The Creative Wellness Project: Dianne Bondy
Last year while attending a yoga teacher workshop, the topic of classes dedicated to plus-size yoga practitioners came up. Many of the teachers didn’t understand why such a class would be necessary. I looked around the room of mostly skinny, young, white yoga teachers and sighed to myself. I explained that often times there’s a lack of body diversity in yoga studios. People who don’t fit what popular media markets as the “ideal” yoga practitioner (i.e. skinny, white, female) may feel uncomfortable. Finding a safe space where people of all body types can be free to learn and express themselves without the fear of being “othered” is a valid concern.
Yoga is an extremely intimate practice. You are required to be present and whole on the mat. Sometimes it gets messy as you bend and breathe into postures created to help develop your ability to accept yourself without judgment. It is an inherently vulnerable act when practiced among others. So the importance of yoga teachers who are aware of these issues and proactively work to address them is critical for a yoga that is accessible to every body.
I wanted to introduce Dianne Bondy as my first 2016 Creative Wellness Project interviewee. Dianne’s been making waves across the internet with a video that challenges stereotypes and pushes us to work toward a more inclusive idea of who should practice yoga. I first learned about her through the Race and Yoga Conference in California. Here’s what she had to say on creative wellness.
Tell us about your background and what inspired you to start practicing yoga?
My mom inspired me to practice yoga. She started teaching me yoga when I was about three years old. It was great bonding time.
What does your yoga class aim to do?
Show the diversity of bodies and culture that can and should do yoga. I want people to feel comfortable in their bodies and peaceful in their minds. Yoga is a tool for healing.
What has been your biggest challenge and how do you overcome it?
My biggest challenge is accepting myself as I am, the good the bad, and the ugly. Overcoming body shame and sharing my story with the world was a very cathartic journey.
What book would you recommend everyone should read?
There are so many I can't just choose one. Anything by Stephen Cope is life changing.
Who’s your favorite writer and why?
My favorite writer right now is Stephen Cope. His work is healing and speaks to my heart.
Do you have a creative wellness practice? Something creative that you do to encourage yourself to take better care of yourself?
I love to write and listen to audiobooks.
You can visit her website at www.DianneBondyYoga.com