If you look at the cover of any Yoga magazine or see images of Yoga on TV or online, you’ll most likely see young, thin, fit women in graceful, gravity-defying Yoga poses. This might be great for them, but it’s very bad for Yoga as a whole. The more experience I gain teaching gentle, accessible Yoga for all kinds of people including many who are inflexible, overweight, disabled, stressed, anxious, injured, and/or recovering from surgery, the more I realize what a disservice the media is doing to Yoga.
How many times have I met a new acquaintance and introduced myself as a yoga teacher, only to hear, “Oh, I could never do Yoga. I’m too _________.”?
Where did they get they idea that they’re too __________?! Nine times out of 10, it’s from the images they see in the media.
I really hate that Yoga gets such a bad first impression and that so many people who could *really* benefit from a gentle, accessible, therapeutic Yoga practice are reluctant to give it a try, because they don’t even realize that this type of Yoga exists.
I want people to know that Every Body can practice and benefit from Yoga. It’s just a matter of finding the right practice, the right studio, and/or the right teacher.
This month Emily (our director of Hatha Yoga Teacher Training), Stacy (our director of Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training), and I are running a Yoga “Challenge” on Instagram. (I put “Challenge” in quotes because it’s not really a “Challenge”, it’s more of an “Ease”, but “Challenge” is the term that’s commonly used on IG.)
Ours is a Yoga for EveryBody challenge, where we demonstrate Yoga poses and discuss how to make them accessible and beneficial for different types of bodies.
The information we’re sharing is valuable for regular people who have aches, pains, may be overweight, may have injuries or issues in their bodies, may be inflexible, disabled, or maybe just have not done any kind of physical activity in a long time.
We don't do fancy, contortionist-type Yoga poses. We teach deceptively simple poses that provide real benefit to regular people. Since our poses appear simple, and maybe even boring, they don’t draw a whole lot of attention on social media. And we think is a real shame, given the vast benefit they can provide.
So we’ll keep doing our part to get the word out. We'll keep evangelizing gentle, accessible Yoga so that the people who need this kind of practice will find it.
We’ll keep posting Yoga pictures of people with regular bodies and offering instruction (online and in the studio!) on simple Yoga poses that help your body feel healthier, happier, and more easeful.
Do you want to help? Please help us spread the word that Yoga isn’t just about graceful, gravity-defying postures. Let your friends know how beneficial Yoga can be for regular people by sharing this newsletter and our Facebook and Instagram posts, especially those that really resonate with you.
P.S. We'd love to hear from you on this! Did Yoga in the media have an effect on your decision to start or not start a Yoga practice? Leave a comment either on our Facebook post or on our blog, whichever is easier for you.