Review of Yoga and Body Image | 25 Personal Stories about Beauty, Bravery & Body Image

Apr 5, 2017DDY Staff Picks

Yoga and Body Image | Book Review

About the Book

The Book: Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty,Bravery, and Body Image

The Authors: Melanie Klein & Anna Guest-Jelley
Recommended and Reviewed by Maggie Johnson

Why You Should Read It

When asked if any of the DDY instructors would be interested in contributing a book review for our studio’s blog, I knew this was a perfect opportunity to share, and even celebrate my latest read, Yoga and Body Image: 25 Personal Stories About Beauty, Bravery, and Loving Your Body, with anyone who would listen. The stories in this book could mirror any of us that have ever had an experience with this thing called “yoga.” One woman grapples with the shame of believing that the tightness of her hips was a direct reflection of an inability to let go, while another man speaks to using his practice of yoga to build the strength to face a lifetime of self-degrading thought patterns and addiction. Contributors range from the creator of CurvyYoga, Anna Guest-Jelley, to singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette, with people of different race, sex, gender, and of course, bodies, all represented.

With this book’s focus on yoga as a pathway towards self-empowerment, positive body image, and a counter-cultural view of what yoga really is, I couldn’t help but to notice the parallels between its message and our own Downtown Desert Yoga studio and community. It is our heartfelt intention, as is expressed by the teachers in this book, to teach progressively and inclusively to a population filled with cultural and physical diversity, in a way that allows everyone to feel safe and comfortable. We wish for our sharing of yoga to be, “an invitation into a universal process of radical welcome and transformation” (p. 98).

Very recently, I recommended Yoga and Body Image to a student interested in acquiring her first 200 hour yoga teacher certification. This book may be an unconventional approach to the beginning of someone’s journey towards becoming a yoga instructor, as it provides neither practical information about posture, nor detailed strategies for teaching what we might think of as a typical yoga class. However, with piercing humility and brave self-reflection, these 25 personal stories approach the the question of why we may wish to begin anew that complex relationship we have with our bodies, and how yoga can be a tool in this reconciliation. These people can remind you that the culmination of experiences that have shaped you, or perhaps destroyed you, is all you really have to offer each time you step onto the mat.


About Our Reviewer

Maggie has been teaching since receiving her 200hr RYT certification in 2016 from Open Doors through DDY and recently completed her 500 RYT.  She is a soulful instructor who draws on her own life experiences when holding space for her classes. Check out the schedule to see a variety of classes she teaches throughout the week. 

Where to get Your Copy

To find your very own copy of Yoga and Body Image, look no further than the DDY lobby. Several copies are available to purchase.

Additional Resources

If you are interested in learning more about yoga, body image, and body positivity, check out the following websites.

Curvy Yoga

Yoga & Body Image Coalition 

Dianne Bondy Yoga

Body Positive Yoga