Every body is a yoga body.
Whilst taking part in an Instagram challenge, I saw Valerie’s inspiring pictures. Immediately, I was able to admire the beauty of her postures. She exuded sheer strength and pride, which was to be expected of an awesome yogi.
I was subsequently struck by our similarities. We both have bodies, which leads to this simple equation:
Have a body + do yoga = a yoga body.
We were engaging in the same yoga challenge and just enjoying our yoga practice.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so I thought: What better way to bring to life my belief that, “Every body is a yoga body”? Indeed, this is the embodiment of CurveSomeYoga. This was further demonstrated by compiling a collage of our pictures, which show us both, just simply enjoying yoga.
The image is simple yet so powerful. Beyond words, all you see are two yogis with different bodies executing the same poses. Our primary goal is to illustrate that every body is suitable for yoga—which I believe we achieve by exhibiting our diversity in the best possible way.
Our bodies are unique in many respects, but we are both receiving the same benefits of yoga. We are able to take away whatever it is we need from the practice. This shows how accessible it can be for all.
The intent is to normalize all body types and show how diverse the yoga landscape can be, something we don’t see enough of in the mainstream media and glossy yoga magazines. So we are going a little way toward making the image of yoga more representative of our society and getting more individuals on the mat.
What we reveal is how we make the yoga work for our bodies and not the body work for the yoga. We do this by using props like belts, and applying modifications where appropriate within our practice. As teachers, we have the ability to modify the pose for the individuals who venture into our classes.
This should go some way to presenting a mixture of body types helping to move away from the stereotypical images we see depicted in the numerous mainstream media and yoga industry.
Furthermore, these images eradicate some of the excuses many of us hear as to why individuals cannot do yoga:
“I’m not flexible.”
“I don’t have a yoga body.”
“I need to do ____ before I can start yoga.”
The truth is that yoga does not discriminate against, size, gender, ethnicity, or shape. Yoga accepts you as you are right here and right now.
This raises the question, “Why isn’t more of these type of images being shown to appeal to a wider audience? Is it because these images do not conform with the stereotypical yoga image: someone tall, slim with the ability to get their legs behind their heads?
Well, I have learned never to judge a yogi by their appearance and make assumptions about their abilities. I have seen curvy yogis in class who do not realise how flexible they are or that they have an amazing back bend. Is this because society has made them believe that they are not flexible, not only in their mind, but also in their body, and they have started to unconsciously believe the conditioning of society?
I was surprised that with little promotion the picture had a reach on Facebook of 14,000+. This demonstrates that it has inspired individuals to rethink their view on yoga.
Instagram has provided a platform for yogis who are considered not to fit the norm to share their practice. Individuals like Dianne Bondy, Jessamyn Stanley, and Dana Falscetti, who are so inspirational and are changing the yoga landscape.
I have found that individuals will not consider doing an activity if they do not see themselves doing it. Is this any surprise?
Let’s remember and show the world that yoga is for everybody!
Author: Donna Noble
Image: Author’s Own, Round_the_way_gal
Editor: Travis May