YouTube yoga schmoga

hqdefaultNow don’t take this the wrong way but I’m bored.

This week I’ve seen a YouTube film shared on Facebook by a number of people and it just hasn’t inspired me. You know the kind of thing I’m talking about:

Young, fit, athletic, woman in skimpy clothing doing advanced asana in a stunning location accompanied by suitably calm yet inspiring music.


There’s no end of debate about the commercialisation of yoga, the sexualisation of yoga and a focus on beauty and the aestheticism of the practice.

“Wow, isn’t she amazing. I wish I had a practice like that. I wish I had a body like that. I like her top…” These films may be viewed by some as inspirational – or indeed aspirational – but I feel they take us away from accepting what is. What is possible in this body today?

Yes, the woman in the film has a stunning practice and it’s obviously taken her many years of dedication and hard work to reach this point. I’m sure she’s faced many hurdles along the way too. And I’ll put my hands up – I’m no stranger to watching yoga porn on YouTube. But give me something I This Girl Canhaven’t seen before. I’m getting so bored.

Give me guys in prison learning how yoga can help them find peace. Give me African kids giving Bikram a run for his money. Give me yoga for people with cancer.

For this reason, the thing I’m choosing to share is This Girl Can: an amazing government advert showing how, in a nutshell, this girl can. It’s honest, refreshing and shows what the average woman looks like when she exercises.

Watch This Girl Can and then watch the YouTube clip I’ve seen on Facebook this week. Then tell me which one makes you feel better.

Alternatively, you could come along to February’s yin yang workshop at All Saints Studios this Saturday. The theme for this month is celebrating imperfection. Visit the workshops page for more details.


12 Replies to “YouTube yoga schmoga”

  1. Both videos are great and I more than anyone love a bit of yoga porn but something in your blog struck me / got me thinking more than either video – where are these videos of men in prisons, cancer patients and children showing the impact Yog can have on their lives? I would love to see this on Facebook! Something real. Do they exist? Do we need to go out there and make our own videos?? Please say yes – let’s go!! Although ….Africa may be a little far out for me at the moment but would happily film Henry doing some of his signature moves X Sending you and your blog lots of love, keep your fab words coming x

    1. Dear Natalie, they exist! Click on the blue links. I particularly like the kids attempting Bikram. Their giggles are golden. See you soon. X

  2. I am totally guilty of leering over yoga porn and did post the beautiful video of that girl doing her amazing practice. However – if I were to choose one to inspire my daughters it would without a doubt be the This Girl Can video. The honesty of this campaign is very welcome. I’ll try to wean myself off the ideal and concentrate on the real. Thanks me dear x

  3. I appreciate your view on the sexualization of yoga, which is really, the antithesis of the reason for doing it, and ignores the deeper parts of asana practice, which are mental as well as physical.

    I was surprised to see a bill suggested in Montana to prevent women from publicly wearing yoga pants. It failed. When I first heard it, I thought now whats the problem with baggy pants? But then, saw that it is referring to the skin tight clothing women and men are wearing. The fact that the bill was even raised is indicative that not everyone appreciates the liberty to “expose one’s body” through the excuse (or not) of ‘exercise’ clothing.

    I think the sign of real human culture, really civilized society, is not the push of all our rights upon each other, but rather to demonstrate respect for one another’s common sensibilities.

  4. Thanks for sharing your views Clare. It’s a difficult one because some people like to share what they think is the higher version of themselves particularly through facebook. We live in a western culture of imagery and fake beautiful through the media etc. particularly through social media. The challenge is media has had such an influence on us and what we think and feel is beauty. Laruga does her thing and that’s ok but the most important thing for me from your post is that you share and bring attention the other things and positive impact that yoga is having on others who tend not to be the focus by our media as much as the likes of Laruga, et al. Good old Gandhi, be the change you want to see. You’re doing that.

    Now let’s pop down to your yin yang to see what it’s all about!

  5. Thanks for the reminder about what is important in the practice….asking myself what is possible in this body today is a really good mantra that I am grateful to you and April for repeating to me!! An accomplished yoga practice is beautiful to watch but achieving or striving for perfection isn’t the point is it?!…. Hope to make it to the next workshop. Laura xx

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