The 10 things you’ll do once you start yoga (that have nothing to do with yoga)

Published on September 19, 2011 by      Print
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By Lee Anne Finfinger

  1. At least once, you will force yourself to try to be vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten-free (insert any over-zealous diet here)/ drink Kombucha/ buy bottled water before class and pour it into your sustainable water bottle before the teacher/students/Whole Foods cashier next to you sees.  (If you’re craving meat, just eat it!  On your deathbed, will you really be glad that you didn’t have that steak on your 30thBirthday?)

    Photo courtesy of Anton Belovodchenko

  2. Your iPod will now include a heavy serving of Kirtan music that you will listen to on your very long commute to your yoga studio (It’s cool; if you want to listen to Kirtan occasionally, go for it!  When you start listening to it while driving and falling asleep — time to go back to your old playlists. Do NOT switch over to NPR!)
  3. You will pretend not to notice that your ass now fits in a size 6 instead of an 8, but you’re secretly thrilled.  (When you get down to a 4 though, watch it.  People will talk.)
  4. You will go back to your natural hair color/ remove your hair extensions/ cut your hair short in an attempt to stop paying so much attention to your vanity.  (Try not to cut it too short — the growing out process is a bitch and then you’ll just need more hair extensions. I did.)
  5. You’ll attempt to read the Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, or the Upanishads while your stack of fashion magazines calls to you from the next room.  (Really, why can’t I like Rachel Zoe and yoga?  Now that I’m thin enough to actually wear her clothes, why should I pretend I don’t want to?) (See #3.)
  6. You will take a retreat.  Hello, Kripalu!  (It’s ok — those other people probably are weirdos.  So are you.  Eat your breakfast and shut up.  No really, shut the fuck up – it’s a silent breakfast.)
  7. You’ll start taking photos of yourself in yoga poses. Often.  And you’ll think that other people care.  It’s like the modern-day version of the vacation slideshow.  No one gives a shit, but they’ll pretend like they do so that you do the same when they whip out their own photos.
  8. You will at some point wear mala beads, which will break all over the floor of your 6:15am class.  (Basically, it’ll end about as well as when I wore my Grandmother’s rosary beads to dinner at age 6. Silver Lining: The company was kind enough to re-string them for free, and now I just wear them like a really cool wrap bracelet.  It’s very hippie chic. Thank you September Vogue.) (See #5)
  9. You will become a cheap date.  Remember, you just dropped two sizes and you continue to spend at least an hour a day sweating and twisting and breathing.  You’ll be buzzed from one drink!
  10. You’ll get over yourself.  If you teach yoga, you’ll hope that people show up because they like taking class from who you really are.  If you practice yoga, you’ll keep showing up and you’ll realize that the other shit doesn’t matter.

About Lee Anne Finfinger

Lee Anne (LA) Finfinger is a full-time Yoga Instructor, born and bred Pittsburgher. She and her husband live with their rescued cat, Harmony. When she’s not in a studio, LA can be found baking, traveling, hanging with family and friends, mentoring in the community (yeah that looks like B.S, but it’s not!), reading, writing and knitting.  She can be found at:

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  1. Brie says:

    This is hilarious and so spot on!

  2. Chrissy says:

    Great article, and so true….I’ve gone nutty in some of the ways described above, and then came back down and around…I figured, why worry about being perfect when I can be the perfectly silly me that I am…I may, however, slap the next person who tells me that bread has” Glue” ten….Jesus….that one gets me every time….

    • LA Finfinger says:

      Thanks Chrissy, yeah I still am Glue-ten free, well Glue-ten light, but I’ve done all of the other incarnations of eating as well. Live and let live!

      • Chrissy says:

        I too, am Gluten free ( mostly) but ain’t nobody gonna catch me telling everyone who will listen about the toxic load that my intestines have dealt with while eating the evil ,dreaded white flour ;)

  3. Joslyn Hamilton says:

    Well that was embarrassing.

  4. Andrew Gurvey says:

    Okay, so I am guilty of nine out of 10 of those, minus no. 7, and that’s only because I don’t have mala beads. And, to be clear, please, I am an ovo lacto vegetarian. It offends me when people don’t get that right (please notice the tongue firmly implanted in cheek here).

    This article is phenomenal and super accurate. The only thing is, as a male, I’ve never really worried so much about my ass as how I look with my shirt off, so please take we males who are trying to ignore our own vanity into consideration as well.

    I may very well be the male poster child for your article :)

    Thanks for making my day with such an entertaining and fun piece.

    Respectfully (or om shanti, or namaste, or [insert sanskrit word that makes me sound awesome here, which I am also totally guilty of doing],


    • LA Finfinger says:

      Thanks Andrew! I’ll remember that… so some of the guys that keep their shirts on are attempting to appear as though they don’t care. Good to know. I can get you a good deal on some manly mala beads when you’re ready for that!

  5. Karmela says:

    I am proud to say I’ve only done #7. But wait, that’s like, the worst one of the lot! Man, I need to do a #10 pronto.

  6. Crystal @YogiCrystal says:

    Oh boy… I’ve done most of these, except for the veganism and the retreat lol But, I’d like to do a retreat someday….
    Great post!

  7. Jenifer says:

    you know, i grew up doing yoga, but i still succumbed to several of these.

    my mother found it all very funny, when she spent a year working at a yoga studio. she said it happens to all newly converted — since she was well versed in new christians as well. they just have a different lexicon of activities. :) you know, like learning bible quotes and wearing specific clothes/jewelry and telling you about how this verse ACTUALLY means (when it doesn’t actually mean that — same thing happens with the sutras et al. you should have seen my friend — an indian scholar who was raised on those verses just laugh his head off when one yoga teacher tried to translate it for him and tell him “how it all fits together”).

    i’ve done many of these myself, but i like to think i came to them for other reasons.

    but that’s probably not true. lol

    • LA Finfinger says:

      That’s pretty rich, Jenifer. I’d definitely be busted for my use of “Sanskringlish”!

      • Jenifer says:

        my friend tells me that we get the idea of how to say the words right, but not the rhythm. it’s “putting the wrong emPHASis on the wrong sylABLE.”

        but, he says, this is why indians have an indian accent when they speak english and americans (or others) when speaking indian languages have american (or other) accents.

        i always tell my indian students — and i’ve had many because i’m awesome like that (lol) — that i am not pronouncing anything correctly in any language that i speak ever, and that includes english, which is my first language, but i don’t really think before i talk, so don’t expect me to make sense.

        and i like run-on sentences.

  8. Suzanne Morrison says:

    Sounds about right. (blushing.)

  9. Stacy B says:

    This is good writing, LA. Funny and true. The benefit of starting yoga at 50 has allowed me to skip these stages since I really feel comfortable in my own skin–even if things are not going as well as I would like! Ooooommm. See you in class soon!

  10. Yogini5 says:

    You are obviously talking about someone else, and I have been practicing yoga well over 4 years. #5 happened to me.

    Kripalu has become more or less a fat farm these days … or where have YOU been?

    I basically just arrived at #10 a moment ago.

    • LA Finfinger says:

      Yogini5, thanks for reading! And Kripalu was for Kathryn Budig so my group was mostly segregated into the “talking allowed” dining room.

  11. Donna says:

    So apparently 2011 is my worst/best yoga year as I did a retreat, downloaded kirtan and bought a copy of the yoga sutras all in the space of a month, eeeeks, is it too late for me to move to number 10 and get over myself???? Is there still hope for me if I refuse to ever stop dying my hair, (duh, why be grey when I can be brunette?), still have a decent sized booty and absolutely cannot understand a word of the yoga sutras when I’m still reading the introductory notes…..????? Someone tell me I’ll be ok paaaallleeeeaaasseeeee!!!!! Seriously…. nice one Lee Anne xxx

  12. Linda says:

    LA – This is hilarious. I thank you for your candor in these observations and bringing some of these ridic things to my attention so I can continue to be a yoga nerd or get over it already!!! See you soon at SHPY or AY.

  13. Don says:

    Thanks for a great article! 2,5,7 guilty and for the most part 10.

    • LA Finfinger says:

      Thanks Don! Yeah, let’s all just rush to get to 10! But it’s the journey not the dest…, wait let me stop that.

  14. Marla says:

    Been there done that! But I’ll read fashion mags over any sutra’s

    • LA Finfinger says:

      Hi Marla, thanks for reading! My big old Vogue with Michelle Williams on the cover as Marilyn Monroe is on my desk as we speak.

  15. Gayle says:

    Whew! Only #5 (which I did in an actual class setting) and #6 (which was a kinda half-assed “lets have a retreat!” thing). Definitely made it to #10, which is why I read this website.

    I love steak too much to become anything close to vegetarian, and my ass will never be a size 10, let alone a 6. In my dreams.

    In an effort for total disclosure, I will admit to tattooing an OM on myself which isn’t on the list and still works as a good reminder for me, yet is kinda “woo woo” now that I think about it. ;)

    Thanks for the post! Very funny and true.

    • LA Finfinger says:

      Gayle, thank you! Full disclosure – I too have not one, but 2 OM tattoos. Basically an OM on and an Aum one.

  16. Tori says:

    What is a “size 6″? Come to think of it, what is a “size 8″?

  17. vanessafiola says:

    Let’s see… 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 10 (WIP). That was fun!

  18. elise says:

    Don’t have any kirtan, but I’m totally going to cringe later when my cellphone rings and plays the anusara invocation :) We are all such junkies, eh? See you in class soon!

    • LA Finfinger says:

      Oh, you’ll have to play that for me! The Anusara invocation isn’t something I’ve heard… at least I don’y think so! See you soon! Thanks for reading, Elise!

  19. Sara Gable says:

    You rock, LA! Truly laughed outloud. Hope you are doing well in Pittsburgh!! Hope to see you next time I pass through town. :)

    • LA Finfinger says:


      Thanks for reading! Please hunt me down when you’re in town! I’m at three awesome places now! Hope you’re well Take care, Beauty!

  20. Mike says:

    how about #11 – you’ll get some ink – tatts. nice article

    • LA Finfinger says:

      Well, I had the tattoos first, but did get some yoga ones after so it could be #11! Thanks for reading Mike!

  21. maryB says:

    guilty of 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 9….and hopefully now, 10. thanks for the incredibly hilarious but also spot-on article. i would also like to add wearing jewelry sporting an OM symbol on it as an additional number….which i am also guilty of. thanks for the great article!

  22. Robin Frisella says:

    Well, you caught me! (on a few of them anyway….)

    Well done.

  23. Maria Pramaggiore says:

    I really, really liked this piece and appreciate the irreverent attitude.

    I beg to differ on point number one, however. I think that not eating meat is related to yoga.

    I think that is you are practicing ahimsa, non harming, then you don’t eat animals.

  24. deb says:

    good to know i’m normal!

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  26. Lisa O'Brien says:

    Five months in and I’m a walking cliche! Add to the list drinking chai lattes (with almond milk) instead of my old Starbucks Americano and heavy diffusing of essential oils in my now-zen home office.
    You are a brilliant writer. Thank you.

  27. Start yoga 50 – Start yoga | Yoga Blog » Blog Archive says:

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  28. The 10 things you will do once you start writing for yoga blogs (that have nothing to do with yoga). | elephant journal says:

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  29. Andrea says:

    Thank you….I am looking forward to my “behind” getting into the size 6!!

  30. craig drummond says:

    In my mind, this comes from someone who spent their time trying to ‘be yoga’, trying to look the part when in their heart it wasn’t truth, and now they spend their time belittling others who may genuinely be vegetarian, study the sutras, and follow a religious/spiritual path. If your sadhana hasn’t led you to a genuine thirst for knowledge, a genuine need to expand your awareness, then this is fine, but don’t belittle others if their practice is genuine.

    Myself personally, I would drop asana practice in an instant if it was between asana and studying the sutras, because for me there is truth in the Dharma, and it is the most important thing I’ve found in my life. If you on the other hand want to read your fashion magazines then go for it…no ones stopping you.

    Basically, this reads like someone trying to justify their practice to themselves. It also stinks of middle-class fitness ‘yoga’ devoid of anything remotely close to truth.

  31. sha says:

    hi, im new to yoga.. im searching the net for any videos as there are no yoga centers here in our province where i can enrol. what do you suggest i do? download vdeos and follow the instructions?

    Response posted on May 5th, 2013 , 8:53 pm Reply
  32. Amar says:

    I’m starting yoga and I find this article to be so true. Its filled with facts & humor. Great read.

  33. luckybuck says:

    love yoga – you’ll get a much better ass from cardio and weights though sorry.

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