Elena Brower Was a Smoker /// Gasping Ensues

The other day while mounted upon the Throne of Elimination I happened upon an article in the October 2012 edition of Whole Living (don’t ask) featuring none other than Elena Brower. I was admittedly a little surprised to see Elena between the fem-fleshy folds of this non-yoga pub, but should have assumed nothing of it, seeing as Elena has become an omnipresent aura of white Truthful light defusing its satiny rays as far as ye eye can squint. Also, Whole Living is basically Yoga Journal without all the pictures of people stretching, so it’s kinda obvious.

Aaaaaaaaanyway, long story short. The blurb is part of a larger feature called “That Was Then, This is Now” and showcases a number of minor faces from a number of minor scenes who have kicked old habits. And, wouldn’t you know it? Elena’s piece was all about her coming out as having been a smoker.

“But while she talked (and looked) a good mind-body health game, Brower was harboring a secret: She was still, as she had been for 25 years, a ‘casual smoker.’ Sometimes it was half a pack a day, sometimes it was none, so Brower thought, Why bother quitting? Finally, in 2010, she met with a life coach, who helped her kick it for good.”

That’s right, my sweet sweet lil’ munchkins. Up until 2010, the yoga world’s most prestigious reflection of all that is truthful and sane has been sneaking a sneaky almost-certain-death smoke now and again, having kicked the habit only after her life coach pulled the “child card.”

“Finally, in 2010, she met with a life coach, who helped her kick it for good. ‘When Jonah is fifteen,’ the coach asked, referring to Brower’s then- 6-year-old son, ‘how many cigarettes would you like him to be smoking a week? That’s how many you can smoke’.”

Answer: Goose egg. None. Zilch. Enzo.

Now, we don’t care that Elena used to smoke. We don’t really care if Elena decides to smoke again. Hell, some of our most favorite people live to smoke and smoke to live. As you may have caught, however, the article makes reference to Elena “harboring a secret” about the filthy disgusting stupid habit. Of course, it’s impossible to tell whether or not those were Elena’s actual words, but if there’s some truth to it—if Elena was actually afraid to tell people—I wonder where that fear would come from? Fear of studentary rebuffs? Fear of having to “speak truth” before truth hath doth passed? Could it have been a branding issue? Nothing says “yoga mom” like a delicious healthy drag off a Virginia Slim.

Anyway, you can chock this whole “coming out of the closet about smoking” thing to Elena’s mission to make the entire yoga “community” her stand-in for psuedo-AA-make-amends-to-those-in-the-past “Truth” mission thing.

All the same, good on her! Smoking is annoying. You don’t need an f’ing life coach to tell you that.


  1. Her green plastic watering can ..

  2. Greenpoint

    Well that’s what you get for READING anything in a rag like that…as the #1 rule for YJ, so for Whole Living (just the name makes me angry!), look at the pretty pictures only!!

  3. tio

    She really does have great hair.

  4. Oh Lordy, if Elena feels this way about a smoke, I wonder what levels of guilt are induced by sneaking off a Hostess Twinkie or two.

  5. the moment already came

    To me, the most interesting and satisfying thing about this whole post is that you’ve tagged John Friend at the bottom. This in spite of the fact that the article doesn’t mention John, Elena “hasn’t been teaching Anusara” for a year, and she wrote a Very Serious and Thoughtful Letter officially separating herself from that whole scene.

    A stink like that doesn’t come off just ’cause you say, “I quit.”

    Oh, also, cigarettes.

    • You know, there’s no strict rule with our tags. We try to make sense of something with a few words, but aren’t really sure if it does much. We’re still getting hits from people searching “long chin women.” Anyway, the JF tag was for the hotlink in the article.

  6. Yoga Whelp

    She looks remarkably like the “replicant” (android) Rachel played by Sean Young in Blade Runner — except that Sean Young was hot.

    Rachel ALWAYS told the truth. That’s because all of her “thoughts” and “memories” were implants from her creator. (She also smoked).

    Who was Elena’s “creator”? I’ve already forgotten his name.

    Just for the record, and to ensure that my own implanted memories are in tact, here’s the basic story about “Elena and Johnnie.”


    Elena’s reputation for belated and calculated truth-telling precedes her. She usually has these cathartic outbursts under penalty not of conscience — but of penury.

    Dare we ask what other shattering revelations might emerge in the months ahead?

    Abortions? Children out of wedlock? Polyamory? (not including Anusara, that’s just yoga)

    Cant’ wait!!

    (I know, be nice. I’m actually trying).

  7. thoughtframes

    Like you just happened across the article. Come on now, lets keep in honest. It’s obvious you religiously read Whole Living on your throne.

  8. thoughtframes

    I think you are all missing something here. Elena quit smoking with the help of her life couch. It didn’t come from years of practicing yoga and it didn’t come from guidance of another yoga teacher. This is more evidence that yoga is bullshit, just a more spiritual way to do aerobics. If you want to make real changes, get a life coach.

    • thoughframes: Obviously I read Whole Living on the throne like it’s my job! Actually, I’ve never heard of it before and kept referring to it in the article as “Healthy Living” and searching for “healthy living elena brower smoking” on the web until I went back and looked it up.

      As for your “yoga is bullshit” comment, there may be something to that line of thinking when put under the appropriate lens.

      • Actually, as rags like that go, Real Simple is the better one (apologies to Martha Stewart, but I do consider those two mags head-to-head competition). And, wouldn’t you know–hardly a stitch of yoga in Real Simple. But then again, I practice movement-with-breath-awareness (with a lot of Sanskrit thrown in) and we have our own mags–that is to say, mainstream ones …

    • Yoga Whelp

      I suspect that your use of life “couch” is actually a typo – but you know, sometimes the word Gods speak through us, and we are merely their unwitting but faithful instruments.

    • Greenpoint

      well this isn’t “evidence that yoga is bullshit”, but it is evidence that EB is certainly full of it…

  9. Linda-Sama

    kinda odd that she couldn’t figure out how to quit smoking without the life coach. really?!? I did it the old fashioned way — threw my half smoked pack of cigarettes in the garbage.

  10. voxygen

    In this recent blog post, Elena tells us even more about her life coaches:

    “Then I discovered the Handel Group, a groundbreaking, life-coaching method that has shifted my relationships to myself, my family, and my work in the world. Under the tutelage of my Handel coaches, the precise actions I take toward changing my reactivity are now my option in the most challenging situations—not just on my yoga mat. And now that I know who and how I can be, my yoga mat feels like more of an affirmation of that, rather than the place I go to escape my unsavory and embarrassing behavior.”


    My respect for Yoga International magazine diminishes with each appearance she makes there.

  11. The 4th Om

    Like lots of other things, it’s only annoying if you are not doing it. I’ve had a few cigs here and there, and although it is unnatural, sucking smoke into your lungs, it’s not all that bad, kind of relaxing, actually.

  12. Garuda

    I dont care if someone is addicted to nicotine, heroine, nutter butters, 12 step programs or even Yoga . Better to use our gunpowder productively than destructively though. Wearing your own Truthiness on your sleeve to gain Kula-Cred is a little bit icky though. Like being a soul salesman while all along borrowing against your own.

  13. giggity

    For the sake of THE TRUTH, she has in a past public talk identified the moment she decided to quit as something different than she states here. (Yes, it involved her coach. No, it wasn’t because of her son.) Publicity? Hmm. Truth? Lol.

  14. giggity

    not to harp on this, but i can’t help but feel like brower uses her yogilebrity status to lure people in close (sometimes requiring that people PAY to listen to her her), and then spout stuff that’s really just her processing own life shit out loud. boring. unethical. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YisIQuWOrAQ&list=PLFrNKBwkWb22LreXZcQq7B1k7CuTSwJW-&index=4

  15. giggity

    I seriously hope The Babarazzi does a piece on the latest episode of The Brower Show. it smells more and more like a repackaged version of the 12-step program rather than new “wisdom”. Emphasis on the word NEW.

Leave a Reply to The Babarazzi Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: