Why is yoga being sexualized?

By Tiffany Carlin


I’ve been practicing yoga for about 7 years now. It is always shocking how many people sexualize yoga! People find yoga extremely intriguing but have an odd take on it. Yes, there are postures that can improve your sex life, but the things people find alluring always surprise me.  

Bikram “hot” yoga

Hot yoga or Bikram Yoga, is supposedly the most seductive of all the yoga. Tons of half-naked, hard bodies close together in one room. Imagine it! But… if you’ve ever been in a Bikram room you know it’s not sexy. Usually the rooms are crowded, and that hot guy or girl next to you? Not so hot, when his or her sweat flings on you as he swings his arms to wrap it into eagle pose. Also, people aren’t thinking about sex when it’s 105 degrees. Maybe they are, but I’d say many are focusing on the poses and trying to carry on with the 90 minute session.

Solo yoga

As a woman, who’s fit, there are also the people that think I’m doing solo yoga for attention or to get a date. No! The truth is yoga studios are expensive. I am certified to teach so I do my own yoga… the free yoga! I love going to studios, but I’m on a budget. Living in a small apartment, it’s hard to practice inside. I live in beautiful Miami Beach, so I choose to practice outside on the bay. It’s 90 degrees most days in Miami, so I practice in a bathing suit. I go down early before the pool is busy, seclude myself in a corner, put my mat down, and even barricade myself in with a lounge chair so that I’m not bothering people. Still, as it is a public pool, people are bothered by my little yoga practice. Other women complain, or make disapproving looks. Some people make fun of me, and men have come over to ask for my phone number.  People have even pulled out cameras. It always surprises me how many people get bothered over yoga, when I’m not even nearby. Yet, I’m in my own zone. I try not to pay attention to anything around me besides the water, my breathing, and my postures.

People that get that weird look, at the thought of yoga

There’s also the people that smirk when you tell them you do yoga. I’ve had conversations with friends, and my yoga practice comes up, and I get a reaction such as “you must be good in bed.”  Why? Is it because I’m bendy? What an interesting association. Or…we’re at the park, I get into a headstand or backbend, and someone says, “Your boyfriend must have fun.” Bizarre! Funny how doing a backbend or just mentioning the word yoga turns people on. I’ve searched for yoga teaching jobs on craigslist-my fault. There is always a weird ad looking for an “open minded, one-on-one yoga instructor.” Ewww! What does that even mean?

What is yoga?

Let’s remember what yoga is. Yoga is believed to have originated in in India thousands of years ago. At the core is meditation and spirituality. Probably, the most prominent and celebrated yogic scriptures is the Bhagavada-Gita, written in 500 BCE, teaching the sacrifice of the ego through self-knowledge, action, and wisdom. (yogabasics.com) Nothings sexy about that.

It didn’t really gain prominence in the western world until the 1980’s when people began using it for exercise. Nowadays, there are yoga studios in every city, and entire stores dedicated to making booty shorts, tight pants, and bras specifically for yoga. I love the cute yoga clothes… but at its core yoga is more than hot outfits and bending in postures that make people think of sex.

Of course there are definitely ways to use yoga to improve your relationship or sex life, but we’ll discuss that at another time. Namaste!

If you enjoyed this blog post, be sure to check out How Yoga Improves Your Sex Life.