It happened a month or so before I finished my teacher training.
I was in class with one of my favorite teachers (and most certainly a mentor) – and I was trying to stabalize my shoulders in headstand. I started getting a little pain in my right shoulder and a panicky feeling in the bottom of my stomach.
She was encouraging me – giving me small assists – and I exploded – “I have a bad shoulder!” – and immediately came down.
Very gently – she sat down beside me – looked me straight in the eye and said “Don’t ever say anything about your body is ‘bad’ again.”
Those words really struck something deep within me – and I immediately nodded in response and sank into child’s pose….trying to hold back tears.
Her words really hit me like a ton of bricks.
My entire life – I have fought with self esteem issues – weight – and constantly not feeling “good enough…athletic enough…smart enough”.
I have told myself so many lies over the years – and based my self worth on numbers on a scale. I have certainly been guilty of looking at my body as “bad”. Where is the truth in any of that?
Yoga has really helped me to begin to find my truth and stabalize a little in so many ways. Because of my yoga practice and lifestyle, I have maintained a healthy weight for the past 4 years.
And when you are told as a 7 year old – that you are overweight – put on diets by your father – and made fun of for most of your childhood and teenage years for being the “fat” kid….this is a huge deal.
But I must add- that this has been (and will continue to be) – a journey. I wake up some days and feel like that 7 year old who was terrified to go outside and play for fear of being made fun of or judged. Thankfully – I have my yoga mat – amazing friends – and a spiritual life to help center me and bring me back to my truth.
During my teacher training – all of those old demons were really awakened – and the lies flooded my head again. “How can you be a yoga teacher if you don’t weigh XXX- no one will want to take your class.” “You aren’t a good yogi if you don’t……insert LIE here…..”
It was really hard – and I really struggled a lot in those 6 months with my view of me.
Since I have started teaching – there has begun to be a major healing for me.
I am finding freedom in learning to let go of what I “believe to be true” – vs. what is actually true.
Stepping outside of myself – teaching others to find their center – to breathe – to be OK in the moment with where they are right now – helps me more than I can ever explain.
I pray that I will have the opportunity to teach a student that their body is not “bad” -as my teacher did with me.
When you can have such a paradigm shift – it is life changing.
Will I have days where those “old ideas” pop up? Absolutely. Do I have to believe those lies? Absolutely not.
Hope this made sense to someone somewhere!
Sarah, when I first met you in our Bikram classes, I instantly wanted to practice near you because of your fearlessness. I’d always see you move with conviction and commitment into your postures. Sometimes I’d see you fall out, and I always saw you get right back in again. I have always loved that about you: your tenacity. What I saw in your practice were elements that I was seeking to create in my own. There was an honesty in you that drew me to practice near you. And that honesty now draws me to learn from you. There is so much in this post that will speak to so many…so much that speaks to me. Honesty changes lives, and changed lives can change the world.
Love Love Love you!!! And you are in the “amazing friends” part of this blog. So glad to know you!!!!!