Despite what some media, groups, and people may have led us to believe, there is a yoga for everyone and a yoga for every body. Yoga is not the exclusive domain of the super fit, healthy, wealthy, new-agey, athletic, or flexible. Yoga is inclusive of all who are willing to practice it.
Unfortunately, some commonly held beliefs about what yoga “is/isn’t” and what it means to be a “yogi” lead some people who would otherwise be interested in yoga to avoid it.
The crew at The Travel Yogi believes in yoga for everybody, not just a select few who possess common media-defined characteristics of a yogi. Who wants to go on a yoga retreat or adventure with a carbon copy of themselves? The wide tableau of yoga practitioners are how we get our community on, our minds opened and our boundaries yoga-stretched. Just as we always say that it’s a beautiful world that needs to be explored, there are beautiful people of all shapes, sizes, colors and beliefs to go explore it with.
Yoga for every body shapes our core (haha, get it?) values, informs our yoga retreats and influences who we select as our yoga teachers. Many of our teachers come from a Vinyasa background (vinyasa = transitions of asana coordinated with breath) but we’ve got a million different ways to interpret how that informs our bodies and minds. So, to pull in their perspective, we asked them for soundbites, without direction, on what “yoga for every body” means to them. Their voices were loud and clear:
“If you can breathe, you can do yoga. Yoga is indeed for every BODY. Your race, gender, sexuality, height, weight, size, or freakin’ astrological sign do not decide whether or not you can do yoga. There is no such thing as a “yoga body;” if you have a body, you can do yoga.”
– Alexa Silvaggio
“Yoga for Every(Body) means we celebrate who we are, exactly as we are, challenges and all. We appreciate our bodies for what they can do and respect our bodies’ challenges. We come to the mat as we are, we do what we can and we use what we have. All bodies are yoga bodies and this body is the only way we can appreciate the wonder of life.”
– Dianne Bondy
“Yoga is a resource available to ALL of us because yoga is the simple, yet profound practice of reintegrating body, mind, and spirit into oneness. Yoga is the practice of realizing that anything we could strive to “get” is already inside of us—and the only thing that we need to “fix” is the fear-based perception that we are broken. Yoga is a lifelong practice of self-acceptance.”
– Shannon Algeo
“Yoga moves, changes, evolves for different bodies, different ages and stages of life, and even for every day! It’s never the same and that’s the pure beauty of it. Plus, the physical practice is continually growing and modifying and being created. I KNOW in my heart (and based on nearly 16 years of practice) there IS in fact, a Yoga for Every(body).”
– Jenniferlyn “JL” Chiemingo
“Yoga truly is an art form and a language, where no one form or dialect is better than another. Yoga is the medium for each person to connect to and express what the inner voice has to say. It’s removing the box that limits us in that ‘one size fits all’ kind of thinking, allowing for the space to explore our individuality and self-creative expression.”
“Yoga is for everybody. This truth says more about the practice than just the straightforward fact that it doesn’t matter how big, small, weak, strong, bendy or tight one may be. It also implies that yoga goes further than our body. Yoga affects our mental state. Bringing peace and serenity to our consciousness is something that we can all benefit from.”
– Vytas Baskauskas
“Yoga isn’t just a tool to strengthen or open the body…it’s a tool to embrace a healthier, happier lifestyle. No matter your age, size or restrictions, everyone benefits from yoga. If you can breathe, you can do yoga.”
– Debra Murphy
“I teach power yoga—what that means is that we empower people and community. I have students ranging from 9 to 79 years old all practicing in the same hot room—and we all work to our greatest potential, together.”
– Shelley Lowther
The Travel Yogi’s yoga teachers, and other yogis like them, are part of the rebellion against yoga stereotypes that are causing far too many people to self-exclude themselves from the limitless benefits of yoga. Social media campaigns such as #whatayogilookslike and #everybodybends are gaining momentum in the digital realm, a 100-year-old yoga-loving grandma recently made the news, and yoga practitioners everywhere are striving to create a more supportive and inclusive environment for everyone.
By consciously creating a more welcoming and accepting yoga community, we can help redefine yoga culture and embrace each person’s unique contributions to the practice as a whole, as well as the inherent value that yoga provides to all who partake in it.
Join us to continuously celebrate and embody these fundamental truths—that anyone can practice yoga and that there is, in fact, a yoga for everybody.