A thought hit me this morning, half-way joking and wishing that I was struggling with an alcohol or smoking addiction instead. I know, I know.
I’ve never struggled with either vice and I’m sure those who have would give me an earful, but allow me to explain.
The term “quitting cold turkey” doesn’t apply to food. It simply can’t, because food is essential to life. This is what makes recovering from an eating disorder so painful, because escaping the issue means giving up altogether.
I’ve been reading about the HAES (Health At Every Size) movement lately as I’ve been learning the concept of joyful movement.
I’m a card-carrying gym member and while I enjoy experimenting with various classes, I always come back to yoga. Having a quiet hour where the only objective is to hear myself breathe, connect with my body, pray, and set intention? SIGN ME UP. I once had a teacher who would instruct us to “be nobody doing nothing.” I hear her voice in my head everytime I assume a restorative pose; letting go of everything in the most delightful way.
Somewhere along the way, guilt crept in for practicing yoga in lieu of cardio or weights. How would I ever lose weight without it?
Succombing to the pressures of diet culture and relishing in praise from friends and family for just going to the gym, my practice dwindled.
This week, I embraced my rebellious heart and gave myself permission to swap cardio classes with all yoga and pilates.
Walking into a new class is always a little scary for me at
this any size. If I’ve learned anything from diet culture, it’s that only skinny girls in Lululemon can be yogis (or active at all, for that matter). Where will I fit in?
Careful to catch myself playing the comparison game when I walked in, I was surprised at the variety of ages AND body types. As we shifted from downward dog to plank, upward dog and back, I realized no one was watching me. We were all in the flow together, collectively inhaling and exhaling.
Sidenote: Isn’t this mostly true in every situation? The majority of humans are too consumed with their own insecurities to focus on anyone else’s. As for those who aren’t, I’m convinced their internet trolling and name-calling is merely serving as a distraction from themselves. (Here’s where my mom would say, “Hurt people hurt people.”)
After a few moments in shavasana, I started to wiggle my fingers and toes, bringing my body back to life. I had one hand on my heart feeling it’s constant beat and the other on my belly, feeling it expand with breath. In this moment, I felt gratitude, thanking God for this time, for the body I’m in and it’s ability to move.
As the lights came on and I walked away, I was overcome with the epitome of joy. I find yoga to be both challenging and invigorating. And with no one telling me what to do, I feel freedom. I feel accomplished and proud. For the first time in a long time, I feel strong!