Melanie Klein and Anna Guest-Jelley are doing some of the most important work in the yoga community. Both women are committed to writing about the complicated relationship between yoga, body image and feminism. So it’s natural that they should team up and co-edit a collection of essays exploring this tricky territory. Yoga + Body Image will be ready for the world in 2014. Melanie has all the details below – read on!
It is with great pleasure that Anna Guest-Jelley and I officially announce our anthology on Yoga + Body Image forthcoming in 2014.
I first met Anna almost three years ago. I was introduced to her work through her blog post “Welcoming the Curvy Yogini.” Not only did Anna’s words speak to me but I was taken by her brief bio at the bottom wherein she described herself as “an advocate for women’s rights by day, a yoga teacher by night.” Given my work as a Sociology + Women’s Studies professor and my activist work, I felt I had stumbled upon a kindred spirit.
Anna and I had our first phone conversation in 2011 and the synergy was palpable. We immediately realized that we had to collaborate on a project. After a few months of percolating, we realized that it only made sense to collaborate on a book focusing on yoga and body image.
Why Body Image
We decided on this topic not only because it’s something we’re both passionate about, but because it’s one we don’t see discussed often enough in the yoga community. Because for something that is often so focused on the body, yoga classes and conversations rarely include the topic of how we feel about our body and how yoga affects our body image and vice versa.
And to us, that is a major gap in the conversation — not only how individuals’ body image can benefit from yoga, but also how yoga has a complicated place in the conversation about body image, both contributing to negative perceptions via media stereotypes of the “yoga body” and contributing to positive change when the practice is focused on connection with one’s body, exactly as it is today.
While Anna and I could have written a book on yoga and body image on our own based on our own transformative experiences, we were and are fiercely committed to bringing together a diverse collection of voices that span across race/ethnicity, sexuality and sexual orientation, gender and gender identity, sex, class, age and size.
Yoga practitioners and those plagued by distorted body image issues do not come in a uniform mold. We wanted to reach readers of different backgrounds, casting a wide net and allowing people to draw inspiration from at least one contributor’s body image journey and how their yoga practice facilitated that transformation.
We closed a publication deal in January 2013. We’re so very excited and honored to be working with the fine folks of Llewellyn to bring this book to fruition.
And we are thrilled to announce our fabulous contributors, a group of people from the United States, Canada, Australia & New Zealand, who reflect the diversity of experiences we intended to showcase from the inception of the project. We invited each of these thoughtful and inspiring yogis because of their unique perspective and ability to contribute to the critical conversation we wish to create — a wide one about how yoga affects body image. We want this to pique the interest of people who never thought yoga was for them, as well as deepen the conversation among people who are already part of the yoga community.
Without further ado, here are our contributors:
- Carrie Barrepski: Disability rights activist, writer and yoga teacher
- Vytas Baskauskas: Yoga teacher at Yoga Works and Bryan Kest’s Santa Power Yoga; Professor of Mathematics at Santa Monica College
- Dr. Audrey Bilger: Professor of Literature & Faculty Director of the Center for Writing & Public Discourse at Claremont McKenna College; Co-editor of Here Come the Brides! Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage; Author of Laughing Feminism: Subversive Comedy in Frances Burney, Maria Edgeworth, and Jane Austen
- Dianne Bondy: Yoga teacher, writer about yoga & diversity and founder of Eastside Yoga in Windsor, Ontario
- Seane Corn: Internationally celebrated yoga teacher, activist and co-founder of Off the Mat, Into the World
- Dr. Dawn Dalili: Naturopath, coach, mentor and yoga teacher
- Teo Drake: Queer yogi and spiritual activist
- Marianne Elliott: Human rights advocate, yoga teacher, creator of 30 Days of Yoga and author of Zen Under Fire: How I Found Peace in the Midst of War
- Rolf Gates: Author of Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga, International yoga teacher, speaker and co-founder of the Yoga, Meditation and Recovery Conference (YMRC)
- Dr. Sara Gottfried: Harvard-trained MD, yoga teacher and author of New York Times bestseller The Hormone Cure: Reclaim Balance, Sleep, Sex Drive & Vitality Naturally with The Gottfried Protocol
- Chelsea Jackson: Educator, yoga teacher and blogger for Chelsea Loves Yoga
- Dr. Kerrie Kauer: Asst. Professor of Sport Sociology at CSU Long Beach
- Bryan Kest: Founder of Power Yoga and international yoga teacher
- Ryan McGraw: MS in Disability and Human Development, yoga teacher and disability rights activist
- Kate Clere McIntyre: Director of Yogawoman
- Shana Meyerson: Founder of Mini Yogis® Yoga for Kids
- Rosie Molinary: Speaker, teacher and author of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance and Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image and Growing Up Latina
- Dr. Melody Moore: Clinical psychologist and founder of Embody Love
- Alanis Morissette: Grammy award winning singer/songwriter and activist
- Claire Mysko: Speaker, consultant and author of Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? The Essential Guide to Loving Your Body Before and After Baby and You’re Amazing! A No-Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self
- Nita Rubio: Priestess of the Tantric Dance of Feminine Power
- Linda Sparrowe: Editor of Yoga International and author of A Woman’s Book of Yoga and Health: A Lifelong Guide to Wellness (with Patricia Walden); Yoga for Healthy Bones; Yoga for Healthy Menstruation; and Yoga: A Yoga Journal Book
- Joni Yung: Executive producer and host at Yoga Chat with the Accidental Yogist and Associate Editor of LA Yoga Magazine
We are honored to have such a fine collection of intellectuals, educators, activists, yoga practitioners and yoga teachers. We are sending each of these people our gratitude for being part of this dialogue. Big thanks to our agents, Elyse Tanzillo & Frank Weimann of The Literary Group International, too.
Finally, we’re extending our thanks to you, too — for supporting us along the way, and for being part of this conversation as it unfolds.
We’ll keep you updated as we go! To stay connected:
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Melanie & Anna