I have had body image issues all of my life. I have been 30 pounds overweight to rail thin and everywhere in-between.
I avoid cameras. If there is a picture, I want it to be waist up, with me sideways to show the thinnest part of me. That is why I freaked out when my mom announced right before a trip home, “My good friend Judy will take your Yoga photos when you are home next week…”. My response, “I am so pale and I was going to lose ten pounds…”
Yep, I am a Yoga teacher. I believe every person deserves and should do Yoga. Yet as a teacher, I feel if my body isn’t perfect, students will not be as interested in practicing with me. This is quite the double standard.
I had a wonderful time at the photo shoot, and Judy did a remarkable job of making me feel comfortable and beautiful. It was only after I received the pictures that my inner critic came out. “Oh look at the extra stuff when I am sitting down, ahhh, there is way too much going on…” That is when I realized; every pose breakdown I look at in photograph form is from Yoga Journal. Not to discredit this wonderful publication with amazing information, but all of the models are mostly stick thin women. My Warrior II is always going to look different, even with great alignment.
Yoga isn’t a skinny woman’s sport to show off their hot bod. One of the main reasons why I love Yoga is because it forces me to connect with my body. I spend all day mentally bashing it, disconnecting from it, and my practice brings me back to gratitude and love for the amazing machine my body is.
I encourage everyone to take a moment to really listen to the messages we send our body. Hear our critical words and realize how much this is affecting our entire lives. If we would all take just one moment to pause, say thank you, and appreciate ourselves rather than berating our body for always having cellulite no matter how far your run or how much you diet.
In the end, it isn’t an issue of thin or not. I know beautiful fit teachers that I go to, but it isn’t because of their bodies, it is because they are amazing individuals. I also have teachers that have beautiful curves that can hold handstand longer than I ever could. What this is really about is self-love and being OK in the moment with who you are. Non-judgment, you always start from now and there is only now.
I am obviously nowhere near where I need to be with loving my body, but I feel today I am one step closer.
Look in the mirror. Want to know what the perfect Yoga body is? It is right there, in front of you.