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????
Last fall I was scrolling my newsfeed on Facebook and serendipity had a little fun with my life – you see, I was drunk. I actually rarely drink and even more rarely get drunk so drunk scrolling on Facebook was very unusual. Even more unusual was the message I sent to a friend telling her how happy and relaxed she looked in all of the recent photos she had posted. This is a friend that gets real squirmy when you fire her a compliment – not in a “gawd, stop trying to be so humble when you’re so arrogant” kind of way… she REALLY is that humble and I REALLY check myself before I deliver her a compliment because I don’t want to make her uncomfortable.
So… I told her this and she said “Dude, we have to go for dinner because you won’t believe why I’m so happy and relaxed”.. so we did. And she told me that she had an Energy Healer come and clear her house and then also had a treatment on her body and that I just HAD to contact her!! I have lots of friends that are just as hippy dippy as me and this friend is NOT one of them – so it made me take note!
Fast forward a couple of months and I finally reached out to Lisa from Nine of Water….
She has helped me Release so much garbage from my body and my soul…. months, years, probably lifetimes of guilt and shame. All of the things that I knew deep down I was capable of becoming – I am becoming. She has helped me remove fear and doubt. She has helped me learn to trust my intuition and guard my heart without having to lose my “heart on my sleeve” sincerity. I am stronger, smarter, more confident…. all of this was in my soul to become and she helped and encouraged and it’s all happening people! It’s not all sunshine and rainbows and unicorn poop…. she gets real and helps you with the little piles of shit you covered up in the corners of your soul… if we want to be free we gotta clean that stuff up lovies!
Our Release Retreats are always about our own personal journeys.. we share our own stories and the tools we have used to achieve self-love and surrender to the beauty of our lives. So, it was kind of a no brainer when we asked Lisa to be a part of our day! We did a quick little question and answer and here is what Lisa had to say:
Why did you agree to be a special guest at our Retreat?
“Because I LOVE love!!! I am ignited when women come together to encourage, support and acknowledge each other. I know that this will be nothing short of that.”
Initially, what “drew” you to us and the Retreat?
“The timing of the event. 2015 is all about self care!”
What part of our Retreat is the most exciting to you?
“Coming together to shed and dissolve the layers of resentment, pain or guilt. Super excited to infuse and integrate forgiveness, safety and support. My mouth salivates thinking about the tasty delicious exercises that we will all take part in!!”
My mouth salivates too when I think of the delicious day we are about to serve some women of Central Alberta! I am so excited and so honoured that our little tribe of women is going to empower another group to create more love and more good in the world!
If you would like to schedule an appointment with Lisa
before the Retreat (which I actually strongly encourage you to do) – you can check out her website
and give her a call. I think there would be some real value in identifying some issues before the Retreat so we can really dig deep and RELEASE once and for all!
When it comes to the volunteer work that I do – as well as the GBMM work – it leaves me open to a great deal of criticism. Some of it is real – some of it is imagined. Criticism is a vulnerability soft spot for me – I wonder if it’s because I worry that once one of my shortcomings are identified by someone that the floodgates will open and all the shitty things I think about myself suddenly will be nothing but the truth?? Gawd, as I type this I know how silly it seems to think this.
I’m involved with a book study of “The Gifts Of Imperfection” by Brene Brown and today this quote just rocked my world:
“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection…”
The last 2 and half years of my life have been an experiment of living authentically and vulnerably and I have had the very highest of highs and the lowest of lows but today that quote made me realize I will always stay low if I get too scared to stay vulnerable. The end of 2013 was very difficult and the first half of 2014 hasn’t been much easier and I see so clearly now that my survival mode was to stop being vulnerable and I really shut-down quite a bit.
It got me thinking about the criticism that I’m so afraid of …. it’s never the constructive stuff. The people that offer constructive criticism have just as much skin in the game as I do… they are living a life as authentically as they can and they reach out to me and offer me guidance when it’s needed.
But that destructive criticism? That’s the shit that gets me. That’s the stuff that gets me in my tender little heart. How do these trolls know where to get you?
The quote “It’s not the critics who count….” is my mantra.
That’s my new barometer for taking outside criticism and considering if it’s constructive or destructive…. if it’s coming from a person who has been in the arena… I hear it … if it’s coming from an asshole who has nothing better to do than attack a person from behind the comfort of a computer screen I am getting so much better at dismissing it!
Also… putting myself in this role did magnify my shortcomings…. how can it not? None of us are perfect! I’m pretty proud of the courage it took to plow ahead anyway and proud of the courage it takes right now to not give you a laundry list of all the reasons why the work I do is hindered by my inadequacies.
Today, when I read the words about staying vulnerable I realized that I had “vulnerability burnout”… I forgot to nurture my vulnerable parts and had to withdraw… guess what? That didn’t work and I have simply felt stuck for the last 4 months.
This is so clear to me now…. if you make a promise to yourself to be your most authentic you… you MUST make a commitment of EXTREME self-care and compassion. This is the only way to protect your vulnerable heart if you want to wear it on your sleeve ❤