Sometimes when I’m meeting new clients I think I should wear a t-shirt that says, “Hi, I’m your yoga teacher, but I don’t have a yoga body.”
But that would be redundant, because it is obvious to them as soon as they meet me.
Even now, with body acceptance on the rise and plus-sized models becoming more mainstream (yay, Sports Illustrated), the yoga body most often portrayed in the media tends to stay skinny. Every month I peruse my favorite yoga and fitness magazines with my breath held, looking for a body that represents mine.
I feel like I need to add a disclaimer: I don’t hate thin folks.
I just don’t happen to be one, and as a yoga instructor I take issue with all the videos, articles and blogs that celebrate getting a “yoga body” which conforms to only one visible criteria: thinness.
It used to really bother me, but then I realized what a valuable service I provide. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I want to try yoga, but I’m too____, or not____ enough.”
I believe that when my clients meet me, they begin to realize that yoga is for every body, including their own.
Yoga isn’t about the external. It’s about going inward and joining body and mind. Yoga is about using our body as the vehicle for the ultimate spiritual connection, the one we can only have when we go within.
I may not have a yoga body, but I do have a yogi’s body.
I believe it’s time to give up the phrase “yoga body.” The definition is as narrow as the pair of Lululemons I regretted buying off eBay. While my Lulus didn’t come with a return policy, I think it’s time to send this particular phrase back into the ether and come up with something that unites women and gives them space to celebrate the unique specialness of their bodies.
My body rocks, folks. It may not be able to fit into size x-small yoga pants, but it has competed in three triathlons, birthed two children and successfully beat cancer. My body has moved and breathed with me through sickness and health, richer and poorer. And when I roll out my yoga mat and give myself space to be, there is nothing stronger or more beautiful than my own body.
My body may never fit into x-small yoga pants, but the longer I practice, the less that’s the point.
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Author: Sara Zuboff
Assistant Editor: Kathy Baum // Editor: Caitlin Oriel
Image: Kokil Sharma/Pexels