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Body Love + Diversity: Yoga Is Not About Handstands In Bikinis

Body Love + Diversity: Yoga Is Not About Handstands In Bikinis

Last week, I had the privilege of teaching a yoga class for Manduka Yoga’s press day in NYC for the launch of their new eco-friendly, sustainable clothing line.

I co-taught a class with Sara and Alan Finger of ISHTA yoga with a slew of massive yoga influencers and inspiring hearttribe brothers and sisters from around the country. What a thrill to meet you all.

It was such an amazing opportunity to teach and get to know incredible up-and-coming teachers who are reshaping the face of yoga. Most of the other yoga teachers and students in the class have upwards of 100,000 followers on instagram! I have a lot to learn from them.

Everything Manduka does is #MadeForYoga…birthed by beloved yoga teacher, Peter Sterios. They have (lucky for us) stayed super close to their roots of YOGA.

I was most inspired by @mynameisjessamyn, Jessamyn Stanley (pictured above) who is advocating more authenticity, DIVERSITY, body positive love and transparency in the yoga world. AMEN, sister!! It’s time we move past the vanilla version of yoga we have been sold for the last 30 years…for good.

It’s so refreshing seeing social media darling Jessamyn pivoting the conversation of yoga to include all colors, shapes and sizes. Finally.

If you’re passionate about body love, healing our body image epidemic, diversity and the changing face of yoga…please also check out my soul sister Melanie Klein’s incredible work and the ongoing #WhatAYogiLooksLike media series she and Yoga Body Image Coalition have been working on with Yoga International.

In this time of instagram yoga superstars…and the obsession with sexy, flashy yoga poses and posts…may we always remember that the nature of yoga is transformation and evolution of psyche and soul. This incorporates the vessel of the body (mind-body-spirit are inseparable)…which gives us tangible training ground to build discipline, focus and precision in breath, body and thought…but, the practice has NOTHING to do with pressing up to ha183023ff3389b6f050f1e2b9799dc15bndstand…although that’s cool and I definitely wish I could do it (maybe one day…although I don’t practice asana long enough each day to attain it…so I guess that shows where my priorities lie).

On our panel debating the Future of Yoga, Jessamyn charged us before we post on social media to ask:
Is this post for ego-gratification or to be purely of service? 

Yoga by nature is a titillating, aspirational practice…it is mysterious to the masses to wonder how such feats of strength, flexibility and balance are possible. It’s why yogis were brought to circuses to perform around the world in the 1800 and 1900’s and kept on staff by kings of India. Cirque de Soleil is a modern derivative.

Instagram is a visual platform well-suited for the exquisite showmanship of advanced asana. The body is beautiful. Celebrate it. My prayer is that we not get lost in the flash + splash.

Please post in the comments below your favorite instagram yogis and body love inspiration!

About the Author:

Ashley Turner is an innovator in personal development bridging yoga, psychology and neuroscience. She is an acclaimed yoga–meditation instructor, registered Marriage + Family Psychotherapy Intern, writer and Initiated Priestess in the 13 Moon Mystery School tradition. She has graced such lists as MindBodyGreen’s “100 Women to Watch in Wellness,” DETAILS magazine recently named Ashley Turner “1 of the Top 6 Trainers to watch in 2014,” and Dr. calls her”the #2 Online Influencer for Stress Relief”. She is the creator of the wildly popular MEDITATION 101 Virtual Conference (over 25,000 participants in 2014), creator of several online courses, co-creator of the Urban Priestess Modern Day Mystery School, has 10 best-selling yoga dvd’s, and is co-author of Aroma Yoga. She also works with clients worldwide via Skype and leads transformative events to power points around the globe. Ashley lives by the ocean in Marina Del Rey, CA.


Practice yoga with one of Ashley's Yogadownload classes below!

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