Naked Yoga? To be or not to be…

This thought’s been long brewing but last week something snapped. I came across an Instagram post of a yogi I followed and she was naked. Completely naked. But here’s the thing.

1. Nothing on her body surprised me – I had all those bits on my body too.

2. Nothing about the image surprised me – I’ve seen naked bodies all my life – personally & -professionally – naked bodies – alive & dead – in the room, on the lab table, in text books images as well as media showcasing highly graphic & provocative imagery as well as body positive movements. Well, an anatomy teacher really can speak body parts without flinching… but… this was different.

This one upset me…. on a very different front.

I felt offended as a yogi.

The picture was supposed to be a symbol of body positivity, acceptance and a rebellious act against body shaming, etc Her body, her pictures – I didn’t care about that. But the caption included a reference and gratitude to yoga for allowing her the courage to do that & the ongoing conversation and comments with people signing up to practice with her or learn from her to be able to come to that level of courage and/or body acceptance.

Now, hang on a minute.

I agree with a lot of people working in various ways to make peace with their bodies and learn acceptance and self-love, but…. that is not yoga. Yoga can help amplify the process, but it is not the reference point for nudity and instagram following.

Anyway, the algorithm apart, I was offended for the culture of yoga.

I felt hurt & sick to my gut that a practice that comes from a place of conservative society is used to navigate body positivity through nudity.

Like, seriously?

Do we have to be naked to truly accept our bodies?

And more importantly, why did one need to connect the power of yogic practice with the attitude shift to pose in the buff on IG?

While I’m quite the liberal for an Indian or even for an Indian yogi, I do understand the culture of my roots and of heritage. And this felt offensive & disrespectful. I may be your liberal Indian yoga teacher in contemporary times, but I’m not radical to disregard the sanctity and devotion – the honor and respect that I was trained to offer to the practice or the culture of my practice. I do not mean ritualistic – I mean respectful.

What I fail to understand is how some of the yoga teachers seem to talk yoga philosophy and yogic wisdom, but it seems rather textual instead of fully living it. And others take a very tangential approach by making references to certain yogic terms and terminology, but basically working on other aspects of holistic wellness and referring it to yoga – but painfully, not practicing yoga or honoring it.

Practicing yoga doesn’t mean you suddenly dress in Indian clothes, put on a bindi or tilak and dress in a sari or dhoti – heck! even I don’t do that! But it certainly does not mean you work on body acceptance, post nude pictures and claim that to be a result of yoga. It is not.

I’m not suggesting that yoga teachers across the world observe a set code of conduct that includes behavior, but a certain level of decorum especially attributing it to the origin and roots of yoga could certainly be worked in…?

As for me, I pose for the camera, yes…and I love it… but  most certainly, I am not going to pose naked in the name of yoga. I would probably feel it disrespectful to my teachers, my lineage and my students to do that. I may be liberal, but not at the cost of disrespecting a tradition and culture of the practice.

Day 13: Healing the Wounds of Supremacy

How many of us have felt we didn’t belong in a studio space?
How many of us have felt that our practice wasn’t “good enough” because we weren’t flexible enough or we couldn’t “land a pose”
How many of us critique our own bodies or others bodies for not fitting into a norm?
How many of us dim or put out our light because we don’t feel like we should shine it?
How many of us compete or compare and despair with the next yogi on the mat over?…. These are all elements of white supremacy culture in yoga. 
Healing our white supremacy culture problem in yoga takes all of us. 
What do I mean by healing white supremacy culture in yoga?
I mean examining the way we present ourselves as well as how we idolize others. I mean what we post and who we platform. I mean who we buy from and listen to.

Today’s prompt confused me a little bit.

Yoga practitioners in India also fret about an ideal pose, awesome ‘alignment’ & super ‘flexibility’ – comparing themselves with the next-mat yogi, but by and large our classrooms have an Indian audience. The comparison here is probably more ‘belief’ & conditioning than comparing immediately to white yogis on the internet.

But I am also not ignorant of the generic trend in India to assume that anything imported, even if it was originally Indian, but is now decimated, repackaged and sent back to us, is probably better since it is shinier and glossier, at the very least, than the original desi version. I am concerned that perhaps the Indian version of ‘body image’ perhaps is worsening with the idea of yogis on the internet demonstrating asanas in bodies that are clearly not Indian or desi or of POC – so bone structure, fat distribution and even mindsets are very different.

Yes, we do have supremacy issues even within Indian culture, but with an already fragile sense of self-identity, perhaps it makes it shakier to hold on to resolve when we constantly see yoga being portrayed the way it is every time we open a social media app – white, able-bodied, super-toned, super athletic, lean, tight, lycra clad in teenie tiny sizes… yes, I can see the mismatch and the need to succumb to that sheen… or at least lean towards that because it seems to ‘in‘ and ‘right‘.

So the next part of today’s prompt was ‘How to heal these wounds?’

How to heal this?

I’ll admit I get frustrated at times at the sheer enormity of the task. Educating an entire sub-continent – I get it, it isn’t necessarily a one-person task, but it starts somewhere!

So, I persevere – every drop makes an ocean and all that. From this side of the fence, the best that I can do is speak up, create awareness, aim to walk the talk as best as I can. I’m looking at more speaking and being engagements and also raising other Indian teachers to add their voices to the global conversation.

Hopefully the movement in itself is a good starting point to create more ethical and wholesome spaces for more honorable yoga.


 

This blog is a part of a very unique yoga challenge led by my dear friend and fellow yogi, Susanna Barkataki – the Dare to Discuss Yoga Challenge. Both of us feel quite deeply about cultural appropriation and bring an authentic purpose to shine through constructive discussion, dialogue and education to make people (yogis & non-yogis) aware – to ‘lessen the appropriation and up the honor’, in Susanna’s words. In support of the challenge and the work, I shall be blogging my introspection and reflection here to share the conversation and build the cumulative effect.

The Harshest Critic

I love Ayurveda.

I love it because it is so intuitive and customisable. I love it because it has been a flashlight showing up my personality, quality and traits… as well as my eccentricities, biases and not-to-favourable attributes.

As a pitta-kapha, I get to enjoy my spirited personality as well as diplomatic tact – I take my natural courage and spearhead through life, taking charge and moving forward headfirst into whatever I need to address- and then sit back and think about ‘what just happened‘ later.. Oh wait, that’s my Aries nature, I think.

Regardless, Ayurveda has taught me to understand myself much better. I’ve come to learn what I’m naturally good at and what I tremendously suck at.

Last week, was the time for reflection – no, it was time for some traits to reflect back on me…. and the week was brutal.

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I’m not sure what exactly had caused the imbalance, but I was in a heightened mood of volatility – not angry or raging, but hot and intense. I was exacting, scrupulous and feverishly meticulous. And that was just the pitta speaking. When it came to flex, I was at my kapha best for being bull-headed and stubborn – reluctant to let go and angry at myself for being so.

My body rebelled by retaining a stubborn inflammation in my feet, that surprisingly would completely disappear during my asana time…. and the doctor’s question, “How is your stress life?” just about validated my suspicion that the inflammation was because of the stress that I was subjecting myself to.

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I didn’t realise how harshly I was berating myself until I found myself, in the dumps of a bad day, speaking with a friend over some common work, rushing to save a sheet we were working on… but not before making sure all the alignments were proper and the bold & italics were in their rightful cells.

I was unwell, I was angry (at the blood report, at the doctor, at the suspected blood culprit, at the prospect of endless other tests…), and other appointments going for a toss,…. I was furious at being out of control… that I was ferociously and vehemently being stubborn to not give up until I had the mere Excel sheet under my control.

PHEW!

Was not a joke, no it wasn’t.

Imbalances are real – and even if you don’t subscribe to Ayurveda, our personalities are even more real. Our thoughts really do make up our reality and I realised that my thoughts were being critical – hypercritcal …

Of myself.

I realised that while yoga was helping me this week physically, I had skimped on the deeper aspect of yoga that I was not paying heed to.

While I was called to being compassionate and yogic as a principle, I was not applying it to me.

Oh, the kind of self-depreciation, self-doubting and self-criticising words I kept repeating in my head. Even my acceptance felt like it was just to challenge my own self. I was fighting with myself.

And I wasn’t going to back down.

Until that reflection really caught me like a deer caught in the headlights.

I caught myself.

And it was time to get down into the much to disentangle myself from this mesh of self-reproach and castigation.

I turned back to the mat – my confidante, my ally.

And I turned towards the philosophy of yoga – my yoga…. for that solace that comes from knowing it is a source of comfort and faith.

I chose to work through my imbalance and really allow the yama & niyama to work through me. I chose to allow myself to be kinder and more compassionate to myself – to soften my heart towards myself just as I would to others.

I’m reconnecting with myself this coming week – through the yama.

And I’ll be reminding myself to just be a little more gentle with me – this is a lot, this is work… Just let me be kind to myself as I go through this.

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Feel your yoga

Forget about the pretzelasanas! Yes, I’m telling you that – just forget about them. One of the biggest misconceptions people have about yoga is that it involves twisting the body into ridiculously impossible positions. Well, some postures may do that, but they are not your average starting point.

For most of us simplicity is key – and that is where it helps to begin.

I keep my classes fun and engaged – I challenge the practitioners when I feel they need it and yes, sometimes it also depends on how I feel on that particular day. If most teachers were to share their thoughts, they would agree with that. Of course, many of also go with a basic class plan in mind (or paper), but again, it may be one of those days when the class is just not meant to have that planned session and the teacher has got no choice but to think on her feet!

So here’s one of my keys for beginner classes – I accept that many of us come in with an inbuilt idea of how and where our  bodies are positioned. I also understand that many of us exhibit varying shades of distorted body image. While we can address those issues over time, we start by offering simple tools right from the first ever class.

My pet cue in class is to feel.

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I haven’t yet closed a class where people have not felt different from what they started off with. This is not a self-pat-on-the-back moment, thought it might as well be one, but it is a cue that I feel many teachers would do well to incorporate into their classes.

Why?

Because many practitioners, including some long-time ones, have simply bought in to the idea that a good yoga session is similar to a good workout. Well, it is, in a way, but it is also much more with a scope of going even deeper – at all levels. Most people, yogi or non, have lost touch with how they feel. I know this because although I have a very strong sense of knowing what is happening in my body and any changes – I had, over time, and as a defense mechanism, shut down some very deep parts of myself – the parts that felt the feelings!

And still, it was not that difficult to reconnect – but it took dedication and showing up. In other words, to make my classes authentic enough for my students to walk away with a feeling of difference, I should have walked the talk. Right? Right!

So here’s a tip to try when you practice next time (and don’t worry about what level of challenge you are in):

Part I

Whenever you remember, mid asana, and no matter what state of ‘alignment’ you are in, think a part of your body – any part. Think about what the part feels like. Don’t try to correct or shift it – unless that is what you need to do to avoid any injury. But just stay with it.

Part II

Practice Part I when you are off your mat – on your way to work (not unless you are driving or operating machinery!), before / after you have a bath, before / after a meal.. in other words, any time!

What we’re looking at here is reconnecting our mind to our feelings through our body… Reconnection is the word and best way to make that happen is to begin by relearning how to feel.

Let me know how it goes!

Whose asana is it anyway?

Did you know that yoga is one of the most frequently recommended practices to manage stress? It is! And it is recommended by doctors, practitioners and non-practitioners alike – even if they have no clue about the ‘why’ of it – and even if they haven’t ever seen the on side of a yoga mat. So yeah, yoga is recommended as a practice that boosts not just your flexibility and tone, but also works on your moods and stress levels.

Teaching and practicing yoga has shown me that this very practice has the potential to also exacerbate your stress levels so much that you may begin to totally get turned off by the sight of a yoga mat – let alone someone sitting cross-legged in stretchy tights.

There are many reasons for this – and one of them may be that perhaps the practice is indeed not for your after all! Maybe you’re just not ready for yoga yet.

One of my pet lines in my classes is allowing the asana to come to you – whenever – and know that yoga meets you where you are.

But regardless of how we put this thought across, the fact that we are practitioners of the 21st century, pumped on by the rush of competition holds many fresh yogis in its grip and, in my very humble opinion, the role of the yoga teacher here is to gently shine light on this tendency and allow for the practice to unfold – in its own way, in its own time.

And this is also where the teacher needs to remember that demonstration of her absolute asana form need not come forward. This is not the time to show the student how far he has to go, but coach and allow them the space to recognise how far she has come along in the practice! There is no comparative text-book description for an ideal asana – although some perfectionist, orthodox yogis may choose to have you believe otherwise. Yes, there is the way an asana is supposed to look like (thanks to text-book imagery, super-flexible lead teacher demos and those Pittas in the class), but more importantly, there is a deeper way in which an asana is supposed to make you feel and experience its energy and influence – in its own way, in its own time.

And a reasonably good yoga teacher, with his/her intention set on bringing you the experience of yoga, will be a wonderful hand-holder through this perfectly personal journey.

Your body is your own – unique and perfect just the way it is…. there are no ‘should’s in yoga – just ‘be‘s.

So…

1 simple rule to follow

Make your practice your own.

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Who is fat shaming after all?

A few days ago I came across this article on my social media about a girl who went from 100kg to 64kg with pure determination and that her story was bound to truly inspire the reader. (I choose not to share the article here)

Curious to know what the story was, I read through the article and then found the girl’s social media pages with her personal comments and responses. My mind was already processing the story, the circumstances and coming to my personal thoughts on it (that I share here) – and, needless to say, I did not exercise my privileged right and power to hit the Like button.

Here’s why…

The report began with this:

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And I disagree – because it is not a given, it is not a free-ticket, and it is not true for everyone.

I agree that fat shaming is a global, social epidemic. It exists and yes, we experience the effects of it – from clothing to ridicule or even the assumption that being overweight equals to being less active or mentally & intellectually slower that your lighter counterparts. Yes, that list exists and there is a movement happening around for it… and that is not the reason for this post.

Here was my observation:

For all the inspiration that this article was supposed to generate, the journalist, the commentators and most importantly, the inspiring girl herself, in my opinion, failed miserably by adding salt to the injury of those who are still being fat shamed. The story was an blaring indication that she not only succumbed to the fat shaming, but, in fact, still continues to fat shame herself. Her motivation to lose weight because fat was ugly, shameful and needed to be taken off was a slap on the face of those she was supposedly speaking up for.

So what is fat shaming after all?

Here is the Google dictionary quick ref:

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To lose weight / shed a few pounds / trim up – these are terms everyone hears. I guess there is a place and reason for those discussions especially where the health and well-being of the individual is concerned. These discussions are serious, however, and are meant to be taken in a professional context discussing the repercussions of poor lifestyle choices.

Fat-shaming, or body shaming, is different. It is not a professional approach, but a categorical discrimination and social or psychological torment of an individual based on their weight or size… based on someone else’s misguided or misinterpreted purchase of a social stereotype of what a right body shape or size ought to be.

Body shaming is never in anyone’s best interests – it is a prejudiced, slighted perception intended to humiliate and denigrate another human being.

But… yes, there’s always a BUT…

But… if we notice, in these ideas, the definition is always one of finger pointing towards the perpetrators. We are all pointing fingers at the shamers for passing nasty comments and designing clothes with sizes that begin in XXS and end at M because they feel that XL is not even a body type!

But hey!!! What about the fat-shaming that some of these victims are subjecting themselves to!?

This motivating drive of this inspiring weight loss champion was the ‘appreciation and support of her friends and family about her weight loss’ and ‘fitting into smaller size clothes, which she always wanted to, and now she does’.

Technically, I should rest my case – but no, I have some more thoughts on this entire ‘shame the shamer’ nonsense.

At the end of the day, who is conforming to the social stereotypes? Not just the shamers but these victims too, who feel that they are inadequate because of their weight, shape or size. And when they achieve their self-obsessed weight loss, they join the bandwagon and body-shame too?

Is it only about the clothes that we want to wear? I agree that the fashion industry is still largely walking the pre-dated ramp, but we have more than enough bespoke designers, and I personally know some really good ones, who create fabulous designs and prêt-à-porter for the body you are in. (Message me, I’ll connect you!)

So it isn’t about fashion!

So what is it about then?

Health? Ok.. let’s talk about health for a mo…

Is it really about health?

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In other words, health is a state of well and happy body and mind. Good health is not necessarily not being skinny or not being heavy. Yes, biophysics and science indicate that weight plays a big role in the effort taken and toll on the body systems, but hey! I’ve been a big, curvy girl for most of my life and I still do a helluva lot of stuff and have the brains to justify my work!! (I’ve registered for the Pinkathon next month and I teach yoga .. to yoga teachers, for crying out loud!)

So what now? Does health refer to longevity? And does longevity really equal to a predefined number, or could it just be a predestined time? If we are uncertain of that fact, maybe we should just concentrate on being healthy for the sake of a joyous and balanced life – complete with the ability and accessibility to do the things we love and enjoy – with happy relationships with the persons we love and harmony in the social circles we exist in.

Wouldn’t good health mean a healthy respect for our bodies and treating them with care, respect and nurturing, providing it with good food, fresh air and movement? But no, our proposed role model goes on on to hashtag a delete carbs promotion too, so now apart from insult to injury, there’s a crazy fad diet involved.

I am upset at the misrepresentation. I am upset because we are now given a story that is asking us to make choices that are downright obsessive in nature. Spending the entire day (morning, noon and evening) walking and running to keep any stray fat away is scary. I was impressed, though, that she chose to run – but in her words, she chose to run away from all the negativity surrounding her and ended up on the road to transformation.

The transformation that would force the people around her to finally… accept her.

So there you have it – what it all boils down to … acceptance… Body acceptance.

But… here’s the catch, does she accept her body as it is even in this shape and size? I don’t know. I hope she does, eventually, because her words are still echoing the loud whispers of lack of it. And the people she has inspired and all rowing the same boat – the conformation to what they should look like and be like or feel like based on what media or social stereotypes define.

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Here’s my final point, if you’re taking a call to action for specific health goals – and if weight loss or gain plays a significant role in that goal – and when you approach that goal with a balanced plan that includes your body, mind, emotions and spirit, all being happy, I believe that you can and are entitled to lasting change and a healthy quality of life.

Minus the ‘obsession

But if, for whatever reason and as a backlash from the fad diet and crazy weight loss regime you choose to endure, you find back the weight that you lost (you get it right? to lose it and then find it?)… if you go all mental over it, then seriously… wtf?!

Hello!! People of the media!! There is enough and more of inspiration, healthy inspiration, out there that the world can do with – inspiration from skinny, toned, overweight as well as not-bothered-about-weight-at-all individuals. People making a real difference. STOP making heroes out of people who actually need HELP in making better lifestyle choices. STOP setting unhealthy and ridiculous benchmarks and trends that our youth, children and lesser informed audience may make. It is a responsibility we all share!

That’s it… rant complete (for today)…

Disclaimer: These are my personal thoughts and opinions.

The Return of the Prodigal Yogi

I took a while to choose the title for this blog. I was chewing on AWOL, astray, MIA, AWOL (again) and finally settled on the first thing that came to mind when I had to write this – prodigal. Yes, well, technically, there wasn’t any extravagant wasting of money, but the allegory wasn’t lost on me. And while the narrative of the prodigal son’s return ends up stirring our moral and conscientious values around money, loyalty and parental indulgence despite the misplaced audacity and belligerence of their children, I couldn’t shake off the deeper feelings of welcome and acceptance after my brief hiatus from regular practice.

So, yes, the prodigal yogi has returned – and with that return, comes an insight, an understanding and endless opportunity to do what I absolutely love – introspect, dissect and make sense of the whole experience.

For, in the grand scheme of things, what else is yoga otherwise, if not to apply and make sense of life through it?

But, the making sense would have to graciously make way for a little synopsis of a 2017 that came and went with ravaging ferocity – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Yikes! That fracture
The fracture that gave me the BREAK I needed

Although the fracture took a toll on my physical availability, years of practice, allowed for more basic strengths to come forth and establish themselves. Creativity, detachment, acceptance and presence of mind – all these qualities, amongst others, presented themselves at times when they were needed the most, unbelievable to onlookers even. The year went on to heal the fracture, but it also deepened the wounds with emotional turmoil, mental unrest and a sense of disquiet that often saw me questioning my own spiritual allegiance. Thankfully, the year ended with hope and faith emerging strong and gracefully setting me back on the path that I had, through circumstances, strayed away from.

So…

This return to path, inevitably for me, also returns me to the 68″ x 24″ of space that is mine – the yoga mat.

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Cleared for practice, with some limitations, I spent the months since September 2017, courting doubt and befriending procrastination, succumbing to a truancy from yoga that reeked of fear and justified the absenteeism with much fervor to anyone who asked me about it – including myself.

I didn’t even include yoga, or any of its affiliated words in my 2018 goals.

I chose to just wait and see – or so I’d like to believe.

And yet, my faithful yoga mat, with humble grace and perseverance, stayed put right where I last left in – in a place that was visible to me every single day – undemanding yet urging it a way much like best friends who’ve lost touch, or perhaps even had a falling out, and have forgotten why.

Until a few days ago, I finally took that step to her, my yoga mat (yes, she’s a she) and made up.

The prodigal yogi had returned.

But in my story, I didn’t ask for a third of anything, I didn’t ask for results, I didn’t ask for a quick fix to lost time. I didn’t ask for anything, actually. So we just picked up where we left off.

And that was enough.

I went through the practices I had often taught my students – the centering, the intention, the breath, the asana… and slowly fear and doubt crept in.

Insidiously, those questions attempted to seduce me away.

“Can you do this? Should you be doing this?”

I wasn’t sure. I was pretty much tempted to wait till September 2018 (doctor’s visit to schedule the next surgery for the implant removal) or a blurry intention to take a doctor’s opinion on indistinct asanas.

It didn’t take long for the realization to hit me – I was doing what I had trained myself to do over the many, many years of living in my cocoon of safety. I was allowing myself to be lured to a space of pseudo safety to avoid challenging the presumptions of harm, injury and hurt that could possibly cause me pain.

What’s the worst that could happen? I’d feel sore, have some pain, not be able to get into the asana as I’d left it months ago?

So???

So… I practiced what I preached.

I showed up.

I followed the moves and cues that came like second nature. I paid attention to alignments that were new to me. I discovered that I was working with an entirely new body! I tensed at attempting my Suryanamaskara. I marveled at coming down in Ashtanganamaskar, yet noticed my grief at being unable to take my leg back in Ashwasanchalana. I was kind to my right ankle that cried in Veerabhadrasana and grateful for its amazing strength in Vrikshasana. I paid attention to those little crunches in my ankle that reminded me of nuts and bolts instead of bone and sinew and asked them permission to explore this new territory. Natarajasana that was available on the left side but urged me to move to the wall into Saral Natarajasana for the right. Hamstrings were tight in Downward Facing Dog, but my spine that was supple in Sphinx and Bhujanga. The energy of Kaliasana strengthening my legs and conviction to face obstacles and the grounding into Ekapada Rajakapota that allowed me hope that all is not lost.

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt. It did (a bit). It was scary. I often tell my students that we don’t have X-ray machines or vision to see what’s happening inside our bodies, but we do have sense and awareness. So I used that – and fell back on what I knew I had to do.

I listened to my body… and I stayed with it. It was a new body, a newer practice and I loved it enough to respect its limitations.

Without a grudge and devoid of judgment, the mat and the practice welcomed me back into my space – like a childhood bedroom that has been aired and kept ready for my return. No questions asked, just acceptance, compassion and space – to show up and move on.

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I accept myself… wait, What?

I saw this post in my Facebook feed this morning…

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Photo Credit: Meg Gaiger (Harpyimages)

It bothered me…. a lot…. I decided to ignore it, hide it from my feed, do whatever, but then I realized that the reason I was so upset was not because it was a child in the picture playing with scissors and the obvious reference to trying to be someone else (that the media is highlighting as preferred!)…. No, not because of that… because I saw someone I knew in that picture..

I know someone who would have done something like that if that special blessing of ‘cowardice’ laced with ‘common sense’ hadn’t yelled loud enough. Yes, I know that person very, VERY well.. I know when she looked at herself growing up, totally unaware of the appreciative glances, but only saw flaws, too much skin, too much bone, too much hair, too much fat, too much of the ‘bad’ stuff, too little of the ‘good’ or ‘preferred’ stuff.

I know when her loved ones were helping with strategies on camouflaging what is unacceptable in society and making do with what would probably be a better alternative to present oneself in a mask. Sometimes, it looks so unnecessary, but with flawed body-image, it becomes a chronic, regressive pattern of self-sabotage and reducing self-worth.

I know… because once upon a time, this was me. My story. No, it wasn’t as bad as taking those gardening shears and getting to work.. and neither did it manifest in some form of eating disorder –  it didn’t. But it DID affect me on a more deeper and darker level and ambushed me whenever I least expected it to whenever I found myself in a position stuck with the ugly, emotions of self-worth, adaptability and independence.

So why is this image stirring a need for conversation on The Curvy Yogi’s page? Everything! Because … the karma is now my dharma. I appreciate the role that media plays and I very strongly support the role of stronger women (and men) to promote their children to go beyond what a 100 year old media plan is portraying and look deeper.

And it calls for truly and wholly accepting ourselves. It is not easy – I’ll tell you that. We are our worst critics. I still joke with friends that I’m available to donate fat if the option arose.. we all laugh, but a part of me prays that science came up with that advancement – in a safe and secure procedure, of course. I have been through moments of gloom when I thought of taking the easy way out  – liposuction, abdominoplasty, some other nips & tucks… and then remember that although I don’t frown upon those who chose to, I really am not quite into cosmetic procedures anyway…

But my point here is.. we’re not clay models who can easily be pushed into various shapes and take form – we aren’t! We’re human beings. Yes, we may have made some choices in life, poor ones even, that have left us to where our bodies are today…. or, maybe we are just born this way.. Either way, every moment of today, I have a choice – a choice to either take the darned short cut & nip, tuck & conform to what commercial sizing charts wants me to fit into…

Or… I take one baby step at a time.. and learn… forget… and re-learn again and again that it’s OK to love myself… that it’s OK to accept myself, wholly and completely .. with all my rolls, scars, stretch marks, etc… with all my flaws and imperfections – that if there is ONE person’s criteria that I need to conform to , then that one person is me  & myself… No one else… not now, not tomorrow…….

And to the little girl in the picture that spoke a thousand words and more to me, thank you.. for reminding me where I wanted to be… but to all the little girls out there, give the scissors to an adult honey… go out & play.. enjoy the sunshine, chase butterflies & rainbows, dream big, dream small, laugh, make friends, fall in love, fall out of love, live…

And… Wait, What?? Yes!!! Just remember to accept yourself…

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