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Yoga Porn, Nudity and Yoga Selfies

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Recently an article about “Yoga Porn” called End Yoga Porn: Focus on Real People & Stop the Selfies went “viral” on Facebook and it even brought about a heated discussion in our FB Group Beautiful Yogis. I hate to give this article any more attention than it already received but since I am a part of the online yoga community and the article is bluntly disrespectful and hateful and frankly a bad representation of the so called “real” yoga which apparently focuses on “real” people with “real” lives I realized that I should write a response.

Lets begin with the overall tone of the article. It is very judgmental and critical and racist against an entire social group which the author bunches up into a “skinny white women in bikinis practicing “advanced” yoga poses” category. Now I have been a yoga teacher for almost ten years and I have taught yoga classes in some of the poshest places one can teach yoga at – namely hollywood and beverly hills and I have yet to meet any “skinny white” women who are not real or who don’t have real lives, real problems or real struggles.

So the author really lost me at “real people”. I have never in my life allowed myself to disrespect a human being by assuming that they are fake because they look good or because they fall into a social and race/age category that I am not a part of. This is a very insensitive way to look at things and it strongly reminds me of sentences I have heard before such as animals experience no “real” emotion because they are different so therefore their suffering is less meaningful and less profound.

I like beauty in expression and beauty in the way we speak. A sentence such as “The problem with yoga porn is that it doesn’t represent yoga. Just as a porn star giving oral sex doesn’t represent love.”  is actually so infused with dirt and smudge that it saddens me that this article took hold at all.

I do feel the need to make a disclaimer right here. I am not a part of the whole instagram boom. I have tried a few times to join in on the yoga photo fun and it just did not interest me enough to post more than 3 consecutive day photos let alone #yogaeverydamnday. As a disclaimer being Bulgarian and not “white” by definition in the US I don’t feel personally offended by this authors views because it doesn’t necessarily pertain to me, in additions I don’t put up that many yoga selfies on Instagram even though I make an effort to do so every so often because it’s part of the shared fun.  However what drove me to express an opinion about this article is that it is diminishing and insulting to many of the female practitioners that practice with me. And it is diminishing from an objective stand point and not from a personal standpoint.

So no, I am not defending it because I am a part of it. As a matter of fact I DO get the annoying aspect of it but I just have to express my sadness when I see someone’s ego raging over other people’s fit bodies in bikini photos. Not to mention the many girls and women I personally know that are inspired and driven to come back to their mats daily because of social media interactions. Guess what? Social media has a very positive side to it and we must learn to tap into it and embrace it. It’s the future.

The yoga community is amongst other things a loving, accepting and empowering-for-women place. A place where they can come to and where they can start learning to love themselves and feel good about themselves. It’s a journey and a process. Its not an overnight fix. We cannot allow ourselves to bash young women just getting into yoga for fear of them ruining yoga as a whole. No one has that power. Let’s relax, do yoga, enjoy our own journey, share our realizations OR achievements and trust that it will all work out if we spread more love and less judgement and hate.

Being a younger beautiful woman in our society is NOT easy. I have all the compassion in the world for all the 20 year old girls that have to cycle and filter through all the societal conditioning of being valuable only for their looks until they grow to actually value themselves for EVERYTHING they are- looks included.

I do not sympathize with the comment the author makes that only people with MS inspire us to do yoga. I find every human being that aspires to better themselves inspiring and worthy of respect.

I have met quite a few sick people with no spiritual beauty within and quite a few gorgeous “skinny white” girls with hearts of gold. The opposite is also true people who suffer a lot have a sense of strength and humility and empathy that is touching and soulful and yes! skinny “include here a stereotype women” can be shallow. We all have our blocks and lessons. We are all on a journey trying to heal and discover the depth of our soul and bashing people in the yoga world is frankly unacceptable.

Who has the right to campaign stopping yoga selfies. It’s in the same category as campaigning against gay marriage. How about none of your business what other people take photos of as long as it is not harming a child or an animal or others.

And now to the next point.

Ego- and how taking photos of self are ego driven. Yes, that is exactly right. In this case the ego of one person judged the ego of another righteously! Also posting an article without as much so as posting the author’s face to it is an act of EGO and self importance.  Angrily judging other people’s ego is one of the scariest forms of ego expression there is. Feeding the spiritual ego is a dangerous territory and once we go down that road it’s hard to turn back.

Trying to identify with one’s spiritual ego is as dangerous if not more dangerous as trying to identify with our physical beauty ego.

In conclusion I want to say that no single person has the right to define what yoga is or isn’t. Yoga is an evolving live organism with the capacity to transform anyone from the inside out or from the outside in.

It is not our place to angrily scream orders of how others must grow and what others should and should not do because it doesn’t fit in our small minded heavily defined and comfortable world of attachments and aversions.

Lets allow free expression without labeling people and pointing fingers. If anything I am joyous yoga is becoming mainstream.

My mom is inspired to do yoga because she sees people of all walks of life benefiting from it.

Young girls come to yoga because they can use a healthy tool in maintaining a perfect physique expected of them in our society where photoshopped images of absolute physical perfection are the norm. And they find themselves in an unexpected way becoming positively transformed and empowered from within.

Yoga can teach girls to love and accept themselves. Never mind why they came to it in the first place. I would much rather see all these bikini women doing yoga than than not seeing this current dynamic and exciting expansion of Yoga taking place at all. If Yoga Selfies is the symptom of Yoga having gone main stream than by all means lets have more of it! People are celebrating their bodies and their physical forms. What is wrong with that? If this bothers you then perhaps you should take a deep long look at yourself. Maybe do a deep Yoga session and explore why this bothers you. Is it jealousy? Is it cynicism? Is it apathy? Are you too caught up in dogmatic thinking that the patriarchal society has put on you? Why does this upset you? Why does it upset the writer of this article so?

jung

The body is something we are born with. Not some weird, shameful, disgusting attachment to our soul that we must hide and resent. The body is not profane. If is a vessel. It is an instrument by which to experience the physical and to transcend with.

Let’s stop feeding into this already strong conditioning in our society and start accepting people for their internal and external beauty.

If some of them seem lost on the path and over-exposing themselves- so be it! It is their path and their journey!

The body is our tool to heal the soul. Breathe and move and aspire!

Love you all

Ali Kamenova

upward facing dog

 

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. aslayton's Gravatar

    <3 Perfect <3

  2. laurajones-miller1's Gravatar
    laurajones-miller1 2nd June 2015, 4:59 pm

    Ali, Thank you so much…really… .This is addressing a difficult issue that so many of us deal with. Thanks for pointing out ones beauty within…which… for most of us… is the part that really matters…love and light Ali…always, L

  3. benjity's Gravatar

    So well said Ali!

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