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Yogaland

Episode 124: Melanie Klein — Reimagine Your Relationship With Your Body

Today’s guest is Melanie Klein, a professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies, co-founder of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition, and author of the new book, Yoga Rising: 30 Empowering Stories from Yoga Renegades for Every Body. Her work has made her a respected leader in the conversation around yoga and body image.

In this interview, we talk about how she came to be such an advocate for the positive body image movement. Plus, since I am a former editor for Yoga Journal, we have a candid conversation about how media has contributed to this dialogue—for better and worse.

Here are some highlights:

* Melanie tells her “body story” and how yoga helped her move from an unhealthy preoccupation with her body to body acceptance

* I learn the phrase “the body project”—the idea that we spend so many resources working on our bodies in hopes that one day we’ll be “perfect”—and I feel like a giant lightbulb has been turned on. What would the world be like if women redirected all of that time, energy, money, and brain power toward other projects?

* The ways that being a yoga practitioner has perpetuated “the body project” for both of us

* The calling that Melanie felt to start YBIC

* How yoga teacher, Bryan Kest, helped Melanie shape her views on body image

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RECOMMENDED AND RELATED LINKS

Yoga and Body Image Coalition (YBIC)

Yoga Rising: 30 Empowering Stories from Yoga Renegades for Every Body

The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls  by Joan Jacobs Brumberg

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7 Comments

  1. Hi something is wrong with the podcast link because it plays the past episode N.123 🙁

    Looking forward to hearing the new one!

  2. I think you uploaded the wrong podcast …? Perhaps others have noticed as well.
    Love your podcast and always eager to tune in.
    Namaste,
    Anita Goa

  3. Great podcast. Had not heard the term “body project” before. Have definitely had my own going for some time now. Also got me thinking that I’ve perhaps re-branded mine as a “wellness project” and in some ways allowed myself to become more wrapped up in it. A lot of the same things are in play–what I eat, my physical endeavours, how I look (my weight, my skin, my hair…). But by giving it a seemingly loftier goal of wellness or health I rationalise over-doing the time, effort and money I put into it. I know my desire for the aesthetics of being thin and pretty are almost constantly present (I cringed typing/admitting that!). And I do wonder if it is possible to fully let this go in exchange for acceptance. For now, I’m really trying to be honest with myself about what my motivations are and keep them in check. Thanks again for the great episode and sparking a good conversation!

  4. Hi Andrea
    I listen to several yoga podcasts but yours is one of my favourites. You always manage to still be different,very relevant and interesting.
    I love the personal touch, letting us in to your own life.
    Your current podcast on relationship with body really resonated with me and verbalised something that I was unconsciously aware of but had not been able to really understand. Thank you x

  5. Really interesting topic as usual and you are my favourite podcast by far Andrea and Jason, listening to you is a really entertaining way to grow.
    I found this topic really disconcerting! we yogis do advocate for a very physical practice, and the 8 limbs path starts pretty much with Asana, before pranayama and meditation. This means that there is a cult of the body in Yoga except that we yogis advocate that the physical practice brings discipline, commitment, awareness, and eventually acceptance, compassion, wisdom. Along the way, we encounter strength, flexibility, tone, and wrestle with achieving the next pose. In fact Hatha Yoga is that path, and it may be that most of us never get to the wisdom bit and get stuck with the body vanity/struggle bit. So how different are we from gym bunnies I wonder.

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