There are a lot of controversies in the world. What is beautiful for some is provocative for others and inappropriate for someone else. This is real and normal, right? But when it comes to yoga, it turns into messy cat fight all over the place. It’s amazing how practice that has acceptance among its key values can turn seemingly normal people into intolerant personalities you would not be on the next mat to. Guess what? Quiet likely, you are.
The heat has gotten so high around some topics, that, if you read anything yoga-related, you do know about it. Sexualisation of yoga, which has relatively recently gotten a new height with the Equinox yoga video with Briohny Kate-Smyth.
There were so many things written about this that probably too many chakras will have to be cleansed later on! My 2 cents: yes, the video is sexy. And since when sexy is bad? But if the only thing one sees here is sexy, then you gotta… well, you know.
The video is beautiful in every way, this morning light, this atmosphere… maybe, you gotta be a woman, who likes doing something for herself and knows what she wants. Who appreciates her ‘me time’ and has strong sense of self. For me as a yogini, this is something to strive to. Although I know that perfect postures and transitions should not be my ultimate goal, that it is about the journey and not destination, it makes me feel so good that I can do some things of what she does. And it makes me feel calm, balanced and better version of myself. Had I never practiced yoga before seeing this video, the video, it would make me want to try. If so, good!
This is pretty much what Kathryn Budig says in her article in the Huffington Post. Budig, knows for ‘oversexualising’ yoga herself with her ToeSox campaign, rushed to defend Briohny, since, obviously, she’s been through this kind of criticism. In the article ‘Stop Judging and Read’, Kathryn interviews her and they talk about Bri’s acceptance of her body, issues, etc. Good read.
This is what Kathryn is saying about her experience: ‘Needless to say, modeling in the nude is a surefire way to shake people up. Our intention was to inspire and show the beauty of a body that practices regular yoga to get people back on their mats. I can happily say it was highly successful in that realm. I receive regular thank yous and have even signed pictures of my bare buns at workshops. But as life goes, there are two sides to the coin and many people were displeased. They were offensive. They objectified women. They were using sex to sell product.’
Well… yeah… and this is how this world works… we love looking at great bodies doing great stuff, it makes us, those who practice yoga, relate and think that we can do a little bit of this, too. Yoga is commercialized, as well as any other aspect of daily live, that has become popular culture. From Christmas to sex, it is about money if you open any magazine or web site. We watch perfume commercial and, although, we have not even smelt it yet, it makes us want to think that this little bottle will make the live as glamorous as someone else’s live on the screen. Yes, this is how it works and we know that no skincare will give us this poreless/photoshopped face, at least subconsciously, we want to believe. Even those who work in adversiting and have all these fancy degrees, we do! And if somebody will think that yoga is all about sexy naked bodies, isn’t it the same? Why do people blame yoga related brands for commercializing the industry?
True, open any Yoga Journal issue and you’ll see tons of ads implying that to practice yoga, we need certain things. Instead of our cheap mat, we need a high end professional mat while we don’t. Well, I’ve switched to one and I’m not going back. Some things are just better. Thanks to ads (and Kathryn, haha), I found out about the ToeSox and other similar products.
What should we do as yogis? Feeling bad for showing up to class wearing your simple clothing while a person next to you is Lululemon head to toes? Hey, it is not about clothing in case you forgot. And you are right to be in yoga class – yoga helps concentrate on you and throw away the ‘I’m not good enough compared to…’ thoughts. Same with body issues, pose comparisons – hey, anything we can feel bad about ourselves!
The only thing amazes me: living in all so commercialized and stereotype crowded image stuffed world (please don’t say we can fight it for I have better plans for my life), why would yoga people concentrate on creating issues instead of vinyasing though them? After all, if this is the way the ancient Eastern practice gets adapted to our Western consumerist world, just be thankful it’s there and it has reached us. Would you know about it if it wan’t so advertised, sexualized and commercialized? Leave what you dislike, harness what you like and do not judge. Being judgmental messes the balance – on and off the mat.