This has been building for quite some time now. I see it everywhere…..in social media, in commercials, in the adjectives used about oneself. Since when did yoga become all about sex!? The advertisements for yoga clothing are all centered around curves and covering up what we don’t like, portraying an image that looking sexy is the image of a Yogi. As I scroll through my news feed on Instagram the photos of yoga postures are typically always in skimpy onesies or bras and underwear. I’ve seen videos of girls in bed rolling around moving seductively claiming that is yoga and I’m wondering HOW did we as a society get here? It frustrates me to see humans who are the face of yoga in the community, humans who hold a large capacity and reach a wide audience, misrepresenting what Yoga means.
Yoga is a lifelong practice utilizing tools of the body and mind (Citta) to align atman, your soul, with divine spirit. Now it is easy to walk into any studio and take a class without any prerequisites which firstly is more inviting and can be less intimidating to enter into the spiritual world, yet also can be both dangerous and misinforming. In today’s world, the word yoga is a trending fad and can sometimes fall so short of how deep the practice truly is. We have all walked into our first yoga class may be for entirely different reasons, whether it be for ‘me-time’, a social platform to meet people, for that ‘yoga-bod’, or to awaken spirituality. No matter the reason why we begin ultimately we will end up evolving as long as the practice continues. Back in the day in Mysore India when Sri K Pattabhi Jois (the founder of Ashtanga yoga, Guruji) was teaching, to learn you would start from the beginning, breathing, and learn from there. Yoga is an eight-limbed practice: [Yama (ethics), Niyama (self-discipline/ spiritual observances), asana (postures), pranayama (restriction of breath), pratyahara (withdrawal/ sensory transcendence), Dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation/ contemplation). Samadhi (ecstasy)]. Without pranayama, a posture is simply a workout and is not yoga. Postures also must include a Drishti, or a focal point, a gaze specific to each posture to 1 direct focus inward and the deepen practice. Things occurring around you whilst practicing, like a noise or a distraction of any kind, is part of a sensory withdrawal practice.
I remember 4 years ago when I first started practicing yoga that I loved taking photos of myself in postures. Quickly after when my practice deepened, I realized I didn’t like the emotions that having yoga photos brought out in me because they were emotions that through yoga I was learning to un-become.
These photos made me idolize my body. Attaching me to it by wanting attention and taking myself out of the actual practice to prepare a photo. Spirituality teaches us that we are not our body, we are simply a soul residing within a temple. Aparigraha, one of the Yamas, means non-attachment. Attaching ourselves to how we look and formulating an idea in our heads of ‘my body’ or look how ‘I’ look is directly working against what yoga philosophy represents.
Feeding into the energy of appearance and the physical body is feeding directly into the Ego. The final posture in yoga, after flowing breath to movement, sweating, and shedding both physically and metaphorically, is Savasana which translates to death of the ego. The resting posture filled with space in the body and space in the mind is a taste of the Ananda or bliss yoga creates. The final limb in Yoga is Samadhi or enlightenment. Enlightenment is a state reached by encompassing all practices and beliefs in the preceding limbs.
Yoga has saved me from myself and opened my eye to the transcending practice that is being human. The way media focuses on sexuality and image is misrepresenting the name Yoga and the philosophy it represents. My response to this observation has developed into an inspiration to spread and represent a message to stop making yoga sexy.
Sex sells, but it can sell the wrong message. I love a good photo just like the next yogi, so I am starting a movement using silliness to disassociate the body image from part of the practice that is yoga. It is not about how the posture looks (aside from proper alignment) but it is about how you feel while in it.
It’s about the endorphins you receive from fresh oxygen to the cells.
It’s about the space we feel in our body after stretching and moving and removing stagnant energy in our joints and muscles, sending pranic energy, life force energy up and down the spine.
Before yoga, we have racing minds always thinking about ‘what’s next’ or constantly using phones or objects as distractions for our brains.
It’s about the space in our mind we create after controlling our breath and focusing our mind, letting go of all that isn’t.
It’s about being present and living in the moment because all we have is now.
No matter where each of us is on our spiritual journeys is exactly where we are supposed to be, there is not comparing experiences because the journey lasts lifetimes. We are all equal…..size, shape, color, we are all equal. Sex will always be apart of us as long as we are human, but the place for sex is not on the mat. The uprise of the feminist movement is all about respect. It is our duty as women to respect our bodies and know that it is not our sex or our physical features that make up who we are. None of us want to be labeled by our appearance. And presenting ourselves in a spiritual light using sexuality is contrasting everything we are fighting for. We are all light workers. Media gives us a platform to create and share our message, so let it be a message of light and love.
Share your practice.
Share your journey.
I plan to continue sharing my journey and my practice under the hashtag #STOPMAKINGYOGASEXY by taking the ever-popular yoga photo. Instead of wearing the overpriced leggings and bras that society pushes on us I will be taking photos from a non-sexual perspective wearing silly outfits to fulfill the anti-sexy yoga movement and iterate that yoga is not how the body looks but it is how you feel.
Join me! Share your photos and share your journey. Together we will form a tribe of light warriors, and have fun while doing it.
The light in me sees and honors the light within you.