One of my favorite pictures is TKV Desikachar working with, shall I use the term, a portly man, doing a shoulder stand. Desikachar seemed to be fully absorbed in the process.
This is it, the process not the picture. If we had no preconceived idea of any of the yoga poses, who could say over weight people aren’t as perfect in the pose as someone who is thin? It’s not the weight that is the issue in yoga but all of us seeming to have a collective agreement on what each pose is suppose to look like, what the external lines should be, which pretty much freezes out not only overweight, but physically handicapped, ill, elderly, and a wide assortment of people who are just not physically coordinated, lumpy, bumpy or off angled. What is left is a pretty small percentage of people who can participate in a practice that is suppose to be “for all”. Not terribly inclusive, is it?
Looking at Desikachar with that over weight student, I couldn’t help but feel that the teacher was 100% with the student at that moment in time. Not where the student could be in the future, but that moment. No judgment, just being there. As a yoga therapist, as a teacher, it has to be about the moment to create a useful process. If, the process is designed out of judgment and criticism, then the teacher, the compassionate guide, has left the building.
Yoga is for everyone. But not within the narrow parameters or lines that has been created around the yoga-asana. Yoga invites expansion and freedom, the fewer lines we draw around others, and ourselves the better.