I work with a lot of bodies every week. Tall bodies, flexible bodies, bodies in chronic pain, kid yogi growth spurt bodies, prenatal and postpartum bodies, runners’ bodies, bodies healing from surgeries or injury. As a yoga teacher, I am privileged to know what’s going on with your body before many other people do, maybe before you do wink wink. And, regardless of how your individual body today is feeling or what you think of it in this moment, please know this. All bodies are beautiful. Yes, including yours.
As I write this, it’s about Mother’s Day and I’m sitting on the floor organizing new onesies and little socks for our July arrival. I feel some pretty forceful kicks from our mini yogi. And, in that moment, I am grateful for this body. So, so grateful of its abilities and its wonders, how it serves as a vessel for my work and also another life.
But, you guys, this appreciation wasn’t always the case. You might have heard me share this before, but there was a time where I beat up my body. I forced her into yoga poses she wasn’t ready for (and might never be), I ran all the time (literally and figuratively), I didn’t listen to what she needed, especially rest. I pushed through thrown out lower backs, over-taxed muscles, serious fatigue...and for what?
I’m wondering how many others out there have or have had this relationship with their bodies. Where your “worth” is based on how many miles you’ve completed this week, how fast you moved in a yoga class, how many pounds you’ve lost, which pose you were able to twist into, and/or how much stress you put on your muscles until your body finally starts screaming back. And, that’s often in the way of injury or illness or chronic pain somewhere. Have you been there?
I didn’t wake up one day and completely shed this mentality of “My body should look like, move like, be like…” No. Instead, I had a series of injuries. I had a hard to diagnosis dis-ease that finally gave me the wake-up call to chill the heck out. And, yoga helped me find the way to not just acceptance, but deep love and appreciation for my body. I explored slower paced classes in addition to a vigorous one now and then. I fell deeper into the practice of meditation. I still love some inversions and arm balances, too, but now (at about 30 weeks pregnant) those poses are a bit tricky...and uncomfortable. It’s like exploring a whole new body over again, becoming a beginner. My yoga practice has never looked more different. And, that's okay.
So all this has me curious. What is your relationship with your body? How do you listen to what she needs? Do you give your body options for movement based on where she’s at TODAY, in this moment? How are you working to cultivate compassion and true acceptance of your life’s vessel, your body?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one. I know our relationships to our bodies can become unbelievably complicated. Know that your body is beautiful, what it is capable of right now is beautiful, that it’s ability to connect and love is beautiful.
With love yogi dears,