#365yoga: Day 44 Viva la Revolution

Wow!  A day ago I posted my frustration with Yoga Journal here and on Elephant Journal.  I knew that I would trigger some emotion, agreement and dissent from my words but had no idea I’d have close to 100 comments in a mere 24 hours!  Clearly the subject has some legs. I am so humbled by the support for my position and my amazing friend Anna Guest-Jelley, and too I am thankful for the counter-positions that have shown me some new ways of looking at my argument.  Conversation and discussion are so important and I am thrilled to be part of a truly important one.  While I know that not everyone supports my point of view, and even some snide comments have resulted from my post at Elephant Journal, I am happy that I have sparked the flame of this discussion and plan to continue doing so. My pal, the wonderful Jennilyn, at YogaDork has joined the call suggesting that we all submit pictures to the talent search for Yoga Journal.

Anna G-J and I have been communicating about how best to address the Yoga Journal talent search contest and the Elephant Journal post gave us just the perfect idea.  One of my favorite comments on Elephant Journal came from Kimberly Preston and in it she suggested that a bunch of us submit pictures of ourselves in Sukasana. So, we’ve decided we’re going to enter the contest, and we hope others will too.  We are trying to get people who support our position to follow in our footsteps and in a way so brilliantly suggested by Kim Preston.  We want to do a silent protest, after all we can bitch and moan all we want from our cozy homes but without any message to Yoga Journal our concerns are mute.  Gandhi famously is quoted saying “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  We are going to do just that:  show Yoga Journal how we think they can change.

We plan to get as many yogis as possible to send in pictures of themselves in their comfortable seated position from behind.  No faces, no shazam, just quiet repose and centering.  Nearly every yoga class starts with a seated centering and we think this introspection and breath is what Yoga Journal should be promoting.  At centering we are all equal, we are all breathing and we are all beginning the process of self inquiry.  Usually our eyes are closed so the desire to compare ourselves to the yogis next to us is briefly silenced, and everyone finds a way to come on their mat that is their own.  This image to us is yoga: self and community, breath and stillness, introspection and inquiry and peace.  A seated peaceful protest to the shazam and perfection Yoga Journal has become for many of us.

I’ve sent in the Sukasana picture from yesterday’s post, but as it is my policy to never post the same picture twice, I’ve included here a different comfortable seated position one my elf took today.   I wanted to remind everyone that they should send in a picture of THEIR comfortable seated position whatever that may be, complete with blocks and props or whatever works for you.  After all we want to remind Yoga Journal what we think the practice is about to us.  My friend Ashley took an amazing picture with her full back tattoo which I hope she’ll send in because despite the fact that many yoga teachers and students have ink, I can’t remember a yogi in the magazine having any.

Once Athleta and Yoga Journal have put my picture up I’ll share the link here and I hope you will do the same in the comments below.  I want my love of the positive qualities of yoga to be shared by the biggest media source about the subject.  If they can demonstrate that they are at least noticing the emotions behind this project then I’ll feel they are worthy of my continued subscription. I want to support them and the amazing people who they promote, I just want to make sure that they also find a way to show that yoga is for the masses, not the minority.

This my readers is our peaceful protest.  I’m hoping it sparks the change that I want to see.  If you feel like I do then by all means jump on our train, if not still submit a picture of yourself and let me know.  I want to support my fellow yogis, I’m doing this for you! I promise to return to my reflective and even silly posts tomorrow, but for now I’m feeling that this message is very important.

Be yoga, be love, be the change.  Viva la revolution!

20 Comments

Filed under #365yoga, Yoga

20 responses to “#365yoga: Day 44 Viva la Revolution

  1. Gabrielle B

    I’ve been keeping up with the dialogues on the topic here, at Yoga Dork, at Anna’s site, at several others. People could argue that I have nothing to complain about regarding the normal YJ cover models since I’m relatively thin. However, as pointed out, none of the covers has featured a model with visible ink. I have very visible ink, as do thousands of other yogis/yoginis. There are so many other ways in which I feel the cover models are not representative of me- hair color and ethnic background are just two. While I may be on the thin side of women in America, I am in my mid-30’s and have hips and a non flat stomach. I dislike using the words ‘normal’ and ‘real’ because we all are both. I just want to see people who look like they’ve been sitting on a mat for the last hour, not in the makeup chair.
    All I can say is that I’m all for the idea presented here, and will be sending in/posting a picture. If you want change, you have to be an agent for it.

  2. Amazing idea. Let’s all unite in this. For the love of true YOGA

  3. I am so glad you took to my idea, although it was really just an extension of what you had already said!

    There was a discussion just the other day, right before this blew up the blogging world, at a studio where I teach, a woman was flipping through the YJ on the table and said, “I hope people new to yoga don’t think this is what it’s all about, being thin as a rail, rock hard, and able to twist yourself into ridiculous positions! I think that would have scared me off when I first started”. I feel like I hear comments like that all the time, not just in regards to YJ, but to media on yoga in general.

    I am hoping to have my picture taken today after class and will send in my submission, will send you a copy too!

    • Hey Kimberly: I read your response wondering if you are talking about the mags in our waiting areas at Self Awakening Yoga Studio…if so it’s ironic because sometimes I hesitate to even put them on the table, but the articles are so great…I do.

      My husband, who practices yoga, has often said, “I wonder if the cover and internal models on this magazine keep the average practioner away.” And not just those who are not thin, but those who are not flexible.”

      It’s a good question and one I agree with….at least for the uninitiated. Those of us who have been practicing long enough know and understand the external perspective is not where it’s at. But it does take time to get to this natural conclusion.

      Having said that, I too will send my pic as I am 180 of the models YJ uses and flaunts.

      Peace and warmth to all….nothing like a great discussion!!

  4. Siri

    There needs to be a total yoga revolution on the fact yoga is getting watered down and popping out to many incompetent teachers.

  5. Great idea! I wonder if I can get my hubs to take a picture before work tomorrow….

  6. Just sent the photo you took of me to YJ. Vive la revolution;)

  7. Brilliant. I might even join in – scoliosis and a very tattoed back might intrigue even Yoga Journal…. ;)

  8. Jackie

    I applaud what you’re doing and the conversation your article has sparked. I’d already decided to submit a photo of myself to YJ. I’m a breast cancer survivor and have had a mastectomy. In fact I discovered yoga after that experience and used it to help heal. Now, as a teacher, each day I show up in front of my students “lopsided”. I don’t wear a prosthesis in class. Breast cancer is part of my history and it has shaped (pun intended) who I am. I show up in life and to my students as I am. My YJ photo submission will show me that way, too. Physically out of symmetry, but not out of balance.

    • thanks for your post and for your awesome courage to enter the contest as a cancer survivor. i applaud YOU!! (btw, you should check out my pal Amy’s blog: babiesornot.blogspot.com she’s on round four of chemo for BC)

      • Jackie

        Thanks, Nancy. You’d mentioned your friend’s blog in another post and I checked it out then. She’s in the middle of the hard stuff for sure. Honestly, it’s a little bit hard for me to read. I’ve been “clean” for 10 yrs and her story brings back such clear memories for me, like it happened yesterday. Her story touches me deeply.

    • That’s beautiful Jackie; thanks for sharing. If that doesn’t inspire your students, I don’t know what would. :)

  9. Pingback: In Case You Missed It Edition, Volume 19 « Teacher Goes Back to School

  10. got it.
    you know, as a yoga photographer in san francisco, i have gotten a lot of requests from people that have worked with me, to use their images as entries to this contest- now, if you have seen my work, you know that it does not fit in with yoga journal, for many reasons i’ll keep to myself at this time. but one thing i do take pride in, is assisting the teacher (or student- not only teachers get asana images done) in being themselves as i seek to record their essence. so, for me to be receiving these requests is sort of weird to me. on top of that, the actual discussion on the blogs about this contest caused me to stop and look at whom did make the request – and let me tell you- NOT ONE of them fit the YJ stereotype- which made me very happy. one person said “lets throw my freaky self into that mix” !
    i generally do not use images of myself for things like this – but the shadow contest is intriguing … i’ll definitely give it some thought. i’d rather do a backbend as my most comfortable seat, but i’ll consider actually sitting down…

  11. Pingback: Family Photo | meghannkayyoga.com

  12. My submission:

    http://meghannkayyoga.com/

    Thanks again for doing this!

  13. Jackie

    here’s my submission and story if you’re inclined to vote. Thanks!

    http://talentsearch.yogajournal.com/view/2238

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