Is Acro Yoga Exhibitionist?

Via elephant journal
on Jul 3, 2011
get elephant's newsletter

Yoga as Performance, or Yoga as Practice.

Among the top yoga videos of this month? An everyday perv films a yoga lady’s crotch. Feel free not to watch (life is short, your time is better spent):

Still, the question remains: in a public park, with children playing, can’t we dress a bit more appropriately? There was a gent in my yoga class who liked to do forward folds in Verve shorts that, sadly, had a bit of a gap around the crotch. Our teacher, Billy, asked him to wear more appropriate attire. But this is another situation altogether—this yogini is going to a park with some yoga friends, most likely, for the express purpose of acroyogaing about. Let’s think twice, next time, shall we?


About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive.


29 Responses to “Is Acro Yoga Exhibitionist?”

  1. elephantjournal says:

    Jen Smith I'm not sure what the point was in even wearing pants at that point. Some folks have no shame, or common sense.

    Ross Grayson Like they don't know…

  2. tanya lee markul says:

    I don't really see the big deal of being able to see her pink undies – perhaps if the camera man didn't feel it necessary to utilise the zoom function no one else would either. 🙂 🙂 Some of those moves are pretty cool!

  3. tomgrasso says:

    I am curious…what makes this yoga?

  4. tanya lee markul says:

    Good question! 🙂 I saw something that sort of looked like upavistha konasana, but supported by two feet. 🙂

  5. annoyed says:

    The camera operator's crotch shots are not needed but I don't see anything wrong with what these two are doing, and where they are doing it.
    I am more offended by the snarky, intolerant comments by the author of this post.

  6. elephantjournal says:

    At least the author, yours truly, bothered to be honest while admitting that it was just his, my view…and didn't hide behind anonymous insults. Your comment may be critical (which is welcome, and helpful), but you're not taking the time to be constructive—which is your loss, mine, and this conversation's. ~ Waylon

  7. Yogini5 says:

    As long as restless youth have to be entertained, yoga will have this schizoid approach. My former yoga teacher participates in this kind of yoga as well as teaches it; but also teaches restorative and mellow vinyasa styles.

    This kind of yoga will have its day in the sun, and then will go the way of many fads.

  8. 13thfloorelevators says:

    Could you possibly articulate what significance you believe divulging identity has regarding offensive, stupid, asinine or snarky commentary? You frequently hide behind the notion that remaining anonymous somehow undermines the point being made.
    Keep in mind that you have made yourself a public figure by choice. These people are not public figures, and there are no tangible or consequential impllications to be made from *who* they are; their points are just as valid or invalid whether attached to a name you would not recognize from adam's off ox or not.
    Acknowledging that, however, would require you to address their point rather than slapping the same response down everytime anyone finds you insufferable. Perhaps next time someone finds your commentary snarky, or otherwise inappropriate, you might try resisting the urge to scream "anonymous!" and actually address what they are saying. It would at least be interesting.

  9. Dace says:

    I do not see any problem here. If one is offended that somebody else does not match underwear color, well, one must think again…
    None has a right to declare which yoga is right and which is not.

  10. elephantjournal says:

    Really? So everything's yoga? Disco yoga or sculpt yoga or competitive yoga the same as yoga practiced with the intention to come back to the present moment, be of benefit? It's alllllll good?

  11. elephantjournal says:

    If you can't own your statement, why offer it? If you speak in your name on Facebook, a vast corporate entity, why not have the integrity to do so on this independent media site?

  12. john says:

    What makes anything yoga?

  13. John says:

    Ah, ok, approval by an older Indian man makes something yoga.

  14. Mary Lou Ellen says:

    Yet another shameless attempt to get traffic. Wish the owner of this site would grow up. It distracts from the other writers here.

  15. elephantjournal says:

    I appreciate your taking the time to leave a thoughtful comment. Would you be willing to share an article about this question–yoga as performance, or yoga as practice–or about acro yoga generally? I'd love to make this a happy ending, as I see that my comments were not received as anything helpful or positive.



  16. elephantjournal says:

    Shameless, because we're not ashamed to want to connect with readers. Dialogue is part of our goal, an inherent part. If an article/video, like the above, is off–mistaken—then, thanks to the 2.0 nature of the internet, our readers will make it better through their respectful, critical comments. Please try to be respectful with those you disagree with—I fail to do so, often, too. Constructive, responsible, respectful criticism, like yoga or meditation, is a practice. I'll keep practicing myself. Thank you.



  17. elephantjournal says:

    Amen, Tanya! It's hard stuff, and fun. ~ W.

  18. becca says:

    Clearly this woman got dressed not knowing her yoga pants were a bit worn out. NOT A BIG DEAL!! If clothes were made a little better this wouldn't be a problem. SECONDLY- WHO CARES! Shes a talented acrobat and she is still clothed. If she were in a bathing suit, would anyone care – she is fully covered and beautiful. It saddens me to see people making such a big deal about something so minor. If you have a problem with the human form – keep your kids locked up and take away their mirrors.

  19. Christine says:

    I find it interesting that two people playing in a park (I recognize it as sheep meadow and see the lack of attire there often) filled with shirtless men playing Frisbee and scantily clad women in bikinis getting sun tans, are being harshly judged because a girls underwear (that covers more than the bikini's in the park) din't quite match her leggings, rather than admonishing the pervert who decided it was OK to take a zoom lens up that closely. Would the same remarks be made if the perv had zoomed in on the scantily clad breasts of a sunbather???

    I think it is time to let go of the yogier than thou attitude and appreciate the playful nature of their craft. I think it is more shameful that elephatjournal would pull a stunt to raise their ratings in under the false banner of public interest. It is nothing more than shock media and I hope in the future you will be more responsible than to blame the victim of a perverts camera.

  20. elephantjournal says:

    Obviously the film guy is a perv. Doesn't mean you, on the other hand, need to accuse elephant or myself of being shock media. Acro yoga is wonderful, a have many friends, countless friends who do it, but it does raise the honest question of "is yoga a performance, or a practice?" Obviously, it's possible for it to be both. But a big part of what elephant does, mindful media can do, is use such tacky crap as the above as a jumping off point for a mindful, respectful, frank discussion. Please try and be respectful, and I'll try and be the same. ~ Waylon

  21. elephantjournal says:


    Waylon Lewis
    Every week, one thing I put out there gets torn apart in comments. Yoga people loooove to be vicious, as long as they can be anonymous! Help me out in comments, if so inspired? Ouch:

    Liz L Yr mah bess fren…i mek no bad comints

    Kristine A It's a tough job posing those deep questions which others see as threatening to their identity. Shaky ground often yields aggression. My empathy to you Waylon – remember that people are going to love & hate you for the same reasons, so you might as well be yourself and do what you do best: shine some light and see what shows up. oxo

    Dylan Barmmer Keep doin yo thang, man…These Peeps need to wake up to The Truth…

    Scott R Without any hope of being anonymous nor vicious, I can say that what you're doing rocks, and real yogis love you and all of your glorious style and irreverance!

    Betsy H She might be unaware of her worn out crotch area and how it appears in the sun…. Yoga pants kinda suck for this reason. Now in your class with some dude hangin out of his way too small shorts that is a different matter atgthr. Yuck. Kinda like the yellow speedo phenomena of overweight 50 year olds.

  22. elephantjournal says:

    Well said, and said respectfully. Thanks, Becca.

  23. ARCreated says:

    as already stated this perv is ridiculous as yoga pants do that. we have a pant check at least twice a week around here…this is a fear of mine as a teacher that I won't know when the darn things have become to thread bare for decency.
    she is dressed appropriately, pants and underwear. I am thinking the only thing that would make this questionable is if she was without undergarments and even then it might still be an innocent mistake. I was at a concert in the park last night and saw things that made me want to grab my step kids and cover their eyes…this would not elicit that response.

    As for the actual question is it exhibitionist? : we cannot determine without knowing their intention. Is it possible these young girls KNOW that they are titillating pervs and that's why they are doing it? possibly. It is just as possible that for them this state of connectedness and hard work is indeed a practice? that as they do these moves they are connecting to the whole of the universe in an even more profound way than those that practice alone? All things can be "yoga" ALL things if practiced w/ intention.

  24. elephantjournal says:

    Keith M Ouch. I tried to wade into that thread, but you to be honest you kinda dug your own hole there, Waylon. You exploitative, misogynistic, dunderhead. (just so I feel I'm part of that elephant thread). Your responses were skillful, though, and I loved the way you were transparent and authentic but stuck to your guns. (personally, I never mind scantily clad women doing acro yoga in my parks 😉

    Waylon Lewis
    I definitely dug my own hole, but as Tobye noted in his kind comment, I stated flat out that this was one of the most popular videos on the whole planet that mentioned yoga last month, and therefore was worth contemplating from pov of what …we're putting out there, how we're connecting with larger world. The question I got from it had nothing to do with perving out: rather it's is yoga performance, vanity, exhibitionist? I certainly see plenty of eager yoga doers showing off yoga-doing photos for their FB profiles, etc. Or, is yoga like meditation, a practice? I see very few Buddhists or Integrallers showing off their meditation pose on FB, by way of contrast.See More
    Yesterday at 3:26pm · LikeUnlike · 1 personLoading…
    Betsy H Interesting point Waylon. It is kinda sad/pathetic that "yoga" is something that has become yet another americanized thing. McYoga? I still hold out hope tho for those searching that there are enough grounded practioners feeding some truth to those newcomers. Thanks for keeping the focus straight.

    Keith M
    I've always maintained that yoga, as practiced in the States, is not really contemplative at all — it's not really even very "spiritual", at least from a Buddhist perspective. How does it teach true, penetrating spiritual insight, beyond …ego? For most, it teaches high subtle energy stuff, where there is always an "I" that has a great experience on the matt, not a radical experience of no "I", no matt, just simple and beautiful Emptiness. Are there exceptions to that? Of course. Are there many exceptions to that? Not that I've seen.

    And to your second point — I would say acro yoga IS performance and exhibitionist, by its very nature. Yoga proper, not so much, but it depends on the practitioner. (like that dude in hot pants in your class, showing a little too much "chi" – and god knows, i've had trouble more than once concentrating in a yoga class because the girl in front of me's pants are so tight, there is nothing left to the imagination, for which I am at once grateful and annoyed.)

    Dylan Barmmer To me, Yoga is a moving meditation. I can't really sit still long. Literally and figuratively. It's a great de-stressor too. Women in tight pants only make it more Awesome and Powerful. The best classes aren't too McYoga/Preachy, and not too McGym either. Balance…

    Eileen K Sounds like yoga practice is working for you, Keith….!

    Vanessa K​2011/07/06/ask-an-in

  25. Ryan says:

    Scroll back and look through all the comments. That’s a lot of expended energy. I don’t know what is and what isn’t yoga, but no matter what these people are wearing they are certainly using thier energy in a more positive and productive way than arguing in a comments. I suspect if the label of “yoga” was removed entirely from this conversation it would not be nearly as controversial. Let’s not make yoga a religion.

  26. whoah this blog is magnificent i love reading your posts. Keep up the great paintings! You understand, lots of people are looking round for this info, you can aid them greatly.

  27. VRM says:

    Perhaps next time someone finds your commentary snarky, or otherwise inappropriate, you might try resisting the urge to scream "anonymous!" and actually address what they are saying. It would at least be interesting.

  28. Patrick says:

    I was more interested in the guy sitting there with his cellphone…

  29. hsheng06 says:

    So, why in a park where children play around?