Want to deal with the remnants of body image issues left behind as a result of decades of dieting really fast?
Decide to become a yoga teacher.
In the summer.
I am so aware of all the messages we are inundated with this time of year. Magazine covers with headlines like “Get A Bikini Body for Summer” or pictures of dimply bums that say “Worst Celebrity Bodies” or just threads on Social Media that shame the crap out of someone because they have body fat. Bodies with fat in real life are not the exception to the rule. We actually NEED fat on our bodies to survive. However, everyday we see bodies with fat endure ridicule and shame. What’s the solution? Stop feeling bad about your body and go out and enjoy your freaking life!
So, back to yoga teacher training. I am hyper-aware of the last of my insecurities as I approach the 2 weeks until teacher training starts. I realize that I am going to want to ask questions about how to deal with breasts and tummies in certain poses to help my clients adjust accordingly – without shame or judgment. I am afraid that I will be the only curvy person in my training. I tell people that I’m worried about the schedule and all I have to learn – only because I want to release some of the fear and vulnerability I am feeling – but the truth of the matter is; all I am REALLY worried about is 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 has flared up – I genuinely worry that backing off from being gentle with this injury will 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.
I had a quite a tremendous “aha” moment a couple of weeks ago when I finished a class. 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. Huh, 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 I assure you – no excess body fat.
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.
How you feel about your body is YOUR CHOICE. I have 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 about to embark on the soul-shifting journey that IS yoga teacher training. Gawd, did I mention how scared I am????