The telemarketers and bottled-water vendors who call Anna Ipox’s yoga studio in Portland, Ore., often ask, “Is this the yoga place?”
Ms. Ipox does not answer yes. Instead, she said, “I make them say it: Say, ‘Is this Fat Yoga?’ ”
That’s the proper name of the studio, and one that many people struggle to spit out. One caller, typical of others, refused to respond directly, instead replying, “Well, how do I know you’re fat?”
“People think ‘fat’ means slovenly, uncontrolled, dirty or lazy,” Ms. Ipox said. “It doesn’t.”
In addition to the fact that the word fat feels fraught, it’s not usually paired with yoga. Yoga conjures stringy, bendy, barely clothed bodies — not soft, round ones. But that’s the stereotype that specialized classes and studios, like Fat Yoga, around the country are trying to combat in an effort to reclaim the practice for people of all body types.
In New York, there’s MegaYoga, Buddha Body Yoga and Yoga for Abundant Bodies. There’s Curvy Yoga in Nashville, HeavyWeight Yoga in Austin, Tex., and Big Yoga in Buckingham, Va., among others. Continue reading >>