I had my third live call of my YTT this past Saturday and some things happened which disturbed me.
- Our head teacher got caught in an…unfortunateness around the fact that you probably shouldn’t cue your students to ‘move towards a double chin’ when what you want to say is ‘lengthen the back of your neck’ or even ‘look towards your feet.’
- We had a moment of pure OMG when discussing what makes female pelvises ‘special’ in that the class came up, resoundingly, with BABEEZ!
- This was the first session I attended where we did pose review. Everyone in the class is supposed to take photographs of themselves in various poses and then particular poses are “reviewed” during a particular live call. Okay, fair enough. I don’t know how many people we have in the YTT as a whole; on my particular call on Saturday, we had 32. We had bodies of all kinds: short, fat, thin, tall, square, lanky, black, male, female, Asian, older, younger, middle-r — you get the idea. The only pose photographs we looked at were white womenwith fairly conventional ‘yoga bodies.’ (If you need an illustration for what I mean, just go look at the Yoga Journal site for a few minutes. I’ll wait.)
Now I didn’t challenge any of these things at the moment — partially because I loathe conflict (I’m working on it) and partially because I flat-out could think of nothing to say. And then with Point #2 because I know I am not well-balanced on the question of female reproductivity; I’m just not. So I tend to keep my mouth shut if I possibly can. In this case, I would have been warranted in pointing out that the “point” being made was, in fact, wrong and verging on the non-cis-phobic. If that’s a word.
I also know that all three of these things are relatively minor. I don’t honestly think our teacher meant any offense with Point #1; I think she just got turned around in what she was saying and got out of it the best way she could with an awkward joke — as a woman, that felt entirely familiar to me even if as a fat woman I wanted to kick her in the shins. I don’t think anyone in the class intended to make a exclusionary statement about bones. And I doubt that the pose photographs were chosen with malice aforethought.
What I do think is that all three of these things exemplify little things. Things we don’t think about. And when we do think about them, we go through precisely the process of rationalization that I have described above: oh, she just got tangled up; oh, they didn’t mean it; oh, well, you have to choose some photographs. And that’s all well and good and true in all three cases but it also feels to me — in this Year of Our Oh Dear Lord 2018 — that little things have been allowed to slip for far too long.
And I still don’t know what to do about any of these particular three things.