Yoga is not one size fits all – meaning that it can be adapted for everyBODY.
This fact is not very evident in many of the images we see in mainstream media. There seems to be one type of body that is defined as a yoga body. Someone tall, slim, blonde with their legs behind their head in a prestel pose.
These images are having the effect of turning individuals off yoga before even giving it some real consideration as they do not believe that they have a yoga body.
I believe everyone is born yogi. Have you seen a baby effortlessly with their big toe in their mouth? Doing what is called happy baby pose, a pose that is performed in yoga but minus the toe in the mouth. Unless you have some sort of fetish or it is your party trick!
So I am pleased that body positive yoga is available to show that everybody is a yoga body. If you have a body + do yoga = a yoga body.
There is a style of yoga for everyone – we have the conventional yoga like Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa flow to more up to date styles like Alien yoga and Beer yoga. That’s the beauty of yoga it continues to evolve.
That is why I am so pleased that we now have body positive yoga; which is opening up yoga to everyone regardless of their age, sex, gender, shape or size.
The term ‘body positive’ has a slightly different meaning depending on who you speak to, however, its core message is one of self-acceptance and a belief in oneself— regardless of shape, size or level of your yoga practice.
Recently I discovered that some individuals were not aware that body positive yoga existed. Just teaching yoga different individuals is not sufficient.
It’s about creating a safe space where yogis can come home to themselves. Tuning into the message of their body and listening to their inner voice so that they can better understand and appreciate that their body is capable of so much more than they give it credit for. Is about modifying the poses so that the yoga is accessible for all.
By making more accessible means that every BODY can experience its many transformational benefits, especially at a time when it is needed more than ever.
Yoga is so popular and has been around for thousands of years. It has so much to offer EveryBODY;
Instagram offers the opportunity for all everyone to share their yoga practice. This is so great to see, as this flips the image of what a body looks like. Seeing all these lovely images is helping to encourage more people to consider yoga. We have so many inspirational yogis available to challenge what is viewed as a yoga body – which is indeed an excellent thing.
Since teaching body positive classes, I have seen that they attract a wide spectrum of individuals, making them so diverse and inclusive.
The diversity within the class has proved to me that everyone regardless of their size, whether they are curvy or thin, has some sort of disconnect with their body. All they essentially want is a safe, judgment-free space, where they can receive support and not be body shamed. So that they can appreciate and recognise how wonderful their body is.
A body positive class is about modifying yoga poses for a wide range of body types, as well as having an appreciation and understanding of some of the difficulties that a student with a larger body may encounter.
These classes are not about separation. It is like having a pregnancy or chair yoga class, allowing students to enjoy the many wonderful benefits of yoga that will cater to their needs and bodies and to know that if all they want to do for the duration of the class is rest in child’s pose on their mat, then that is perfectly fine. That too is yoga. We must remember that yoga DOES NOT care what you look like or make any assumptions about your abilities. Yoga is NOT just a physical practice it’s a lifestyle.
The need for these classes are further reinforced by some of the feedback that I receive from students:
Or take a look at what some yogis had to say about their before and after experiences of yoga https://youtu.be/XFxfuO0_BkU
What we don’t often remember is that as children, we are born yogi and flexible – like a completely natural happy baby pose! A perfect example. As you can guess, the name ‘happy baby’ stems from the origin of the pose. A happy smiling baby holding their toes and making baby sounds. In this pose, you start out on your back and then grab hold of your big toes with your index fingers and thumbs. Then pull your knees down towards your shoulders. It’s a very relaxing pose as demonstrated by babies, a natural posture for our bodies from the time we are born. If you can lay on your back, you can do the happy baby pose.
Observe a child. Have you ever watched how children perform different asanas at different stages of their development? For instance, as they are learning to crawl and walk, they do cat stretch to strengthen their spines and when they’re learning to stand, they spend lots of time in ‘downward dog’ pose before getting on their feet.
Which shows we are are all born yogi.
‘Yoga must be made to suit the individual, not the individual to suit yoga.’ T Krishnamacharya