Disclaimer for Yoga Studios: Yoga Doesn’t Care About Your Mat, or Religion.

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I think this disclaimer should be read aloud to beginner’s classes, and posted on the wall of every yoga studio to remind us that yoga isn’t about the things.

Yoga isn’t about our lifestyle, our beliefs, our weight, our diet, our flexibility, how spiritual or enlightened we are—yoga is just about showing up and doing our dance on our mats.

Yoga doesn’t care what your hair looks like.

Yoga doesn’t care if you are vegetarian, if you eat meat or know what Kombucha is.

Yoga doesn’t care when the last time you practiced was—yesterday, six months ago, never.

Yoga doesn’t care what kind of mat you have, brand new or eating away at itself.

Yoga doesn’t care if you show up cranky or exhausted.

Yoga doesn’t care what religion you believe in.

Yoga doesn’t care what color your skin is or what gender you choose to love.

Yoga doesn’t care if you wear mala beads.

Yoga doesn’t care what the tag on the back of your pants says.

Yoga doesn’t care if you don’t know what yoga means.

Yoga doesn’t care how much money you have, what house you live in, what car you drive.

Yoga doesn’t care if you are flexible.

Yoga doesn’t care if you fall over in Trikonasana.

Yoga doesn’t care if you fart during practice.

Yoga doesn’t care if you ever make it into head stand.

Yoga doesn’t care if you feel uncomfortable saying Namaste and Om.

Yoga doesn’t care if you drink super food smoothies or drink coconut water.

Yoga doesn’t care if choose the back corner or the front row of the room to practice.

Yoga doesn’t care if you stay to meditate.

Yoga doesn’t care if you can put your leg behind your head, or lick your own ass.

Yoga doesn’t care if you know what Ujjayi breath is.

Yoga doesn’t care if you smoke cigarettes, and drink whisky.

Yoga doesn’t care if you need to leave class halfway through because you’re dehydrated and need to get water.

Yoga doesn’t care if you have a man bun.

Yoga doesn’t care if your monkey mind takes over.

Yoga doesn’t care how old you are, the color of your hair doesn’t affect your practice.

Yoga doesn’t care if you juice or cleanse.

Yoga doesn’t care if you shake the entire 60 minutes.

Yoga doesn’t care if you only feel comfortable doing yoga in Mexico.

Yoga doesn’t care if you spend the entire class in child’s pose.

Yoga doesn’t care what political party you vote for.

Yoga doesn’t care if you are single or divorced.

Yoga doesn’t care if you like Rumi.

Yoga doesn’t care if you like your teacher.

Yoga doesn’t care if you complete a 30 day challenge.

Yoga doesn’t care what version of wheel you go up into.

Yoga doesn’t care if you shop at whole foods.

Yoga doesn’t care if you remember to shave your armpits.


Yoga is just happy you show up.



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Author: Janne Robinson

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Author’s Own

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Janne Robinson

Janne Robinson is a poet, writer, bushwalker, idealist and animal activist currently residing in Vancouver Island. She cuts kindling with her teeth, eats Bukowski for breakfast and makes the habit of saying the word feminist as much as possible. She surfs naked, pees in the woods, and loves whiskeys that swing their hips when they walk and know what they are doing. Janne's life-work is to be transparent. She makes a living off hanging her dirty and clean laundry out for the world to see. Her mission is to give others permission to also walk and exist with the same transparency. You can connect with her on TwitterInstagram and Facebook. Please also visit and connect with her Facebook writer's page. Check out Janne's website.


44 Responses to “Disclaimer for Yoga Studios: Yoga Doesn’t Care About Your Mat, or Religion.”

  1. Nicole says:

    I love it!!! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Sanket says:

    I'm turning this into a poster!!! Love it! Thanks Janne 🙂

  3. tiniertina says:

    Yoga doesn't care if you know what Ujjayi breathing is, but it took you almost 7 years' practice to figure it out …

  4. paul says:

    yoga doesn’t care if you go to a studio, reside on a mat, or dance, or do postures, nor has it personality that is happy or sad; yoga doesn’t care whatsoever. yoga is the cultuvation of stilling and focus, uncovering what “you” really is; care is generated naturally therefrom as tadpole from egg, moth from coccoon.

    • Lovely, yep to all you wrote above.



    • @suneilp says:

      This is spot on. However, meditation and some of those other things the author says yoga doesn't care about is what provides people with guidance to achieve this. Saying those kind of things does a disservice to yoga and encourages people not to look deeper into yoga and just think that showing up to their mats and dancing is all yoga is about.

      • paul says:

        i don't think this piece is a disservice to engaging with a deeper practice as its intent is to encourage people to show up, which is always the first and essential step for yoga. i think it is the poetization to this end that has muddled the understanding of what it is to practice yoga, an understanding i suspect we all (and most readers) are basically on the same page with, though i agree that implying an essential modality like meditation isn't something yoga cares for is is a bit, um, uncautious 🙂

  5. A Guest says:

    Is it just me? The spirit of the article is so inclusive but I have to wonder about the choice of photograph. A slim, bendy, naked female with her cheeks toward the camera.

    • Zachariah says:

      This happens to be a photograph of the author of the article, practicing yoga exactly how she practices yoga. What a joy it is that people of all shapes and sizes can practice yoga in their own way, in their own home or studio, in any state of dress they choose.

    • Hi,

      I choose this image, of myself, to accompany my words because it felt inclusive to the part of this article where I talk about yoga not caring how strong, flexible, or advanced you are. I wanted a soft image. This was taken in my cabin, and it was hot as hell–summer time and so yes, I was wearing a bikini and yes you can see part of my bum.

      I don't find my bum or this image sexual, and I feel it adds to the article.

      Also, a gentle reminder that slim, bendy women are also roaming this planet and there should never be shame attached to size zeros.

      It isn't about the size of our waist anyhow, our bodies are like wrapping paper, tossed aside on christmas morning–it's about the succulence of our souls, the underneath bits.

      I hope you took something else away from this piece, as well.


      Janne Robinson

  6. Suneil Patel says:

    This is very wrong and definitely should not be posted at ANY yoga studio. And stupidly long.

    Yoga IS about lifestyle… which isn’t mutually exclusive with other lifestyles, but rather about how we relate and interact with the world. The name for this aspect of yoga is bahiranga sadhana which includes the physical part of yoga, asanas, which most of you know. After this comes the part more concerned with meditation, antaranga sadhana, which is the really trippy part that helps you free your mind and gain peace and maintain peace.

    Google ‘8 limbs of yoga’ and stop bastardizing yoga.

  7. abcd_yogi says:

    It makes me weep to see my heritage be reduced to "dancing on the mat". Yoga is about lifestyle or a way of life. It is about meditation, enlightenment, and freeing the mind.

    You don't have to give up everything you have and live a virtuous life, which is usually defined by other people and the kind of thing yoga frees you from.

    Yoga is about having the right tools and practices that lead to be yourself and achieve peace and maintain that peace.

    It's fine with me that not everyone understands what yoga is, but articles like this frustrate me.

    • chris says:

      Being new, and a little intimidated by yoga, I have to say, I think that it is these types of articles that help pull people out of their "comfort zones" and onto the mat. Once there, it would be for each of us to determine what it means to us, individually. I think no matter how it sliced, it is about finding and maintaining inner peace and balance, which, one by one, systematically, will make this world a better place, no?
      I think that what anyone else thinks about yoga takes nothing away from what I think about yoga. But like I said, I'm new. And often wrong…

  8. steve says:

    Absolutely right, yoga doesnt care about these things, but yoga devotees do, in extremis. Chill out dudes…this pretentious sh#t is so annoying to those of us who just live. Seriously! Just do what makes you happy. Every time an article such as this is posted any even remotely grounded person just inwardly groans….”wankers”. If you truly need to define your life through a light exercise routine then try ‘Jazzersize’ or the like. Peace, out.

  9. Truong says:

    Beautiful piece.

    I think as long as people find yoga, it does not matter the path they took to get there. Most people will not come to yoga because they are looking for spiritual enlightenment or to free their mind. They come to it to get in a workout and maybe to relieve some stress. Others because they wanted to heal their bodies or souls. It does not really matter how people find or come to yoga as long as they did which is what I think this article speaks about.

    Eventually the more you practice and the more you learn about yoga, the more you will start to realize how yoga can help connect you with yourself and the rest of the world. I am still new to yoga and do not know much about it. All I do know is I like the way it makes me feel.

  10. Kundan says:

    Well, Yoga is not a living being. It's just a spiritual practice. So, of course it doesn't care. It's not sentient. That said, the core of Yoga is non-violence. Therefore, doing a violent thing, such as eating meat, will impede your Yoga practice. I will never take a Yoga lesson from a teacher who eats meat because such a teacher has nothing to teach me if they are being so violent.

  11. Premananda says:

    Hari OM
    Respectfully I need to disagree with the 3rd paragraph, specially because in those 23 years teaching Yoga a broad, Im watching so many westerns twisting, distorting the basic values of this Milenar tradition, which Ahimsa is the foundation, the very first step, "Non Violence", that embraces being Vegetarian as a first practical effort in case the practitioner is not vegetarian yet, before doing any Yogasana or Pranayama.

    Paying attention in what we put inside and out side of our mouths as vibrations and words is one of the most important aspects of this Ancient tradition after the non judgmental state of mind, as Yoga as state.

    I'm not saying you d be write or wrong when you choose eat meat, as this judgement and karma just belongs to the individuals choice, not to any Yoga tradition.

    But saying that Yoga doesn't care if you are vegetarian, It's a sign that in the west people really need to go back to very basics of Yoga

    Surprise me that Elephantjournal consent with this kind article.

    With the best intention to clarify misinterpretations and to preserve this milenar tradition with all deserved respect!


    • peaceangel says:

      Hari Om

      I believe what the article is trying to get the message out that yoga is non-judgmental and that people who don't know much about yoga such as embracing the vegetarian aspect have to first turn up to the class and learn all that stuff. If they think that they have to be vegetarian and free of all the that stuff above before they come then they would probably find it difficult find a guru to teach them all about the 8 limbs ..as they will most likely feel judged.

      Namaste 🙂

  12. I kind of agree with just about everything in the verse, just changing one word would, I think, improve the whole thing. Instead of Yoga doesn't care, I say Yoga doesn't MIND. Pedantic maybe, but it would change the logic of the whole piece. Great sentiment though!

    • robyn784 says:

      I agree totally!!! So many people continuously say 'I don't care' when they mean 'I don't mind' It has a whole different FEEL just by changing one word.

  13. Ash Yve says:

    I get the intention behind this piece, I really do – and it's a great intention – but I find it very representative of the stripping away of the juice layers that is so characteristic of western yoga these days. Meditation, for instance, is a higher form of all-encompassing yoga (that being a lifestyle), and to throw it in with an explanation talking about Lululemon and man-buns is just a bit embarrassing and awkward.

  14. Absolutely right, yoga is just about showing up and doing our dance on our mats. Thanks for this article I will forward to my friends

  15. Zen_mama says:

    I agree with the sentiment of this article. However, one of the pillars of yoga is a proper diet and a proper yoga diet is vegetarian (ahimsa, non harming).

  16. Jane Jones says:

    I really enjoyed replacing the word "yoga" with "life". A lot of those phrases work fantastically when applied to life in general. Thanks for the great read Janne!!

  17. tishushu says:

    Love this!

  18. Katy says:

    I think this is an attempt to not ‘scare-off’ people from the trendy yoga classrooms they think they cannot fit into. However, to tell beginners, or people with many years of practice that the basic yamas of yoga don’t care if you continue to be violent (such as eating animals, or being unkind) it is a disservice to the tradition and teaching of yoga. The first of the limbs is Ahimsa, and cultivating non-violence is more important ‘to yoga’ than dancing or asana. It is okay if it is not to you, but yoga does care.

    However, yoga will not turn you away if you start out imperfect. It will welcome you back to practice non-violence, to practice non-covetousness, to practice non-stealing, to practice honesty, non-grasping, and proper use of energy. To practice cleanliness, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and surrender to the highest. It will welcome you back and teach you to observe breath, mind and body.

  19. Eddy Nataraj says:

    Try substituting “you don’t” instead of “Yoga doesn’t” and see if you still like this… It’s utter rubbish for so many reasons. It’s just justifying ignorance and unconscious living. Yoga is becoming a joke in the west. It’s a science for enlightenment and achieving or true potential. A true yogi is incredibly keen, aware of the subtle and gross, and compassionate to the ignorant masses of people. Yoga is an ancient scientific system, not an entity.

  20. I really liked this. But Eddy Nataraj is right…

  21. Esther says:

    Dear Eddy, sorry for my English in advanced. I really respect you, your opinion and your culture a lot.
    Please don't judge us western people just because of the fact that Yoga is not rooted in our culture.
    I love doing yoga and get a lot out of it, although I think I am not the best Yogini in my practice, but does it change the fact that yoga helps? In my point of view it doesn't.
    Neither does all the things Janne said about it, I think we should be a little bit more relaxed about the way we see yoga, because yoga doesn't care, yoga works deeply in our inner selves, not caring about how they talk about it, isn't it so?
    I don't think it becomes a joke, I think it becomes more and more a path also for us westerns even if it's not the same way we practice it, it's a gift for every single being on this miraculous world. Namaste Eddy

  22. addrea says:

    Love this! Heard it at one of my first yoga classes….heard it at the perfect time in my new yoga journey<3

  23. Charlotte says:

    There's lots of good shit on EJ but this is probably one of my favourite ever articles for its simplicity and wisdom. Thank you, Janne.

  24. Taty says:

    Yoga is just happy you show up! Love this post! 🙂 Thanks!!!

  25. George says:

    Yoga Doesn't Care, that's a relief otherwise I would be totally screwed.

  26. Jess says:

    Your asana practice doesn't care..

    Your teacher doesn't care…

    No one else in your yoga class cares…

    The divine/God/whatever you want to call it doesn't care…

    But diet, meditation, pranayama… Those are pretty important aspects of the yoga system. So even though it doesn't matter, if you are serious about your yogic journey they are important and *you* should care.

  27. Jonathan says:

    Exactly how does yoga not care about non-violence, i.e. exploiting animals for food? I am shocked that the author refers to herself an animal activist and still claims this. Both yoga and animal activism oppose violence to animals.

  28. LIvia Merrill says:

    Yoga doesn't care if you spend the entire class in child pose

    This line stands out to me because it does't matter if you want to relax it only matters if you have the learning experience to be calm.

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