Posted on Nov 29, 2012 | 4 comments

Yesterday I found myself poking around on Pinterest and of course I searched “Yoga”. As I scrolled through the visual representations of my beloved ancient practice I began to feel troubled and frankly angry. I have been a Yogi now for over a decade and have taught many others in the past several years but NONE of us look like THAT!

What a beautiful back arch performed by Yogi Amanda.

Of course Yogis come in all shapes and sizes, but something is off when 90% of the images picture women who are single digit sizes and appear to be in their mid to early 20’s. And then let’s talk about the poses pictured – mostly VERY advanced poses. Really?

I rejoice when any individual finds peace and health through Yoga, but what do these images do for the person who really wants and/or needs to do Yoga but feels that they are too (insert description here)? It makes them feel excluded and not good enough reinforcing the impression that Yoga is some sort of club that they don’t have any right to join. And that is what makes me angry.

I have personally witnessed the transformation that Yoga can bring – not so much in the size of a body, but definitely in the strength and health of a body not to mention the mental clarity. But where are we represented? Where are the bodies like mine and my student’s, strong, healthy and flexible but still a size 14,or over 60, or over 80, or winning the battle with chronic illness? Where are we in the picture of Yoga?

We are there, but we are buried under the other 90% so you have to dig deeper. But will that person who needs/wants Yoga dig that deep to find someone they can relate to? My dear Yogis this is where we have neglected our duty. How many times do we refuse to have our picture taken because we feel we do not look “good enough”?

Yoga poses are about the body and its ability to move so pictures of these poses highlight our physical form – and we have a hard time dealing with that. So we decline to have our Yoga image displayed, and that is our mistake. We are not present in the depiction of Yoga – because we will not consent to be photographed and have those photos displayed.

This is a hard truth, but consider the injustice we do to those who seek Yoga and feel excluded not to mention the injustice we do to the practice of Yoga itself. And even worse consider the injustice we do to ourselves by once again telling our bodies they are not good enough.

I know having your body displayed in all its Yogic glory is very difficult – I had to face this reality when I posted this website and included my own images. But it is time that we stand up for Yoga, for those seeking Yoga and for ourselves. It is time that we change the face and body of Yoga on the web and in the media. My fellow Yogis I beg you to strike a pose – photograph it – and then post it! Show the world who we are and hopefully someone will see someone like themselves and finally feel invited into the club.

Namaste

4 Comments

  1. 11-30-2012

    Hey, it’s me! My body is far from perfect, but I rejoice in the things it can do, and I try hard not to focus on the things it can’t (yet).

  2. 11-29-2012

    I’m proud to be a Yogi.Yoga has given me so much joy,confidence,strength and a sense of accomplishment I encourage everyone to give it a try! My body is happier because of Cheri and her philosophy that “yoga is for everyone”and her love of yoga and her students shines through in her classes for young and not so young. Bring on the camera-I’m proud to be a Yogi!

  3. 11-29-2012

    I am a Yogi and better for it. My body is not perfect, my poses are not perfect but I accept where I am today. I have less stress, my shoulder and knee don’t hurt any more and I feel good. Yoga is for EVERYBODY and everyone can gain something from it. Thanks to Cheri and her love and passion for what she does, I am a better person. I will do what I can to help other accept and appreciate who they are and do Yoga4You!

  4. 11-29-2012

    So many times I have seen the stick models and think my tummy doesn’t look that good when I do that.
    No matter how I look I still do Yoga because it makes me feel good and gives me peace and energy.
    I will never look like I did before kids but isn’t that the point to grow and learn to accept what we have not what we have lost. I can still get into tree pose and do a full class knowing I am a stronger person, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

    I would let you post my pics

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