A few years ago, a controversial article came out titled Yoga Body: The Conspiracy. The article drew attention to a video that had come out a few months before it. The video showed a lithe young woman, doing advanced arm balances, head balances and yoga poses. The article severely critiqued the idea and myth of a “yoga body,” something that yogis, teachers, fitness studios, yoga retreats and yoga studios have been pedaling for a while.
At first I was skeptical of the article. After all, if so many people have quote-on- quote achieved a yoga body, there has to be some truth to this notion. However, after a few years of following a consistent yoga practice, I am more sure than ever that Body Divine Yoga is right.
As a society that indulges in conspicuous consumption, we easily buy into myths and quick fixes to help us achieve our goals. Entire industries have been built around the “Thigh Master” and weight loss belts, products that are often pedaled as easy solutions to a fit body. The myth of the yoga body is the same. Yoga studios across the country showcase their instructors and models in Lululemon clothing, bending every which way to have us believe that with enough time and a consistent yoga practice, we too will ripple in our breathable spandex. I don’t buy it anymore. After years of observation, I have concluded that the yoga body is an overworked out, stressed tight body. Most people who have that body don’t tell you the hours they spend at the gym, lifting heavy, training, working out and managing a strict caloric deficit on a daily basis. What they don’t tell you is that maybe, just maybe if you do yoga, eight hours a day you might end up with something close to a yoga body. Yet we , as consumers, spend thousands of our hard earned dollars to buy into an idea that is fantasy at best, a lie at worst.
This is not to say that there aren’t benefits to a consistent safe yoga practice. As a keen follower of the discipline, I have personally enjoyed many benefits, mostly mental but even some physical ones of a daily yoga practice. One of the biggest benefits I have reaped from yoga is greater mental acuity and “mindfulness.” I have also found yoga to be really therapeutic and helps me de-stress big time. From a physical standpoint I find yoga has helped me becoming much, much more flexible. Even small movements, like turning around to back out your car have become easier and more fluid. Other physical benefits I’ve seen are better circulation and a healthier appetite. I love yoga and definitely agree that it has a place in fitness. What I don’t agree with is marketing a false product to people who are trying to do right by their bodies.
Here is the video that caused a stir in the yoga world: