I Teach Yoga, but I Don’t Have a Yoga Body.

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yoga girl womanSometimes 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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Learn More about why this cause inspires me:

Check out the This Girl Can campaign

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Relephant Read:

The Yamas & Niyamas—a Meditation on “The Yoga Body.

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Author: Sara Zuboff

Assistant Editor: Kathy Baum // Editor: Caitlin Oriel

Image: Kokil Sharma/Pexels

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Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

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anonymous Mar 8, 2016 4:29pm

My very first Yoga instructor was a voluptuous, middle aged woman who could stand on her head with the best of them. She really inspired me.

anonymous Mar 2, 2016 3:19pm

I do not recall Patanjali's admonition against being short or round, but I do recall admonition against hoarding and against self-harm; and for integrity and austerity, God-reliance and spiritual self-study.
So our current debate about the yoga body is mere chatter.
I resemble Baghwan Nityananda very much. Does that make me special?
Yoga is about what we CAN do, not what we can't do.
Back to the mats, classmates.

anonymous Mar 2, 2016 11:31am

Thank You! For sharing this as yoga is for every body and body type. As an Ayurvedic Yoga Teacher who teaches corporate classes and lots of private clients I like to educate people about the three Doshas and Their corresponding doshic body types.

Large people for instance are more water and earth which are heavier elements thereby needing to sweat more than the very thin vata type who will fit into those xs yoga pants you mentioned. She doesn’t need to swear as much as sit still.

anonymous Mar 2, 2016 8:03am

Wonderful post! May YJ take note.

anonymous Mar 1, 2016 12:50pm

i love this post. yoga is for every body. it's where you are today. more please!

anonymous Mar 1, 2016 10:13am

That's the spirit. Yoga should be for everyone.

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Sara Zuboff

Sara Zuboff is a Spirit Mechanic. Technically, she is a yogi, bodyworker, wellness coach, wife, mother, hula-hooper, cancer survivor and writer, in ever changing order, looking to help folks realign body and mind. She does a little bit of everything. In addition to seeing folks for one-on-one sessions, Sara also offers online coaching and classes. If you’re interested in more information, or are experiencing your own difficult diagnosis and would like to see if she can offer you support, email her or visit her website.