August 18, 2013

You Are Not the Fat Yogi, You Are Freakin’ Fearless!

We’re all guilty of having our sticking points. Things that we return to again and again. I am passionate about the yoga of inclusiveness.

I believe constant conversation is the key to change. Speaking up and being heard is the only way to be a  catalyst for powerful growth.

While reviewing past articles, I noticed a distinct pattern. The ones that pulled at my heart the strongest, all had a related theme:

“The yoga stereotype as played out by magazines and marketing” and “how do we create more diversity in yoga?”

These topics stirred up a lot of feelings and emotions; but, I’ve noticed these feelings are evolving. What were once feelings tinged with exclusion and alienation, have turned into feelings of joy and community. I am thrilled to hear amazing stories of people who have had the courage to step on their mat as they are!

Yoga is incredibly diverse. Yoga like life is evolving all the time. I can see it before me.

I am finally starting see more yogis and yoginis who do not fit the media stereotype of thin and flexible stepping out into the light. There are so many yogis of different ages, body shapes, genders, ethnicities and fitness levels. My cries of “Where do I fit in?” are slowly being answered.

Making yoga about personal transformation, and not a function of beauty and flexibility, is a long road that starts with everyone of all sizes, ages, genders and colors feeling included in this practice. Many are quietly practicing at home; it is now time to step out and find that your community of diverse yoga practitioners it is out there. They are small groups, but they are growing and evolving right before you. Many new yogis and yoginis are taking and teaching classes all over the world. They’re finding they are not the only bigger-bodied, transgendered or culturally diverse people on the mat.

The face of yoga is changing and inclusivity is the battle cry.

I applaud and am inspired by the  amazing yoga teachers that are doing great things in their local and cyber communities. People like Anna Guest-Jelley, Sariane “Anacostia Yoga” Leigh, Moniek Johnson and countless others are making a difference. Thank you for taking up the challenge of changing what we see around us and making yoga about all of us. We are the ones that need to stand up and be the pioneers that create change.

Now, how do I get you (oh, yoga person that secretly feels like you don’t fit in) to shake off that limiting belief and get even just a little more joy, balance and bliss in your yoga practice? Put on your yoga pants, smile brightly and know that you are not too fat, you are not too old, you are perfect as you are, and actually, you are freakin’ fearless.

Go shine your light now.

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Ed: Sara Crolick


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