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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Yoga Myth #6: "I Have to be Thin"

In this culture where "toothpick" and "pretzel" are the dominant stereotypes of the yogini it can seem intimidating to come to a yoga class. This trend is a terrible example of the limitations of our shallow culture infecting the beauty, power and grace of an ancient tradition. How many people have opted out of the opportunity to practice yoga because they felt they did not fit these destructive stereotypes. A deep sense of self-acceptance is central to the philosophy and practice of yoga. One of the reasons I describe the practice as Beloved Yoga is because we all can benefit from taking time to BE LOVED. Negative body images are a huge source of stress and pain in people's lives. With practice (and it does take practice) we can silence those internal judgemental voices that come from parents, media, teachers, society, friends, etc. In fact, it doesn't matter where those voices have come from you are listening to them everyday whether consciously or not.

At our classes I try to remind students (and myself) of the simple sacredness of the human body. As we concentrate on feeling the sensations in the body we develop a more authentic connection to our body. Comparing to others is a conditioned experience in a group. It is important to continually withdraw your attention inwards so your body is the one receiving the benefit of your focus. You do not have to be thin to deepen your awareness of body and breath. You may very well lose excess weight as you begin to move and to release in a yoga class but that is a fringe benefit. Your body is the greatest gift of your life, take care of it by connecting deeply and honestly with your innate beauty.

Be Loved,

Yogi Jayanta

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