The online yoga community is all abuzz about Yoga Journal's yoga model talent search. I'm sure it was just bad timing (or bad karma) that YJ announced this contest just days after the yoga bloggers got busy showing support for Anna Guest-Jelley's as-of-now unpublished letter to the YJ editor requesting more diversity in model body-types. And that it comes on the heels of a bunch of hoopla about YJ losing touch with its roots as it got caught up in the marketing machine of American capitalism.
After eight long years (that's 96 monthly issues), Yoga Journal took a break from increasingly idealized (and most likely airbrushed) female models and featured - gasp! - a MAN on the cover. Matt Pesendian, a yoga teacher from Los Angeles, is sitting very nicely in Padmasana (full lotus pose) on the front of the March 2011 issue. And he has very nice biceps. I couldn't help looking at them, since the mailing label covers up everything below his navel (i.e. the parts of his body that are actually doing the pose). At least I get a break from wondering how some girl's hair can still be flowing and fluffy after working her way into whatever complicated asana she's modeling.
When I look around my classes, I don't see people that look like Yoga Journal models. I've never taken a class where anyone looked like a Yoga Journal model. Instead I see women and men of all ages, all body-types. Each and every one of them is beautiful and perfect, without any airbrushing. And no two look the same in an asana. The only thing that is alike in all of them is the light that shines within.
talent search. Let's tell YJ that we want to see real people on its pages.
Want to see some real people doing yoga right now? Check out YogaDork's Gallery of Diversity and submit a picture to the YogaDork (Shadow) Cover Model Contest as well. It won't get you a trip to San Francisco, but it will get your beautiful self included in a growing display of very real yogis and yoginis being their very finest real selves. Which is right where you belong.