A frequent, consistent, and well-loved yoga practice did not come easily to me. My healthy relationship with yoga, what a ‘yoga body’ really is (any body, doing any form/amount of yoga), and what it is that yoga could give me that wasn’t just physical body related has been a long and, embarrassingly, hard fought battle.
It took me years of picking it up on and off to actually find a love and appreciation for yoga. I think this is due to trying to use it as a workout. Wanting yoga to change the look of my body, help me lose weight, and burn a lot of calories. I started my first ‘yoga challenge’ by doing a Jillian Michaels yoga DVD daily (doesn’t that sound like an oxymoron? What yoga video tells you “one more rep!” and “think about jeans shopping?!”). I thought that was yoga.
I believed many of the awful things that I see perpetuated all over. That yoga is for ‘leaning and toning’, that it’s only for flexible people, that it’s body type specific, and on and on.
That was a huge barrier. So I stopped doing Yoga.
It wasn’t until I started following more fat positive Instagrammers and saw them flipping on their heads, and started really listening to Yoga With Adriene and her laid back, Find What Feels Good approach, that I realized: Yoga does not have to be exclusive. It didn’t have to be for ‘toning’ (whatever that really means) and that I could practice yoga even if I couldn’t touch my toes. I could practice yoga even with a little bit of wiggle than hangs low during plank. I could practice yoga and not break a sweat, or slip on my sweat on the mat. My yoga practice did not have to look like anyone else’s in order to be enough.
It was there that I realized that yoga was an open door. It became a means of connecting to my body in a way that was different…it was gentle. It wasn’t rife with speed or distance, it didn’t have any competition, and it wasn’t about what poses I could do. It was about feeling and listening. Feeling my body, authentically and with my own hands and in my own shaking muscles. And listening to my body. Finding a love for props, space to open wider.
I love yoga videos. But what I adore more is just turning on music, and doing my own flow. Moving my body, in often less than impressive ways, and just letting my muscles and stretches follow my needs.
What has kept me coming back to yoga isn’t new muscles, a ‘new body’ or more “tone” (again… what does that really mean?). It’s the quiet. The calm. The sweaty happy. It is feeling like I can move in my space, move into my body, and feel like it is home.
I am so excited to let you know that I am beginning Yoga Teacher Training at the end of the month. I am beyond elated to learn and grow, change and develop some new brain pathways. And most of all, my focus – to find new ways to help women connect with their hearts, brains, and bodies in a way that can facilitate more self-acceptance and deep self-care.
I’ll be sharing about my training sporadically, and likely highly emotionally (heyo! This is me!) on here. And I am so ready to open up to all this.