Q&A

Dianne Bondy Q&A: Yoga for Everyone

Yoga is for every body, including yours!

Dianne Bondy is revolutionizing yoga as we know it. Yoga can be inclusive and accessible for everyone—big, small, elderly, pregnant, and disabled. We caught up with Dianne to talk about how she began her journey, and how she is reshaping the yoga world.

1

If you could choose three words that describe what yoga means to you, what would they be?

Empowerment, Peace, and Connection

2

How did you start practicing yoga?

My mom introduced me to yoga when I was very young. We practiced together when I was a toddler.

3

When did you decide that you wanted to make yoga your career?

I had been teaching movement, yoga, and fitness classes since the early '90s. It was always my side hustle or a part-time job. I had a super stressful career in accounting, and I needed to head back to yoga for some self-care. When I became a new mom, I needed yoga more than ever to navigate this new life I was living. I decided to go back to yoga more regularly. I loved it so much I quit my job and decided to make it my full-time career. It has been a rewarding and challenging career path.

4

What do you remember about the first time you ever practiced yoga with your mom as a young girl?

I loved that I had my mom's full attention, and it was a great bonding experience between the two of us. I am one of three children. It was a hectic household, and time with my mom was at a premium. I had my mom all to myself for 30 minutes.  I really loved how we felt after practicing together.

5

Yoga for Everyone has empowerment and inclusivity as a key message. What brought you into making yoga inclusive for everyone?

I never felt like I belonged in a yoga space. I had a larger body, I moved differently, and I felt excluded. I wanted to make sure no one else had that experience of yoga. I wanted to show the world anyone can do yoga. The image of yoga seemed like it was reserved for certain people or certain body types. I wanted to challenge the popular notion that yoga was for flexible, able-bodied, fair-skinned women. Anyone from any walk of life is welcome on the mat, and I wanted to champion that.

6

Do you think everybody should consider practicing yoga? If so, why?

Yes! No matter who you are or what you look like, you can benefit from the practice. It is excellent for reducing stress, calming the mind, lowering blood pressure, and increasing flexibility and strength. It is a beautiful way to get to know yourself better and make peace with your body.

7

What made you decide that now was the time for you to write Yoga for Everyone? Why is this message so urgent to share with the world now?

I have always been encouraged by my students to share with the world what I have learned from 30+ years of yoga practice. A book is a perfect way to democratize yoga. I wanted to illustrate as many different kinds of bodies doing yoga as possible. Yoga is not tied to any one body type or type of person. I wanted to show what diversity and inclusion looks like. It is really important to have a book that shows diverse students of different ethnicities, body types, and abilities. I have never seen a yoga book that offers that perspective, so I thought I should write one.

8

In 30 years of teaching yoga, is there one particular moment (or moments) that still stands out for you?

Watching my students grow and learn how to make peace with their bodies has been a life-affirming event for me. I am grateful that I get to share with practice. I am blessed to teach people how to teach yoga and inspire their students.

9

What's your favorite pose in Yoga for Everyone and why?

Triangle, because my back just adores it. Handstand, because it makes me feel like a kid. I love to see Josie in this book and her poses like legs up the wall. Something for everyone!

10

Do you have any advice for those people who may want to start practicing yoga but are intimidated?

Begin your practice in a publicly accessible space like a community center if you are nervous about entering a studio space. Studios can be intimidating. Try to find an intro-to-yoga class or a beginner series so that you feel comfortable. In a beginner series, most people start at the same place, and everyone is learning together which makes the practice more accessible.

About Dianne Bondy

Dianne Bondy is a social justice activist, author, accessible yoga teacher, and the leader of the Yoga For All movement. Her inclusive approach to yoga empowers anyone to practice—regardless of their shape, size, ethnicity, or level of ability. Dianne is revolutionizing yoga by educating yoga instructors around the world on how to make their classes welcoming and safe for all kinds of practitioners.

www.diannebondyyoga.com