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She Exists: ‘I can be…’ A Yoga Teacher Barbie Doll

in YD News


As part of the “I can be…” line sold exclusively at Target, Barbie becomes her dream, a yoga teacher! Complete with lotus tank top, pink yoga mat and mini chihuahua pup somehow Mattel mixed up a yoga teacher with a Malibu rollerblade Paris Hilton.

It was only a matter of time, but it’s still just as disappointing to see the impossible proportions of a woman’s body in the form of a yoga teacher, than it was to anticipate them.

But, perhaps there’s a positive influence to be had here? Kids getting introduced to yoga, is a good thing, right? Sure, and then you have wonder where the young girls (or boys) get their references from when they ‘play’ yoga with their unrealistically skinny, flexible and impractically long-necked Barbie doll.

Not to mention with those weird sock/stocking things she has on? Poor chica can’t even spread the toes on her Barbie feet *ba-dum tsh* And what does Ken have to say about all this? And the dog? Really, Mattell. If plastic chihuahuas could talk.

If Yoga Teacher Barbie could talk, would she sound like this? Or this?

Curious what y’all think.

*photo cred: Theresa Elliott of Seattle, WA who posted on facebook after receiving the Barbie as a gift from her graduating YTT, class 2011.



69 comments… add one
  • JJ

    I’m holding out for the John Friend doll complete w/ the spliffs and massage table.

  • I think I own that outfit … but not the dog.

  • This made me literally have to put my head between my legs so I could breathe. I hate this. It completely plays into the stereotype of yoga as something only for skinny white chicks, and perpetuates the ego- and image- driven world yoga sometimes feels like it’s becoming. I’m ashamed of this, and I’m a yoga teacher.

    • sandy

      I am a tall, blonde, ‘skinny white chick’ without an ego or image, who does yoga. Don’t be a hater. I don’t judge you. If it opens little girls up to yoga, it’s a good thing!

    • Its just a doll…

  • old story, but is Barbie-ji made in China? http://www.laobserved.com/biz/2011/08/disney_mattel_toys_m.php

    I hear the next Yoga Barbie will be one that speaks and says things like “love and light”, “manifest”, and “I feel my third eye opening….”

  • My daughter saw a picture I had taken of me giving my wife an adjustment in triangle pose. She pointed at the picture and said “papa teaching yoga. mama playing yoga”

  • Hi Yoga Dork
    I’m glad you like the Barbie photo as much as I do.  I put her numerous places around my studio until I found just the right place – between the yellow curtains from Ikea and the WWII green linoleum that lines the windowpane at Taj Yoga. I posted this photo on my Facebook site at about 11am, and found it on your site at 6pm! I have been joking for years that surely, a yoga barbie would soon be in the offerings. Imagine my amazement when Yoga Barbie was given to me as a gift this weekend by students of my teacher training program, Pacific Yoga class of 2011!

    • YD

      Theresa, thank you for posting the photo that has caught fire on facebook and launched a storm of comments and discussion!
      Somehow it’s sort of an oddly perfect gift to receive from students at the end of a teacher training.

    • Hi Theresa! The Yoga Barbie phenomenon could not come from a better source than you. I know you follow the Barbie aesthetic in your practice and in your life. Thanks for sharing this with everyone.

      • Maya

        What on earth do you mean by this woman following a ” Barbie aesthetic in your practice and in your life”???????

        • Maya, I’m totally kidding her. Theresa is a friend and a teacher of great depth and humor. My assumption is that she knows I’m saying this with tongue firmly in cheek.

  • Bobbie helwig

    …There will always be haters. Your criticism shows how far off the path you are. Why can’t Barbie be a Yoga teacher? Maybe Barbie will make a yoga video for kids…is that bad too? Just seeing a pose, or contemplating a pose opens ones mind….Minds are like parachutes,,,they only function when open.

  • Sarah

    Y’know…my initial reaction was laughter and to be a hater…but then I realized that exposure to yoga, even in barbie form to children is much better than violent video games or whatever else kids do these days. seriously, it could be a whole lot worse. although the dog confuses me…

  • john

    I’m sure I’ve taken her classes, in fact, she seems to be everywhere.

    • wondering

      thinking the same thing!!!

  • Missy

    My 5 yr old would love this. :p Of all the Barbie crap out there, this is some of the least offensive. Still, she is currently limited to her one ballerina Barbie for now.

  • I’m incredibly confused about the dog…maybe I am missing out on the yoga classes that allow me to bring my pet. Hmmm…

    • doga?

      • sandy

        ummmm….what does the dog have to do with it? I have 5 dogs, all different breeds & I do yoga as a tall, thin, blonde, middle aged woman who chooses not to judge others whether they are thin, chubby, tall, short, asian, white, black, indian, etc, etc, etc, or own cats, dogs, horses, goats, cows, alpacas, or whatever they choose.

  • sandy

    Seriously people- it’s a freakin barbie! We all grew up playing with them. I’m sorry if people feel threatened by a plastic doll, but IT’S A TOY!!! I am tall, thin, & blonde (all naturally) and always have been. And honestly, was extremely self conscious being so growing up. I have sincer grown up & learned to love myself & really can’t understand the insecurity of those who do not fit the ‘barbie’ look- trust me, it’s not all that. Everyone is an individual.

    • yogatwit

      Thanks for your coment, though I don’t think I’ve seen anyone with that long a neck in a class, and I’ve been thaking yoga for 35 years…. 😀

  • I agree, not bad for a Barbie. But even yoga Barbie can’t compare to Dusty, the cool action doll with the athletic figure that had a brief but awesome run in the mid-70s.

    • Leslie

      I had a Dusty doll back in the day! She was way cooler than Barbie because her joints were articulated. She also had a horse…now I’m going nuts trying to remember the damn horses name! 🙂

      • Leslie

        The horse’s name was Nugget!

  • There are many iconic images in our culture we can use as visual aids when teaching. I have been “reclaiming” Barbie in the classroom for the last 25 years. She is an excellent model on how to flex at the hip joint and her foot position “Barbie Doll Foot” compares to none when teaching Plantar Flexion.

    Yoga Barbie will take her rightful place on the Taj altar along with the other Barbies, including Ken, right next to Gumby, the Magic 8 Ball, Shiva, the devil horns, and the Suzanne Somers Thigh Master!

  • Hmmm

    I vote for galleries of beheaded yoga barbies doing all kinds of twisted things with dogs and and other barbies and skipper and ken dolls….the only way I could ever stand to play w/ Barbie as a kid anyway

  • el

    It is called MARKETING. Yoga is popular culture today and sells. Sure see the good in it and ignore the obvious fact that Mattel doesn’t give one iota of care if this is “speading the word” of yoga. Barbie looks the same to me: a white, blonde, big breasted representation of what an american woman should look like (FYI: not a reality). If people can’t see why this isn’t a valiant thing, then it is because they are ignorant or simply don’t want to see the reality of the situation. As a yogini, i shudder. America is, yet again, pushing the idea of “yoga” into the ugly area – appropriating it. We have succeeded in marketing yet another facet of yoga and some unthinking zombies are following…

  • she has socks on. possibly quite dangerous. would someone help her out? and send me notice of Chant Barbie when it’s released? (gotta love it. at least someone does!)

  • Leslie

    I can’t quite figure out the asana she’s rocking…maybe those socks made her slip or she tripped on her dog? :/

  • Vision_Quest2

    Yeah, when Barbie grows up she can be a yogalebrity and make 6 figures .. lol

  • leigh

    for those of you questioning the dog with the doll…. obviously you have not felt the joy of your pups barking wildly and jumping all over you while doing your sun salutations, it truly offers a slice of happiness : )

  • So yeah, I bought one.

    First off, Barbie’s feet are still permanently stuck in the “where are my heels” pose. Great for abs (active feet). Not so great for standing asanas.

    Zero lower back mobility. So no forward fold, backbends, or twists. In fact, she has a bit of lordosis which is gonna give her trouble down the line. Knees and elbows bend about 90 degrees max, so a ton of limitations there.

    Her hands are kind of good though (in a Vira I kind of way), if you do not insist on spreading the fingers.

    I can get her into a reasonably good Hanumanasana, Ustrasana (she bends at the hips OK), and Dhanusasana. Pretty decent Natarajasana if you stick her standing foot in a piece of clay 🙂

    I suspect Barbie is gonna get a punk makeover – short spikey hair, a change of fashion, and some sharpie tatts – before too long.

  • My neck hurts in sympathy for poor Yoga Barbie’s freakishly large head and long neck. That’s gotta hurt.

  • Barbie is not just a doll, she is an impossibly proportioned mone-making mechanism that undermines the self-esteem of girls and women and promotes early sexualization – thereby impeding the ability of girls, boys, men and women to form healthy relationships based on mutual respect rather than dysfunctional stereotypes.

    In my opinion, Yoga Barbie is an example of good-washing, a marketing strategy designed to distract the intentional shopper from the unhealthy messages inherent in the product.

    For a great article on goodwashing, check out http://www.shapingyouth.org/?p=19119

  • Ku

    Now if it was a G.I. joe doll in like yoga wear struttin a warrior 2 pose then that would be way cool.

  • Ku

    Then they should come out with the KEN doll. Maybe call it Tantric Ken or Guru Ken with his hand on Barbie’s ass.

  • Wow, I can’t believe that this is such a discussion. Barbie “undermines the self-esteem of girls” and “It completely plays into the stereotype of yoga as something only for skinny white chicks, and perpetuates the ego”….REALLY?

    It’s a toy, for kids…

    Growing up as an only child my barbies were like good friends, and sparked my imagination. And based on all these comments it’s amazing I didn’t grow up as an oversexed woman with eating disorders, and a lovely rack of implants.

    Just as I or any woman have the choice to become a doctor, yoga teacher, or any other professional woman Barbie can too.

    I’d rather see children interacting with dolls that encourage dreams of being whatever they want, than playing violent video games or watching hours of television. I say go Barbie!

  • I love it! It’s funny

  • Feists

    I grew up with the original Barbie with the black and white swimsuit. She was well played with. Me and my sister never looked at her as a model of how we wanted to look. She was just a doll we played with. I did buy the Yoga Barbie though….she’s cute. Barbie brings back memories….

  • “Barbie’s body shape and proportions are among the many things that play up to this ‘thin ideal’ which is ubiquitous these days,” says Professor Janet Treasure, an expert on body size and image at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. “The promotion of dolls with such a body shape, and other things like size zero, have wider public health implications, like an increased risk of eating disorders.”


  • Katherine

    I love it 😉
    I have to have it:-)
    Although with all respect I don’t bring my chihuahua to the yoga class:);)
    This is funny- it made my day.

    P.S. I wasnt born in USA- so I don’t know much about “Barbie ” rules…
    It looks like great marketing though- yoga is everywhere 😉
    And with a lovely chihuahua :-);)
    Lol – u made my sirsasana day:):)

  • Ku

    Consume, consume, consume. Wonder hiw much it cost?

    it should say “yoga barbie can deepen your practice and can bring you
    to enlightment.”

    Consume, consume, consume!!!!!!

    Yes it is funny, however it is not funny when u purchase it. what a waste.

    • Shamanic_Rite

      As someone whose mother could not afford to buy me a Barbie doll when I was a kid; I used to make clothing out of pieces of extra fabric for plump little girl toddler dolls with limbs that had no moveable knees or elbows.

      I did buy myself a Barbie doll once (not a collector-potential edition) as an adult. But I tossed it when I’d moved twice, recently; due to long-term unemployment. There is a real world out there that does not involve slacking, or backpacking in India when the mood strikes.

      Beyond that, I think commercialized yoga could go suck itself … I consume anything yoga as mass media, only; only what I could afford; and very little, at that …

  • Twisted Yoga Sister

    How can a toy doll bring out such heated Yogic discussion?! There have been generations of girls and boys who have grown up and played with Barbie and Ken. They have turned out fine. A doll is not going to change your life for the better or the worst. Good parenting is the key to children growing up with a true sense of self and self worth. Some people who profess to be Yogis sometimes just need to lighten up….Barbie is a toy. Namaste

  • Valerie

    I see very little difference between the Barbie aesthetic and the official yoga aesthetic that is pushed by the yoga industry… young, beautiful, thin, perfectly toned women in high-end gear that emphasize their tits and asses, contorting themselves, smilingly, into postures that are inaccessible to most women on the planet.

    Everybody breathe now 🙂

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