Does this sound familiar: you really, really want to meditate. But within seconds of sitting still, your mind’s a riot of buzzing thoughts. You love the idea of meditation, but it just isn’t working for you. Why?
I’ve been privileged to work as a yoga teacher trainerfor more than 12 years. It’s rewarding work that is both challenging and exhilarating and I’ve met some extraordinary people along the way.
However, about 3 years ago I started to notice something different about the students signing up for the trainings. The broad diversity of ages and body types that I had encountered in the early days of my teacher-training career had almost disappeared. The people signing up now were overwhelmingly young, bendy and body-conscious.
To be fair, the vast majority of trainees have always been female. But within that population, there were people of different sizes, ages, backgrounds and experience. In recent years, that profile has changed.Read More
I’ve just got back from delivering a presentation on the hot topic of yoga and body image at the Yoga Australia Conference on the Gold Coast.
Yoga is now practiced by over 20 million people in the USA, more than 80% of whom are women (85% in Australia). The lure of a product that promises to makes you look and feel better has transformed yoga into big business, turning over US$10.3 billion in 2012. In fact, the aspirational, mass appeal of yoga closely resembles other products marketed primarily to women, such as fashion and cosmetics. It was the presentation slides that compared advertising for these products with advertising for yoga that conference delegates found most alarming. Just to make it clear, the top picture shows advertising for fashion and cosmetics, the bottom picture shows a selection of adverts for yoga studios and products.
There’s a lot of fur flying right now as yoga teachers who advertise their services as ‘yoga therapists’ scramble to get certified (or change their marketing!) Why is Yoga Alliance threatening to de-register teachers who claim to be yoga therapists without formal training? Because Yoga Alliance registers teachers with just 200hrs training, often from courses that last only a few days, and with little prior experience of yoga.Read More
I'm no Nigella, but I can't help myself when it comes to soup. Soup is the yummiest, fastest, easiest and most nutritious food in the world. As soon as the temperature drops below, er, 21 degrees (I know, I should be fine with cold weather being a Pom, but I seem to have fully acclimatised to Sydney), I’m in the kitchen with my blender. And I totally make it up every time.Read More
Ever been to an ashram in India? Many westerners are surprised to find that, far from being tranquil retreats where frazzled city dwellers find their inner zen, they are bustling community centres. Ashrams provide the schooling, food, medical assistance and social safety-net that their communities would otherwise lack. I’m not idealizing the ashram system and I’m well aware of the unsavoury side of some of them. But the idea of yoga as central to a network of social projects that benefit the community resonates strongly with my personal philosophy.Read More
Do you have a healthy relationship with food? I don’t mean ‘do you eat healthy food’? I mean can you just get on with the business of eating without worrying about weight gain/loss, cutting out certain types of food or restricting what and when you eat? Many ‘healthy’ women constantly monitor and control their food intake and intuitive eaters are hard to find.Read More
There’s been a backlash lately against the images of perfectly toned bodies that are used to represent yoga in the media. This is important– yoga is for everybody and people of all ages, sizes, ethnicities and sexual identities should see themselves reflected in yoga imagery. But are we at risk of replacing the idolization of one body type (young, skinny, white) with the objectification of all yoga bodies?Read More