I spent my afternoon with an iced latte and my laptop. I was seeking yoga forums and other yoga blogs. I visited http://www.downdogsandcats.com a post titled: Who You Will Not Find On The Front Of Yoga Journal… really caught my eye. She was speaking to the fact that the image of yoga should not be limited to the very thin, very toned, and very bendable person alone. Even so, there doesn’t seem to be an abundance of yoga magazines, yoga clothing lines, or yoga materials in general that represent the non-traditional image of a yogi.
In fact, I spent sometime looking for a image of what I refered to as a “Chubby Yogi” …..the only thing that appeared were babies and puppies. That alone makes a statement that in our society chubby is only cute when it’s linked to the first stages of life.
I personally appreciated this article, because I’m not the ideal image of a yogi, and yet I teach yoga. There are times when not measuring up to the expectation of what a yogi “should” look like can be intimidating, but at this point I feel I have so many other things to offer my students. I have my passion, my knowledge (that is always growing), my energy, my presence, and my genuine concern that the practice we share in together has some meaning for all involved.
I feel good about that, very good about that, but I do wonder sometimes if my yoga career will be limited by my appearance? Will some students decided not to attend my classes, because I don’t have toned arms? Will the ideal image of yogi not re-attend my class, because my butt looks big in Downdog? I don’t know, but I don’t hold any grudge for the students who decide not to participate in a practice with me. If my image doesn’t inspire them, encourage them to begin, or even continue with their practice….I completely respect their view.
However, from my experience I know that you don’t have to be a size 2 to impart knowledge, have a positive impact on others, or feel fantastic in Half-Moon Pose. So, for now I’ll proudly carry the title of Chubby Yogi. This is who I am in the present. I’m not sure who I’ll be in the future. Yet, I’m confident that I’ll always believe that yoga is a practice sized for one and all….toned and chubby alike!
What do you think…..would you feel comfortable developing your practice with a teacher that wasn’t reflective of the images on Yoga Journal?