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My Yoga Teacher on Diversity and Inclusion in the World of Yoga

Author

Will

Posted on Sep 29, 2021

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While companies near and far are ramping up their diversity and inclusion efforts, we understand that our use of language is one of the most important parts of making sure everyone feels safe, welcome, and included.

Language definitely seems to be a hot topic when it comes to diversity and inclusion efforts. 

But here at My Yoga Teacher, there is so much more to it than that.

Our instructors may (mainly) be from India, but they all come from very diverse backgrounds and often hold more than just a yoga instructor certification.

Many have higher education degrees, certifications in unique forms of yoga, or have apprenticed under well-known and highly regarded instructors. They have different body shapes, different fitness levels, and come packing tons of varying experiences!

Here at My Yoga Teacher, we are proud to offer our members the opportunity to practice yoga with such diverse teachers.

Our instructors value their relationships with their students. It is vital to them that everyone feels seen, heard, understood, and included.

And that’s just not something you often get at other yoga studios or in other yoga classes.

So here’s what makes us different and what we feel makes MYT a comfy place for any and all yogis!

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Our yoga instructors ask about injuries or concerns

One of the things we think makes new people shy away from taking yoga classes is the group setting. 

What if I have a knee (or other type of) injury? What if I can’t do a pose? Do you offer modifications? 

These are questions (along with many others) that newbies want to know the answers to before jumping into a yoga class that probably has experienced yogis in it. MYT instructors make it easy for you to address any injuries or concerns you may have about taking their class before you ever step foot inside their virtual studio! As a MYT member, you have the opportunity to send messages to your instructor and even ask questions before, during, or after class.

And we feel like this is an important part of making yoga inclusive for all. Communicating about concerns. Teachers being available, approachable. And proactive.

We do no dissociate from the origins of yoga

When yoga teachers separate their yoga class from yoga’s origins, oftentimes a new, more mainstream culture, replaces the traditional one.

While we think it’s completely ok to be innovative in yoga, all of our teachers teach with the roots of yoga remaining at the center of every yoga session. Introducing mainstream culture to a yoga class can (and will) alienate and exclude those who do not follow along with mainstream trends.

And since we want to see as many people as possible enjoying the benefits of yoga, our instructors stay grounded in the origins of yoga. This means they don’t use terms like “yoga body” because everyone has a yoga body. And “yogi” is a term for anyone who practices, or even tries, yoga.

Speaking of things we say in our sessions…

MYT yoga teachers use appropriate language

Earlier, we stated that language is one of the most important parts of creating a safe, comfortable environment for yogis to practice and feel included.

It is common for yoga teachers to communicate with their students using metaphors and similes that help them understand the yoga experience “the way they’re supposed to.” Maybe the instructor inserts their opinion about a certain pose, how it should feel, or maybe they talk about how much easier or harder an asana may be for men than women or vice versa.

The point is, telling a student that something will feel a certain way or, worse, should feel a certain way is not something My Yoga Teacher endorses. Using similes and metaphors as a way to insert an instructor’s feelings can also exclude those yogis who don’t or can’t associate with it.

Our instructors are careful about their pronouns, if they even use them at all. And instead of telling students how they should feel, they invite them to explore the sensations for themselves.

For example, they may use phrases such as:

  • "I invite you to try..."
  • "Try exploring how you feel when you..."
  • "What does it feel like when you..."
  • "Try this..."

And they may use greetings such as, "Hey everyone" or "How is everyone?" instead of something like "Hey ladies" or "Hi guys."

We use language that fosters a sense of safety and inclusivity. Everyone is invited. Everyone is welcome.

Our yoga instructors see you (literally and figuratively)

Have you ever been to a group yoga class and felt completely invisible? That’s completely ok if you want to be invisible. Not so much if you’re really needing to be seen and heard.

We don’t believe yoga teachers ignore their students on purpose. But they may skirt around someone they don’t know how to approach.

At My Yoga Teacher, our yoga instructors see you. They pay attention, even virtually. They stop demonstrating so they can look at you, address anything you may not be doing correctly or any concerns or struggles you may be having. They modify asanas for those who need it. 

Some of our instructors have a yogi who physically demonstrates the session for them while they teach, guide, and talk with the students.

And all ethnicities are seen and heard equally. All fitness levels, shapes and sizes.

My Yoga Teacher is unique, just like all of our members. And we strive to always put their needs first, to create a space where yoga is accessible and inclusive. Many of our members become virtual friends with their instructors. They build relationships in their classes. They bond with other students. All the while getting to practice yoga from anywhere in the world they want.

If you haven’t found your perfect yoga studio yet or that yoga teacher that just “gets” you, or you’ve never tried yoga before in your life, we invite you to check us out! Get your 2-week free trial here and sign up for one or all of the 35+ different group classes we have available! We’d love to see you on the mat!

Namaste.



Online Yoga Classes – Live & Interactive

Get 2 free private yoga sessions and 2 weeks of unlimited group classes with authentic yoga teachers. No credit card required when you sign up today!

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