The Mythological Yoga Body
We’ve all heard it… Whether it’s ourselves using the term, our students making reference, possibly even our own teacher is saying it. Maybe we’ve heard it on a YouTube video, a TV show, movie, in line at the grocery store. The term is “Yoga Body” and I’ll be quite honest, it’s a bullshit term. Why you ask? BECAUSE THERE IS NO SUCH THING!
I recently came across something a friend posted on Facebook. It was so unnerving to me, I immediately forwarded the written piece to all of my fellow Finding Isvara ladies to get their take. What ensued was a heated 2 hour conversation about health, wellness, body size, body image, the misperception of yoga and yogi’s, and the fact that shaming, whether it be "fat shaming" or "skinny shaming," is still happening with regularity. The written piece I am referencing to is below… Take a read:
We’ve all heard the term “Fat Shaming.” It’s disappointing to me that this is such an issue that there’s a specific term for it. Yet there is another term that is used less frequently, it’s called “Skinny Shaming” and it’s an equally horrific occurrence within today’s society… (“yoga Barbie -er yoga body”… Are you kidding me???)
Fat, skinny, young, old, healthy, sick, what does it matter? Shaming of all kinds has become normal, a normal that I want nothing to do with. Why do people need to reference what someones body looks like? There is no room for discussion of body size within the world of yoga, that completely defeats the purpose of what we’re all trying to do. The practice of ahimsa (non violence) needs to be first and foremost within our yoga framework. Among many things, ahimsa means checking your body judgements of yourself and others at the door.
Within yoga and within our normal everyday lives, there should be no judgement, there should be no shaming, there should only be celebration. We should fully celebrate each others differences, fat or skinny. We should fully embrace the fact that everyone is struggling with something and by giving unconditional love and support, we can make their struggle feel a bit easier. We should always remind our students, our friends, our teachers, our family, and ourselves that judgement of any kind is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The “Yoga Body” is not a pop culture vernacular term used for the privileged, it is a complete myth… My body, your body, my moms body, your neighbors body, my dogs body are all equally awesome and yogic.
The next time you see a photo of that skinny, lithe, hot babe yoga friend of yours contorting their gorgeous body into a gravity defying feat of yoga on a sunset cliff, celebrate them! The next time you see that stunning, strong, botticellian, curvy friend of yours and their pomegranate eating buzzard pal doing the best version of Marichyasana D you’ve ever freakin’ seen, celebrate them! Give everyone your love and support, no matter their body size, no matter what they look like, no matter how old or young they are… Because that, my friend, is REAL yoga. And when you hear the term “Yoga Body,” call bullshit.