud about. Please, that's embarrassing to everyone here. Contributing to landfill abuse and excess pollution on purpose, for no reason other than your own selfish needs, that is not comparable to eating meat, swearing, or letting a child listen to strong lyrics and learn about the real world. Its worse. Please figure out another way to eat those smoothies, Pat, unless you are re-using that same cup every day for 365 days. Come on. Your small comment isn't a reaction to yogic snobbery, its selfish. Please think about OTHERS now and future generations when you make your choices. I'm not perfect, not a yogi, and usually embrace these articles showing how you can be good yet not perfect, but learning from mistakes and self-reflection is not the same as bad choices. I hope that you think of me and my future children trying to enjoy nature next time you CHOOSE to use styofoam, I hope nature an the ozone layer still exists for them by the time they are born. Please switch to glass, for all of us, not just me.

anonymous Jun 21, 2013 6:22am

you are still an elephant to me <3

    anonymous Jun 21, 2013 9:17am

    Awwwww, shucks. Thank you so much <3

anonymous Jun 20, 2013 9:43pm

I have never been so inspired by someones authenticity. In a town where people judge many of your moves, I find this article motivating me to be my real self and be damn proud! NAMASTE.

    anonymous Jun 21, 2013 6:09am

    Thank you, Ally! I'm thankful that you got the entire point of why I wrote and shared this—we have nothing in life if we don't accept our real selves!

      anonymous Jun 22, 2013 5:54pm

      Jennifer, I think you're my twin Scorp sister from another mister! I feel like I wrote this article with the exception of the bacon part. I really do try to avoid bacon and red meat. Makes me feel bloated. Haha! Thanks so much for this amazing article!

Meridith McKay Jun 29, 2018 9:41pm

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ You go, girl...be your authentic self!

Eileen Violet Apr 15, 2016 9:01pm

LOVE this...<3 Angry music, bacon and beer lovin', multifacted woman! Fuckin' A. Thank you.

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Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She’s also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.