Category Archives: Writing

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The Rise of the Ariels

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I keep seeing the meandering, doe-eyed, ethereally lovely boho yoga goddess. She’s lithe and seems unfazed by most things. She Pinterests vacation trips to see fluorescent fish and she doesn’t even appear to own a comb. She seems to maybe run the occasionally errant vintage fork through her amazing waist-length Ariel in the Little Mermaid style hair.

She appears to have an all-access pass to everything Free People stocks. What she hasn’t found there, she has gleaned from some vintage store I’ve never seen. Oh and she makes her own organic vegetable dyes for some hand-sewn clothes as well! The sun naturally highlights her hair while she’s outside practicing yoga or surfing. She’s pro-everything light and love. She doesn’t share an opinion that’s controversial.

The modern boho Ariel is so busy being lovely and magical that she doesn’t take anything on. She is a princess. She won’t challenge the status quo because that’d be icky. She lives in a fairy tale and when shit gets real – she doesn’t engage.

She’s on the side of love. We know. We get that. She’s on the side of animals. She’s on the side of the environment. That is where we all stood when we were five.

I want to know where she stands on Ferguson. I want to know what she thinks about police brutality. How does she suggest we transform that?

How do we find out what the boho Ariel actually thinks? Do we even care?

If the modern bohos won’t engage then their opinions won’t actually be heard. We cannot just share our recipes for smoothies, links for fair-trade yoga pants, and snapshots of yoga photos.

Can we stop embracing this pseudo-new stereotype of a woman whose focus is again on her looks, her softness, her ability to not make waves? How can we encourage all of the bad-asses to stand up off of their yoga mats and be heard and trust that they are still yogis? I want to encourage us to go further than snapping and sharing photos of quotes about peace. I’m all for peace and furthermore I’m all for opinions and solutions created by strong thinkers who practice compassion and empathy.

Stand up ladies and use that thing-a-ma-bob: your voice.

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An Open Letter of Apology to Bikram Yoga

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An Open Letter of Apology to Bikram Yoga

Dear Bikram Yoga,

For years I have written you off. As a power yoga teacher I have put you on the receiving end of lame jokes where I basically say that I have no interest in being “the best at yoga”. I have assumed that some of you are trying to “win yoga” (because of the competitions) and have used it to justify allowing my own asana practice to become lazy.

I’ve quietly and “not-so-quietly” mused that there are others who are competitive about their yoga but not me. Insert halo here.

For about a month I have been practicing Bikram yoga. Let me be upfront. It’s not the only style I’ve practiced. I do not make it everyday (yet). I still wince at the tiny amount of clothing that I am wearing to class. I loathe looking at myself in the mirror while we practice. When the teacher says “Eyes on you” I usually have to peel my gaze away from someone in the room who has captured my attention with their envy-inducing backbend.

In the interest of being completely forthright, just as late as last week I was still defining Bikram yoga as “rigorous calisthenics”. I believe what I said to my friend was along the lines of “I mean it’s so tough and it’s so hot. I feel like a lunatic for putting myself in a room that hot on purpose but it’s like really deep stretching. It’s not my style of yoga but it’s fun for a change.”

I’m sorry.

I have noticed that every time I show up for class, there are often the same students and teachers practicing.

Dear Bikram Yogis, your discipline to your practice is inspiring.

You have at no point made me feel “less than” or unwelcome or competitive. In fact, you have never judged my poses and every piece of instruction you have given me has been useful and has helped me understand the poses and the practice. I also appreciate when you point out a student in class who has gone into a deeper version of a pose and comment that someday, one day we can get there as well, but only if that’s what we want.

(I hear this as “No pressure, LA! Really! But if you’re interested – keep coming back and we’ll show you how to get there!”)

You have at no point bad-mouthed any other style of yoga, which is (I’m ashamed to admit) more than I can say for myself.  You seem completely embracing of all styles of yoga.

You’re just in a committed relationship with yours. I get it.

Bikram Yogis – please accept my apologies. You are teaching me something invaluable. I never thought that I would comfortably (let alone – enjoyably) practice yoga in a public room full of mirrors in shorty-shorts and a sports bra. Yet, that’s exactly what I did this morning while a super-fit blonde badass said “I’d rather see you love who you see in the mirror staring back at you then nail standing bow.”

That’s my kind of freaking yoga.

See you tomorrow,
LA

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Gone Analog

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I have a compulsion to check my iPhone. I find a reason to hit the button at the bottom of the phone in between my shower and getting dressed, during meals, after I turn the car off before I go into a store, right before I go to my yoga mat… constantly.

I check and respond to texts and email and Facebook comments and Instagram likes and tweets all damn daylong. Like it’s my job. Like it’s my passion. (It’s not.) If I’m away from my phone for too long (like during a movie) the first thing I do is find it, check it, and then relax again.

I’ve taken a month off from teaching yoga but I still feel stressed and like I “must” do things and what I’ve realized is that the thing that I feel like I have to do, I must do, I cannot relax until I do it: is check my phone and respond to people within 24 hours. I like to share. (Most of the people who know me best would call me someone who overshares.) What I have found is that for me – technology does not make me feel more connected. At least it has stopped allowing me to feel more connected for the time being.

I even made my best friend promise to like my Instagram posts because I feel like it’s part of my branding and just maybe this stuff will add up to yoga teaching and writing opportunities. (Big surprise – it hasn’t!) No more. (Mark, please feel free to ignore anything that I post on social media if you don’t truly like it!)

So for the next week, I’m going analog. I will check my email for thirty minutes on my laptop once a day in the morning after a cup of coffee. I will call my mother in the morning. I will use my phone only as an actual phone. I’ll put it in the glovebox while I’m driving (if I need it for Triple A) and I’ll keep it in the corner on a shelf when I’m at home (ringer on when I’m awake and ringer off when I’m asleep). I will not log in to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or even use my phone for Fandango or directions.

I’m going to carry a camera. I’m going to swim. I’m going to read tangible books. I’m going to shop in brick and mortar stores. (I’m also going to have to carry a map!) I’m going to cook without posting photos. I’m going to practice yoga (or not) without worrying about what the hell I’m wearing and wondering if someone does photograph it – will I look cute?

Call me if you know my number and I’ll answer if I’m not busy living.

 

Gone Analog,

Lee Anne (LA) Finfinger

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Modern Yogi Article

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I just knew I had to connect with yoga teacher LA Finfinger after reading an article she wrote for Elephant Journal. She is smart, honest and witty. I love her and what she brings to the world of yoga, tattoos, big laugh and all – I think she is wonderful! As she is a power yoga teacher and Lululemon ambassador, I also (hands at my heart centre) hope I will be able to take one of her classes if I ever travel to Pittsburgh…

Article by Krys Hansen

Click here to view the full article!