It seems the yoga world is upset by the September 2014 issue of Yoga Journal featuring Hilaria Baldwin as the cover model. I haven’t read the issue—I quit reading Yoga Journal a few years ago for my mental health. I find my body dysmorphia much harder to keep at bay when I read it because people who look like me just aren’t represented in that magazine.
The September issue features Hilaria - a beautiful yoga teacher who married a famous actor - on the cover, and also a piece on how to select yoga clothing to disguise your figure flaws. That’s the piece that has people so upset.
Reading about it made me sad too. Isn’t yoga about understanding how fabulous you are, just as you are? It has taken me a long time to realise this one simple thing:
Every body is beautiful.
You don’t need to dress or look a certain way, your humanity is enough. I know this, because I’ve been teaching yoga for 10 years, and I’ve seen it first hand. I’ve seen ultra-fit people come to class, and their muscularity is beautiful. I’ve seen people just starting to move after years at a desk, and their joy in their bodies is beautiful.
Very young people have this amazing, dewy skin. Adults have interesting lines and wrinkles - their lives are marked on their bodies, and this is beautiful.
Watching people learn new skills is a beautiful experience. I’ve never noticed whether they had cellulite while they were learning those skills. In fact, I’ve seen more cellulite than I can mention here, including my own, and it too, is beautiful. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s how many humans, especially women, are made.
I mean, seriously, the Dutch painter Rubens made a career out of painting ladies with it. Beauties, mind.
Cellulite isn’t a new phenomenon and it certainly isn’t a flaw that needs disguising. Nor are wrinkles, or aging. Your skin is just right. Not too dark, not too light. Just beautifully human-colored. So the next time you get on your yoga mat, dress however you like for your comfort, and know you are beautiful.
Every body is.Image credit: Sally Goodall Photography