jennifer aniston’s yoga teacher wants you to have the perfect bodyOne of the joys of being a yoga blogger is getting emails from yoga publicists. The latest yogalebrity hype landed in my inbox with the subject line, “Get the perfect body with Yogalosophy.”

It was from Jennifer Aniston’s yoga teacher’s publicist, repping Mandy Ingber and telling me about her new “Yogalosophy” app.… Read more

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jennifer aniston’s yoga teacher wants you to have the perfect body

One of the joys of being a yoga blogger is getting emails from yoga publicists. The latest yogalebrity hype landed in my inbox with the subject line, “Get the perfect body with Yogalosophy.”

It was from Jennifer Aniston’s yoga teacher’s publicist, repping Mandy Ingber and telling me about her new “Yogalosophy” app. The pitch was accompanied by a press kit, which I couldn’t resist checking out. When I opened the file, I was dismayed to see Ingber posing with a pink round starburst, “Having the body you want begins with LOVING the body you have.”

I had to read it a couple of time. This logic is screwed. By loving the body you have, doesn’t that mean you accept it and your imperfections, and cease to want your body to be anything else? Taking on a 28-day challenge (upon which the app and the book of the same name are based) is sort of an indication that you want to change something about yourself and thus maybe not loving the body you have at this very moment. I mean, if you were totally loving the body you have, wouldn’t you be out there living an amazing life and not following some 28-day self-improvement program?

Not only is Ingber co-opting body positive messaging to sell her stuff, she’s being complicit with body shaming advertising tactics. She’s not the only high-profile yoga teacher doing this.

I had to reach out to IAYB friend Melanie Klein for some insight. As a writer, speaker, professor and co-founder of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition (YBI), she knows about this kind of stuff. “Mirroring pop culture at large, yoga has commodified and objectified the female body as a means to drive sales and maximize profits. The stereotypical ‘yoga body’ — or what Ingber’s package description promotes as the ‘enviable silhouette’ she has helped her celebrity clients obtain — becomes the central focus sold to prospective consumers who have accepted the cultural barometer that assesses and assigns value to girls and women primarily on how closely they approximate the mainstream beauty standard.”

Of course, Ingber isn’t the only one perpetuating this standard. It’s prevalent throughout the yoga industry. Another recent example is Yoga Journal’s #loveyourbody social media campaign with Kathryn Budig. They co-opted that phrase directly from the YBI’s mission statement, which is kind of low.

Lately, a lot of my IAYB work has been directed towards body image and promoting positive messages. At times, it feels like I’m saying the same thing over and over. Then I see something like this and I realize that my work, and the work of YogaDork, YBI, Curvy Yoga, etc, is so necessary. Let’s keep up the good fight.

yogalosophy

the body as habitat: jill miller on body image & self-acceptance

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the body as habitat: jill miller on body image & self-acceptance

Leading up to the Bellyfit Summit in Victoria, BC (Sept 26-28, 2014), Jill Miller talks to IAYB about her relationship to her body & her journey to self-acceptance.
  1. Let me start out by saying that I am not saying I agree with this book. I am only addressing the quote. You can love and still embrace change. For instance, say you get an offer to move to some exotic local all expenses made. Even though you may love your current home, friends job and town, you may chose to move to the exotic local so that you can have a new experience, because it will be an adventure, because it will be fun, to see what you can get into…. etc.

    So someone can love their body but for whatever reason, they want to experience being a different shape or size. Maybe they want to see if it will effect their yoga practice or health. Maybe there is a part they want in a movie and it requires a change in weight. Maybe they just have a preference like someone who has curly hair who likes to wear it straight,not because they hate curly hair, but because they like the way that straight hair showcases their highlights or the way it flows or hits their jawline etc.

    I hope that makes sense. Again, I have not read the book or used the app or done any research. I am just saying that just because someone wants to change their body, does not mean that they hate themselves and they should have that option without people making that insinuation.

  2. I don’t think there is enough information in this article to make the case that there is a conflict in the Yogalosophy message.

    “Love Your Body” doesn’t necessarily meant you think it is perfect the way it is. It could be that this program offers you ways to treat your body so that it will feel better and be better. Isn’t that loving your body? It doesn’t necessarily mean weight loss for the sake of itself just to look better. It may be losing weight so that your joints don’t hurt, eating better so that your cholesterol is lower, resulting in reduced likelihood of debilitating diseases. Yoga, as an antidote to stress and a way of strengthening muscles, balance and flexibility may help with all of this. Is that not loving your body? Giving it the best lifestyle you can?

    Again, I haven’t looked at the book or the app, so I can’t say whether this is true, but the article above is not sufficiently informative to make the case that this is body shaming. Presumably a 28-day program would be sufficient to demonstrate the positive effects of yoga and set you on your way to a happier, healthier life.

  3. I think the bigger issue is that we would be uncomfortable with ourselves even if we removed our skin; even if we were bare North American floating souls. Our economy is based on discontentment. Our habit is to want to be different than we are.

    I remember wearing a school uniform which was a good equalizer, intended to let us concentrate on more worthy matters than our looks. I agree that the focus on how we look is an annoying distraction. We are certainly judged by appearance and we cannot always change ourselves to what we believe we should be to make others accept us even if we want to.

    Perhaps the job is to know that we have idealized the human form in one way or another since we came to that form. We might recognize that this is someone, some artist, some trainer, some anyone’s idea of the loveliness of the human form but to know that to be that ideal is to say that all men should look like The David. Fashion changes and the busty curvy 50s icons are replaced by waifs and then replaced again.

    We are all our own canvas. It is so hard as an artist to keep your eyes on that canvas and not compare it to the painter next to you. It is so hard not to judge your canvas by its saleability. After all,if no one wants to buy it, is it worthy? YES, yes it is. This is what we need to know. The others can fashion what they want. People are not happier because they have a ‘better’ body or a prettier face or more money. Yes, it makes life easier in some ways but that does not mean happier. I know so many people who are not attractive by magazine standards who are enviably successful and happy.

    Perhaps we would be better off focusing on those folks stories rather than the fashion setters stars. Fashion is not substance. It is a shiny object that makes us want to reach beyond our grasp.

  4. I know that there are people who practice yoga to aid in weight loss or to maintain ideal body weight. Maybe this is the message of this book, but it’s true that the slogan seems conflicting as it instantly creates the idea of accepting or loving your body no matter what shape it is.

  5. I think Yoga can be a very good tool for weight loss and body shaping, but by adding these goals to it, and only these goals. in my opinion it should not be called Yoga anymore. Yoga is about much more than just shaping the body, Yoga is a spiritual practice, when we talk about the physical practices of Yoga and we see them detached from deeper philosophy of Yoga we should call it, the “practice of Asanas”, rather than “Yoga”. Yoga is about developing the Self, not necessarily accepting it. But when we talk about the self in Yoga we do NOT mean the body, we mean the spirit.

  6. I tried to practice yoga based on the guidelines in the books, but i think it is not working for me. Is there by any chance fan from LA, who yould recommend me solid yoga studio? Thanks so much!