Definitely not, is the short answer 🙂 Really, we yoga teachers are here to help you get fit. As it’s a low impact exercise that improves motivation and mood, it’s an ideal way to get started on improving your fitness . Many people find it’s good for getting back to exercise after an injury or a period of ill-health. It’s a good idea to do some research first to see which class you’d like to join. You will see from the photos and language that a teacher uses on their web-site or social media whether they are inclusive and welcoming.
The truth about yoga and fitness
To be honest, there are a minority of yoga classes that do require a high level of fitness and flexibility. However most yoga classes will cater for you, whatever your fitness level. The problem is, that the most visible yoga is the mad stuff that no-one really does in a yoga class. For example, did you know that many yoga magazines, blogs and advertisements use dancers and gymnasts as models? If you’d like to know more, read this impassioned article on a recent controversy regarding yoga magazine front covers. Thankfully, things are starting to change now with more diversity of age, body shape and colour in the yoga world.
Trying to be inclusive and accessible
Many of us do still have an image of a bendy, skinny, able-bodied, young and white woman when we think of yoga. That long list of adjectives really does exclude a lot of people! I’m trying to remember if anyone who’s come to my classes in 8 years fits that entire description…I don’t think so. I personally meet a few (but not all!) of the stereotypical attributes of a yoga teacher but, like many other teachers I do my best to be inclusive and accessible to as many people as possible. I’m always trying to improve on that too, so please add your suggestions in the comments below if you have any.