As I have mentioned a lot lately, I am doing a great deal of self-reflection as this is the anniversary of my Yoga teacher training. This morning I was considering how far I have come with my body image stuff in the last year – and how it had nothing to do with my Body.
As I was studying for my training I became hyper-aware of the messages the Asshole in my head was whispering..
“You’re too fat to be a Yoga Teacher…”
“THAT body in front of people demonstrating Yoga? How embarrassing…”
“You’ll be the only girl with Curves there…”
Also? It was summer time. That beautiful time of the year that is splashed with magazine covers with headlines like “Get A Bikini Body for Summer” or pictures of dimply bums that say “Worst Celebrity Bodies” (you know the ones that show bums that look a whole lot like yours?) Or just threads on Social Media that shame the crap out of someone because they have body fat. It seems to be a conversation that’s much more prevalent this time of year – perhaps because Curvy girls have the audacity to wear shorts and tank tops? ‘Cause, you know… it’s hot outside?
So, back to yoga teacher training. I am became so tuned into the fact that the last of my insecurities was causing me a great deal of anxiety. I was afraid that I would be the only curvy person in my training. I would tell people that I was worried about the intense schedule and long days and the volume of learning – only because I wanted to release some of the fear and vulnerability I was feeling – but the truth of the matter was; all I was REALLY worried about was my body and my perceptions of it’s flaws and limitations.
I rolled my ankle badly a few years ago and in preparing for my training it had flared up – I was genuinely worry that backing off from being gentle with this injury would somehow be about the fat on my body… like someone might think “it’s that fat spilling over her yoga pants that’s making that ankle hurt”… I know… ridiculous.
Right in the thick of this self-doubt, I had a quite a tremendous “aha” moment a couple of weeks before I left for my training. The yoga teacher complimented my king pigeon pose (ahhh, my dream pose) and while I said “thank you” – I went on to complain that I had to use a strap. She exclaimed “me too!” and we both commiserated that we are coming to terms with the fact that we will never reach our foot in this pose – that our physiology will not allow for it. Somehow I had made my short limbs about my body fat. This teeny little gal that was sharing this “me too” moment with me might have had short limbs too – but excess body fat was not at all an issue for her.
This is what I LOVE about yoga! It’s about your body – but it’s not. It’s about embracing your body and what it is capable of right in that very moment. You can’t think about how a pose was easier yesterday – that just makes it harder. You have to accept. Yoga is breathing acceptance into every corner of your body. You will never receive the true benefits of yoga until you learn to bring your body to the mat and celebrate the shit out of that! Yoga is not about having or achieving a “yoga body” if you do Yoga – you have a yoga body.
I have started to share pictures of myself in Yoga poses in an effort to show people a body doing Yoga in everyday attainable poses. I LOVE the curvy rockstars that are showing you that Fat Yogis can do headstands and backbends galore – but I want you to know that these poses are not pre-requisites for hitting your mat. Not even wanting to do them is necessary. The desire to finally connect all the parts of you; body, mind, breath and Soul – that’s what you need. ANY body, ANY mind, and ANY Soul is made for Yoga.
How you feel about your body is YOUR CHOICE. I had chosen decades of insecurity and shame. I can assure you that neither of these approaches resulted in no body fat. So today I CHOOSE love and compassion for my body and ALL of the bodies around me. It’s not about your body lovies – all of those things that you like to blame on your body… that’s just a fail safe to stop you from owning your shit. CHOOSE to love your body – without apology – so that you can make room to find your passion and purpose. I see so clearly now that without this body my soul resides in – I would not be where I am. I promise I wouldn’t give up an ounce of this life to be a size 6.