The Yoga Body Type

Jun 16, 2011   //   by Staff Writer   //   The Blog  //  Comments Off on The Yoga Body Type

So, there is definitely a yoga body type. It's displayed in yoga magazines and in ads for yoga clothing and gear (which is now sold just about everywhere, including the grocery store!) You know the type, a long lithe body, flat stomach, long legs, shiny hair in a pony tail. I've seen it so much I kind of assumed that's how yoga originated, skinny, fit girls in tight pants and cute tank tops.

But recently I started reading Iyengar's guidebook to yoga. B.K.S. Iyengar is a 92-year-old Indian yoga guru who founded the practice known as Iyengar yoga. It encompasses most of the basic poses used in Yoga District classes.

What really blew me away is the photos of Iyengar's Indian students in his book. They're girls of medium height and weight, wearing big shorts and t-shirts. Their outfits are not form-fitting in the slightest. The shorts look more like men's swim trunks.

It just made me think of how much we have Americanized this ancient practice. And it's not a bad thing, we've made this holistic and powerful practice available to masses of people who would not otherwise encounter it. I only wish to question the yoga body type we idealize.

I mentioned in my last post a Tweeter called @curvyyoga. Also known as Anna, she founded a studio specifically targeted toward larger people who are interested in practicing yoga.

“For over ten years, Anna practiced yoga and was, more often than not, by far the largest person in her class.  Despite being determined to continue practicing yoga, she often faced ignorance and feelings of marginalization.  As she sought connection with others who were teaching and practicing with curvy bodies, she found few allies.” (

I think Anna would have felt at more home at Yoga District. The classes are full of all types of people, and all types of yoga clothing. It's not pretentious or exclusive – it's core mission is to bring yoga to everyone. It saddens me to hear of people who would like to practice yoga, but don't think they're skinny enough, or flexible enough – it's not about that! It's about taking an hour, a class to get in touch with you body and still your mind.

Comments are closed.

The Teachers

The diverse family of DC yoga teachers at Yoga District are dedicated to making yoga accessible to everyone through a huge variety of yoga class types, from vinyasa flow to restorative and beyond. Most Yoga District teachers are graduates of Yoga District’s nationally-attended 200 hour teacher training program. All Yoga District classes focus on coordinating breath with body movement to promote flexibility, strength, and peace of mind. We strongly believe in yoga as therapy, so catch one of our classes whenever you need a healthy dose of self-care.
See all yoga teachers »

The Next Step

The Yoga District 200 and 500 hour teacher training certification programs, registered by the Yoga Alliance are unique in their emphasis on diversity of teaching styles studied, personal attention, and trauma sensitive yoga. It's no coincidence that Yoga District is regularly voted the leading studio in the nation's capital, and that most of its classes are taught by graduates of its training program. As a full time yoga school, small group trainings are led up to eight times a year by a dedicated faculty including Jasmine Chehrazi, contributor to the Harvard Karma Yoga Project teacher training, teacher training faculty at George Washington University, Yoga Alliance Standards Committee Advisory Board Member, Yoga Activist Founder, and Yoga Service Council Advisory Board Member. So take your practice and community involvement to the next level by joining a training. There's a reason why our graduates call the training "transformative."
Check out the yoga teacher training »