Is yoga TRULY for EVERYbody? (Please share your thoughts!)

Hi Readers! I have been thinking a lot about the barriers that exist that make yoga inaccessible or even unappealing to certain segments of the population.

In my last post, I wrote:

“Yoga is for every body- all colors, shapes and sizes.  Yoga is for all people across the ability spectrum.  Yoga is for queer, trans and gender non-conforming folks.  Yoga is for body builders and football players– miners and advertising executives.  And yes, it’s for young, petite white women like me. As long as the yoga community continues to depict yoginis as young, white, petite and female, we are sending a message of exclusion.”  

In order for the above to be true, barriers need to be broken.  I’m curious to hear your thoughts on what truly accessible yoga would look like.

What would need to exist in a yoga class to make it completely barrier free, so that ALL PEOPLE feel accepted?

Please chime in!

-acorn.

I believe in Liberty for all men: the space to stretch their arms and their souls.”  -W. E. B. Du Bois

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6 thoughts on “Is yoga TRULY for EVERYbody? (Please share your thoughts!)

  1. savasana addict

    Check out Annie Carlin, she’s an overweight, amazing yoga teacher! In our society we sometimes forget that yoga is a way to work with the mind, through the body. That great body is not the goal. Thanks for this post!

    Reply
  2. The Fashion Huntress

    When I’ve been in yoga classes in the past, I have definitely felt out of place sometimes. There are always the people in there with perfect bodies that can do all of the poses, and it can feel exclusionary! I’m not sure what would help change this…though sometimes I think even the teacher just saying “just respect yourself and your body” by allowing us to just be where we are at…of course, that also comes from acceptance within 🙂

    Reply
    1. acorn Post author

      Excellent point, Fashion Huntress… while there are certainly things that can be adjusted from the standpoint of the studio or teacher, we must also be tolerant of ourselves. I have heard comments from people who say things like…

      “I don’t do yoga because I’m not ______enough”
      or
      “only _______ people do yoga”

      Whether these comments come from an inability to accept the self or from messages that an instructor/studio sends in their marketing, comments and cueing, I believe that the yoga community needs to step up and become even more aware of difference as not to inadvertently perpetuate the mainstream Western view of what it means to be a yogi.

      Thank you so much for sharing your point of view and your experience. I know that I often need reminders to respect myself and my body. Thanks for reinforcing the importance of that message.

      Reply
  3. acorn Post author

    Savasana addict–
    Thanks for adding your perspective and for the suggestion to check out Annie. I will definitely do that. I just read your post on Lion’s breath. Love it!

    -acorn.

    Reply
  4. alteayoga

    Yoga is for everybody. What we have to understand is that yogâsana might not be for everybody. Very weak people – recovering from illness, palliative patients – won’t necessarily respond to âsana. Paralysed people cannot practice âsana or perhaps not pranayama. But, the limbs of yoga are many and a competent teacher will know when to use one or the other and how to make the path joyful for the student.

    Reply
    1. acorn Post author

      Thanks so much for your comment! It’s so important to recognize all limbs of yoga we think about it’s application. I work in a hospital and am sometimes called to facilitate “bedside relaxation.” I typically use a combination of pranayama and guided meditation, but not everyone I work with has the capacity to participate in pranayama for a variety of reasons. It’s so important to understand the ways in which interventions can both support and be contraindicated for the people we work with.

      Thanks again for your thoughts!

      acorn

      Reply

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