The 32 Most Unforgettable Yoga Scenes from Movies and TV

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Nothing is sacred when it comes to yoga-related stereotypes depicted by film and TV. Students with crushes. Teachers with attitudes. Bodies that fart.

Although yoga is something we take quite seriously, we also acknowledge that those of us practicing it are, indeed, quite human. And that sometimes translates into some pretty laughable (and sometimes cringe-worthy) on-screen moments. Following are the yoga scenes on the flat screen that we find unforgettable.

32 Most Memorable Yoga Scenes from TV and Movies

1. Broad City

Abbi and Ilana sign up for a “pay what you can” class and soon realize you get exactly what you pay for—at least when it comes to yoga.

2. Curb Your Enthusiasm

In season nine of the long-running comedy series, master misanthrope Larry David refuses to partake in the chorus of “namaste” at the close of class. Afterward, he’s challenged by the teacher to explain his silence. His response (“There is no light within me.”) is incontestably sincere.

Editor’s Note: An increasing number of teachers and students choose not to mention the ancient Sanskrit word for a very non-comedic reason—namely, respect for the intended meaning and usage of the word.

3. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Rebecca’s yoga experience takes a hallucinatory turn in the musical comedy series when she lets her comparative and self-deprecating thoughts run wild about her yoga teacher, who’s dating the high school boyfriend Rebecca intends to win back. May yoga never be so complicated for anyone in real life.

4. Sex and the City

Samantha and celibacy simply don’t go together. So when everyone’s favorite PR exec is told by her yoga teacher and latest love interest that he practices tantric celibacy, Samantha tries to ride it out.

5. Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Kristen Wiig nails her role as a prim and passive-aggressive yoga teacher whose pious serenity is challenged by a rogue student. The newcomer, played perfectly by Jason Segel, tries to prove himself, a tendency that may remind some students how they, too, initially showed up to yoga.

6. Big Little Lies

In the HBO series, Zoe Kravitz’s character, Bonnie, leads a yoga class and introduces a sing-along during Savasana to the tune of Chicago’s “If You Leave Me Now.” We consider it evidence contrary to the saying “truth is stranger than fiction.”

7. The Real Housewives of Orange County

Sometimes it’s reassuring to be reminded that yoga doesn’t come easily to everyone. In season 17 of the “reality” show, Shannon Beador puts us all more at ease by stumbling her way through class alongside more experienced yogis. As the relatable queen struggles to hold Plank and even tips over a few times, we want to shout, we see you and can relate!

8. Better Call Saul

Who better to lead a chair yoga class for the elderly than Saul in this Breaking Bad spinoff? The unscrupulous public defender, brilliantly played by Bob Odenkirk, has a softness for the older set. The same cannot be said of his sentiment toward the retirement home where he teaches, which becomes the defendant in a class-action lawsuit he initiates.

|9. Good Will Hunting

The brief mention of yoga in this 1997 film is everything you’d expect from Matt Damon’s title character—quick-witted, concise, and facetious. When his therapist, played by Robin Williams, suggests he shove his cigarette where the sun don’t shine, Will Hunting quips, “Yeah, it really gets in the way of my yoga.”

10. New Girl

In the season three finale of the sitcom, Jess and Nick set sail on a Grand Romance cruise. The themed getaway turns out to be just as unhinged as it sounds, with everything from couples’ massages to a yoga class where the teacher cues students to “breathe through your genitals.”

11. Eat, Pray, Love

Starting a meditation practice can be hard, even for someone searching for the change they need to make in their life. In the film adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s renowned memoir, Julia Roberts heads to an ashram in India and reaches that “oh my god, kill me” phase of attempting to sit still with all of her thoughts.

12. Succession

Is yoga responsible for the downfall of America? Maybe so, according to billionaire medical tycoon Logan Roy, who mentions practicing yoga in the same breath as being on meth.

13. Yoga Hosers

There’s enough celeb cameos in this Kevin Smith flick to fill a bingo card, including Justin Long as a yoga teacher who deviates from tradition and cues poses such as “Pretentious Frog” and “Dissatisfied Customer” in this scene. While the plot is all over the place, the script’s focus on the friendship between two teen yogis is sweet.

14. The Sopranos

Tony’s sister Janice runs into Richie Aprile at yoga class one week after he gets out of the slammer. The couple’s spark is reinvigorated, although in classic Sopranos fashion, their romance is short-lived.

15. Hollywood Homicide

In this 2003 buddy action flick, Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett play LAPD detectives who moonlight to help pay the bills. Ford’s character looks on in awe as Hartnett leads students through their practice and becomes the subject of their attention.

16. He’s Just Not That Into You

Bad decisions abound for Bradley Cooper’s and Scarlett Johansson’s characters in the ensemble comedy. Although married, Cooper’s character, Ben, starts an affair with his yoga teacher, Anna. Ben being unable to keep his eyes off of her during class sorta tells you everything you need to know about his feelings. Spoiler alert: As you can expect, things don’t end well.

17. Meet the Fockers

Why are we not surprised that Barbra Streisand, playing the mother of Ben Stiller’s character, is leading a sex class in the 2004 film classic? As she encourages everyone to work their hips, she unexpectedly refers to a sacred part of yoga tradition when she calls out, “Let’s get your kundalini rising.” Reverse Cowgirl Pose follows.

18. Celeste and Jesse Forever

While still reeling from her recent separation, Celeste bitterly takes down a guy who hits on her after yoga class. She spares no insult as she unleashes on his finance bro vibe in very unyogic fashion.

Throwback to when doing yoga was the most extreme health-nut thing you could do. #entourage #yoga #nostalgia

In the HBO series’ first season, Vince is dating Fiona, a vegan yoga teacher who runs around in booty shorts. It’s not long before he’s forsaking the gym to take her class, and Johnny and the rest of the entourage don’t approve. In this scene, Fiona inserts herself in their argument over yoga versus weight lifting, telling Johnny, “Bulk is so ’90s!” Although unfortunately, Fiona doesn’t last long after cutting in on the bromance.

20. Psych

The dynamic and comedic detective duo of Shawn and Gus attempt to gather information from a hot yoga teacher for their latest case and end up taking class. As Gus attempts to come into Cobra, he hollers, “It’s gotta be 100 degrees in here!” A yogi on the mat alongside him casts Gus a pious glance and deadpans, “105, actually.” (Truthfully? The experience isn’t unlike many of our introductions to hot yoga.)

21. Schitt’s Creek

A yoga-for-two class can be awkward. But in season one, episode six of Schitt’s Creek, things get even more uncomfortable for everyone when class, led by Twyla, takes place in a barn.

22. How I Met Your Mother

Harmless crushes on someone we take yoga class with at a studio happen. But Ted becomes more than a little flustered when he’s introduced to the fellow student he’s been wanting to meet. “Ehhhh she’s talking to me!” he stammers. Anyone else cringing for him as they witness his bumbling?

23. Orange is the New Black

In perhaps the most heartbreaking TV scene related to yoga ever, the prison yoga instructor, Yoga Jones, explains how she landed in the Connecticut minimum-security prison. Prepare to cry.

24. Gilmore Girls

Only yoga could transform Paris into someone slightly less self-interested. Although she and boyfriend Doyle take up yoga to help her BS her way through medical school interviews, they’re surprised to find it beneficial in unexpected ways—including the chance for Paris to snarkily respond to the question, “Is Rory asleep?” with “You mean spiritually or literally?”

25. The Affair

It’s not unusual for people to head to a yoga retreat in search of themselves. When Alison, played impeccably by Ruth Wilson, goes on retreat with her New Age-inclined mother, her estranged boyfriend Noah shows up. Mom knows best and quickly sets him straight, explaining“You fell in love with her darkness. Now that she’s stepping into the light, you feel like you’re losing your hold on her.” Preach.

26. Sex and the City

Our second SATC scene is Carrie divulging to Samantha mid-yoga class that she farted while in bed with Big. (What is with everyone on-screen having complete conversations during their practice?!) When Carrie self-assuredly chalks it up to being human and shrugs it off, Samantha replies with some not-so-yogic verbal daggers.

27. Girls

There’s no single scene that supersedes the rest in the episode of Girls that sends Hannah and her mom to a yoga retreat. Suffice it to say, there are twists around every corner, including ones that lead to Hannah hooking up with her yoga instructor.

28. Mad Men

In the series finale of Mad Men, the troubled ad man is sitting in meditation when he envisions the iconic “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” jingle. We’d probably feel more serene, too, if we knew we were destined to create the ad campaign of the decade.

29. Noelle

It’s not every day that Santa does yoga. In the Disney+ comedy, Bill Hader plays Santa Claus attempting something quite relatable: running away from responsibilities by attending a yoga retreat.

30. Jackass

Who can forget Johnny Knoxville showing off his Downward Dog—and his gastrointestinal distress—in this vintage clip from the reality comedy? Knoxville proceeds to freak out the other practitioners with his fake farting noises. At least, we think they’re fake.

31. Portlandia

Carrie Brownstein’s character finds herself seated across from a guy during meditation class and, realizing he’s looking at her, quickly proceeds to imagine their entire life together. But at the end of class, her visions of bubble baths and morning omelets are quickly erased when she hears the student (played by Fred Armisen, of course) complain to the teacher.

32.Sex and the City

Yes, again. We can understand Lorelai in Gilmore Girls quietly rebelling and donning a “yoga kills” T-shirt after breaking her leg in a yoga class. (Reddit comments blew up after that episode!) But in perhaps one of the most confusing moments in pop culture history, Smith is shown wearing a “[expletive] yoga” T-shirt. We’ve been thinking about this for years—and remain confused. Someone enlighten us, please.

About our contributor

Megan Johnson is a freelance writer whose work regularly appears in the Boston Globe and People.

This content was originally published here.

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