Many of you know that IAYB is a burlesque loving yogi, so I have seen many many breasts, of all shapes and sizes. One of the things I love about burlesque is how breasts are the star of the show. They are unveiled, played with and celebrated. A burlesque show may one of the few places in our culture where breasts are active agents – they are uninhibited and unconstrained, they spin and bounce, and they even make things move.
Beyond this little subculture, however, breasts are often a source of anxiety for women. Breast health is a sensitive subject that leaves women feeling vulnerable on many levels. The threat of breast cancer looms, as the World Health Organization estimates that more than half a million women worldwide died from the disease in 2011. There are also other potential breast problems, including fibrocystic breasts and complications from breastfeeding, PMS and menopause. And finally, no woman is immune to the cultural and societal pressures for breasts to look a certain way, leading to modifications and augmentations that may pose even more health risks.
Yoga teacher and author Bobby Clennell has dedicated her career to women’s health, so it’s no surprise that she would shift her focus to the breasts. After many years of teaching a yoga class for breast health at the Iyengar Institute of New York, she has compiled her vast knowledge into a new book, Yoga for Breast Care: What Every Woman Needs to Know (Rodmell Press).
In this audio interview, we talk about what she’s learned about breasts, and how a safe and informed yoga practice can be beneficial for breast health. Breast care involves more than the treatment or prevention of cancer – it’s part of a whole system that supports women’s overall health. As Clennell notes, proper breast health involves more than muscles and bones, as emphasis is placed on the connection between the breasts and the endocrine and hormone systems.
We didn’t get a chance to talk about burlesque, but IAYB believes celebrating and enjoying breasts is a key part of any health regime. Listen to the full conversation below.