At 45, Dianne Bondy easily looks ten years younger. She is an author, a yoga teacher and a body positive activist.
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Dianne began practicing yoga at age three; her mum was a yogi. However, she struggled with body image from the age of seven when she started gaining weight, to her father’s disappointment. ‘I never wanted a fat daughter’ he would say, and make fun of her weight and discipline her when she ate. This led to her developing a serious eating disorder up until her thirties. She exercised obsessively while counting calories and popping diet pills. Her turning point was when she started trying for a baby after she got married. Her doctor warned her that her lifestyle would affect her ability to have a child.
After the birth of her first child, she decided to revisit yoga to help with her weight loss, but walking into a studio, she felt judged because of her size and her race, and the teacher was unforgiving when she inevitably fell behind, after years out of practice.
That spurred her to start her own yoga studio, an inclusive space where people of every gender, size, age, race and ability could go to learn the art of yoga. Now, she is one of the most influential voices in yoga, and has opened up dialogue about being black and curvy in the yoga world, inspiring millions of women to take to their mats.
Asked how she broke the body image cycle she responds, ‘Yoga taught me contentment, that everything I needed to make me happy already resided within”.