I’m currently in a yoga teacher training program at Whole Life Yoga. That’s me right in front, wearing a dress that I made out of galaxy fabric. Viniyoga is all about bringing the yoga to the person, not the person to the yoga. It happily accepts all body shapes, all physical conditions, and asks of them, “How can I make this great for you?” It isn’t a free-for-all, there is still plenty of structure, yogic philosophy, and beautiful sequencing. But there aren’t strict right and wrong ways to do asanas (the poses). Alternatives are possible for every pose, allowing for a wide range of abilities and body shapes. I love viniyoga.
Consider that I have fibromyalgia, a chronic illness that leaves me in daily physical pain, mental wariness, and can put me in periods for a couple weeks at a time where I need a cane to get around. And yet, I’m becoming a yoga teacher. Hopefully a pretty good one! Viniyoga makes this possible.
Yoga as portrayed in the mainstream, as you may have noticed, can engender quite a different set of feelings. Rather than feeling peace and confidence when you consider yoga, you might feel concerns about your body shape, your size, your flexibility, or your ability to get into an asana and out again without grunting. Even as I’m in a viniyoga program and getting inoculated weekly with a dose of body-positive yoga love, I can still find myself looking at yoga websites and magazines and thinking, “What the hell am I doing? I don’t look anything like a yoga teacher.”
Enter body-positive Instagram feeds. Feeling a little exhausted by the glut of photos of ultra thin and flexible yogis? What you need are some images of gorgeous yogis in a range of sizes, who are clearly loving their bodies and loving their yoga.
Click on the title bars of any of these photos to go their Instagram feeds, and then follow! The featured photo at the top of this post is from the first feed on the list, Big Gal Yoga. I just <3 this feed so much.