“Let’s Vow to Love Whatever Body Shows Up to Yoga”
Ever walk into a yoga studio and it looks like they could be filming a video for a glossy yoga periodical? All the bodies look surprisingly alike; mostly young, hip, and surprisingly fit. However, is that really a true representation of the world we live in? The problem is that you slowly look around the room and no one looks like you, the lack of diversity is truly the silent elephant in the room. By diversity I mean body composition, culture, ethnicity, class (as in wealth/poverty), gender, (dis)ability, and age.
You’re no yoga prodigy but the diversity factor within some yoga studios begs you to ask the question of, “Why you’re there in the first place”. I’ve been in that situation many times before and I’ve asked myself, “Are the studios all non-inclusive, or am I just that thin skinned”? It’s my feeling that yoga studios are not inclusive or non-inclusive, I believe they exclude without really intending to. The problem is that you can exclude people and be totally oblivious to the fact that you’re actually doing just that. The studios are offering a service so it’s a non-issue, attend or not-it’s up to you. But to me it’s a very real concern.
Differences and uniqueness should be celebrated; the reality is that diversity is valuable and our yoga classes should echo that. It’s important that “ALL TYPES OF PEOPLE” feel welcome and are able to enjoy the benefits of a regular yoga practice that is adaptable to everyone.
My vision of the perfect yoga class is that EVERY BODY gets a seat at the table. The world we share includes so many different types of people and there is so much beauty in that fact. Old and Young, Black, White, Native American, Italian, Latino, Asian, Big, Small, Rich, Poor, and ”ALL” abilities should feel welcome. Regardless of whether you can fold yourself into a pretzel or not, you can and should practice yoga.
What’s important is that we open our hearts and minds to the wonders of what we all have to offer and celebrate the differences. Not confining yoga to a particular demographic is the first step in making yoga assessable to all! Namaste.