Dianne Bondy Interview

Dianne Bondy Interview

Dianne Bondy Interview

By Frances Hunt


Yoga Plus Magazine - Dianne Bondy yoga asana
When I found out we were producing a BODY issue, Dianne Bondy was the first person I wanted to interview. Being from NYC, there were a lot of yoga teachers who inspired me but there weren’t any who were of color, and there certainly weren’t many who were larger than a size 10. My best friend, who is a yoga teacher as well, kept mentioning Dianne Bondy until one day I finally searched for her; as soon as I saw her, I wanted to learn more. 

I have been inspired by and admired how transparent and authentic she was when speaking about the lack of diversity and inclusivity in yoga spaces. As a curvy woman, I often stand out as the largest in yoga spaces. According to the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education, “The average size of an American woman is now between 16 and 18,” so why is the size reflected in media closer to a 2-4? I had to thank Dianne for being a voice for us curvy women of color and being an advocate for us being seen.

What led you to become so outspoken about the lack of inclusivity and representation in yoga spaces?

Honestly, I was just really tired of seeing no one like me in yoga classes and wondering why. I was really disappointed with the front desk staff and yoga teachers treating me like an anomaly. I decided to speak out. 

How were you introduced to yoga and when did you realize you wanted to become a yoga instructor?

My mother introduced me to yoga when I was three. She needed to manage her stress of having three children under the age of four. We learned from a book together. I have always been active. I was a fitness instructor in the ‘90s. Introducing my students to yoga seemed like a natural progression. 

One of my early memories on my yoga journey was always being a larger body in classes where women were a size 2-4 max. What was your experience having a larger body in the yoga spaces?

I can truly identify! I always felt like the big brown spot in the room. I was often ignored in the yoga space. Yoga spaces felt very white and not very welcoming for a long time. In some cases, they still don’t feel welcome or accessible. 

How do you feel the climate of yoga has changed in relation to inclusivity over the last 10 years?

It’s changed. We are seeing more pushback against exclusion and keeping yoga spaces white. We are also seeing non-white teachers and practitioners open their own spaces.

Have you noticed a change in the students who register for your YTT? 

Not really, this seems slow to change. 

On social media I love to share posts showing different sized yoga teachers. Do you think students have a misconception about curvier teachers?

Yes, there is definitely a yoga body narrative led by European beauty standards. Curvy or non-white teachers are thought of as less qualified and less yogic. 

You have been open about your wellness journey. Can you share a little about it with our readers?

Almost four years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic illness of hyperthyroidism, also known as Graves’ disease. It went undiagnosed for almost a year. It began as a dramatic weight loss that I had no control over as well as extremely high blood pressure and heart issues. 

My endocrinologist fat-shamed me and asked if I wanted to treat it because I was losing weight. I asked him how he would feel If I had a heart attack? because that was imminent if this goes untreated. Along with bulging eyes, loss of muscle strength and memory function, I felt horrible and I wanted to feel better.

I changed doctors and added holistic treatments to my regimen. I knew my body could heal itself if I had the right tools. I added more fitness elements to my life to manage my blood pressure and made sure I did yoga and meditation every day. My disease is currently in remission. 

How has your personal practice and teaching changed as a result of your wellness journey?

I don’t take anything for granted. I make my yoga and joyful movement practices a priority. 

How has your experience been straddling the world in different sizes? 

It’s been difficult. I feel sometimes I am letting the body-positive, fat-positive community down because I physically take up less space. But, I also think it gives me a keenly unique perspective on all the issues we have with body image and body positivity. I can speak to how society treats you differently. 

Many of us, myself included, send negative energy to our bodies through our thoughts.  What lessons do you have for us in how to make peace with our bodies?  

Try to remember all the incredible ways your body shows up for you without you even asking it to. Remember your body is thousands of years of evolution and ancestry designed just for you. And finally, your body is the only vehicle you have to experience life. It deserves your respect more than your criticism. 

What is next for you? 

I will continue to disrupt, speak up, call in and call out injustice. I will fight for equality and equity until I die. 

Yoga Plus Magazine - Dianne Bondy yoga asana
TRANS YOGA PROJECT – Daniel Sannito Interview

TRANS YOGA PROJECT – Daniel Sannito Interview

TRANS YOGA PROJECT – Daniel Sannito Interview

By iana velez


yoga plus magazine -TRANS - TRANS YOGA PROJECT Daniel Sannito yoga asana
What inspired you to create/be a part of the Trans Yoga Project?

During the pandemic, I was able to connect with a large network of trans, queer, nonbinary, and gender-expansive yoga teachers and educators all over the world. Through the connections we made and conversations we had, it became really clear that we were all experiencing harm in the very environments that were telling us we could find healing there. In this connection to community, a group of us came together to facilitate a workshop that would support folks learning to create affirming spaces for trans, nonbinary, gender-expansive people. We all enjoyed working together so much and shared similar visions, so we decided to continue our work together, and the Trans Yoga Project was born.

What is your hope/vision for the future of the Trans Yoga Project and community?

My hope is that we will continue to hold space for our community. Our mission has always been in alignment with serving our community first and creating the space we have all been seeking out for so long. I would love to see the Trans Yoga Project community continue to grow. Eventually, I’m hoping to host some in-person events and connect even deeper to those we have had the joy of connecting with virtually.

Who (or what) inspires your personal yoga practice?

I’m inspired deeply by nature and the world around me. I draw a lot of inspiration from traveling and spending time alone in nature. There’s something about the vastness of the world and the natural flow of life that keeps my heart full. I can’t say that one thing in particular has inspired my practice, I find that tuning in to find connection in each moment keeps me aligned and inspired.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, knowing everything you know now, what would it be?

I would tell my younger self to stay gentle, stay kind, stay courageous. That is your superpower. This world will tell you a lot of different things about yourself, remember that you know you better than anyone else ever can. Your existence is not wrong, and you are perfect exactly as you are. 

Can you share with us the resources you would recommend for anyone that wants to support the transgender community?

The Trans Yoga Project, of course! Each of us has individual offerings as well as the collective ones, so definitely check those out! A few other resources to check out:

Marsha P. Johnson Institute
Black Trans Advocacy 
Brave Space Alliance

I invite you to seek out local organizations to donate to and support. Buy and read books written by BIPOC trans folks. There is a lot of information out there that is easily accessible. Your commitment to learning and independently seeking that information is the support needed.