… uh…. what?
That was a reply when I told someone I was a yoga teacher and could teach! Yes, this happened. With all the talk about body image and the recent Mindbody Green talk by Kathryn Budig Real Woman (if you haven’t watched it you MUST) I feel it’s important to share how this has affected me to this day.
I was in my early 30’s… truly my PRIME. Those were some of my healthiest, greatest years. Not that I’m not now, but truly my body has changed. Those words caused my eyes to no longer see. It was as if I was suddenly blind. I never understood what the expectation of a yoga body was until that moment. I began to look around at the women in the yoga studio with tiny bra tops and pants while there was me covering myself up as I’ve NEVER (even at my “thinnest” had abs) I began to realize that in order to be a teacher I had to be what was on the cover of Yoga Journal – or any publication.
But then I met Stephanie Keach… and I was like – well wait. She’s strong, she’s a woman, she doesn’t look like what I was thinking this 1 person meant by yoga body. She was beautiful. she radiated an energy that wasn’t found in many of those classes I was observing. She was different… she was like me. And none of this is bad or a judgment, it’s just what it was – She allowed me to open my eyes and see!
I was given permission in this one moment when she flipped up her shirt, rubbed her post-baby belly and said – “We must LOVE our bellies. As women in the US, we must LOVE our bodies. “She talked about how we need to stop filling our bodies with negative feelings, emotions… it’s as if she was sent specifically to talk to ME!
But my eyes still could not see… I was blind. I was unable to – no matter what postures I conquered, no matter what accomplishments i made – see past these words that stung, that burned my soul. To this day, I see nothing that anyone else see’s in me. Every once in awhile, my sight comes back and I see things clearly. I even snap selfies of myself in these moments to REMIND myself of what I see – but I immediately tear it up..
– oh gosh, look at your saggy skin
– oh look at how you don’t have toned abs
– oh look at how your boobs are bigger …
But I also have 2 teenage daughters. These words I do not share with them about me. I do my best – quietly to not let them see my inner pain. I lift them up in every moment I can to explain to them bodies, what health looks like, how they are each different and as they are – perfect.
My husband get’s the brunt of my blindness. I reject his compliments daily. I have moments of clarity, I have an epidemic of self sabotage.
Where am I going with this – and why am I writing it. Well, it’s something I talk about in round about ways to my classes all the time. Kathryn’s message came at the right time. As I’m ready to see again. Without glasses, without any filter. Without trying to fix an angle on the selfie so I look better… Just allowing me to see me – the way the world see’s me.
– I’m strong
– I’m weak
– I’m flexible
– I’m breakable
– I’m a woman and I am perfect… exactly the way I am.. and so are you.
XO – M