Who Defines The Perfect Yoga Body?

Dianne Bondy
Who Defines The Perfect Yoga Body?

There is a new movement in world. People are figuring out what it means to be more aware and fully conscious of the messages we are receiving from the media, and how those powerful messages are influencing our culture. Social media is a powerful tool for shining a light on what we are seeing in our world. It’s part of the framework that is shaping consciousness.

Yoga Journal is the leading mainstream yoga publication of the current culture. It features a lot of famous teachers, slick advertising, and for the most part, reflects a very limited view of yoga. It has been highly criticized for its mainstream fashion images that reflect a very narrow and exclusive part of yoga culture.

As the body positive movement moves forward we are seeing a shift in attitudes about what yoga looks like and who really does yoga. Yoga is universal and it crosses all cultures, genders, abilities and ethnicities. Yoga teaches us to love ourselves as we are.

Yoga Journal And Body Image

Very recently, Yoga Journal put out an issue about loving your body and hiding your figure flaws. It was met with a lot of criticism and cancelled subscriptions. It was a misstep on the path to understanding how we can change the conversation around loving our bodies. I applaud them for trying, even if was an epic fail. Failures teach us lessons and give us an opportunity to try again.

It does appear that Yoga Journal is learning from its missteps. They are in the middle of a rebranding that includes spotlighting yogis that don’t have the “Typical Yoga Body,” and an article on the Yoga and Body Image Coalition in the October issue.

Let’s start the conversation with the language we use when talking about our bodies. Language and conversations are powerful.

What the hell are “figure flaws”?

For years, women have been obsessed with creating the perfect body. One example is the elusive thigh gap, which only about 5% of the population has naturally because of their genetic body type. The rest of us literally starve ourselves to death trying to get it because someone somewhere told us that our chubby thighs were flawed.

We have been taught we must hide them under black pants. Every woman in her wardrobe has at least 1 pair of black pants for fat days!

Here is the thing, what is the perfect body and who gets to say it’s perfect? What’s the esthetic thateveryone is aspiring to? What is the body beautiful in 2014? Is it thin thigh, long legs, flat stomach broad shoulder, big breasts, small breasts, tiny feet, small nose, straight teeth, light skin and straight hair? Who decided this?

The bigger question is why, as intelligent people, do we subscribe to the notion that there is a perfect body and anything other than that is flawed? Why did you need to hide your short waist, your “bat wings,” your “cankles” or your big thighs? Why are you are too short, too tall, too dark too light? Who determined this and why are we listening? You are the perfect version of you. That cannot be replicated or improved on.

Let Do Something Revolutionary

Let’s stop criticizing ourselves for our perceived body flaws. It’s not working anyway. Let’s buy into the idea that there is no perfect or ideal body type. Let’s put down the magazine that sells insecurity and put up publication that inspire personal growth, self -love and realistic images. Let’s come to our yoga mats to learn about ourselves, to become healthy and strong.

Let’s embrace the power of yoga philosophy that teaches we are part of the divine and the divine is not flawed. Let’s support communities like the Yoga and Body Image coalition whose platform is:

“...committed to body love by developing, promoting and supporting yoga that is accessible, body positive and reflects the full range of human diversity. Our mission not only advocates yoga as an essential tool in personal transformation, from the inside out, but also includes a critical social justice component by challenging industry leaders and media creators to expand their vision of what a yogi looks like.”

Body Positive Yoga

Yoga Journal will continue to explore a new world of body positive yoga. Their next issue is called the “The Body Issue” featuring Kathryn Budig on the cover. It celebrates a number of yoga teachers with inspiring stories of self-love and self-acceptance through the power of their practice,me included.

If we want to change our perceptions of our bodies we need to focus on accepting ourselves as we are. We need to speak up as a community and call up mainstream media to make a change. Body image and positive body awareness is not a fad but a reality. It leads to a happier more connected soul and in turn raises the vibration of the world.