The yoga body as…a tube of pork?

Via Clare Polencheck
on Jun 20, 2011
get elephant's newsletter

I am definitely NOT my body, if my body is this…

There’s been a lot of talk the past few months in the yoga community about the “yoga body.” Body image has and will be forever recycled as a topic of interest, concern, impact, and awareness in many scopes.

Here is one scope that I hope is not revisited.

The yoga body as Thuringer sandwich.

Thuringer Sandwich by Hawk Krall

According to’s food dictionary, Thuringer [THOOR-ihn-juhr] is defined as, “Any of several fresh and smoked sausages named for the former German region of Thuringia.”

In my world, it’s often called gross summer sausage.

So what does a Thuringer sandwich have to do with yoga, you ask? Well it’s the perfect metaphor for the yoga body in many asana! Take Navasana (boat pose) for example. Oftentimes, the student may focus on only contracting the front body, “pulling the belly toward the spine,” (squeeeeeeze the abs, right?!) in order to hold the pose, forgetting that the back should be equally squeeeeeeezed engaged forward to support the spine and keep the heart lifted, etc. Basically, the muscles around the entire circumference of the trunk are lifting upward and inward toward the spine.

Just like a Thuringer sandwich, with the buns hugging the sausage, of course.

  • Spine = sausage
  • Front and back body muscles = bun
  • Other anatomical stuff I may or may not have added into my metaphor = mustard, ketchup, pickles, onion rings, sauerkraut, etc.

Did I use this imagery in my class a few weeks ago? Yes, yes I did. Don’t ask me where it came from but thank God my students found it humorous.

And thank God I had the pause this past week to stop before cuing them to allow their muscles to melt off their bones during Sukhasana (easy pose) meditation, just like the pork roast I’d made the previous day fell deliciously apart on my husband’s fork. I’m not sure they’d forgive me for another such reference.

I don’t eat pork, but I’m wondering if my body is trying to tell me something. Either way… 

…what’s the worst yoga metaphor you’ve ever heard or used?


About Clare Polencheck

Clare L. Polencheck is a yoga instructor who strives to live and write from a Christian-Yogic spiritual perspective, and is humbled to share tidbits of her lessons as a teacher of asana, a student of her students, and a pupil of Universe. Learning to go with God’s flow is her dharma code.


3 Responses to “The yoga body as…a tube of pork?”

  1. OK, along the same lines of meat in a tube, actually. In describing the Anusara technique of organic extension, specifically of expanding from the core lines of the body concentrically outward through the muscles and skin, I drew my students' collective memory back to the old TV commercial for Ball Park Franks. "They plump when you cook 'em." Remember those hot dogs, expanding concentrically? While the students seemed to get it, I think I was the only one really amused.

  2. Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Bob W. Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  3. tanya lee markul says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. Well, I remember one yoga teacher of mine telling the class that we should feel like geishas in hero pose — not sure if it beats the 'tube of pork' though. LOL. 🙂

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Assoc. Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter