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January 17, 2012

Kathryn Budig interviews Briohny Smyth of Equinox Yoga video: “Stop Judging & Read.”

“The Nail that Sticks Up will be hammered down.” ~ Japanese aphorism

Life is easy if you don’t live it.

If you put yourself out there…especially these days on the internets…we’re all putting yourself out there not only for accolades or backslaps…but for criticism. Criticism is essential, and helpful—when and if it’s constructive. But…particularly these days on the internets…criticism is all too often as lazy and casual as it is vicious. We forget there are humans behind the targets we throw our words at.

Here Kathryn Budig, a fast-rising (okay, risen), bright-shining star in the yoga world, the dog-snuggling force behind Poses for Paws, who has seen her share (as she notes, below) of accolades and criticism, talks with Briohny Smyth—whose Equinox yoga video

“has done more to export yoga into the mainstream than any yoga practice demonstration in history”

and is closing in on 2 million views in just two weeks.

Click here to watch the video.

The below interview by Kathryn Budig with Briohny Smyth is excerpted with personal permission. Please click over to Huff Post and leave comments there. ~ ed.

~

I’m certainly no stranger to controversy.

I’m the spokeswoman for a lovely company called ToeSox, where I model yoga postures in their socks. Yup, you heard me. Just in their socks.

Needless to say, modeling in the nude is a surefire way to shake people up. Our intention was to inspire and show the beauty of a body that practices regular yoga to get people back on their mats. I can happily say it was highly successful in that realm. I receive regular thank yous and have even signed pictures of my bare buns at workshops. But as life goes, there are two sides to the coin and many people were displeased. They were offensive. They objectified women. They were using sex to sell product. This list went on but I remained calm in the center of the storm because I believed in my choice. My intention was to inspire and empower and I knew that desired effect had taken place. I also knew if you stick your head above a crowd, someone’s bound to throw a tomato at it.

Point being, I couldn’t help but feel empathy when another controversy surfaced recently in the yoga world. Equinox posted a short video of the lovely Briohny Kate-Smyth (a past student of mine) practicing awe-inducing asana in her lingerie. About 500,000 hits a few days later, Briohny had gone viral and was receiving a plethora of love and hate notes. I reached out to her knowing this experience must be difficult. She opened up to me about her past, her struggle with an eating disorder, and how her practice, daughter and love for her fiancé brought her to peace with her body. It’s a gentle reminder that we are quick to judge when we have no idea where someone else is coming from. People often overcome mountains of adversary to be in a place where they can shine. I’m hoping this look into Briohny’s life will help us all remember to look for the beauty where we’re so quick to see fault. To be inspired where we want to compare, to love where we want to forget and to feel empowered where we want to shy away.

A Talk with Briohny Kate-Smyth

K: You were a child pop star in Asia with a platinum album by the age of 13. How did this experience affect your body image?

B: Because I was so young, I didn’t have the tools to navigate the press and attention that came with this stardom. One thing that really stuck with me was how people made fun of my weight. You see, I’m 50 percent Thai, 50 percent Australian and apparently my Australian roots gave me “big bones.” Now that I look back, I see how ridiculous this all was but at the time, it affected me tremendously. Thai women are very petite. From the age of 13…

…Read the rest over at The Huffington Post.

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