Yoga is not about how you look, it’s about how you feel!
As someone whose personal yoga practice wasn’t kickstarted with self-love and honesty until I was taught by an extraordinary Body Positive Yogi (shout out: Hala Khouri), I have so much respect and appreciation for the current wave of individuals spreading the message of size acceptance and self-love through their practices as well – most notably the Yoga and Body Image Coalition and the Yes Yoga Has Curves project. Hala, the co-founder of activist organization Off the Mat, Into the World, taught me one of the ultimate lessons of yoga right from the start, which not only changed the way I moved but changed the way I communicated with myself (on and off the mat): Yoga is not about how perfectly you are enacting any given pose, it’s about how attuned to your authentic self/body (spiritual and physical) you feel.
Every single human featured on this list I’ve compiled embodies that soulfulness in my opinion — not only through the promotion of the inclusion of all bodies (in a world that often wreaks of thin white privilege and overpriced yet undersized LuLu Lemon leggings – not that I would know about those yoga pants firsthand, because they simply do not make them in my size; another subtle othering message that can pervade the yoga community) but through persistent photographic visibilizing coupled with important stereotype breaking and norm challenging sentiments, now with greater ability to be expressed through social media outlets.
Namaste, You Bodacious Body Positive Yogis – not only do we see your light, we see your strength, courage, and wisdom (as India Arie would say, it’s been inside of *us* all along)!
Not only do we LOVE that Naomi is from Oakland (teaching at Leela Yoga), but we appreciate how she leverages her body as a platform for her voice: “I’ve said it: ‘I feel fat.’ I was wrong. In those moments I was feeling ashamed, disappointed, self-hatred…I HAVE fat. Fat is a noun and an adjective used to describe a body. You can really only feel it with your hands, and I suggest you do. Touch your fat. Then you’ll feel it. It’s soft, huh? Touch your fat with loving hands and maybe you’ll start to shift the collective consciousness that has come to hate it so much. @thebodypositive @endangeredbodiesnyc.” (*check out this campaign against facebook currently having “fat” as a status mood update with accompanying bloated face*)
Not only does Dana have a stellar yoga practice that she shares with the world, she does it all in style! “Start your day with something that makes you smile. Maybe you wake up early one day to catch a sunrise just to be reminded of how beautiful it is…Or some heart openers in your @lineagewear peacock pants. Whatever it is, do it. You deserve it.” (*we noticed this yoga brand and this style is very popular with this community – and potentially speaks to being one of the only quality size inclusive yoga pant companies out there right now; @fractalnine is also frequently being mentioned!*)
“It’s bad enough that I can easily count the number of brown models- it’s as though by asking for models who actually represent all members of the yoga community that you’re asking them to completely re-imagine a marketing campaign.” Jessamyn not only brings a strong sense of groundedness to her followers, she fiercely speaks up for lack of visibility in the yoga community.
I especially love how Davina keeps it so real and honest about her practice, reminding her followers that everyone can go at their own pace. “I have pretty good body awareness and I could just imagine someone who did not seeing this… Trying it… And hurting themselves. remember it is a journey and not a race.”
“New video at the blog!! Savasana can be a wonderful time to relax and rest, but if you’re in a larger body or if you don’t feel comfortable lying flat on the floor, savasana can really hurt!” I really appreciate Amber utilizing her voice and body positive yoga tips from within the community as a teacher – I will make it to one of your classes one day!
“Who you are speaks much louder than any words you say.” Simply put, I think all of this human’s yoga moves are inspiring to the point of being ready to whip out my own yoga mat for a living room session.
“If you are offended by a fat body, where does it come from? We don’t arrive from the womb with prejudices of any kind. So I implore you to ask yourself why a large body is so disgusting. My guess is that the billions of images portrayed by the media over your lifetime must have had a hand. #effyourbeautystandards” (*EFF YES! we absolutely LOVE your body positive activism both through your yoga and your words – keep rocking that beautiful body of yours!*)
“My mantra is: Let there be happiness in my soul, and let me share it with the world.” We couldn’t agree with you more, Brittany, and are glad to have your soul shining right through those killer neon leggings!
“‘Don’t let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace‘ – Dalai Lama
I tried a thing. The struggle to get my arms oriented that way was worth it but dear lord does it hurt. Gonna keep trying.” Thanks for reminding us of the old but true adage, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…and be confident in your beautiful abilities while doing so!
“I’m glad to be a part of a community of fat people doing yoga. I want to see even more fat people taking pictures of their yoga practice. I love when I find someone on the larger end of the fatness scale! It’s less common, and it fills me with joy to see a body that looks like mine. I am a big ass fat woman.” We love and support everything that you are accomplishing Laura, thanks for being such a wonderful representative of the body positive community and creating change!
“‘Yoga allows you to find a new kind of freedom that you may not have known even existed.’-B.K.S. Lyengar. I especially appreciate how Alee uses her social media as a platform for combining inspiring quote with practical yoga instructions and tips, all while exuding some seriously funky yoga pants!
“I was tired last night but here it is this morning. ‘The greatest effort is not concerned with results. The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go. The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.’ -Atisha” This image is giving me so much life – from the boldly printed jumpsuit to the sentiment attached to the embracing and open-hearted pose, I love it all!
Every sentiment, tip, and quote shared on Valerie’s illustrious Instagram account as well as her Tumblr big-gal-yoga exudes body positivity and self-love, which we cannot get enough of! Neither can anyone else for that matter – Valerie has recently been featured in various articles and the @effyourbeautystandards campaign!