Stop the Comparisons! Yoga Is for Everybody (Video)

Ashley Stern
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Ultra-skinny and ultra-bendy women are often shown as the ‘ideal’ yogis in mainstream media. They seem serene and complete each pose with ease and grace, barely breaking a sweat and always wearing the most fashionable yoga clothes.
 
This homogenized image of a female yogi is intimidating. Fear of judgment, especially of our bodies, is keeping many women from the gym, the court, the field, and the yoga studio. The vast majority of women in this world aren’t that ‘ideal’ size or shape. We practice yoga at home or in studios wearing what works for us. Yoga, a practice that should be promoting self-love and acceptance, shouldn’t make women feel in any way lesser or marginalized.

“A healthy yoga practice should encourage self-love and self-acceptance.”

Enter the “This Girl Can” campaign. Sport England is an organization that promotes athletics throughout England by raising funds for programs and providing resources to citizens looking to get active. This Girl Can is a campaign launched by Sport England earlier this year in an effort to empower women to participate in sports and exercise regardless of the ”ideal” body type or athletic prowess.
 
Their purpose states that, “Fear of judgment is stopping many of us from taking part in exercise. But as thousands of women up and down the country are proving, it really doesn’t have to.” Regardless of size, ability, body type, or choice of activity, women have a right not only to basic health, but also to fair and equal representation in mainstream media. All women deserve the right to love themselves for who they are, regardless of what they look like or how they compare to mainstream media portrayals (Ladies! We collectively must stop the comparisons and let that shit go!).

“Yoga is not a competitive sport.”

It is, however, a practice about personal growth. Growth does not mean simply learning the poses. Growth starts at each individual’s level. Growth is a personal journey that is accomplished through self-acceptance and understanding your own limits.“Limits are not faults”
 
Every body is different, regardless of what you might see on TV. Limits are simply the markers by which we measure growth. Modifications and variations exist so everyone can practice what feels right for their unique body. Some days limits may frustrate us, but you should never feel inferior to anyone, in any way, for looking different than the person next to you in whatever pose you are practicing.
 
Never think less of yourself because you don’t look the same as that woman on the television. She’s got insecurities too. You aren’t on the mat to your left or right either—you are on your mat practicing yoga for your benefit and no one else’s.
 
This Girl Can has a 90-second video showing diverse women enjoying exercise. The advertisement shows real women. Phrases that appear during the video include “I jiggle therefore I am” and “Damn right I look hot.” These phrases aren’t mutually exclusive.
 

 
Practice yoga for your physical and mental health. Do yoga because it makes you feel good. Show up to yoga class for you and never let anyone tell you that you don’t deserve to feel good about yourself or your body. All women deserve to feel beautiful and deserve to be represented. Damn right you look hot!
 

 
Throughout Britain, the This Girl Can campaign has run television ads in support of getting women active. You can learn more about the campaign through their website. This Girl Can also has various social media outlets including Twitter and Facebook that allow women to connect and share with each other as well as send their support for one another and the movement.
 
The campaign is empowering women everywhere—regardless of where they are or what they look like—to get out there and get active. Join the movement! We welcome you to share your success stories in the comments below.
 

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Ashley Stern

A Wisconsinite at heart, Ashley is currently a student working on her masters in creative writing in Edinburgh, Scotland. She’s a writer, a reader, traveler, a nerd, and a lover of life. Ashley is new to yoga and developing her practice from her student flat. She drinks a lot of tea and even more coffee. She’s a dog person, wears lots of purple, and believes in Laini Taylor’s wise words, “Cake as a way of life.”

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