Lately something very disturbing has been brought to my attention.
I can sit around a preach that yoga is for everyone and as long as you can breathe, you can do yoga but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Confused? Let me explain.
One week ago today, I was teaching a yoga class and noticed a student struggling to lay comfortably on her mat. I tried to give her a few modifications cues throughout the class but could tell she still wasn’t comfortable. Post class, I pulled her aside and we got to talking. I gave her a few pointers, she thanked me and then she OPENED UP MY EYES.
As a heavier set women, postures aren’t always accessible to her and the cues don’t always work for her. For example she pointed out, when I asked the class to imagine their stomach working towards their thighs when trying to reach your toes, that her stomach already touched her thighs and it wasn’t a good cue for her.
Then she really opened up my eyes, she asked if the Lauderdale Yoga Club could create a campaign to let people of different shapes and sizes know that they were welcome in our space. She said that many women of her body type were intimidated to step foot into a yoga studio even if deep down they wanted to give yoga a try.
It hadn’t even occurred to me that anyone felt excluded from being apart of our space. Situated in a gay friendly neighborhood, I thought we were already open to any person through our doors but boy was I wrong.
Then I really got to thinking. Look at any popular yoga magazine, online publication, popular IG handles and the like and you’ll notice familiar themes. Most of the people on the cover or that are showcased are female, white and thin. Now this isn’t to shame what is popular but to shed light on the fact that there isn’t much attention on men, variety of body types, or people of color, and isn’t it strange that there aren’t many INDIAN people featured, India is only the BIRTHPLACE of yoga.
I even thought back to my yoga teacher training and could not think of a single mention of working with heavier set people. Sure we went over the elderly, working with children and even pregnant women but this still excluded a large portion of the adult population. No cues, proper adjustments or use of props to help this population- not to put blame on my teacher or any other teacher for that, but maybe we should start including this as part of our training.
By the end of the conversation, we both agreed we needed to make the space more open to EVERY (BODY) because of how beneficial the practice is every person. Whether you come to yoga to relieve stress, go deeper within, to build strength or to empower yourself- yoga can benefit any person despite race, religion, color, nationality or body type.
So here I am to tell you that you thet….
- YOU are welcome to practice at our space without fear or intimidation that you will not be accepted for who you are. Beginner or well seasoned our teachers are more than happy to work with you and meet your needs.
- Lauderdale Yoga Club is currently working on a campaign with a local yoga teacher all about body type inclusion within the yoga community.
- I am truly sorry from the bottom of my heart if I have ever misguided a student or made them feel incapable of doing yoga because of my ignorance. I am studying up on how to work with people of all shapes and sizes through the yoga practice.
Thank you for letting me be your guide today! If you have any questions or comments, let me know. If you want to try a class at our studio please visit Lauderdaleyogaclub.com/schedule to find a class that fits your needs. 🙂