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

Via Jennifer S. White
on Jun 20, 2013
get elephant's newsletter

crack smokin' yoga teachers

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.



Like elephant yoga on Facebook.


Ed: Kate Bartolotta


About 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.


168 Responses to “Yes, I’m a Serious Yogi, But I Still Do These 6 Things.”

  1. Jennifer White says:

    Thank you, Eva!

  2. Jennifer White says:

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

  3. Jennifer White says:

    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.

  4. Jennifer White says:

    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?

  5. Jennifer White says:

    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.

  6. Jennifer White says:

    I believe so! Thanks for your feedback!

  7. yoga bear says:


  8. Alexandra says:

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

  9. TheLoneRider says:

    good to know it's not just me 🙂

  10. Dr Joe says:

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

  11. David Inmon says:

    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)

  12. Niki Widmayer says:

    You forgot CHOCOLATE! 🙂

  13. Suz says:

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

  14. Marianne Kirk says:

    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!!!

  15. Jennifer White says:

    Thank you!

  16. Jennifer White says:

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

  17. Jennifer White says:

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

  18. Jennifer White says:

    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? 😉

  19. Jennifer White says:

    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.

  20. Jennifer White says:

    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 😉

  21. Robyn says:

    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.

  22. Amy says:

    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.

  23. Kris Lord says:

    I dig that you are real! Thanks for sharing.

  24. enlightenedchuffer says:

    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.

  25. northstar19 says:

    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.

  26. northstar19 says:

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

  27. Elaine says:

    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.

  28. Wendy says:

    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.

  29. Seriously says:

    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.

  30. Andy says:

    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.

  31. Leah says:

    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!

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

  33. Thank you, Kris!

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

  35. Thanks, Wendy, I love that.

  36. Jennifer White says:

    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.

  37. Angel says:

    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*

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

  39. 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.

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

  41. JOhanna says:

    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

  42. Brett says:

    why do you "need" meat?

  43. Vegan yogi says:

    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.

  44. Lindsey says:

    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!!

  45. 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.

  46. 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!

  47. Sat Atma Singh says:

    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.

  48. 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)

  49. Edmonton,AB says:

    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)