International Yoga Day

Today is International Yoga Day (according to Facebook), and I wanted to write a little about yoga and what it means and is for me.

I started my yoga journey just over four years ago. When I started doing yoga I was scared I wouldn’t be good enough. I was scared I was too fat, not flexible enough, too clumsy, too-everything and not-enough-everything all at once.

Well, instead, yoga opened up a whole new world for me. *cue Jasmine and Aladdin vocals* Yoga taught me that I was enough. That I had worth. That I had a wholly unique and wonderful place in the world. So of course, to expand my personal yoga journey, I went to yoga teacher training (two years ago) at the OM place. If yoga changed my life, YTT flipped my world upside down, shook it around, and remolded my life in the best, most unimaginable ways. I left that six months of training feeling strong, beautiful, empowered. (I also left with some amazing friendships, but that’s a different story for a different day.)

My whole YTT class knew I wanted to have a baby (I’m not good at keeping those kinds of things to myself.) And at the end of my training I found out I was pregnant (HOORAY!). I spent my pregnancy not doing yoga (I’d planned to practice at least an hour each day to help with labor and weight gain), but instead spent my pregnancy eating and sitting and sleeping. 38 weeks later, I had a baby boy, a perfect, beautiful, wonderful baby boy. My sweet Jamesy. I said that I would start yoga again then, that I would get my body back by eating healthy foods, portion control, exercise. I didn’t. I said I was too tired, too busy, too ______. Seven months later, we found out James needed a major surgery–a cranial vault remodeling–and so I forgot about myself entirely. I focused on preparing for his surgery, and then with caring for him. Even months and months after his surgery, this was my MO.

Now my baby is sixteen months old. And I am 40-50 pounds overweight. But I can still do yoga. And I should still do yoga. But I don’t do it. Why? Because the glow of discovering yoga, of discovering myself in teacher training, has faded. Because I’ve never been so heavy, and even all my positive self talk isn’t helping. Because I don’t like the way I look and I feel sad.

What does that have to do with yoga or with International Yoga Day? I’m so glad you asked.

Yoga is more than just asana (poses). SO much more. Yoga is about the breath. Yoga is about compassion–for your self and others. Yoga is about truth. Yoga is about being in the moment, experiencing the moment–that means the good and the bad. Yoga is about BEING and LIVING. Yoga isn’t about getting the perfect handstand (though that’s super cool, and I hope to be able to do it someday), it’s about your personal, inward journey.

I often feel guilty about not liking the way I look right now. I feel guilty about looking in the mirror, looking at photos, and feeling sad. Feeling scared that I’ll never fit back in my favorite clothes or feel comfortable in my own skin again. But yoga is about allowing those emotions. Experiencing them. Honoring what you’re dealing with, what you’re going through, what you’re feeling. And then, once you’ve experienced it, once you’ve allowed yourself the luxury of just being yourself–good, bad, all of it–in those moments, then you can start to change. And just like in yoga, that change should be slow and steady, like ocean waves or the turning of the world.

I’m rambling. I’m all over the place. But I’m also struggling with allowing myself to feel what I feel about my weight. It’s easy to proclaim from your blog soapbox, “THIS IS WHAT I SHOULD DO!” It’s a lot harder to actually do it.

But I love yoga. I fell instantly in love with the asana practice, and then cultivated a deeper, richer love with the rest. With the breath. With the self awareness. With the quiet. With the realization that I can be who I am, what I am, and that’s OK. So I want to take this love, using International Yoga Day as the platform from which I start, and start applying that love to myself. I want to start taking care of my body, of my mind, of my heart. I want to start loving who I am, where I am, what I am. And I want to learn to appreciate that those changes will all take time, and that that wait, that journey, can be just as sweet, if not sweeter, than the final destination.

Happy International Yoga Day, everyone, ❤

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