(Fact or Myth)
I’ve been asked lately about the “perfect” body type for Yoga, which is a reasonable inquiry. If you consider the premise that Yoga is a philosophy of the mind and not a form of exercise, a question relating to a body type is completely irrelevant.
The identification as Yoga as exercise is a misnomer, Yoga Sutra 1.2 enunciates “yoga citta vrtti nirodah”, which translates as “Yoga is the restriction of the fluctuations of the mind”. The ancient Sages were not contemplating how to develop a particular body shape in their vast and encompassing discoveries. They certainly weren’t considering what type of body shape would look best on the cover of the latest Yoga journal, far from it. They were actually working with subtle energies and consciousness.
The question of body type relates to conscious movement practises known as Asana, which is one part of a very broad based philosophy. The wellness benefits of yoga movement are incredible but singularly are not Yoga.
To answer the question concerning a “perfect” yoga body. A tall person in certain asana would have an advantage, so would a short person, a flexible person, a mobile person, a strong person, a person with great balance. The bottom line is your body type is irrelevant. Your height, flexibility, mobility, strength or balance will not restrict you or exclude you from asana practice. There is no perfect yoga body, everyone can benefit and improve with regular practice and competent coaching regardless of body type.
A qualified Yoga Teacher who has anatomical and biomechanical experience and a deep understanding of asana practices and sequencing will develop a practice and modifications relevant for each person’s unique body type.
If you can breathe and feel you can practice Yoga asana.