Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Is Yoga Bringing Sexy Back?


Oh me, oh my... There have been a lot of discussions in yoga blogland lately about sex. Why do businesses use sexy advertising to sell yoga products? Why are most of the images we see of yoga practitioners in the media all people with hot bodies? Why are we so worried about sex, anyway? Isn't one of the Eight Limbs of yoga about NOT having sex (or at least exercising mindfulness about who you have sex with)?

I have a theory. Yoga is incredibly, amazingly, deliciously sexy. How can it not be? Deep audible breathing.. sweaty bodies contorting into all sorts of fascinating positions... hip openers... Ahem... cultivating the strength and control to hoist your entire body weight up on one hand.. Forget it! And that's just the physical part of the practice. How sexy is it to take care of yourself, be healthy, gain confidence, find balance, listen to your intuition, learn discipline, believe in something bigger—heck, believe in anything at all?!? Frankly, I'm getting a little hot and bothered just thinking about it.

I don't care if you're a size 2 or a 22, male or female, black or white--you could be an alien from outer space, for crying out loud, and it wouldn't change a thing. In my book, if you do yoga, you are sexy. You just are.

Is it right to use sexy images to sell yoga stuff? I don't know. I'm not the judge of what's right and wrong. But I certainly understand why advertisers make that connection. Personally, I'm glad people think yoga is kinda sexy. Things we associate with yoga (health, strength, discipline, etc.) is a much more positive view of what sexy is than a lot of other "sexy" things in the media--drinking, drugs, eating disorders, promiscuity, one-night stands... Sheesh.

I also see how sexy yoga advertising could be sending a less-than-positive message about what yoga is. I understand that. Call me an optimist, but maybe (just maybe) these ads will get more people interested enough to try yoga for themselves so they can determine what yoga is for them. Now, that's a radical idea! (And by radical, I mean totally rad!)

What do you think?