Last month I shared with you that I had found a yogi community on Instagram and that I was participating in my first Asana yoga challenge: #SizeDoesntMatter hosted by @mynameisjessamyn and @yoga_davana. It was such an amazing and fabulous experience that I am doing it again this month with new hosts @biggalyoga and @yogimj. I encouraged friends to join me last time, probably thinking that there is safety in numbers, but in the end it was just me, my phone camera and what became my yoga practice. As it was meant to be.
The idea is simple. A yoga challenge host, gives you a month or a week of poses for you to attempt and photograph. You post the pictures on your Instagram daily along with the host’s names and the hashtag and sometimes sponsors, for everyone to follow along, view and support one another. It was exciting and daunting. Being someone who had only dabbled and had no recent experience it was a bit intimidating. I spent a decent amount of time researching poses, prep poses and counterbalances and started to be really excited by the entire process, from research to taking yoga selfies. A skill in itself!
As a woman period, attention drawn to your body is generally relegated to the sexual or the critical. Being a fat woman in today’s society includes being expected to be relegated to the sexual or hypercritical judgments and presumptions about your body, your identity and your lifestyle. That being said – the idea of putting msyelf “on display” in awkward positions where there is nowhere to hide, mask or mirage my self perceived flaws, was scary. You know what they say, being fearful and proceeding anyway is the definition of bravery. So I opted to be brave.
“So, The two yoga challenges I am doing are an exercise in humility and courage. Feeling at home in my body has never been a problem. Seeing my body in action is another story. A grand lesson and a challenge that I am quickly releasing. My body does amazing things. Watch it happen. I realize in viewing the picture I was a reach away from my heels and I could not do it…but I will. To conquering fear.” – A post on my FB Day 3 of the Challenge.
My bravery paid off. I not only quickly got over my fear of judgement or negativity, I began to love my own image for the strength it portrayed and the inspiration I was starting to provide to others! I have forged so many new and supportive relationships in this journey, been cheered on by friends, acquaintances and strangers alike and most importantly I have been able to truly start to embrace my body exactly how it is!
The fact is I am not doing yoga to change my body. I’m over the moon on having gained significant upper body strength in the last 30 days, something I have never had before, but believe it or not, this effort and these challenges have nothing to do with losing weight or transforming my body. I am doing yoga to transform my life. To be present, patient, engaged and at peace. It’s already working.