We Heart: “This Is What a Yogi Looks Like”

Who do you imagine when you imagine a yogi?

If you’re going along with the mainstream pop culture rendition of yogis, you’re seeing a conventionally attractive, young, able-bodied, petite white woman doing a downward dog in Lululemon yoga pants. But the truth is, the practitioners of yoga are much more diverse than this idealized imagery would lead you to believe.

The appeal of yoga goes beyond the usual strata that divide us, and that’s the message that the Yoga & Body Image Coalition wants to spread in its campaign This Is What a Yogi Looks Like.

The coalition was founded by Melanie Klein, a women’s studies professor and Ms. writer, and Gigi Yogini, a Los Angeles yoga teacher and body image advocate. YBIC wants to make yoga more accessible for everyone by raising awareness of the racism, classism, ageism, size-ism and any other “isms” that impact inclusivity.

Taking off of our very own This Is What a Feminist Looks Like campaign, members of YBIC were inspired to launch the initiative after having conversations with community allies on how to deconstruct the pernicious myth of “the yoga body.” Their website reads:

‘This is what a yogi looks like’ is an effort to challenge stereotypes about who practices yoga, who should practice yoga and what a ‘yoga body’ looks like. Yoga is more than a ‘fitness trend.’ Yoga is a multi-faceted practice available to all.

The campaign comes with a brief PSA featuring more than 25 people from all walks of life:

The YBIC also invites yogis to take part in their social media component. You can snap a picture and share on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtags #WhatAYogiLooksLike or #YogaBodyImage. Of course you’re also welcome to buy a “This Is What a Yogi Looks Like” T-shirt.

With its intersectional outlook on the transformative power of yoga, “This Is What a Yogi Looks Like” resoundingly pushes forth the narrative that yoga is indeed for every body.