I Am Not Offended By This Yoga Video
Good Lord. Yoga’s been having a rough go of it in 2012 so far.
First there was the yoga-can-“wreck”-your-body piece in the New York Times Magazine that got lots of people’s mats in a bunch. Now there’s a YouTube video, produced by the high-end gym chain Equinox, in which a yoga instructor is shown doing some pretty killer moves for three minutes and 29 seconds. She’s in her underwear, practicing with an unmade bed in the background.
STOP THE PRESSES.
The video was posted in late December, but in just three weeks it already has over 1.4 million views. I know YouTube comments are basically the dregs of Internet Society, but lots of people on there are flipping out about how the video sexualizes yoga by showing the instructor, Briohny Smyth, in “lingerie” and with the rumpled bed in the background.
I put lingerie in quotes there because, honestly, I wouldn’t put what she’s wearing in the same realm as, say, what Victoria’s Secret models wear in commercials sandwiched between episodes of Seinfeld and 30 Rock. She’s wearing black, boy-cut underwear and a racer-back black bra—bikinis are more revealing than that. Besides, would you want her wearing a pair of ratty old sweatpants and a baggy sweatshirt? Half of what’s beautiful about this video is watching how her body moves. I’d kill for that kind of control (not to mention those shoulders).
Yes, I noticed the bed, but I took it more as, “Oh, she just woke up, and this is what she does first thing in the morning. Good for her! Dang, look at that handstand.”
A Huffington Post blogger posted her own thoughts about the video yesterday (we see eye to eye, it seems), and she talked to Smyth, who said she’s received a mixture of praise and scorn for it. Smyth reveals she struggled with an eating disorder growing up, so the video is as much a celebration of overcoming body issues as it is about the graceful yoga moves she’s doing on the mat. So yeah, that is good for her.
Watch the video below and judge for yourself. And please, tell me if you’re outraged—and whether you think I should be, too.