The Girls and badonkadonks

There I said it. The Girls and badonkadonks. Two (three?) things I don’t want to hear about in a yoga class. Oh, and calories. I don’t want to hear about how core work burns calories, either. I have, in the last couple of months, heard well-meaning teachers talk about each of these things.

Not. Cool.

Teachers. Please don’t give your students reasons to feel self-conscious. Saying things like “my badonkadonk won’t lift in Side Crow”, or “The Girls get in the way of Peacock” – or any other message in which you mention a specific body part, instantly shifts the focus. Instead of going inside, you’ve just encouraged your students to look at your body – and think about their own. I recently read that upwards of 90% of women give themselves negative body messages each day. The %s of men who hate their bodies is growing at a too-rapid pace. I know you’re not trying to hurt your students. As teachers, our students look to us for guidance. Let’s create safe, body-positive places for them.

Students. Your teachers mean well. That’s why we become teachers. I apologize for all of us if you’ve been in a class which has made you feel anything but safe and honored. Yoga is about you coming to your mat exactly the way you are. In all of your glorious wonder. If your backside doesn’t lift in side crow, that isn’t a reflection of a badonkadonk or anything else. It’s a reflection that your backside doesn’t lift in Side Crow. Maybe some day it will. Or not. Either way, you are a beautiful yogi, doing your postures in your own way. It’s my hope that the 90% of women and growing %s of men struggling with body hate images can find body acceptance on the yoga mat. And that the acceptance can carry through to life off the mat, too.

Please join me in heightening our awareness of the messages we’re sending to ourselves and others about how are bodies are supposed to be. The yoga mat is no place for judgment. It’s a place for self-acceptance, self-growth, love, and safety. Together, we can create that for all of us.




2 thoughts on “The Girls and badonkadonks

  1. I would like to start my comment out by saying that I absolutely love this Blog Elen. The messages you put out to yogis about body compassion and that there is no one specific kind of body for yoga but rather that yoga is a practice for EVERY body is wonderful.

    That said, I felt I needed to respond to this post. As a teacher who has referred the “the girls” in yoga class, I would like clarify our position as teachers. When I refer to a particular part of the anatomy in setting up peacock, my intention is NEVER to make a student self conscious of their body. That posture is available to any body with any body type. As a teacher with a lot of curves I can attest to that. However as teachers we do need at times to be able to refer to the anatomy when setting up or breaking down a posture. The fact is that to set up peacock pose, if you have breasts, you need to get your elbows under them. There really isn’t a way around it. Nothing wrong with having the breasts, you just have to maneuver around and work with the beautiful body you were given. The self reference to “the girls” is just a light hearted way of referring to breasts. That said, maybe you don’t want to play with a particular posture because it doesn’t call to you or doesn’t feel right in your body, but that has nothing to do with whether or not you have “girls” or a badonkadonk.

    Yoga is a serious practice and we as teachers have an obligation to be deliberate and mindful with our words and how they impact our students, yes. But as human beings we also have to learn to be light hearted and not take every single thing a teacher says to lighten the mood of a class quite so seriously and be so easily offended.

    Body image issues among men and women is a serious matter and as someone with a history of an eating disorder I am all too aware of that. My sincere hope as yoga practitioners and teachers is that we can distinguish between a light hearted reference to a part of the anatomy and damaging statements made about how a yoga body should look.

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