Sharing body positive yoga resources this National Yoga Month to help yoga feel a little more accessible to all.
Did you know that September is National Yoga Month?
As a certified yoga instructor, I am a huge believer in the power of yoga to assist in healing. Whether it’s chronic back pain, history of trauma, recovery from an addiction, eating disorder, anxiety, depression, etc., practicing yoga consistently works wonders.
I first tried yoga over 15 years ago, in high school. A friend and I started taking a weekly class at the Himalayan Institute in Buffalo, NY. Then I found yoga again in college when I moved to Boston. At the end of my first semester Freshman year, I started suffering from panic attacks. My anxiety spun out of control and it became pretty isolating and debilitating to say the least. That’s when I sought out yoga once again. The practice helped me to manage my anxiety and panic attacks and I don’t know how I would’ve bounced back without yoga.
Today, yoga is a pretty regular part of my weekly routine. My relationship with yoga has changed a lot over the last few years due to injuries. I used to practice to get stronger and try to work towards inversions and arm balances. Today I practice for my soul. I gravitate towards more restorative and slower flow classes that re more focused on connecting mind, body and breath.
Because of the impact that yoga has had on me and being that it is such a big part of my life and who I am, I was inspired to become a yoga instructor, so that I could help others realize the power of the practice.
The problem with yoga is that there’s not a ton of diversity within the community. Most of the teachers we see (like myself) hold a lot of privilege in that they are white, cis-gender, thin women. This alienates marginalized people from benefiting from this healing practice. People see yoga teachers and think this practice can’t be for me because I don’t see anyone practicing/teaching that looks like me. We need more diversity within the yoga community. And we need more resources for people in larger body sizes to practice yoga.
Yoga can be beneficial for physical, mental and emotional struggles, and it can also be a tremendous tool for healing body image and your relationship to your body. It’s always tricky navigating the group fitness scene when it comes to body image – even yoga classes can be tough sometimes if you end up faced with instructors who make body shaming comments or even just focus too much on the physical aspects of the practice. If you’re looking to ease into the yoga space, check out these body positive yoga resources:
- This YouTube channel, appropriately titled Body Positive Yoga, has a ton of videos led by an instructor in a larger body. Anyone can practice yoga no matter their size, but you don’t often see size diversity in yoga instructors. This channel can be a huge help for those in search of an instructor who truly understands movement in a larger body
- This article links a bunch of body positive yogis on the gram who you can follow including the following and more
Remember that yoga doesn’t refer to just the physical practice, in fact the asana practice is just one of eight limbs of yoga. There’s also deep breathing and meditation, which we can all access at anytime. When we think of yoga in its more holistic definition, we realize that yoga is accessible to all.
I hope you’ll take some time during this year’s National Yoga Month to check out these body positive yoga resources and see how it helps you connect to your here-and-now body, and spirit.
Tell me, what resources would you add to this list? Would love to expand this based on your feedback!
This post was originally published September 2014 and has been updated to give you the most valuable content!