For a long time now, I have lamented how far the Western yoga industry has strayed from, well, yoga.
But this Instagram post by insta.yoga was the nail in the coffin for me (notice the 132 likes).
I hope that no further explanation is needed, but I will give one anyway…because you know I am not one to keep my mouth shut about just about anything.
This is just about as mean, judgemental, and un-yoga-like as any message I have ever seen in my life. Part of this is endemic to the whole yoga social media phenomenon where nothing (and particularly yoga) is more important than aesthetic beauty. Seriously. People worship whoever poses in their underwear or bathing suit and yoga has become little more than a sexier-than-thou competition. How dare anyone who claims to be a yogi or yogini judge someone just because they have a different size or shape of body than the one they idolize???
And how does a message like this make people feel who don’t fit the sexy yoga paradigm? Is this going to encourage them to try yoga? Or continue on their path, for that matter? This kind of ridicule has absolutely no place in the yoga community. Please don’t tell me to have a sense of humor or lighten up, by the way. Laughing at the expense of other people’s feelings is not funny. This shirt is shaming and shameful. There is nothing funny about it.
There are plenty of amazing yogis and yoginis out there who have truly committed themselves to their practices even if insta.yoga and their 132 likers think “their butts say McDonalds”. These people work hard, follow a yoga lifestyle, are proud of their accomplishments, and do not deserve to be embarrassed by social media messages like this one.
Everyone should be able to put on yoga pants, be proud of who they are, and have the freedom to work on themselves in the way that yoga promises…free of judgment and full of unconditional acceptance.