Jen Polachek (aka Jen Caron) has gotten black women yogis in an uproar after her xoJane op/ed piece "It Happened To Me: There Are No Black People In My Yoga Classes And I'm Suddenly Feeling Uncomfortable With It."
The Cliffnotes version of the blog is Jen Caron was uncomfortable seeing a "young, fairly heavy black woman" in a yoga class otherwise dominated by slim, white women. Jen Caron convinced herself that while the black woman in the class was confused about how to hit some yoga poses, she must also be concerning herself with the appearance of other people in the class. Not just how well they strike their yoga poses but that Jen believed this black woman must be concerned about not having the other students' same build.
Getting past the idea that the black woman in this class obviously came to a yoga class to improve her own fitness and flexibility level, the naivete of the blogger to think this woman must be paying as much attention to her as she is to this sista makes people want Kanye West to interrupt the class to say, "Jen, this black woman doesn't care about you."
Not only was Jen staring at the black woman try to do the downward dog, but Jen continued to stare at her at least once per minute and believed that this woman "was still staring directly at me. Over the course of the next hour, I watched as her despair turned into resentment and then contempt. I felt it all directed toward me and my body."
Could it be possible that maybe this black woman was glancing at Jen because Jen continued to look at her? What's that saying about "feeling someone looking at you"?
Jen Caron even admitted, "I found it impossible to stop thinking about this woman" as if her being heavyset and black in a yoga class was like watching a museum exhibit. The fact that she went home and cried because of her yoga experience with this black woman is even wackier.
And while op/eds are flying about in response to Jen, such as Clutch's "Yes, Jen, Black Women Practice Yoga Too" the photo gallery above is focused on other health tips for yoga newbies and yoga regulars. Avoid being the gawker Jen Caron in your yoga class. Know more about yoga other than having a "skinny white girl" figure. And yes, all photos included in the photo gallery have black people doing yoga and stretching because the world of yoga is bigger than just Jen Caron's class.
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Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all her latest Chicago vegetarian entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Vegetarian channel at the top of this page. Also, follow her "Diet & Exercise" and "Vegetarian World" Pinterest boards.