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Yoga is for every body – issue 46

Hands up who’s ever stepped nervously into a yoga class, terrified that the gorgeous young thing next to you will catch an eyeful of that cellulite at the top of your legs? Or maybe you’re just afraid that your XL size ‘disqualifies’ you in some way from entry to the studio. What if there’s some hidden birthmark or scar that’s always covered, only to be revealed when you stretch out on the mat and that cool ‘Namaste’ t-shirt of yours lifts up? What will they say? What will they think?

Get over it
Who cares? Whatever your body ‘hang-up’ – too fat, too thin, those old battle scars, or those new teen spots – we’ve all been there at some point. And yet we still think we’re the only ones. Weight issues – or at least ‘perceived’ weight issues – are perhaps the ‘big’ one, the most common thing cited by people as a barrier to enjoying yoga. Alas, the perception that you must be skinny, nubile, ultra bendy or flexible to get your yoga fix still lingers on.
Here at OM we think that idea has had it’s day. And there are plenty of others that share that too, challenging industry leaders and media creators to expand the vision of what a modern yogi looks like.

Online action
Online yoga blog Yoga Dork (yogadork.com) is also pushing the idea and has created a series of t-shirts to promote the ‘yoga body’ message. “This message is meant to be worn by any and all who wish to show the world that your body – whatever shape, size, colour or age – is a yoga body,” it states.
The Yoga Body Image Coalition is another social media inspired group that’s committed to getting you to love the body you’ve got. It’s Facebook community offers comprehensive body image education for the yoga community, testing the role of size-ism, age-ism and consumer culture in contemporary body image politics. There’s a great library of ‘yoga for all bodies’ pictures to look at for inspiration that reflects the full range of human diversity.
Yes, we are all uniquely different, and thank heavens for that. So, let’s make yoga more accessible for everyone. After all, who says size matters?

Love your body
A word from OM’s November cover girl, Britt Melton
“We have all heard the quote, ‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.’ For me, walking into my first yoga class was so far out of my comfort zone that I was certain life would actually end there. My body has never been, nor will it ever be perfect, because perfection does not exist. As a perfectionist in recovery from Binge Eating Disorder, this was a difficult lesson to learn. I’d struggled with body image issues my entire life and thought I always would – until I found yoga. Yoga healed me. My yoga practice is an act of self-love that has shown me that I do not need to change my body, I need to care for it. Yoga is a path to peace that I hope many will find.”

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