Are you in the Body Positive clique? If not, you should be. AND, it’s not really a clique—it’s actually the anti-clique. You know in high-school when everyone self-organized into groups like jocks, nerds, band geeks, slackers, burn-outs, preppies, overachievers, weirdos, etc? And how some groups counted and other groups didn’t? Today, our groups might include the Perfect People (the one that counts) and the Imperfect People (the one that doesn’t count). The Perfect People are rich, sleek, sexual, wonderfully aromatic,svelte, young, fit, lean, white, strong-of-jaw, clear-of-skin, defined, muscular, not TOO muscular, and smiling. All. The. Time. The people in this group must also be really, really exhausted. Sounds like a ton of work to be in this group.
The imperfect people are skinny, fat, lumpy, pimpled, injured, gimpy, awkward, slow, uncoordinated, slouchy, funny, angry, joyful, sad, late, triumphant, defeated, fringy, sick, diseased, dysfunctional, stinky, sensual, and just fine, thank you very much.
I hope it’s clear where I’m going—-the Perfect People Group is really just an illusion–a powerful one that we have all bought into for too long. People who appear perfect have a lot of rights that Imperfect People do not have. The thing is, even the Perfect People can only visit that group for limited amounts of time. I mean, everyone goes to the bathroom, for crying out loud, and the result smells universally, profoundly bad.This new idea of body positivity is brilliant. Guess what? You can look any way you want and you should be able to have all the same societal privileges of those appearing to hang out a lot in the Perfect People group.
The Body Positive Movement makes categories for NO ONE. Because, adulthood, people! Why, why, why, do we still find it necessary divide ourselves? Two of the very unfortunate places where this division is painfully obvious are fitness clubs and yoga studios. Most gym ads, yoga pictures, classes, equipment, building layouts, and guiding business principles favor the very fit and the very lean. Everyone else is so intimidated by these centers, it’s no wonder 50% of January new members are gone by the end of March.
Truth time: I am a recovering Perfect Person at the gym. I still look critically at my body and believe I need to have a certain amount of muscular “shred” to have any sort of credibility in my personal training practice. In other words, my experience, creativity, extensive education, and passion count a whole lot LESS as a personal trainer than the way I look. However, I am slowly and consciously trying to change these attitudes since opening Embrace The Wobble Yoga. It’s working, and our customers like it. People can come in and be who they are, move how they move, and work toward making their existing bodies happier, healthier places to be. I am easier on myself as a trainer, and as a result, I have no idea how much I weigh. I have a great idea of what kind of movement I enjoy on any given day, though, and that is the example I prefer to provide for my clients and students today and forever more.
We at Wobble are learning more each week about being Body Positive. We offer a wide variety of class formats for yogis of all abilities. Our class sizes are small so we can nimbly accommodate whoever may walk into class. Our teachers (though all white as of publish date of this blog post—we would love to attract more yoga instructors of color), come in a variety of sizes and genders and backgrounds and are unique in their personal teaching styles.
We will be launching a new website in January that shows off many of our differently-sized yogis, as well as our commitment to community. We are working toward a verification by BPFA, the Body Positive Fitness Alliance www.bodypositivefitness.org. This org champions seven pillars of inclusivity, and we discovered we were already doing that at Wobble without knowing it was a thing. Our social media posts feature all kinds of yogis as well as a bunch of random Imperfect People moving joyfully, regardless of their ability, age, color, outfit, strength, flexibility, size, or any other (illusory) category-defining feature.
These are the things that true Body Positive fitness and yoga centers do. And you should care because YOU are Imperfect. Even if you are trying really hard to spend a lot of time in the Perfect People group. How ‘bout instead of trying so hard, we all just be who we are and move the bodies we have? Guaranteed, our bodies change for the better when we move them consistently, without judgement, without hate, and without agenda.
Our Body Positive initiatives are a work in progress. Remember, we are ALL part of the Imperfect People group at the end of the day. Share with us your experiences of body positivity in the fitness/yoga world. We would love to hear about what other amazing business are doing with their powerful platform for change.
See you on the mat, Wobblers.