“But how do people check their alignment?” This question came from a yoga teacher trainee who’d just heard there are no mirrors in my studio. I was guest teaching on an RYT200 course in Queensland and many of the trainees had worked for some years as group fitness instructors – checking alignment in the mirror was a natural (and frequent) part of their teaching toolkit.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
What would my body look like if I didn’t do yoga? I know I wouldn’t feel so good. But would I actually look any different? I ask the question because the imagery of modern yoga directly equates yoga practice with physical attractiveness. While anybody who’s done more than a couple of classes will tell you it’s all about what’s happening on the inside, the external representation of yoga increasingly mirrors the wider cultural obsession with perfecting and then displaying the body.
Yoga is rapidly evolving into a performance art in which the physical form trumps the internal experience. The yoga body has become an object of display and the practice of yoga is no longer a vehicle for exploring our internal, embodied experiences. Instead, it has become yet another arena for creating and broadcasting our idealized selves.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.
You might have noticed that many of the Adore Yoga blogposts talk about yoga and body image. From stating the obvious (in the advertising world, all yogis are young, thin and white) to considering how yoga can address, or entrench, negative body image, this blog often explores the connection between yoga, the way we feel about ourselves and how diversity in the yoga community is (or isn’t) represented. And I’m not alone.Read More