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Round Bodied, Big Bodied, Embodied: A Call for the Robust Yoga Teacher

Teaching Yoga | Yoga

Every week in my social media inbox, I receive an amazing inspirational account from someone who has found yoga and is surprised that they can do it because of their body size. I’m excited to see people stepping outside their comfort zone and trying yoga for the first time. I’m thrilled that people are finding themselves in this practice.

I want to encourage more people with larger bodies to find their way to the mat and embrace the idea of teaching yoga. Don’t let your size limit your life. If you wait, you may miss out on a really great experience and the ability to shape real change in the yoga world.

Don’t let what you see out there fool you

For so long the visual aesthetic on the mat has been long, lean, fair-skinned, and willowy. Even now, when I search for examples of yoga online, I am hard pressed to find pictures that represent what I truly see in the studio. There are a lot of bigger bodied yoga teachers. So I ask you not to be afraid to follow your dream. Don’t let the size of your yoga pants stop you from teaching yoga.

If you really want it, you should go for it. I have said it before and I will say it again; Yoga is not a function of beauty, it’s a pure expression of self. There is someone out there who has something to learn from you. There is someone you can inspire by the flexibility and grace of your ample, curvaceous body and strong practice.

Be Body-Beautiful, Body-Aware, And Body-Positive

You represent what is really out there behind the photoshopped lenses and fitness models with bad yoga form. You represent the regular every day person striving to become stronger, calmer and more focused. Let’s help those who are hiding and ashamed of what they look like, find their beauty through yoga. Let people see themselves on the mat as empowered.

Let’s step out of the shadows and on to the mat in a more aware and body positive way. Let us be the agents of change and present ourselves as not only body beautiful at any size, but body aware and body positive at all sizes.

I know that I will get some flak for supporting what is considered an unhealthy lifestyle, and to those people I say this: Isn’t it far worse to bully and ridicule someone into being thin or healthy? To create an environment for self-loathing?

Enough of Bullying, More of Yoga

We create a world of disordered eating with this constant rhetoric. Is it fair to have people withdraw from their lives and society because we have told them they are fat, ugly and unhealthy? If you don’t love yourself, do you think you will try to be healthier? I had many people try to shame me into thinness. Unrelenting taunting and bullying did not make me thinner. It gave me an eating disorder and a self-esteem complex.

Bullying me into thinness didn’t make me thin, it made me unhappy. Yoga made me happy. Yoga philosophy tells us we are perfect as we are. We need all body types to share and develop this message so that more people will hear it, understand it and see it.

So I am calling all yoga teacher wannabes to the mat. We need you. Please come exactly as you are, thin or robust, ample or curvy. We learn the most from you when you are your most authentic self. It shows us that we can come to the mat as we are. Please shine your light for the entire world to see.

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