Yoga Doesn’t Care About The Shape Of Your Body.
I have been thinking a lot recently about our attitude towards this sacred practice of yoga. I am reminded of what one of my teachers, Bryan Kest, said during a teacher training: “We bring our shit to yoga and turn yoga into shit.” These may seem like harsh words, but perhaps if we are honest we could agree that there is some truth to them.
At my studio, we have classes for addicts of many kinds in recovery and as someone who has had my own fair share of issues with eating disorders throughout my life, I have become very conscious of the environment we create for our students, from the classes we offer to the language we use as teachers. We live in a culture obsessed with body image and fitness and this mentality has crept into the yoga studio. We want our yoga to be a workout and get us the perfect “yoga body.” Even as yoga teachers, there is the temptation to buy into this mentality as we want to fill our classes and so we offer what people want over what they need. Yoga is not about the perfect body. Of course an asana practice can bring many physical benefits, but yoga does not care about the size of your waist. Let’s teach people the power of their breath, the benefits of mindfulness and meditation that would encourage them to see themselves as more than a number on a scale or body fat percentage. Let’s teach them the benefits of yoga beyond what it can do on a purely physical level. Encourage people to embrace a holistic approach to their health that recognizes that you can be beautiful and healthy at any size. Healing begins with the mind. We won’t be happier with a hundred Chaturangas to tone our triceps or endless Navasanas to get a six pack. There is a precious gift waiting to be received from this practice and it has nothing to do with your body.