Book Review: Yoga and Body Image
Yoga and Body Image
25 Personal Stories about Beauty, Bravery & Loving Your Body
Edited by Melanie Klein and Anna Guest-Jelley
Yoga and Body Image is a book that every yoga teacher should read. This collection of 25 reflective essays frankly addresses what too many modern yogis gloss over: diversity.
Its authors are not the spandex-clad models celebrated on yoga magazine covers. Instead they include a self-described fat black yoga teacher, a middle-aged Asian marathon runner, two instructors with cerebral palsy, a recovered drug addict, a queer-identified trans man, several new mothers, and celebrities who struggle to maintain authenticity under the spotlight. Throughout the anthology are simple but powerful suggestions for yoga teachers who wish to make their classes more “body positive” and accessible to people of all types.
In one essay, Vytas Baskauskas shares powerfully about men’s body image issues and how a dedicated yoga practice can repair a life shredded by addiction and low self-esteem. Teo Drake describes finding yoga five years after beginning the transition from female to male. Yoga gave him practical skills for dealing with dissociation and allowed him to feel comfortable in his skin for the first time.
Many of the writers are students of Seane Corn, an internationally renowned yoga teacher who strives to use her platform to dismantle beauty myths. Corn, who is approaching 50, shares her experience of aging publicly in the yoga community and repeatedly refusing to allow magazine editors to Photoshop her wrinkles away.
“Thanks to the highly competitive world we live in,” writes Joni Yung, “yoga has become a beauty contest and an athletic competition.” But, as she and the other contributors have found, it’s possible to push past that veil and discover yoga’s enduring gift—a sense of one’s true self.