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Sorry, Ladies, There’s Just No Such Thing As A Yoga Body

A yoga instructor and a writer, Refinery29 contributor Lily Silverton wrote, “We’re at this strange juncture where yoga is both more inclusive and more exclusive than ever.” Silverton points out an important dichotomy in the world of yoga. At once, yoga is an active proponent in the body positivity movement. Women of all ages, shapes, and sizes are performing acrobatic feats of flexibility in yoga beyond the stereotyped imagination. Yet at the same time, the manufactured ideal of a yoga-practicing woman remains someone thin, fit, matching standardized ideals of beauty and lifestyle. “There is wide availability-with studios popping up by the minute, and online classes gaining in popularity,” Silverton explains, “but the sometimes eye-watering prices per class, combined with the tapered visual identity, have simultaneously made it feel much more intimidating and alienating.” Yoga classes are available in most areas or accessible through channels online. Class prices for yoga, however, are not as widely available. Ranging from donation based classes to $25 or more per class the scientifically proven practice for mind, body, and spirit, gets expensive and limiting.

Problematically there becomes a “type” who do yoga. There are yoga women, are the women who do yoga. Women who do yoga have women who do yoga bodies, which is something similar to what is described above. Yoga doesn’t have any requirements. Women can spend an entire yoga class in child’s pose, a resting position, and still say they had a successful practice. Yoga is a centering, body-dropping practice. Rather than force you to fight against your body, yoga encourages you to compassionately meet your body where it is. Too often in women’s fitness there is a narrative of fighting the body to punish it for not being good enough. Burn fat, torch calories, sculpt abs, punishing workouts, drop pounds, lose inches– all of these statements suggest that the woman’s body, as is, is not good enough. Yoga on the other hand enforces not pushing the body to a point of punishing pain. Instead, yoga asks you to surrender your ideals and meet your body fully in the present moment rather than forcing it into the future. The present moment is never defined as “the present moment where you don’t look like you do yoga” or “the present moment where you’re working hard to look like you do yoga”. The present moment is simply defined as “the present moment where you’re doing yoga”. Body image not included.

 

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