I hate it when yogis talk about fat

26 May

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So this is the thing. I get that we live in a society that fat shames. I get that yoga was created by men and has a focus on thinness to make some of the twists and turns easier and more effective.

Have you ever tried binding in a size 16/18 body–not impossible, but the likelihood of extra space is pretty much not going to happen.

I get the idea of austerity and focus on diet. I get the health and “philosophical” reasons. But I want to address something else.

We are so comfortable fat shaming that it is almost an impossible thought that a fat person or even more ridiculous a fat yogi (think size 12 and above, le sigh) might be as concerned about their health and happiness as a thin one. I have been reading all of these articles about yogis and yoga teachers, reclaiming their right to a full figure, a post pregnancy stomach, thigh jiggle, etc.

And, I see why we want it to be empowerment. I do, I really do. We all want to be seen, we all want to say, “Hey, look at me I’m normal, stop telling me I’m not.”

The thing that makes me cringe is that in these articles, said yogis go on to explaining why it’s ok to be who you are.  Underlining that the doubt about your body is normal and that yoga is a beauty business of sorts and that others think about it so it’s ok that you do, AND IT”S OK THAT YOU’RE A NORMAL SIZED HUMAN BEING. My question, why does this need to be validated, exactly?

And on the flip-side, can we please stop shaming Kathryn Bundig for being too skinny? My sense is that if we focused less time on what we look like and spent more time extending our love, devotion, service to those around us, we might not even care…

A month ago, I spent a weekend in Oakland at a conference organized by john a. powell, called Othering and Belonging. What I took away from this experience is the deep calling we ALL hold to belong to something, sometimes at the expense of excluding others. That exclusion somehow makes us better, stronger, smarter, fitter, more advanced than all those other people–except the ones who claim to be like us–whether that means by thought or by body. All those people we are fighting for classes, students, teacher apprenticeships, adoration, love, validation. By focusing on the external we are exclaiming that there is a RIGHT (even if you accept yourself the way you are) way to be in the world and that you can measure yourself closer, or someone else as farther away.

I am wondering what would our world look like if we assumed that everyone was working toward the same goals–love, inclusion, belonging. That we all, most likely, suffer from doubt and that doubt is probably what brought us to where we are at? What would happen if we extended that hand? If we were the person that suspended judgement and really met people where they were at? What if we measured each other by our openness, how much we were willing to give, and kindness? What kind of world would be live in then?

I am challenging us all to manifest THAT world and accept ourselves and others equally and unequivocally.

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