It’s a hustle to be a yoga teacher or studio, but using body shame to sell yoga is harmful on an individual and societal level.
Slogans we’ve heard from yoga teachers like, “Sweat is just your fat crying,” send harmful messages about the worth of bodies, particularly fat bodies. It says that fat bodies, or fat itself, deserve to be punished – that to be fat is undesirable, and deserves no compassion.
When we place bodies in a hierarchy of worth, we are ripping our world apart. When we say some bodies (thin ones) deserve attention and respect and other bodies (fat ones) do not, we are enacting the kind of worldview that leaves Black or Indigenous bodies dead at the hands of police.
Is that too big of a jump? We don’t think so.
How we think, feel and talk about bodies IS political and world-changing. It determines which bodies we believe deserve respect, and this can unravel into who deserves to live. It affects how we vote, what we buy, who we listen to, and how we bring up our children.
Body Shame about size or weight is a slippery slope to all the other shames that come with it. Our world is full of shame, and it keeps us locked up, disconnected and miserable. It keeps us focused on it, which takes energy or bandwidth away from our capacity to notice and take action on the deep injustices in our world, or to find deeper meaning and beauty in that world.
Yoga teachers and studios, find another angle. Find a way to uplift people, rather than pit them against each other, or themselves.