As a Body Positive Advocate and a Body Positive Yogi, I am so excited to be an Ambassador to the Victoria Yoga Conference. The Body Positive movement is so near and dear to my heart and I don’t think I could offer yoga any other way. If yoga today is only for a select few who to fit into the narrow mould of much of yoga today (white, thin, cis, able-bodied, affluent), then I am not interested in it.
I want our yoga practice to heal us. I want our yoga practice to be a place where we feel safe. I want our yoga practice to be a place of radical self-love. I want our yoga practice to be inclusive. I believe in the power of yoga to heal and transform and I believe that everyone should have access to the benefits of yoga. This is why Body Positive Yoga is so important to me! Yoga is for Every Body! Yoga is not just asana (the postures), which yoga in the West tends to focus on. If one can consciously observe their breath one is practicing yoga.
For me Body Positive Yoga is so much more that just body size. Yes, there is a lot of focus on body size in the Body Positivity movement as a push back against Western yoga’s focus on thin bodies. Because of North America’s fatphobia, bigger bodies have been erased from movement based activities. If we never see larger bodies being physical, then we start to believe that it isn’t possible for larger bodies to be physical, to be healthy, to be an athlete, or to be a yogi.
As a Body Positive Yoga Therapist I do my best to make sure I know as many variations and modifications of poses as I can. And I make sure offer those modifications to the poses in a way that doesn’t sound like they are a lesser pose. I also like to affirm at the beginning of the class that each student has full permission to move their body in the way that feels right for them. I believe you know your body best and you know what works best for your body. Throughout the class I will also encourage you to listen to your body and modify your poses so that you are maximizing the benefits for your body while minimizing the risk of injury.
I am also very aware of the language I am using during class. I never want to use body shaming language in the class, like “to burn more calories do this” or “if you are trying to lose weight try this”, or even calling a certain expression of a pose “the full expression of the pose”. The benefits of an asana practice can be experienced and felt in any variation and any body. And I want to make sure that I am using non-gendered, non-agist language, anti-racist, anti-colonial, and LGBTQ+, body positive and body ability positive language.
For these reasons I am most excited to see these workshops being offered at this year’s Victoria Yoga Conference:
Honouring the Sacred Wisdom of Indigenous Cultures & Yoga with Jaime Hunt, a Tsimshian raised and residing on Coast Salish territories. As someone who lives on the Traditional Territory of Chief Drygeese of the Yellowknives Dene and who works with Indigenous youth quite a bit, I am very interested to learn more about how to acknowledge and honour the parallels of wisdom that flow through Indigenous & yoga teachings.
The Drumbeat of Reconciliation offered by Monique Gray Smith, a mixed heritage woman of Cree, Lakota, and Scottish descent and an award winning author, international speaker and consultant. The question that this workshop aims to address is one I often ask myself. “What is my role in reconciliation in my personal life and in my business?” I look forward to learning more about traditional Indigenous values and ways to ensure my business reflects these values.
And Recovery Yoga, a trauma informed practice where everyone is welcome —all addictions, all recovery pathways, family members, seekers, and those who work as healing professionals.
There is so much to look forward to at this year’s conference. I really hope to see you there. You don’t want to miss out on all the awesomeness the Victoria Yoga Conference has planned for you!
Krystal is a 500 hour Professional Yoga Therapist, dedicated to educating, empowering and assisting individuals so that they can take an active role in their healing and wellness. Her services focus on providing healing physical alignment practices and relaxation techniques for mental health in a caring, body positive and socially aware environment.