Soooo......I've had this topic rolling around in my head for a while...quite a while...pretty much for years.
All of those super flashy pictures of women, well usually women, really really fit women, holding extremely complicated fancy yoga poses. You know exactly what I am talking about:
Just a tiny example of pictures I found in a super quick google search. And to be clear I didn't google "women doing yoga poses" I googled "yoga pose images". So, yeah, there's that.
Yes, these are all advanced yoga poses. Again, yes, they all look fantastic in the shot, like amazingly fantastic, which is the point of the picture, I presume.
Here's the thing. I am so torn when I see these pictures. I mean I GET IT these women worked hard to get here. No one just wakes up one day and says, "Hmmmm, I think I'm going to get all prettied up and perfectly hit that amazingly difficult yoga pose in front of a photographer." They had to work at it. And they did and they should be amazingly proud of their accomplishment. Those poses take concentration, they take muscle power, they take balance, they take dedication. They are HARD! And part of me is like, "You go girl! You rock your muscly body!"
But, then there's the other part of me. The part of me that has taken a ton of yoga and meditation teacher training. The part that wholly and completely embraces the philosophies of traditional yoga. The part that knows that as much as yoga is about the poses, it isn't about the poses. When broken down to its most basic form, the only true yoga posture is meditation pose. The asanas of yoga are there to help you achieve a meditative state, a higher consciousness, a level that you didn't know you could reach. The more challenging poses are a way to force your mind to focus inward to bring forth the strength and ability to achieve those poses.
I want to reemphasize that I am crazy proud of all of the people that are able to hit those amazing poses, that's awesome! Of course you want to show it off!
However, I also feel that the prevalence of those pictures in western media leads to a major disconnect. All of the flashy images of super fit models doing crazy things leads the ordinary everyday person to think that that is all yoga is. That it is about super flexible people, doing super hard poses. It's intimidating. It's the same way I feel about all of those other personal trainer websites that are all black and red with pictures of sweaty people with rock hard abs. That's not motivation, that's intimidation. There is a difference.
Westernized yoga can be super judgey and super cliquey. That's not at all what yoga is supposed to be about.
There has been a huge push lately for more inclusive yoga and I am all for that!
Every BODY is a yoga body!!!
The key is finding a place where you can be comfortable and practice. Yoga means union. Union with yourself, with the universe, and with others. Yoga should be inviting and warm, not elite and cold.
I think that's enough of my thoughts today. I would love to have an honest, polite conversation about this.
Peace, love, and light,