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Well said Jane Lambert! As a fuller-figured yogi I have people making judgements about my body all the time and this happens a lot in yoga classes. I've had plenty of body shaming comments packaged in love and light from yoga teachers. There have been the “Well done!" and "I was thinking how is she able to do that!" comments from other yogis, accompanied by wide eyes scanning over my body. More often than not a judgement is made about the size of my body or body parts being the reason why I may not be able to navigate a particular asana. I'm not completely ruling this out but what about my individual physiology? There might be something else going on inside my body other than the one thing someone chooses to see. It saddens me sometimes because everyone is entitled to practice yoga in a non-judgemental and accepting environment no matter what size they are. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of those spaces available out there, I just think it's important to recognise that body shaming/policing happens everywhere.
Michelle, by email
The body positivity blog touches on how unwarranted medical advice can be, in reality, concern trolling. Whilst I appreciate that negativity and control can come in many guises, it is not true that medical advice is a private affair between doctor and patient only. As intrusive as it is to imply that artist Lizzo could develop diabetes because of her BMI, it is common knowledge that obesity is linked to type II DM. Achieving good health should not be medicalised. It is about balance in our relationships, good diet, physical activity, good sleep and a normal weight is usually part of that. The important thing here is that Lizzo's size has become the issue, instead of her music, and that simply indicates that the world is still not playing along to the mantra that “size doesn't matter”, whether they are celebrating or criticising it. Size matters, but it matters more to be able to see through it and celebrate musical genius for what it is. Many thanks for a thought-provoking article. It is always a pleasure and inspiration to go through the pages of OM magazine every month.
Maria (medical doctor and yoga student, forever seeking to make peace with her size and body!), by email
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First published in November 2009, OM yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.