Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth yoga, fitness, & nutrition courses, when you sign up for Outside+.
There’s a controversy heating up in the yoga blogosphere about the marketing of yoga as a weight loss tool. While some see the promise of weight loss as an effective way to introduce the practice to those who might not try yoga otherwise, critics suggest that focusing on weight loss potentially takes advantage of millions of Americans with body image issues.
“Why do we have to keep luring new yogis to the mat with the promise of losing weight?” wrote blogger Roseanne Harvey on It’s All Yoga, Baby. “Why do we need to use a marketing strategy that preys on a culturally conditioned sense of lack?”
Harvey first raised the questions on her blog after a Facebook ad promoting Sadie Nardini’s online yoga course on Udemy suggested the 14-day detox would help give women a “bikini body.” Nardini had no part in creating the ad, but later defended the approach on Elephant Journal.
“In my opinion, to try any fitness program, yoga or otherwise, for the sole purpose of losing weight, in a country whose obesity and diet-related illnesses are skyrocketing, is something we should all encourage, not attack,” Nardini wrote. Nardini came to yoga for the workout and lost 40 pounds, but in the process she realized that there were many other benefits.
Blogger Carol Horton doesn’t agree that weight loss marketing is a positive way to get people to try yoga. “From my perspective, yoga has already become way too bound up with the highly commercialized “body beautiful” mindset that is having such a negative effect on so many people’s lives,” wrote Carol Horton in a recent post for Elephant Journal.