K10Yoga at UNCG Fitn Expo
K10Yoga is Presenting at UNCG Fit Expo!!!
Lets Get Real About Yoga, Body Shaming and the Objectification of Women
I was exclusively selected to present at the UNCG Fit Expo in February!!! UNCG (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) has a huge Fit Expo each year and this years theme was about pushing limits. A recent K10Yoga School grad and I submitted a presentation around yoga, body shaming and the objectification of women. It was her idea to apply, we constructed a plan and sent it off. BAM! We were selected to present among other big names in the fitness industry! I’m not going to lie, I’m equally as excited as I am a nervous wreck!!
So, lets be real, this shit happens. You step into a room and immediately size yourself up with everyone else in that room. Now imagine that room is a fitness center or a yoga studio, a place you are stepping into for healing in some capacity. If you say that you don’t size yourself up like this, you are either lying or you are lying. I even do it as a yoga teacher. No shame here. Over the last 2 years I have worked tremendously on breaking down these walls. To no surprise, there is actually a lot of research behind this concept of body shaming and objectification in the fitness world (where I’m including yoga for the sake of this presentation). What happens is that when our culture tells us that this have to be a certain way, and we don’t meed that expectation the moment we step into the room, we begin to question the decision in the first place. Our risk of returning to this space becomes smaller and smaller as our limited belief on what is expected grows with every word, and action that we see. Before we know it, we are not coming back to something so healing to our body, mind and soul because of some other factor that is typically media driven.
Take a look at these stats, a brief overview of psychological research on objectification, body shame, and physical activity.
–Women internalize idealized cultural representations of the female body, reporting dissatisfaction with their own bodies as a result (Striegel-Moore & Franko, 2002)
–This has resulted in a phenomenon of self-objectification, which is associated with myriad negative physical and psychological outcomes, from disordered eating to depression, appearance anxiety, and body shame (Fredrickson et al., 1998; Greenleaf & McGreer, 2006; Noll & Fredrickson, 1998; Slater & Tiggemann,2002; Tiggemann & Kuring,2004; Tiggemann & Slater, 2001).
–In young women, motivation for physical activity that is rooted in physical appearance was related to higher levels of self-objectification than other motivations (Strelan, Mehaffey & Tiggemann, 2003)
–Women with high levels of self-objectification tend to engage in less physical activity than those who tended not to view their bodies as objects (Greenleaf, 2005)
The proof is there, when we feel objectified or shamed in the fitness room or the yoga studio our motivation to come back diminishes. When we start to love ourselves from the inside out then it gives us much more sustainability and allows us to even thrive in the gym or the yoga studio. Why must we compliment each other on their ‘yoga body’ or aim to do a 15 days ‘yoga sculpt’? Why do we have to call classes beginner, advanced etc… why can’t we move from that language and towards class titles such as “love yourself candlelight flow” or “shakti rising”?
As yoga teachers, can we shift our words from… “advanced version of this pose” to something a bit more inclusive and in line with ahimsa (non-violence) such as, “Listen to your body, let your breath be your guide, perhaps move here, the choice is yours.” Don’t subscribe to a language that is generalized yet harmful
Can we embody our own experience on the mat, in a fitness class, and in life. Can we compliment each other on our qualities not our clothes or how we practice yoga. By shifting the language AND our intentions we can become even better yoga teachers and contribute to meaningful change in the world!
I am so excited to present this topic at UNCG next month!! It is such valuable information that gets pushed to the side! So I ask you, how can YOU create physically inclusive, non-shaming yoga/fitness experiences that allow women specifically to engage with the practice as an intrinsically enjoyable physical activity?