4.0
September 6, 2010

Slim Sexy Savvy and Yoga-sex

Tara Stiles’ new book Slim Calm Sexy Yoga speaks to the pressures of our times, offers compassionate help, and sends mixed messages—including a message of hope for a big change in how we think.

Slim Calm Sexy Yoga offers some helpful thoughts—like focusing on the breath in yoga, but its emphasis on sex and skinniness has nothing to do with traditional yoga. But, (guess what?) this book is not about the tradition of yoga. It is about the modern form as many Americans are currently using and teaching it all over this country. We can only process yoga at a level we can understand (is what I’m telling myself about this). It might sound kind of patronizing for me to say it that way, but I’m really talking about my own journey in yoga when I say that.

When I first started going to a yoga studio, here in Chicago, I told my friends that I was going to yoga to “get a hot body”—with a laugh, like maybe I meant it but not totally seriously… And the classes at Priya Yoga kicked my ass! (Which was just what I needed after a few years of post-college office jobs.) My body and mind were depressed! These classes offered this and more: it’s not an exaggeration to say that a spiritual awakening happened to me there.

On the other hand: When I started going to the yoga studio regularly, I also lost a few pants-sizes = Slim. According to friends, I was less reactive = Calm. And I became much more aware of my exploding sexuality = Sexy. It’s just true…

So for me it becomes a matter of what we are focusing on: Is the spiritual aspect of yoga most important, or is it really about the sex?

Tara Stiles makes some interesting observations about yoga and sex:

“Yoga not only makes you feel like a vixen, it also physically changes your body from the inside out so that you experience pleasure in a whole new way. Whether you’re into bedroom gymnastics or more traditional lovemaking, all the added strength, flexibility, and endurance you gain with yoga practice will lead to amazing times between the sheets. And if you’re lucky enough to have a partner who practices yoga with you, you might want to brace yourself for the orgasm jackpot. Need a better reason to drag your date to yoga? (Be careful, you might not make it to dinner.)”

Wow! That’s sexy yogatainment!

Yoga has used freedom from pain as a selling point at least as far back as the Bhagavad Gita. Doesn’t this book describe pains existing today (real or perceived) like fat, anxiety and not having great sex? So in this sense this is a very traditional yoga book: It defines certain kinds of suffering and offers yogic remedies to assuage these pains.

This “Fry Fat on the Mat Routine” on MSN Health and Fitness is almost identical to one found in the book (The Online version is missing an “Up Dog”.). The “fat frying” metaphor makes my skin crawl, when others might like it or find it funny. I just think it’s so odd that the sequence ends with the “Rotated Triangle”. That one as a last pose is likely to leave someone’s nervous system stirred up and out-of-whack in my opinion (But maybe it is very “fat-frying” to end it that way).

Maybe it’s for other books to talk about how to embrace and love myself during dark times… This might be a great title:

Fat Frantic Frigid—Yoga for those Dark Times (Is it okay to not want to have sex sometimes?)

I guess I’m ready to lighten up and enjoy yoga while my body can do it! Maybe our spiritual evolution isn’t really up to us anyway… In my experience those moments of unspeakable wonder— where I’ve been paralyzed to my ordinary sense of myself and seemingly expanded beyond ordinary comprehension—have had absolutely nothing to do with me (or so it seemed). Even as a say that, a small voice seems to say something about love and discipline. It might have something to do with what we do and how we express our love.

There was an ad that for the book that misfired among us yoga bloggers, but honestly, this bubblegum covered book isn’t for us (The cover color-scheme reminds me of Bubblicious bubble gum wrappers of my youth.). Us yoga bloggers tend to be already wrapped up in our own practices, and committed enough to the subject to write about it regularly just because we care. This book, the way I see it, has a different target audience.

The ad mentioned above is problematic, but the book is less bad—maybe even a good introduction to yoga for those it appeals to. Let’s face it: eating disorders already exist. The pressure for women and girls to be thin is huge. And we could say that this book is part of the media machine that sends a harmful message, but I don’t think it’s true. It’s not that simple. Because we have been so heavily educated to loose weight already, at this point I think there is room for the message of a sheep to come in the clothing of a wolf. The book sells the notion of being a slim sexy yoga kitten, but along the way offers some helpful messages about awareness and intuition. I don’t think that slim sexy yoga kittens = yoga adepts, but maybe I should reconsider this notion.

I think that yoga may have the power to radically change our society and how we think because yoga has radically changed the way I think. Many of us are under the spell of current media pressures. Using the language that so many people already understand to deliver a yogic message might just be a great step towards a communication that permeates the people more broadly.

Yoga to the people—including the beauty and sex obsessed among us!

* This has been a message from Yogic Muse *

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Billy Dec 19, 2010 3:11pm

That said, I think if you stretch and breathe and relax enough wisdom sneaks in there.

Billy Dec 19, 2010 2:26pm

Ok, so you do some yoga…you can stand on your hands and put your head up your own ass. You’re sexy, calm and slim. Then what? Maybe you stay sexually desirable through menopause. Maybe you’re the sexiest 90 year old in your sweaty vinyasa class. If you have a partner who stays healthy and sexual as long, what fun!

At some point the body ain’t gonna cut it. I don’t care how calm, slim or sexy you are, sex with a 150 year old is gross.

So you decide to die. If only I hadn’t eschewed the spiritual aspect of yoga, I might not be in crisis as I approach what I always knew was coming, the release of my physical form. Whatever…I wouldn’t trade one of those thousands of orgasms for some of that knowledge/wisdom/understanding bullshit.

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Brooks Hall

Brooks Hall is a Yogic Muse from Chicago, Illinois. In this capacity she teaches Yoga, writes about Yoga, and generally enjoys it. You can find her at: brookshall.blogspot.com.