I started thinking about my yoga goals by trying to recall what prompted me to go to yoga in the first place. I checked my blog, but I started yoga before I really committed to the blog and I didn’t talk about yoga for quite a while. But then I remembered that initially, I emailed her to ask her about yoga…And I looked and looked for it in my sent message and then trash and then everywhere else, but it is gone…So, I am left to my memory.
I started yoga in the beginning because I wanted a better relationship with my body. My view of my body is ultra-negative and I have a weird double experience of my body. For the most part, I ignore it…It’s just an appendage attached to my head. Yes, it functions and moves me and keeps me alive, but I have no emotional attachment to it, I drag it around like I would a backpack full of homework I don’t want to do…Obligated, irritated and not feeling. Except…Except that I am also acutely aware of my body and its shortcomings, its ugliness and that the first thing people see is my body and then judge me accordingly. I feel disgusting and embarrassed and I hate my body.
Just last week, I had a body judgment issue at work. I was working with a new patient and she was trying to remember her regular rehab person’s name, so she started to describe her to me, “5’8, blonde hair, talks really fast, healthy.” Then the woman looked right at me and pointedly said, “Not fat.” <sigh> Yup….Thanks, lady…I really needed that. Of course, I just grin and bear it, though I really wanted to counter that body size does not necessarily indicate healthiness. And yes, I know that there are people who are tactless and direct…And with the population I have at work, they don’t always censor themselves so well. I’d like to say that I have developed a thick skin about it…but I haven’t.
So…back to yoga…I just thought it might help me feel more connected with my body. I wasn’t even thinking about liking my body…Just more of integrating it as a part of me…Less like detached luggage…More like part of my whole person. That was my initial yoga goal.
But…what I didn’t know is that yoga or at least yoga with my instructor is soo much more than that. When we do poses, she doesn’t just say things to instruct me and guide me, she also says things that bolster me, like pointing out appreciation for our bodies because they allow us to do yoga and other things we want to do, or that our bodies are part of our “exquisiteness,” or that our body tells us things. And she sees things differently, like when I lose my balance and step out of a yoga pose (which has been happening more and more lately), while my thinking initially was that I had failed, my YI always says, “Perfect.” Perfect because I am pushing the edges and learning the boundaries of my balance. Doesn’t her interpretation of it sound better? And you know what, this is one that I have accepted. Stepping out of a pose is not failure, but discovery. (See, I can learn to change my mindset!!)
And then my YI also bolsters my self-esteem, she is always glad to see me…It may seem silly, but someone who is always glad to see me…It makes me feel good. And she peppers our session with positive things. I am not sure how to describe it, but it is there and it is gentle yet persistent, which is kind of what I need….Like the water on the rock analogy. At first, I really cringed internally every time she did it….Like how could she say that? Can’t she see who I am and the ugliness on the inside and outside? But…now…I don’t cringe. I haven’t internalized it, but I can hear it. I don’t shut it out.
And over the months that I have been working with my YI, I have really grown to respect and trust her. Yoga is a safe place and my YI is a safe person. (Which is why a flashback at yoga was especially surprising to me.)
So…Goals? I don’t know…I am happy with the way it is going now and doing more of the same is fine with me. I do still feel self-conscious about things in yoga, mostly body related. You cannot imagine how I obsess about what I wear to yoga and I wear pretty much the same thing every week, yoga capris and a t-shirt, but I stress and obsess about it every time. Feeling less self-conscious would be nice…but then that’s not really a yoga goal, but a Heidi-who-hates-herself goal. Hmm…what if I don’t have any specific goals for yoga. Maybe I just want to enjoy it. Is that a goal? To enjoy time in a safe place, learning to accept my body (and maybe someday to like it) and to practice that it is okay to be me? Yes, I think that counts.
- To enjoy time in a safe and judgment free place
- To learn to accept my body
- Maybe even someday to like my body
- To practice that it is okay to be me
Okay, I am ready for yoga this morning. 🙂
I am going to repost a picture from a mandala I drew during the summer. This mandala was probably the first time I stopped cringing and started hearing my YI’s positive messages. Although I rarely have titles for my mandalas, sometimes a title pops into my mind as I am drawing. This one is called Radiance.