A Plea to Yoga Journal: the update.

Via on Mar 23, 2011

Many of you read my post a little over a month ago sending a cyber plea to Yoga Journal to publish a letter by Anna Guest-Jelley.

For a refresher, my good friend Anna had sent them a letter in response to a certain article about food and weight loss which they did not immediately publish.  This oversight on their part and the attention to “perfect” bodies in their magazine started a bit of fury here on EJ.  I requested…no, demanded, that they publish her letter within two months or I would cancel my subscription and no longer link to their site within my articles here and on my blog.

The response to that post was overwhelming and the support for what I was asking and for Anna and her amazing approach to yoga was beyond what I had hoped.  The community of yogis that rallied with our position that Yoga Journal needed more “every body” yoga models/role models showed me what I was saying was not falling upon deaf ears.

This afternoon I opened my mailbox to find the latest issue of Yoga Journal and instantly looked at the letters to the editor.  On page 16 there it was:  an excerpt of Anna’s letter.  Yoga Journal had listened!  No, probably not to me or to any of the people who commented on Anna’s post, my post or on many of the others that followed it.

They listened to what Anna had to say, and for me that was the goal.

The current issue of Yoga Journal features tattoos (on yoga practicing prisoners) and a non-size two cover model, Sarah Tomson Beyer.  I have hope and faith that this trend will continue because I want to support Yoga Journal and the teachers within its pages. As promised I will keep referring to their website in my blog and here in my posts in Elephant Journal.  I am encouraged that Yoga Journal will continue to expand the yogis they feature in their pages.

While I am happy they chose to publish Anna’s letter, this experience has shown me that the real source of wisdom and community in yoga is on the mat next to me.  I am learning from my fellow yogis on Twitter, from the readers of my blog and from the students whom I teach and practice with daily.  Yoga Journal is pretty and glossy and a great way to showcase the exceptional, but I am grateful for people like Anna Guest-Jelley. She reminds me and Yoga Journal to love every body, and that every body can do yoga. I hope that one day Yoga Journal will realize that yogis like her who bring wisdom, acceptance and grace to their practice are the real cover models.

About Nancy Alder

Nancy Alder is a 200H Registered Yoga Teacher in Connecticut. She teaches her students to connect with space and breath from a place of safety and humor. She writes for many yoga blogs and chronicles her daily practice to find the beginners mind on and off the mat at her own blog,ww.flyingyogini.com. She is co-founder of Teachasana,www.teachasana.com, a site by yoga teachers for yoga teachers. When not writing or doing yoga she is in awe of her elves, busting asanas in crazy places and counting the days until the next snowfall.

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17 Responses to “A Plea to Yoga Journal: the update.”

  1. carrie says:

    congrats to all the real women <g>

  2. Brooks Hall says:

    I am grateful for people like you and Anna Guest-Jelley, too! Thanks for the update!

  3. Sybil says:

    Excellent! And now….I’m going to overcome my fear and do as Anna Guest-Jelley has requested….I’m going to send her a picture of me – a curvy yogini – doing yoga – for her to add to her collection. Trust me…..it’s not going to be easy. (Just typing this makes me cringe with anxiety.)

  4. Linda-Sama says:

    look at the person next to you: they may be your root guru.

  5. Fantastic – Watch for more on the Curvy Yoga Revolution as Yogainmyschool.com interviews her next Monday, Mar 28th – watch for it here on elej http://www.blogtalkradio.com/yoga-in-my-school/20

  6. Janet says:

    Just to be clear, I meant thanks for your work on the issue of size zero models on the cover of Yoga Journal, not "sexy" yoga poses. (which appears to be MY issue – sigh)

  7. Corti Cooper says:

    Awesome Nancy! Change is possible and yoga is for everyone. I have met so many people who tell me they can't do yoga as they are not flexible. Well, when every picture of yoga they see is a skinny-minny with a foot behind their head, one can understand their thoughts. I'd love to see a man with tight hamstrings doing uttannasana on the cover (knees bent, but still not even close to reaching his feet). Thanks for speaking up for the masses! xxcc

  8. [...] about your body? What message to you get from the wider yoga community– from your teachers, from Yoga Journal, from your fellow practitioners– and does it differ from your experience on the mat? Does [...]

  9. [...] (an oh so fittingly named reference for this post!), there’s been socially relevant work that: a) insists that yoga is for EVERY body and that even implicit messages that assign value on the basis of physical appearance are [...]

  10. [...] that yoga is for EVERY body and that even implicit messages that assign value on the basis of physical appearance are [...]

  11. Nancy A says:

    Janet, thanks for your reply. I encourage you to look at a past post by Sadie Nardini on the topic of "Who calls the shots for YJ covers" and look deep in the replies for one by "stb." She is Sarah TB, the cover model you are discussing here and who directly states in her reply to Sadie that she is a size 8-10. (the link: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/02/yoga-journ

    I'm not defending nor commenting on what you consider "sexy yoga poses" however I am addressing the fact that she is not a size zero model. In fact her body size is actually closer to an average woman's. My article here is NOT about the sexiness in yoga ads/covers, you can find THOSE articles elsewhere on elephant journal if you look for them. Instead I am commenting on the desire to see some "average" "regular" folks, rather than only perfection in the pages. I am thinking that perhaps you are misunderstanding the point of my message.

  12. Yogini5 says:

    She's built like a power ice skater, and seems to move like one.
    I … do … not … identify ….

    Signed,

    Mellow Hatha Student

  13. Janet says:

    I'd buy a magazine with an older bald guy on the cover – or a disabled yogi or yogini for that matter. (like Matt Sanford)

  14. yoga-adan says:

    if i ever make the cover of anything i'd be willing to let people know i was on ;-) i'll try and let you know ;-) thanks janet

  15. Jen says:

    Hey Nancy,
    SO glad to see that the letter got published in YJ! I think your letter probably had something to do with it… I think Sarah is a great cover model. She is a VERY toned and slender size 8, but I think she is a good representative of the yoga community. She looks healthy and strong. I really thin YJ needs to put curvier models on the cover because in reality all of the YJ cover models including Sarah have been slim and toned, which is great, but it is ok to be curvier too! Heavy people also practice yoga, so YJ should represent all body types from size 0 to plus size and beyond! Overall, publishing the letter is a step in the right direction!

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