Wednesday, February 3, 2010

But How Will We Look?!

Our yoga mats can be the place where we reclaim the authenticity of our internal experiences and resist the influence of negative outer perceptions. I think of this idea every time I give my yoga students instructions to feel their way into Downward Dog. “Bend your knees,” I suggest, “and stick your sitz bones way up in the air. Get a really long spinal stretch. Then from the back of your thighs, straighten your legs, keeping that delicious length in your spine.”

Every time I say this, I find myself noticing how odd it is to tell a group of mostly women to stick their buts in the air. It’s a bit counterintuitive to ask women to stick out our sitz bones, when we are taught to be so self-conscious and worried about whether we have the perfect body.

And yet, letting go of self-consciousness on our mats paves the way for doing so off our mats. Once we give ourselves over to our own practice, we can become much more concerned with what we are feeling than what others are thinking. How incredibly freeing.


  1. Namaste!
    I am a yoga teacher and a psychotherapist (in training). I am planning my dissertation, which is going to weave together group psychotherapy and yoga. I'm gathering more information on feminism and how to use a feminist approach to both my research and my teaching/ group psychotherapy sessions. Any suggestions?

  2. Hi,Mary. Thank you for your comment. Your project sounds so interesting. For feminist approaches to research, try the work of Nancy Naples. For feminist psychotherapy, check out the work of Juliet Mitchell, Jane Gallop, and Jane Flax. Practical approaches to psychotherapy are outof my realm of expertise, but you might check out the work of Laura S. Brown, Mary Ballou, and Judth Worrell (I haven't read their work but it might get you started.) Good luck with your dissertation!