This post was originally published at YogaDork. It has been updated and cross-posted with permission.
Meet the Yoga and Body Coalition, an alliance created to unite individual efforts in promoting inclusivity, active transformation, and physical, spiritual, and mental empowerment in the yoga community.
We’ve joined forces to raise awareness by utilizing critical theories that examine the role of sexism, racism, classism, heterosexism, able-ism, size-ism, age-ism, and consumer culture in contemporary body image politics and provide solutions to make yoga more accessible for everyone.
We were grateful to have made out first formal appearance on July 12th at YJLIVE!: SAN DIEGO as part of The Practice of Leadership series, featuring co-founders Melanie Klein and Brigitte Kouba as well as founding board members Dianne Bondy and Dana Smith. We had the opportunity to sit down with Yoga Journal editor-in-chief Carin Gorrell and lululemon representative Rachel Acheson, and confront the complicated issue of body image in yoga culture. The panel discussion built on the conversation in New York last April and was moderated by Hala Khouri and Kerri Kelley. The gathering was an open and honest dialogue that got at the heart of our practice, our role as conscious leaders, and how to make yoga accessible and welcoming to every body.
And the conversation is not over. The next Practice of Leadership panel will take place in Estes Park, Colorado, on Friday September 19th, and includes coalition members Chelsea Jackson, Kerrie Kauer, and Nikki Meyers.
We’re pleased to introduce the coalition’s mission, core values, and members.
Our coalition is committed to body love by developing, promoting, and supporting yoga that is accessible, body positive, and reflects the full range of human diversity. Our mission not only advocates yoga as an essential tool in personal transformation from the inside out, but also includes a critical social justice component by challenging industry leaders and media creators to expand their vision of what a yogi looks like.
Who We Are:
We are yoga teachers, practitioners, experts, educators, activist, writers, businesses, artists, non-profit organizations, and advocates. We have come together to form a collective that advocates for optimal well-being and healthy body relationships through a consistent yoga practice, including physical asana, meditation, and more.
- We believe in the transformative power of yoga.
- We believe yoga is for every body and that every body is worthy of love.
- We believe in eradicating negative self-talk and body snarking.
- We believe the slogan “love your body” is a fully dimensional mantra promoting body acceptance in ourselves and each other.
- We believe body positivity is more than a #hashtag, marketing slogan, or commodity: it’s conscious action and lived practice.
- We believe in critical thinking as a core component in raising consciousness.
- We believe in conscious marketing and messaging as related to body positive media content in language and imagery.
- We believe media literacy education is key in deconstructing and creating new media imagery.
Founding Board and Partners:
Dr. Kerrie Kauer
Justin Michael Williams
Read about the outcome (so far!) of the panel discussion:
Find out more and keep in touch with The Yoga and Body Image Coalition:
Sign up for our newsletter.
Website coming soon! We’ll be featuring blog posts, podcasts, and video interviews from our coalition members and allies, posting details on upcoming workshops, trainings, and retreats as well as a virtual and live conference in the future.
Want to support the Yoga and Body Image Coalition?
Read our first newsletter and call to action.
Support our “This is my YOGA BODY” fundraising campaign by sharing the link and/or buying a shirt (or two).
Pre-order the anthology:
(Read an interview with co-editor Melanie Klein at Feministing on the subject.)
Melanie Klein, M.A., is a writer, speaker, and professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at Santa Monica College. She is a contributing author in 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics and Practice and is featured in Conversations with Modern Yogis. She is the co-editor of Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery + Loving Your Body, and co-founder of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition.
Brigitte Kouba, M.A., E-RYT (aka Gigi Yogini) is a positive body image advocate and yoga instructor. She is the creator of YOGAudacious, celebrating the courage of women who love yoga, and co-founder of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition.