DevaTree Blog

Four Awkward Yoga Questions—and the One that Breaks our Hearts

Posted By Tamika on Jan 10, 2017

Yoga is everywhere now, but when we first started there wasn’t much information out there.

Over the years we’ve been asked some pretty strange questions.

1. “Oh so you’re a guru, like in India?” or “You’re a yoga master?” Sadly, yoga still makes people think in hierarchies.

2.  “I can’t do yoga because my minister/priest/parents said it’s the work of the devil.” (Not a question—but always interesting)

3. The creepy-vibe question—“Oh you teach yoga…so you’re all bendy and stuff?” Ugh.

But the winner of all interesting questions is alive and well today—and breaking our hearts—because we understand it oh so well.

4. “Will yoga help me lose weight?”  

Why does your future-yoga-teacher stare like a deer in headlights when you ask about losing weight?

It’s not a silly question—it’s been on most of our minds at one point or another.

She wants to be careful with you.

She knows how badly you want to shed pounds. And part of her is deeply troubled that we live in a culture with so much body-shame.

She also knows yoga can do so much more than make you look smaller—but she’s hesitating to talk about that because you didn’t ask about the “so much more” part.

You asked about inches and pounds.

She cares too much about you—and yoga—to give a flippant answer.

Yoga Instructor Sasha Girden was asked this question. She shared her answer with us on the DevaTree grad forum. We loved it so much we’re sharing parts of it here.

Hello Beautiful,

I think you're so wonderful for reaching out. Thank you for trusting me with such a personal question—I’m truly honored. It sounds like this has been a difficult struggle for so long. I'm so sorry to hear it's been such a challenging road.

I’ve been where you are and it’s painful not to feel good about your body.

I hear you saying you've tried various diet and exercise programs and feel you’ve "failed" at them all. I’m guessing you’re a little hesitant to try yoga because if it doesn’t work, you’re worried you’ll feel like a failure once again. For what it’s worth, when I think of you, failure is the last thing that comes to mind.

You’re a strong and resilient woman whom I’m honoured to call a friend.

You asked if yoga is a good exercise to lose weight. There are so many factors that affect our health and weight, so unfortunately there isn’t a yes or no answer to that question.

What I can share is my own experience.

Yoga has led me to a place of true self-acceptance—physically, emotionally, and mentally. It allowed me to accept myself as I am right now, without changing anything.

I had no idea what yoga had in store for me when I first started.

Amazingly, yoga helped me tune into my body as a way to notice my bodily needs—whether it be hunger, thirst, rest, etc.

It also helped me become more mindful and more aware. Now I’m aware of satiety—knowing when I’m full—and am less likely to overeat. Similarly, I now recognize hunger now before it becomes too extreme.

It’s helped me respect my body, really honouring it as a temple. This feeling makes me want to feed myself healthy, nourishing foods instead of junk food. I don’t always eat perfectly, but yoga has inspired me to eat healthier.

The movement and physical exercise of yoga has been amazing too—helping me gain strength, flexibility, balance, and more energy.

There are so many types of yoga. Some are more cardio-type styles and others are more focused on relaxation. Both styles can have all the above benefits.

Finally, yoga has helped lower my stress levels, which has lowered my cortisol levels, the stress hormone that has been linked with weight gain.

You mentioned not being flexible—don’t worry, you don’t need to be. All that’s required is allowing your body to move in a way that feels safe and good. After you learn the basics, you’ll find yourself focusing on how it feels on the inside rather than what it looks like on the outside.

You’ll be exercising—but also generating a brand new experience of appreciation and love for your amazing body.

You're such a beautiful person, both inside and out.

Wishing you peace,
Sasha

What do you think? Have you struggled with loving your body? If yes, did yoga help? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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3 Comment(s)

Hasana on January 11, 2017
Having been diagnosed with MS 18 years ago, I have struggled tremendously with loving my body. As the physical deficits increased, the disappointment in my body grew exponentially. Then I found yoga... The physical practice was great early on to help keep my body moving, but eventually I had to let that go as well. I still have a strong daily practice only now it focuses on self love. I''ve become so grateful for this incredible body that faithfully serves as a vehicle for my spirit! Yoga might change your body but more importantly it has changed my outlook on life.
Sasha Girden on January 12, 2017
Hello Hasana, Thank you for sharing your touching story. I love that yoga has transformed your relationship with your body. It is really amazing that yoga is accessible anytime, anywhere, no matter where our bodies are at. How wonderful that, through yoga, we have the opportunity to connect with the deeper layers of ourselves. Wishing you continued peace, Sasha
Brenda on January 12, 2017
Yoga has helped me with many things including body image issues - both as a teacher & a student. I have compared myself to others in poses and classes - leaving feeling like I lacked something special. As I get older & wiser, it continues to be a journey. Thank you for the blog and how yoga can assist me in the changes and challenges. I’m so grateful.

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