Shape the pose: a yoga movement in Ballarat to change body image, expectations

YOGA instructor Tracey Hargreaves says there is a strong movement in changing body image perception on the mats but sometimes this still needed to be seen to be believed.

GUIDING: Ballarat yoga instructor Michelle Bowler is leading a class for bigger bodies to help all shapes become more comfortable shaping their practice to suit and breaking strerotypes. Picture: Absolute Yoga and Pilates.

GUIDING: Ballarat yoga instructor Michelle Bowler is leading a class for bigger bodies to help all shapes become more comfortable shaping their practice to suit and breaking strerotypes. Picture: Absolute Yoga and Pilates.

Ballarat studio Absolute Yoga and Pilates is set to host a yoga for bigger bodies workshop in what Ms Hargreaves, who own the studio, says is about helping people of all body shapes learn the skills to move best for them.

Ms Hargreaves said there were still societal pressures when it came to exercise, like looking good in yoga pants– a quick scan of social media platforms still tended to reveal countless pictures of skimpily-clad women in yoga poses. But looking more widely, she said you could see this was changing.

“The body positive movement in general is huge,” Ms Hargreaves said. “There is a tide turning in the yoga world to be more inclusive. The workshop is about modifying poses to fit your body, not making your body try and fit the pose.

There is a tide turning in the yoga world to be more inclusive...It's about celebrating where you're at, to help remove the barrier of feeling self-conscious.

Tracey Hargreaves

“It’s also not about weight-loss or fitness. We’re showing the benefits we know work about yoga. It’s about celebrating where you’re at, to help remove the barrier of feeling self-conscious.”

Certified Yoga for All instructor Michelle Bowler will lead the workshop later this month, wanting to share from her personal experience of practising with a bigger body.

Ms Hargreaves said there had already been interest for a second workshop, but she hoped those who try the initial workshop would feel more confident to move into one of the different yoga classes already on offer.

Watch the VicHealth This Girl Can take on how yoga improved Sarah’s body image, below.

Ms Hargreaves said the very basis of yoga was about using and moving what you could for your body.

“There is the moving but teaching yoga is also about stillness in body and stillness of the mind...It is ridiculous to think you have to be a certain shape and size to do yoga. It’s about self-acceptance,” Ms Hargreaves said.

“There is a lot more to it than how you look.”

Yoga for bigger bodies is open to all size women and men, from beginners to those who have practised before but might want to modify poses. The workshop is on July 29. For more details: absoluteyoga.com.au.

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This story Shape the pose: a yoga movement to change body image, expectations first appeared on The Courier.