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Shame-free yoga: teaching yoga without triggering body shame

Friday, March 26, 2010 by Marianne Elliott

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As I grow into my role as a yoga teacher I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can create a truly safe space for men and women to explore yoga. In particular I’ve been thinking about how powerful the messages of body-shame are in our culture, and about how this affects the process of teaching yoga here in the West.

I want to tell you a story to explain what I mean.

A little over a week ago I went to a yoga workshop with a visiting international yoga teacher. He’s pretty famous and several of my yogi friends had recommended him. The way they talked about him I had the impression that he had something special going on, something above and beyond your average yoga teacher.

Obviously, I wanted to learn all I could from him so, although he taught in a style that I don’t practice regularly, I went along.

The first morning, after dragging myself out of the house at 5.30 am, I found myself on my mat in a setting that although in some ways familiar was in many other ways quite, quite foreign to me.

Unlike my yoga teachers, who have been mostly women, this teacher yelled instructions across the room.

“Straight that leg!’ he called to the person behind me, “Staight that leg!”

I glanced back to see that the person behind me was in a pose in which, according to my yoga teacher training, insisting on a straight leg before the hamstring is naturally ready to open could compromise the spine.

My mind was suddenly busy. It leapt into ‘judgment’ gear, as I assessed whether or not – in my opinion – each of the cues he yelled out across the room was in fact ‘safe’ for the student at which it was directed.

Moment by moment I struggled to pull myself back into the full presence of my own practice, my
breath and the sensations of my own body. But eventually, as I found a rhythm in the flow of the familiar poses, I was able to release my grip on my own ideas about what was happening and just experience it.

It was going well.

Until, that is, he decided to direct his attention at me.

He approached my mat as I worked gently to ease my body into a complex twisting forward bend, one that demanded a little more openness in the hips than was available to me at six in the morning.

“Why is your knee there?” he asked. “Why don’t you lower the knee?”

“It doesn’t seem to want to lower this morning,” I replied, not yet too disconcerted. I’d been in many classes before when my knee wasn’t ready to lower and teachers had generally left it at that.

But not this guy. He sat down beside me and shook my knee with his hand.

“Tight.” he declared. “You are very tight.”

He wasn’t saying tight as thought it was a complement, in case there is any ambiguity. It was clear that tight was not what my hip was supposed to be. He slapped at my knee a few times in what appeared to be an attempt to convince my hip to suddenly release and the knee to lower. The slapping didn’t produce the results he was hoping for.

Instead, I felt a surge of heat in my face. My heart began to beat faster and I suddenly realised that I was about to burst into tears. I started breathing even more deeply and closed my eyes in an effort to stave off
the tears. The closed eyes and deep breathing must have looked like a profound yogic moment to him because he said:

“Yes, yes. Very good. Keep breathing and this tightness will go away.”

Much to my relief, and thereby proving his own point, he then went away.

Then the tears came. They surprised me. I’ve experienced tears in yoga. Tears sometimes come as I breathe my way into a deeper opening in a pose and, in doing so, let go of emotional baggage I’ve been carrying in my body. I’ve come to recognise and even welcome those tears.

These were not those tears. These were tears, I see in retrospect, of shame.

Reading Dr Brene Brown’s wonderful book ‘I Thought It Was Just Me’ has helped me recognise shame where I previously might have suspected grief. There has been so much grief in my life in the past ten years that every unexplained outpouring of pain and tears tends to get passed off as a release of stored grief.

But this was not grief. This was shame.

Because like so many women, like so many people, I have been raised in a culture that is rife with messages of shame about my body.

Our bodies, we are told, are too hairy, too lumpy, too noisy, too big, too scarred, too heavy and too smelly.

Then you begin to practice yoga and, for one thing, you begin to appreciate your body for what it can do. It can hold you in a balancing pose. It can carry you through a flowing sequence of standing poses. Your arms grow stronger and that matters more than whether or not they look good in an evening gown, especially since you never wear and evening gown. Your legs grow strong and that matters more than whether or not they look like they did when you were twenty.

But shame can be insidious. As I began to shed some of my shameful feelings about my body, I accumulated new ones.

Those damn hips that simply wouldn’t release into the deceptively named ‘easy cross-legged pose’ became a source of shame for me.

Over time, I found yoga teachers who led me past that shame into an even deeper experience of true body love. Those same teachers told me that my readiness to teach yoga depended not on the openness of my hips but on the openness of my heart and on my own personal commitment to my yoga practice.

But the traces of those decades of body shame remain.

On my mat last week as a well-meaning and, I’m sure, quite compassionate man slapped at my knee and deemed my body to be “too tight”, my own private body shames were triggered.

I suspect that his style of teaching, handed down to him as it was by his teacher in India, was quite suitable for Indian men. Perhaps they had not been raised on the diet of shaming body messages that we have been raised on in the West. I’m sure it is suitable for some people in the West as well, people who have already found a deep ground of resilience in the face of body-shame triggers.

But for the rest of us, for most of the women I know and most of the people who come to my classes, I’m aware that yoga can all too easily become simply another place in which to beat ourselves up about the inadequacies of our bodies.

As a yoga teacher my commitment is to be mindful of that context in which I teach. My commitment is to teach in a way which, as far as possible, reinforces positive experiences of and messages about our bodies. My commitment is to teach without shame.

Have you ever experienced body-shame while practicing yoga? What do you think a yoga teacher can do to help avoid creating more body-shame in yoga classes? Do you even think that this is something yoga teachers should be thinking about?

 

Updated: Your comments in response to this post were so fascinating that I wrote a follow up post. You can read it here. Thanks for the great conversation!

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34 Responses to "Shame-free yoga: teaching yoga without triggering body shame"

  1. Wow. An interesting and confronting post. I have bodyshame issues from the moment I wake up, but funnily enough, having a good yoga teacher who lets me work at my own pace, praises the things I am good at, and speaks quietly and gently to me when I need to push more, means that I will cross a busy town on a rainy night after a hard day to see this woman. And the pride she has given me in my body is carried with me outside of the class.

  2. Carol says:

    Yes, I attended a class a couple of years ago. The style of yoga was more intense than I’d been practising privately and I found myself pushing my body to limits that it was not yet ready for because I felt a sense of ‘shame’ that I wasn’t at the level of the other students. I think that the tutor was aware of that, but unlike many other tutors who advise going to a place where it is comfortable for the body, she pushed me to move into poses that hurt. The consequence of that was being able to barely move for the following two days without my body screaming in pain.
    Now that I am practising again, I am working hard on not feeling shame about how my body is now (post birth). Instead trying to embrace the fact that my body has naturally changed as a consequence of carrying and delivering new life. It’s hard though.
    I love your post, thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about this.

  3. I have never experienced body shame in a yoga class and I think that I would have reacted similarly. As a teacher he obviously needs to work on his people skills.
    Yoga teachers should certainly be thinking about this issue. I often refer to the bodies in my classes as ‘so strong’. I use a gentle touch and always speak quietly when giving individual instruction.
    I always finish off my classes with acknowledgment of body. We take the time on our side after savasana to give thanks for our physical bodies and all our strengths and weaknesses.
    Yoga has helped me make peace with my body and love it even if the messages I receive are that it is not ‘perfect’. I make a conscious effort to help my students also make peace with theirs.

  4. amy says:

    thank you for sharing this. the gremlins do surface in class sometimes but most days my yoga practice helps me get more comfortable in my own skin. i think teachers play an important role in creating a positive, open environment. i do get sensitive sometimes when a teacher uses a comparison to another student in the class as a way of showing how a pose should be done. words can make such a big difference. i have a lovely teacher who talks about ‘choosing the variation that is available to you today’.. for some reason that word — available — makes it feel less like a judgment than the easy version or the hard version.

  5. Peter says:

    Wow! That’s really full on. I admire your ability to hold yourself with compassion in that situation. Trying to perfect the body seems kind of weird when viewed in the light of death. There are billions of bacteria in the body waiting to consume it, the moment the nervous system dies. Straight leg or no straight leg, that’s true for all of us :)
    When I accept this imperfection as it is, love springs forth, smiling.

  6. Imohena says:

    Interesting post Marianne. I have had classes with a similar teacher (maybe even the same one?) and can’t say I experienced any body shame. Not that I haven’t got any body issues – I think I am an average Western woman in that respect! But I guess I just didn’t perceive those kind of comments as a reflection of my inadequate body, and for me I kind of relished being pushed a lot bit further than I would normally go. I really love to be challenged because I generally I am not very good at pushing myself in a physical sense. I really responded to his style and he made me feel pride in my body – like I actually had a very able and strong body!
    I agree totally that all yoga teachers should be aware that students have actual physical limitations. Like if you slap someone’s hips really hard, that might actually just injure them, not loosen them up! And we each have different emotional needs too. I think it is really important to find a teacher whose teaching style suits us.

  7. sas says:

    well if i didn’t know it already, this convinced me that you are the yoga teacher my lumpy, smelly, squashy, scared and LOVED body needs.
    counting down until may xxx

  8. taisuke says:

    although i can’t speak for the male population as a whole, we definitely have body shame. its just that i see men express it a little differently, mostly through obsessions with workout regimes and protein shakes!
    my manifestation of body shame was by trying to “fix” the areas of my body by really working them hard. looking back on it now i can see more than just a trace of aggression in my approach. but thankfully, through contact with some wise yoga teachers, i have come to a much better place where i can see my body for what it is – already perfect.
    p.s. i think men, in general, tend to be much lumpier and smellier. and we have you beat in the hairy department :)

  9. JennyB says:

    Oh man, I got angry FOR you reading this story!!!! I almost feel like some, if not most of those tears, were in reaction to that guy violating your personal space! And, SLAPPING you?! He is exactly the reason I stopped going to yoga classes. As I have told you before, I have been ‘singled’ out in yoga classes EVERY time. This gives me another opportunity to THANK YOU for creating the ’30 days of yoga’ for me (and for others). I always knew yoga would be the answer to my physical limitations, I just needed the right atmosphere to not feel shame (although, in my case, I would call it a kind of annoyance of being reminded of ‘being different’ than everyone else in the class – whatever word that would be). Keep being a light of understanding and comfort for your yoga students Marianne. You rock.

  10. a.q.s. says:

    Thank you for this and the link up to Brene Brown.

  11. Stefanie says:

    Not impressed by his teaching …
    I owe you an email. I owe a few emails. Things have been seriously been winding down so maybe this weekened (lets see …)?
    Take care of yourself with all your inner strength (regardless of whether your hips behavour or not).

  12. Morag says:

    Great post! I experienced this the one and only time I tried Bikram. My cycling legs would not even let me do some of the most basic poses and the teacher tried to force them further than they wanted to go. It was pretty embarrassing with the whole floor length mirror situation and all. I was upset, then I reminded myself that those legs take me up hills! I decided that it is yoga for A Type personalities. Hope your classes don’t have mirrors!!

  13. Marianne says:

    Wow – thanks for all the comments!
    Beaute Commute – that’s one of the most beautiful tributes to a yoga teacher I’ve ever read and I can only hope that some of my students can say that they carry ‘pride in their body’ away with them from my classes
    Carol – it is hard! But I believe as we talk about it, it becomes a little less hard.
    Amanda – Your classes sound lovely!
    Amy – I love the phrase “choose the variation that is available to you today” and use it often. I like it because it empasises choice (you are in control, not me), variation (rather than ‘levels’) and today (reminding us all that everything changes, including our bodies, from day to day).
    Peter – You, of course, have played a big part in helping me find that compassion when I’m hard pressed. Thank you.
    Imohena – Yes! I could see that for many other people his teaching style wasn’t a problem at all and Emily, who was with me said that he was especially gruff that day. Actually when I spoke to him about it he said that he had been up most of the night with his baby. Hey, yoga teachers are human too. I, of all people, know that. I’m left with no sense of judgement of him, it was my stuff that came up, after all.
    JennyB – Thanks for your kind words. In the teacher’s defense I want to emphasise that not everyone reacted as I did – this was my stuff coming up! He was certainly well-intentioned.
    Morag – Oh I hear you. If you describe Bikram as yoga for Type A personalities then you could my classes ‘Yoga for Inflexible People’ – runners and cyclists welcome. ;-)
    Sas – I can’t wait!
    Taisuke – Thanks so much for that insight, it sounds to me like you are not alone. Some of the men I know and love the best also struggle with that desire/pressure to fix their bodies. I’m so glad you’ve found a gentler, kinder approach to yourself.
    Let’s not get into a “whose hairiest” competition though, your Japanese man hair may lose out to my Mediterranean woman hair… Just saying. ;-)
    Stef – I look forward to hearing from you!

  14. LG says:

    Wonderful insightful blog, not only into your experience, but also into our own…our body shame beliefs we carry with us as well as the way we should treat those around us, perhaps remembering they too might have their stored shame in whatever area we address them. Thank you for this, if I were close enough I’d certainlky attend your class!!

  15. Bea says:

    I studied ballet intensively for 14 years (ages 4-18). The body shame I carry from the time I spent dancing is incredible, and not just in terms of the usual ‘skinny’ issue.
    Every ballet student has had experiences exactly like the one you described. In my case, teachers who didn’t know me very well sometimes tried to push me past what I was capable of, even when I was visibly working to my limit, in the hopes that I would stop ‘slacking off’ and ‘really stretch’. It never worked, and always ended with me crying quietly just as you did, both from the pain and from a sense of my body just not being good enough.
    You are the BEST yoga teacher I have ever had, not only because you are strong physically, but because your compassion and love for your students knows almost no bounds.
    You are wonderful x

  16. Laura says:

    I have been lucky in learning yoga and it was many years of practice with very insightful and compassionate teachers before I encountered any who felt confrontational. When teachers “pushed” me a little harder I felt proud and appreciative of their attention because they had been observing me very compassionately for a while and seemed to sense when my it was just my mental limitations that kept me doing a pose in a particular way though my body was ready. I felt “seen” by them so I trusted them.
    However when I did meet a teacher who had no experience with me and pushed me to conform to something I had always had difficulty with and all my instincts told me my body was not ready for, and who became insistent, without trying a different approach, when I said “It won’t go” I felt judged. and angry. I finally had to say “I’m sorry. This is something that may take me many more years, and I am satisfied with that, so I hope you can be too”. Paraphrasing – of course. I’m sure I was not so confident at the time. Maybe it was shame – I felt put on the spot publicly. But mostly it was that I was not being “seen” by this teacher, and this was somehow hurtful in the moment.
    So, while I would never take a class with that person again, I hope that my trusted teachers would not hesitate, with all their awareness, to continue helping me to go beyond my mind’s limitations.

  17. Anne-Marie says:

    I’m not sure how I would react in that situation, Marianne. Probably not very well. To me, that is not what Yoga is about. Fortunately, I haven’t had an experience like this. In my personal practice I do have a lot of inner chatter about how “inadequate” my body is. I’m working on that.

  18. Potts says:

    Thanks for sharing this Marianne. As one of the people who sang the praises of this teacher to you, based on my own incredibly positive experiences, I’m also wondering how this clash emerged between two incredible and special yogis. Perhaps it was because you were both directing so much attention into working one another out for the first time. Perhaps this teacher was also deliberately testing the limits of a few people in the room, to see how they reacted/responded (don’t ask me why he focused most on you and the person behind you!). I suspect he was putting pressure on you to test you – not because he thought you “should”, but because he knew you “could.” While the intention of this teacher was undoubtedly good, the effect and experience for you was clearly awful. The style of teaching clearly didn’t work for you. I’m impressed that you had the courage to return the next day.
    Your post raises the question of how “shame-free” yoga can be taught. This left me wondering: what is the difference between triggering tears or laughter in a safe environment than triggering shame in a safe environment (so long as the teacher is keeping their love and attention on that student from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave)? I think there’s an important difference between teaching in a way that “creates” shame, and teaching in a way that lets it be expressed. In other words, is it OK to bring up old shames so long as they are given space and new ones aren’t introduced?
    I’ve felt lots of shame doing yoga too – but not because anyone was making me feel it. I had to confront my fear about what I thought other people were thinking of me. It took lots of guts for me to keep practicing, knowing (or at least thinking) how ridiculous my body looked in many postures. I remember two female teachers in particular who made me feel that I “should” be doing something. I didn’t like their teaching style. When they realised that I was actually trying to the best of my abilities they gave me more space. I think they were also inexperienced and needed to look a bit deeper for the source of what was going on.
    The deeper question that your post raises for me is how yoga can be taught in a way that quickly develops a strong rapport / trusting relationship between the teacher and the student. I trust some teachers completely, and often in a short time. There are others who I have tried practicing with where this trust did not exist (and we both knew it). I persevered for a week and then decided to find a better teacher for me.
    When – and perhaps only when – this trust exists, I think that a good teacher can effectively test the limits of their students. This can happen when the teacher sees/knows the student is ready for it. A good teacher needs to remain supportive throughout this process and needs to adjust their teaching according to the reaction/response of the student. My own experience is that my deepest learning occurs on my limits/edges. That’s why I like being taken to those edges (so that I can slowly extend my boundaries).
    A good teacher also has a role to play in drawing attention to things. I think there’s a difference between drawing attention to an area of tightness (by pointing at it / saying it’s tight) and saying that something is “too tight” (as this is a judgment).
    Thanks again for sharing your experience and prompting me to ponder on this too. It also reminds me of the importance of questioning my teachers – trusting that they do know a lot of things that I do not know, but far from everything. That’s why students are always teachers too.
    Love Potts
    PS: I’m a bit concerned that your words suggest – probably unintentionally – that this teacher’s style was “quite suitable for Indian men… but for the rest of us” potentially harmful. Is this amplifying your negative experience a bit far? I’ve had incredibly positive experiences through this practice, including with challenging teachers, and I know many people who have also benefited greatly.
    PPS – As for the “straight your leg” comment – my understanding is that he meant “straighten your leg.” Straighten is a verb, meaning “make it more straight”. The effect of this would be to increase the flow of energy and help to ensure that the pose is not being held elsewhere in the body (e.g. the shoulders). The energy would then flow with greater strength up until the point of resistance, allowing both the student and the teacher to understand more clearly where the main ‘blockage’ is. I agree that the legs don’t need to be totally straight though. I’ve had teachers that led me to think that my legs needed to be straight, but I worked out that it was better not to over-straighten them (as it restricted my breathing). Perhaps he was simply replicating the language that had worked for him from his teacher – an Indian man who did not speak much English. This definitely highlights the need to choose words very carefully!

  19. et says:

    I thought abut this when I saw the picture for your previous post. Two young, white, thin, pretty women. While I realize you can’t change who you are, just being who you are can be intimidating.
    Do we need teachers who are just like us? No, but sometimes mutual recognition of difficulties is easier if teachers (any subject) don’t seem so perfect…

  20. PicsieChick says:

    Fear of exactly this has caused me to avoid attending yoga classes! When I practice yoga, it is usually in my own home, alone. (sometimes the when is every day, during other phases, not at all, which only increases that insidious body-shame)
    Thank you for the reminder to honour my body and every one else. And now that I’ve discovered a yoga instructor that I love and cherish, I’ll put Wednesday night class into my schedule right now.
    Hugs and butterflies,
    ~T~

  21. Julia says:

    Wow, what a great post. I didn’t really realise it until I read this, but I am often fighting that feeling of shame – mostly (I hope) because I have an injury that is preventing me from going as far as I would like to in my yoga practice. Sometimes I am patient with myself, sometimes I get frustrated – but regardless, every now and then thoughts of ‘I should be able to…’ creep to the surface.
    On the whole though, I strongly believe yoga has helped me learn how to be kind and forgiving to myself (and continues to do so every day). Without yoga I think my internal shame would be much (much) bigger than any internal shame I may pickup from doing it.
    Luckily I have been blessed with the best yoga teachers (ever) both in NZ and in India. They all nurture, encourage and inspire me without making me feel bad about what I can’t do. I am very lucky.
    I have heard stories of teachers in India who have that same sort of ‘shame inducing’ attitude towards their students as your teacher did, pushing them towards ‘perfection’ before they are ready – often it results in injuries and unhappy students. Neither of which are a good outcome.
    My yoga teacher in India often mentions the word ‘perfection’ and adjusts us to correct our alignment regularly (something I notice my NZ teachers seem to avoid) but I think in his yoga shala it is appropriate. If you sign up for a 1 month intensive course in Mysore chances are you are a dedicated practitioner and have travelled to India to try and improve your practice.
    I think that my teacher is different from a lot of the other Indian teachers in that he keeps his class size small, gets to know his students and seems to have an uncanny ability to know exactly how far he can push them – he gets results without breaking his students!
    The key thing to how his striving for perfection works for me…. I know that he is looking for perfection to what is available to me at the time, not the final ‘perfected’ pose (if there is such a thing). He clearly just wants his students to practice to the best of our abilities and be dedicated to our yoga practice.
    I think it’s a balancing act for yoga teachers – if you really know your students and are confident they are ready for it, you can probably push them a little further with less risk of encouraging thoughts of shame. But, if you don’t really know them (like this man didn’t know you) it is probably best to be very careful as there is a risk of injury (both physical and emotional).

  22. […] had so many interesting comments and responses to my post last week about shame and yoga that I found myself with more questions on the whole topic of yoga and […]

  23. linda says:

    love love love this post….especially in light of the current controversy about naked bodies in yoga advertising….

    thank you for writing this….

  24. peach says:

    i LOVE this post. i like it when my instructors help me push myself and adjust my pose. however, i’ve always had teachers who would ask each student if they were comfortable with their help. a lot of people have triggers and yoga should be a comfortable and supportive thing.

  25. Felicity says:

    Marianne, your post is truly powerful in it’s ability to name the issue of shame.

    As a survivor of sexual assault, I have struggled enormously with shame and have had the experience of attempting physical activity trigger that very body shame of which you speak.

    I am blessed to have my first and only (and current) yoga teacher, Ali, be incredibly gentle and supportive, enabling me to embrace both yoga and my body. She manages to very gently push and challenge without once shaming. Even more beautifully, she is unaware of my personal struggles in this area; she simply teaches from a deeply respectful viewpoint that honours each person’s body and their limitations.

    In contrast, I’ve had several negative experiences in counselling, in which I felt pushed to accept or process events before I was ready, to essentially be further along in my emotional process than I was. (I’ve also had positive counselling experiences.)

    How fascinating that it is a humble yogi that most helps me reconnect with my own body and repair the ability to enjoy and honour it!

  26. Jasmine Lamb says:

    I’ve read this post twice. As a yoga teacher who also wants to create a shame-free environment for my students (or at least one where I’m not adding to the shame) I’m really glad you are talking about it. I don’t see enough discussion of it in the yoga world.

    When I try out different classes I’m always fascinated by how teachers give instructions and the ways we can use language to support peoples experience of the moment, help students be curious and open toward their bodies, and create an environment that is without competition, or how as yoga teachers we can do something else where students feel subtly or not so subtly judged.

    Of course sometimes our own feelings of shame and concern can color what we hear from a teacher even when they in no way mean to be judging us and this can become part of our yoga practice. Of course everything can become part of our yoga practice. But as a yoga teacher, I want it to be part of my yoga practice, to create this safe environment for exploration, where the richness of the moment and the sensation can arise and be felt and looked at without having an agenda about arriving somewhere we are not or comparing ourselves to ideals or others.

    Marianne, I really appreciate your warmth, wisdom, and willingness to share your own experience on this topic.

    Thanks, Jasmine

  27. […] and just what it would be like to do yoga in my home, with just my laptop. And then I read her shame-free yoga post, along with a few others, and was like, OK, I’m doing this. […]

  28. helen meldon says:

    pain is not Yoga,tears are not Yoga,this man is an irresponsible teacher,Yoga is the balance of mind/body and spirit,also it is NOT all about asanas!

  29. kate says:

    I have found the work by Paul Grilley to be fantastic in addressing my own “yoga shame”. His very valid points about differences in each person’s anatomy helped me realise that my body can only work within its natural limitations. I hope more yoga teachers become aware of his work.

  30. […] many benefits started to make sense when I read a post by Marianne Elliot last year on her blog.  She writes about body shame. …for most of the women I know and most of the people who come to my classes, I’m aware […]

  31. Nimo says:

    I came across your site via Facebook. I’m glad I did and will follow it regularly. Thank you for your compassion and clarity in this universe. Peace.
    Nimo
    Calgary Canada

  32. Thank you for this beautiful post and for “speaking your shame”. I recently discovered Brene Brown and I love her work.

    Connecting it to yoga and how we feel about our bodies is such a good lesson. I’ve been thinking about going to a yoga class but I’m concerned that I won’t be able to do certain things and it stops me from going. Stop really means afraid of being ashamed in front of others.

    You have a lovely way of taking the shame out of it and that’s a wonderful gift for everyone who encounters you. I think I’ll try out your 30 days of Yoga!

  33. Katherine says:

    I don’t practice yoga at all anymore because of body shame. I am too large, too stiff, too old…and too sad.

  34. Aisla Jo Hart says:

    Actually reading of your experience caused me to feel aggrieved because this man is dangerous; not just pyschologically but on a physical level too. He was unprofessional and I do not agree that his style would be more ‘suitable’ for Indian men. A bully is a bully. If that had been me, I would have told him so. I really love my body and would not give control of it over to a teacher like this. My job is professional development of teachers and i work in contexts where I see a lot of bullying of children by adults, so maybe I am primed to detect and work with this behaviour.

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