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Yoga for the Butt

posted Jan 28, 2010, 7:57 PM by Natalie Cox   [ updated Feb 6, 2010, 1:01 PM by Andy Davies ]

Yoga for the Butt

2004 is the year I began surfing and reading around the world of yoga media and occasionally paying indifferent attention the associated advertising that paid for its publication. As far as I can remember from these halcyon days, the ads that predominantly filled the pages and popped up on the web browsers of yoga media were for wacky “alternative” products. Think neti pots and Tibetan prayer bowls, meditation shawls hand-made by priestesses in India, and fiber rugs interwoven with healing herbs. Then around 2008 businesses everywhere jumped on the green bandwagon and started heavily marketing words like “organic,” “natural” and “eco,” stuffing environmentalism into every sentence of ad copy. Yoga magazines, DVD’s and websites righteously advertised consciousness, peddling yoga mats made of recycled tires and yoga clothes of organic cotton. Unsurprisingly, this green-hued righteousness was rather expensive.


Today yoga media advertisers appear to be embracing an era of the ass. As a feminist (and a human being) I object to the common marketing methods of dissecting women’s bodies into objectified assemblages of body parts which seems ever popular in female-focused advertising (see my November blog comments about Toe Sox brand and their female model wearing nothing but their socks). So to see this marketing tactic becoming ever more common in the yoga clothes world is a bit irritating. More and more I am seeing clothing companies highlight not the freedom of movement their stretch pants allow, but how well their pants stretch across your butt. The brand Hard Tail Forever has long been an ass advocate (their name says it all, doesn’t it?). They feature their models from the back more often than the front, but they are based in Santa Monica, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. MeSheeky brand features skirted pants with a little gather sewed right along your butt crack. Other brands are made of such thin fabric that panty lines are inevitable and camel toe highly likely. Like Victoria’s Secret, for example, which sells such low-cut “yoga pants” that your vag might be in danger of exposure with one upward dog pose. The worst offender, however, is Athleta. Their recent ad campaign in Yoga Journal magazine for their “Kickbooty” pants is hardly subtle.  In their ad copy they proclaim these pants have “a style designed to turn your backside into your best side.” What the hell? When did yoga pants become little more than lingerie? Are butt-enhancing pants really necessary to anyone’s practice? Since most yoga studios tend to be completely dominated by women, why does it seem like most yoga clothes are designed by horny teenage boys? 


Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t think ladies should wear a burqua to yoga classes or cover their spandexed bottoms. Whatever, flaunt away; I can’t deny we are a visually-oriented species. But the fact that yoga clothing companies now seem to think they can’t sell clothing without objectifying women’s body parts with promises of augmentation is a bit offensive. Do yogis really need to care about what shape their derriere is in? Can’t we just enjoy our bodies without being overly concerned about what they’re packaged in? If looking hot makes you more likely to do yoga then great, wear your sexy pants. But I want my students to be more concerned with what their ass is doing than how their butt is looking in any given asana.