POV - when you don't fit the 'industry standard' image for yoga -

POV - you don't fit the 'industry standard' image for yoga - 


Have you ever heard yourself say that you are too big, stiff or old to do yoga? Or maybe heard others say this, as I have heard 100's of times in my 23 years of teaching.


It's a fear that many people carry, and I too am not immune to the fears of being judged - in fact  many teachers carry shame - for not 'measuring up' to the 'standard' image of a yoga teacher. 


....And then comes the fear of being 'too old', so much so that many yoga teachers and students opt out of yoga - at precisely the time they are a well spring of knowledge, when they have the most to offer, or as a student, can benefit from it the most!


We all fear being judged, and with social media it has become a minefield, although this depends on what you look at and allow into your 'feed'.


Thankfully, there is also a growing movement happening now - a much healthier one that is embracing differences  - shape, size, gender, age and ability, so that more people can access the health, wellbeing and spiritual benefits of yoga.


This is where I care to look - to turn away from the darkness of comparison and judgement, and turn to face the sun.


Here's a whakatauki - a saying in te reo maori  -  that expresses this-


'Hurihia tō aroaro ki te rā tukuna to ātārangi kia taka ki muri ki a koe' - 'turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you'


For me this whakatauki shows our tūpuna/ ancestors knew the power of positive thinking.


Choosing positive thinking isn't the easy option - in fact there have been times for me when thinking positive, turning to face the sun, has been incredibly difficult.


It isn't about spiritual bypassing either, or burying your feelings, in yoga we learn to look at both positive and negative thoughts as from the same origin.  Rather than allowing thoughts to control us- we can choose to  to let go of thoughts that do not serve us.


Recognise and know your value -


Know the value you bring to the yoga space, regardless of shape, age, gender, or size. YOU may be inspiring others without even realising it.


Here are a few tips if you have felt self doubt on your yoga journey -

1. Know that you are not alone, regardless of the images you may see on social media - there are millions more who do not fit the popular image of yoga in the west.


2. Delete any social media that is making you feel less. Are you following pages and people that make you feel bad? Use your discernment on what/ who influences you. You literally have the power at your fingertips to choose.


3. Know that yoga is a range of practices, and that yogasana- postures - are just one of them. Yoga is holistic and not only exercise for the body....


......Many people come for the poses, to lose weight or get fit, but end up staying for many other reasons - mindful breathing, deep relaxation, meditation, nervous system resilience, empowerment, strength, and so on. So remember the physical aspect is only one aspect of yoga.


4. Modify to sustain - modifying poses isn't 'beginners yoga' - it's important to modify to suit your body and the changes we go through. As women there are many hormonal stages and changes we go through, and as we all age our bodies change. - If your practice isn't adaptable, look for new styles or teachers who can guide you.


5. Practice radical self acceptance and self love. Have compassion not just for others but also for yourself. Stop self criticism in its beginning stages. Replace negative downward spirals with positive upward ones.

-this may take effort and a little bit of training -  things we do in yoga that may help include-

- creating a sankapla-/ resolve - a positive affirmation to repeat during relaxation/ meditation that can help us affirm any changes we want to make, or affirm our positive qualities.

- visualisations that help us to see a positive future - we often do these in meditation/ relaxation that again help us to affirm our vision for ourselves

-accepting our thoughts as they are without shame or judgment, become the 'witness' of your thoughts, they are not you, witnessing negative thoughts takes the power away from them, giving us the power to choose what we believe about ourselves.


6. Don't put off your yoga - don't wait until you have lost weight, are fitter, or look or feel different. Start your yoga journey when you feel the call. This is the right time. Kia kaha.


7. The Yoga Practice of Ahimsa - ahimsa is the yoga practice of non- harming. Many think it's about what you eat but it is much broader than that. Include yourself in your compassion. 



Loving and accepting ourselves is an on going journey, haerenga mutunga kore, but one that is worth taking.  And we are better equiped to help others when we help ourselves first.


Your yoga practice can either help or hinder you on the journey to self acceptance - if you choose to face the sun, practice ahimsa, and never give up on yourself.


My aim is that everyone who comes to my classes leaves with their MANA as well as their mauri / life force lifted.


Remember that you are worthy, you are enough as you are, take the classes and do the things that leave you feeling cared for. That leave you with your mana intact.







Aroha nui

Linsey x

P.S if your interested in practicing with me, please see my offerings here






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