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These Women Try Yoga To Dispel ‘Yoga Body’ Stereotypes

in YD News

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If every body is a yoga body why do some bodies still feel left out? Yoga is evolving to become more accessible and welcoming to everybody and their body type—hallelujah!—but the skinny stigma still clings like a sweaty sports bra thanks to most of the media we see. And so it makes us happy to find videos like this one from Buzzfeed featuring three gals sharing their very valid and honest apprehensions about practicing yoga, and then going ahead and giving it a try.

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“I think me and a lot of plus-size women end up exercising alone.”

As much as we wish it weren’t the case, the yoga world can still feel like an exclusionary and judgmental place, as is true with many other movement and exercise disciplines. Yoga, with its unifying principles, should be different, right?

But there’s also a stigma that larger bodies can’t do yoga. This is thankfully being totally blasted with the help of individuals changing the image of yoga on social media, programs like Curvy Yoga and Yogasteya, and collectives like My Real Yoga Body and the Yoga and Body Image Coalition challenging what a yogi looks like.

In this video, Valerie Sagun (aka @biggalyoga) leads a yoga class focusing on santosha (in brief: contentment) and geared towards the hesitant newbies.

The result? Stereotypes smashed. But you knew that.

People may still feel excluded from yoga, and maybe we’re not quite as inclusive as we’d like to think we are (we=the yoga world as a whole) but the good news is, we’re getting closer.

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“My body doesn’t have to look like your body.”

If you’ve been thinking about practicing yoga, we hope this will inspire you to try it out.

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2 comments… add one
  • Samanthad

    I have been practicing for over 7 years, and have likely taken 1000 classes in 20 different studios, and I am very overweight. I have found that most teachers and studios have been very kind, helpful, and nonjudgemental. I have not had the same negative experiences in yoga that I have in other fitness classes. While I think that it is helpful to always seek to improve, I think videos like this might scare newbies who would believe that they need a special class in order to do yoga. Overweight yogis going to a gentle or beginner class at first to learn, giving themselves the opportunity to learn and trying to combat self judgment will likely have a great experience and not be judged by their teacher or other students.

  • Ayurveda

    Ayurveda is crucial to consider when trying to examine body types in yoga. Thus, ones ‘yoga body’ is not simply determined by the existence or absence of a yoga practice itself. Diet and lifestyle habits may potentially be stronger deciding factors. Doshas are important to anaylyze. one may exhibit a stereotypical or exaggerated kapha body type because they are true kapha people or because they have an imbalanced kapha dosha or perhaps another dosha imbalance.

    However, I think that it is a common fallacy that yoga will make someone skinny. If one wants to become skinny, attending a heated yoga class might be the most potentially effective route. I do not have any experience with bikram yoga but I can imagine that be an efficient style of yoga to become skinny. I am skeptical of the potential for a vinyasa style class to encourage an overweight person to become skinny. That is because, the vinyasa style is highly geared towards strength training. Therefore, if you weigh 200 pounds to begin with, hitting chaturungas is more likely to encourage the development of large muscles to replace fatty body mass then to reduce it.

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