What's a Yoga Body?

Roseanne over at It's All Yoga, Baby pointed out Sadie Nardini's new Facebook ad campaign, which reads:

Get a Summer Yoga Body
Lose weight and look younger with Yoga

Wait, what? 

Read the story at It’s All Yoga, Baby.  Make sure to note Sadie’s comment, too.

Last year I earned a Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Certification with Sadie Nardini.  I blogged about it then, and I still stand by everything I wrote.  It was a great training, and Sadie has a lot to offer as a teacher and TO teachers.  She has a ton of free instruction on YouTube that I refer to and recommend to students.  I've admired her a lot for keeping it real even as she rises as a "celebriyogi." 

And for that reason, it bugs me even more that her marketing is all about weight loss and "detoxing" (My most hated word!  It means nothing!).  According to her comment on IAYB, she didn’t have control over how her course was marketed, and she’s now working to get the ad changed.

As I said in my original post about CSVY, "...core strength is not limited to the physical core. It's not about having six-pack abs. It's about understanding the center of your being and developing the discipline to move and expand from the truest, most rooted part of yourself."

Even if that is still the underlying message of her teachings (and I believe that it probably is), it is being sold as something else.  Weight loss.  Getting skinny.  Selling the idea that there something to be "fixed" about your body and that yoga is the way to fix it.  My friend Marianne shared this article by Sharon Gannon, "Making Friends with Your Body" which does a better job at addressing this than I could.

Unfortunately, commercially speaking, there IS such a thing as a "yoga body."  Pick up any issue of Yoga Journal.  You will find at least five pictures of a skinny white girl in Eka Pada Rajakapotasana.  It is probably even on the cover.  A friend also pointed me to the Wanderlust Lineup.  Hello more skinny white girls!  It's the image that's being to sold to us everywhere else, why not yoga, too?  I guess someone's got to fit in all those little expensive Lululemon pants.

This is something I am constantly trying to get my yoga students to understand: I do not care what you look like in a pose.  Really.  I am not impressed if you can touch your toes and I am not thinking badly of you if you can't.  I want you to feel something.  Release tension from somewhere. Energize something that is weak.  Enjoy experiencing every moment in your body.  Learn to understand your body’s signals, listen to your deepest inspirations, and then be bold enough to respond!  It doesn’t matter what you look like when you show up for class, or how it looks while you’re doing all this investigating.  That is why I offer dozens of modifications and alternatives in class.  Everyone is different and should have the opportunity to move in the way that will work best for them.  We will work it out together to get you comfortable so you can have the best experience possible.  So as far as I’m concerned, your “yoga body” is the one that shows up for practice, on and off the mat.

For more wonderful insights on yoga for all bodies (including larger ones!), check out Curvy Yoga and Body Positive Yoga.