Yoga for All Bodies

Dear Reader,

I recently attended a hip opener yoga workshop led by Jessamyn Stanley. First of all, if you didn’t know, we store our emotions in our hips. So, hip opening poses are known for allowing emotions to release and can be powerful to overall well-being. While I love hip openers, my only reason for attending was to be led through a vinyasa (yoga flow) by Jessamyn. She is an amazing human, yoga teacher and body positivity activist. She recently wrote the book “Every Body Yoga” and I am such a fan of her and her work.

Yoga is a powerful tool for mind, body, and spirit connection and yet in the mainstream media it can appear to be focused on a certain type of person. We all know the type. White, thin, straight, cisgender (mostly female identified), and affluent. If you find yourself checking all of those boxes, yoga can still be for you! Just please be aware of your privilege. What I mostly want to express/rant in this blog post is how we can make yoga more inclusive. (I also just want to note that I realize what I know of Yoga is the culturally appropriated version and I honor the history of Yoga with origins in India. I am thankful to be a member of my home studio where there is focus on studying yogic philosophy.)

Y’all. I can’t even begin to express the emotions that came up as I attended this workshop. I have NEVER had a yoga teacher who was fat, POC, and LGBTQ+ identified. It was a profound experience. Like speechless, tears in my eyes, butterflies in my tummy type of experience. And what made it even more profound was when I took a look around the room and saw my fellow yogis. I have NEVER seen a more diverse group of yogis! And even then it was mostly a white, young crowd so we still have some work to do. It is powerful to have diversity literally everywhere. Humane representation (not just based on stereotypes) validates the experiences of those who are marginalized. It sends the message of belonging. It raises the vibration of our collective consciousness. It is important. It is life saving. My main reason for writing this post was to just start the conversation. Perhaps get some people on the Internet to think a bit more critically about the spaces they inhabit. And if you are a person with privilege, how you can make a space more inclusive and safe for all. It starts with us.

To find out more about Jessamyn, check her out here.

May all beings everywhere be happy, safe, and free.

With gratitude,

Neathery