Penningtons teamed up with instructor Dianne Bondy to show that anyone can practice yoga
There’s no reason to say that plus-size women “can’t” do something – there’s nothing they’re not capable of achieving.
The ad starts by listing all of the common misconceptions for why plus-size women can’t practice the sport – they lack balance, they sweat too much, they can’t lift themselves – while Bondy shows off her moves, defying every criticism.
Penningtons marketing director Aspasia Choremis explains that they wanted to show that women shouldn’t feel like they can’t do something because of other’s perceptions.
“The intent of the video is not so much about inspiring plus-size women to start practicing yoga. It’s so much more,” she tells PEOPLE. “It’s about body diversity, self-acceptance and breaking stereotypes, without having to compromise!”
“We happened to get this message across via yoga which featured Diane, but the video could have easily been about any other activity.”
Bondy, 45, teaches classes and trains instructors in inclusive yoga that supports people of all sizes. Though she’s practiced since age three, Bondy tells PEOPLE that she was sometimes intimidated before going into yoga classes because of her size.
“Sometimes people who practice yoga can be very judgemental of what yoga looks like, who get to practice and who gets to define what yoga is,” she explains. “I often here comments like, ‘That’s not real yoga.’ ”
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So Bondy was thrilled when Penningtons chose her for the commercial.
“It helps bust through stereotypes and change perceptions of who can do yoga,” she says.
Now that the ad is airing, Bondy is loving the positive response.
“The outpouring of support had been incredible,” she says. “This commercial has really touched a lot of people.”
Bondy hopes that the ad will inspire other plus-size women to take up yoga to connect with their bodies – as the practice did for her.
“I hope I can hold space for other people in larger bodies to explore yoga,” she says. “It is not about the physical poses, it is all about connecting to your heart and your spirit.”
“It changed the way I felt about myself.”