Yoga & Self-Image

Vogue and Self are putting out the message of yoginis as buff and perfect. If you start doing yoga for those reasons, fine. Most people get beyond that and see that it’s much, much more.

Patricia Walden

This quote is perfect.  Finding yoga was a strange concept to me, because I had originally thought I already knew about yoga.  It was, you know, standing in warrior 1 or 2 – kind of like a lunge, right? Except that back leg is straight, and your foot is flat and …

… oh yeah, I do yoga. I mean, not regularly, but  I can definitely get into downward dog. And I know how to do a Sun Salutation.  And I know the pose … what is it? Triangle? Yeah, I can do that one. And check out my tree pose! Fantastic, right?

I have even been guilty of referring to yoga as “boring.”  I don’t think I ever said it out loud, but in my mind I connected yoga with something that couldn’t stimulate me.

My cousin, who had been doing yoga for around six months, came to visit and stayed with me.  She was itching to practice while she was here.  I watched her seamlessly get into Crow, and various poses that looked strange and super-human. I was fascinated, and impressed.  But still, I had done yoga. I knew what it was all about, and I had Crossfit at the time, sucking up all of my energy.

It wasn’t until my third in-person class when I realized something was different. I was walking back to my car, and I knew the feeling was insatiable. That it was always insatiable after I opened my eyes post-savasana. That afterglow of holding poses, stretching muscles, opening my chest in ways I rarely did.  I remember making phone calls to family and friends (all who know me to chase fitness goals) and saying, “How could I have been so stupid? This is my thing.  This is my answer.”

Sadly, I still viewed yoga as a tool in fitness.  A tool to change my body for the better, and improve it in ways Jillian Michaels, Crossfit, or those crazy ketosis diets only scraped the surface of. But that’s starting to change.

I’m two months into this new lifestyle.  It’s beautiful, it’s addicting, and more than just making my legs leaner, and giving me a stomach I didn’t know I was capable of having; my mind is expanding.  I’d be lying if I said I completely washed away my hopes for that lean yoga body Patricia Walden sports at age sixty-seven.  But the mental and emotional transition is incredible.  I look forward to every class.  I look forward to every single opportunity I can attempt to shut down and free my thoughts.

I’m growing, and yoga is cultivating that growth.

I love it.

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