In an effort to truly heal from the all of the years of dieting, self loathing, over-exercising, disordered eating, etc… etc…. etc…. I completely removed myself from that culture 2 1/2 years ago. Sadly, I also removed myself from my physical health. I didn’t know how to separate them. I literally didn’t know how to go to the gym and not look at the calorie counter on the elliptical, or compare my body to others, or lift weights so heavy I could barely move the next day. I didn’t know how to eat without counting calories and fat and carbs. To enjoy food without criticizing or over-indulging – binging because surely this was the last time I would eat cheesecake for awhile.
I have got a lot of things right these last 2 1/2 years; I have done work that I am very proud of. What did I get wrong? I thought one day I was going to wake up and miraculously LOVE how my body looks. Still waiting…
The realization that this might be an unrealistic goal came to me as I was in therapy; overcoming the PTSD I suffered from as a result of my daughter’s diagnosis with Cystic Fibrosis. Many people hurt us in the way they reacted to the way I was reacting to this tragic news…. and despite my best efforts I simply could not forgive them. So many cultures, particularly “Yogaland” preach forgiveness like it’s the new black. Forgiveness feels like abandoning my poor broken soul and feeding my heart to the wolves that dared to kick a devastated mama while she was down. Enter “Radical Acceptance”…
Essentially, Radical Acceptance is:
“When you radically accept a painful reality, your thoughts, emotions, physical sensations and attitude all shift to make room for the true details of what happened to you earlier in your life and for fully experiencing your present reality. This shift creates the opportunity and ability for change. As Carl Rogers once said, ‘The curious paradox is when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.'” (from Betterhelp.com)
It happened. Bad things happened. And I don’t have to condone any behaviour, mine or anyone else’s. I don’t have to deny any pain or suffering…. I am learning to accept what I can’t control. And another thing I can’t control right now? That I wish my body looked different. For me, the goal of learning to love how my body looked became complete and utter bullshit.
And this is essentially what dieting and obsessing over our bodies is; CONTROL. And after all these years I am learning that I can’t control how my body looks; no matter how much I diet, or exercise, or loathe, or avoid looking in the mirror…. Finally – I can Radically Accept THAT.
The “Body Love” movement might feel like it swung too far for you. Like, “I’ve hated my body for years and couldn’t get it to look a certain way and I failed at THAT. And now? Now I’m supposed to stop hating my body and LOVE it and I am failing at THAT.”… It certainly feels like a lose-lose situation doesn’t it?
I might not be able to LOVE how my body looks or control how my mind reacts to how my mind reacts to how my body looks (that’s a mouth full) – But I CAN Radically Accept it. Radical Acceptance is a great reality check…. not caring about how my body looks isn’t going to miraculously make my body healthy and the truth was; I had no idea how to be healthy without a diet mentality. So, it’s baby steps, it’s wholehearted health (eat well, move well, think well, mind, body, spirit). It’s undoing the tangled mess of lies in my brain and body when it comes to self-worth and how my body looks. It’s realizing that the very least interesting thing about me is the size of my belly and getting the fuck out of my own way.
And Yoga lead me here…. It’s the very first time I have moved my body so deliciously without judgment, it’s the first time I have FELT what my body is capable of without caring what it looked like, it’s the first time I realized that this BODY was the only one I have in this lifetime and if I didn’t Radically Accept it where it is, I would quickly regret where it was going. Yoga is where I realized that the LEAST interesting thing about me is how my body looks and I am wildly in LOVE with the very MOST interesting things about myself… and that is the truth.
So, maybe you would like to start with me here? Radically Accepting where you’re at right now and getting out of your way to let Yoga show you that you are SO MUCH MORE than how your body looks.
Curvy Basics started as a class to simply show women with fat on their bodies that Yoga was accessible to them, a place to tell you where to put your boobs when it feels like you’re being suffocated, a place to find out that it’s okay to modify poses for an ample belly or thick thighs. And then Curvy Basics grew. It grew into a culture of people just being glad to find a place where they could walk into a room without there being any conditions on any part of them; you don’t have to have a certain body type, fancy pants, expensive yoga mat. You don’t have to arrive early to class to find that one spot in the studio where you won’t see yourself in the mirror because there are no mirrors. You can just show up and breathe, and be, and maybe start to Radically Accept beautiful YOU.
Curvy Basics is a pre-registered class offered on Wednesdays at 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Our next session starts September 5th and there are currently only 8 spots left. Click here and register for our new App on MomoYoga, look for the “Subscriptions” tab and select Curvy Basics; it will walk you through the rest of the registration process. Alternatively, you can also register via this site… Click Here to do that. If you have more questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.