Just felt like even though this is early in my blogging career, I do focus on health and fitness, and as a practitioner of yoga (a “yogini”, if you will) I want to draw attention to some yoga-related media this week.
I, along with many others, was horrified to see the shameful XOJane post about a “skinny white girl” who was deeply disturbed by a “young, fairly heavy black woman” in her class. The post was immature and served to dehumanize the young black woman in question. “Good intentions” may have been in this writer’s heart, but there are MUCH better ways of coming to terms with your own privilege – ways that do not involve ludicrous assumptions.
Flawless fitness blogger Erika Nicole Kendall wrote a brilliant take-down of the article on her personal blog as well as in NY Mag, calling for yoga’s restoration as a “culture, not a cult”. I should take this moment to fangirl and say that Ms. Kendall tweeted back at me the other day and was so, so kind – she even offered to give me blogging tips! Too awesome. Glad to see that she and the author of this critical article on yoga are making attempts to divorce this ancient practice from what I may dare call a process of Western bastardization. The latter writer appropriately calls out the “constant promotion” of the “ideal yoga body… a light-skinned, young, very slim, and very agile body”.
Props to these rad thinkers for their efforts!
Also worth mentioning is SAAPYA – or South Asian American Perspectives on Yoga in America. This network has laudable aspirations, including the goals “to revise the perception that yoga is an exclusive practice; to intervene in a largely segregated yoga environment; to ensure that yoga remains a resource for all bodies, all races, all classes and identities” (via their blog’s “About” page).
All definitely stuff worthy of at least skimming through, regardless of your particular level of interest in yoga and/or cultural appropriation as a phenomenon. I personally hope to retain this awareness in my own practice!