THE BLOG

Plus Size Yoga - Diversity on the Yoga Mat

31/03/2016 12:11 | Updated 31 March 2016

I believe that 'every body is a yoga body'. This is why I am passionate about encouraging anyone to try the practice regardless of size, age, colour or gender...

However I cannot say that I have seen much of this in the media or yoga classes in the UK. I'm seeing individuals being put off the yoga before they've even ventured onto the mat.

I've realised that for many years, I'd been living in a yoga bubble and hadn't really given any thought to the image of the practice. I'm pleased to say the bubble burst. Actually, I do recall that I deliberately chose not to practice, where everyone would have their legs behind their head, just like a photo I saw of Madonna, for fear of making a fool of myself. So took myself off to a beginners' class. I too was sub-consciously as affected by this image thing, as everyone else without even realising it.

I became cynical about the type of people that practiced yoga, this changed whilst I was travelling in America.

Over there they have a more mature relationship yoga and are more accepting of differing body types and abilities.

I was teaching to various yogis and hearing how yoga transformed their lives. This restored my faith in the practice and what it could achieve. Yoga changed and healed my life in so many ways.

A few years later, I read an article about a plus size yogi, having a terrible experience on their yoga journey. Describing how she'd either be stared at - being the largest person in the class or being ignored by Teacher - who should be offering modifications and words of encouragement to her. This just not did not sit right with me as yoga is suppose to be for everyone - right?

I started to notice that a lot of the practitioners were tall, slim, blonde and young. I will leave the topic of diversity for another time.......

One of the biggest hurdles to normalising yoga is that a lot of people buy into the images being depicted within the media. Should we be accustomed to the perfect 10? Obviously these images help to sell the magazines, clothes, lifestyle etc because it's an aspirational dream for many of us.

This is which why I advocate body positive yoga. At the moment in UK I am aware of a handful of studios that show images reflecting a true picture of our society.

I feel that here we need to normalise images of the different yogis and body types. Make a powerful statement, allowing yoga to be enjoyed not only by the few, but the many.

We are behind our counterparts in the States. Although I am starting to see this change in the media - featuring images of body positive yogis like Dana Falsetti and Jessamyn Stanley to name a few.

I would love to see the UK have our own yoga role models that will inspire others to give yoga a go.

Recently I was fortunate to attend a class, and held a Q & A session with the Fitfluential Jessamyn Stanley on her recent visit. She left so many people feeling inspired by what she had to share.

Here's my advice on how to have a yoga body.

1. Have a body
2. Go to yoga

I believe it is as simple as that and it's what we are all about at CurveSomeYoga https://www.facebook.com/CurveSomeYoga

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