Today in yoga class the teacher reminded us to be thankful to our bodies for all the poses that we could do as well as all the poses that we couldn’t do. I know I have heard this before from yoga teachers, but this morning I really heard it and let it in.
This morning it was easy to watch others find poses without the effort that I struggled through. Why is it so easy to put myself down for not being “stronger” or “more flexible” or “more-fill-in-the-blank?”
I am reminded of a writing exercise that I had recently reread about what we would write to our 30 year old self and say. And my biggest piece of advice I would give to ‘30 year old Heidi’ is to stop beating yourself up about your body and your weight.
You see, I was overweight in my thirties and forties, and it didn’t feel good. I felt bloated and sluggish, even though I played a mean game of tennis. And I didn’t like the way my body looked. Yes, it bore two children and gave birth naturally two times, and then breastfed those two children for more years than I care to admit, but still I beat up my body mentally.
And now in my fifties (gulp!) I have finally lost the weight and (mostly) love the way my body looks and feels and moves. But this morning I felt weak and inadequate. It was so easy to watch the others who are amazingly strong and fit and balanced and to compare myself to them. This morning I had to remind myself that it is not a competition, that their struggles are different, and that mine aren’t any more or less than theirs.
I had forgotten to be grateful to my body for the poses that come easily to me and instead was focusing on those poses that do not. Because I am very, very, very flexible, the poses that require flexibility come easier to me. My chiropractor lovingly calls me Gumby and threatens to pull me out of yoga because it makes adjusting me a challenge—thank goodness she is up for it.
This morning I forgot that my purpose in getting on the yoga mat 3 or 4 times a week is to build strength, build balance, and to direct the energy to move through my body in a grounded and healthy way—which I always feel afterwards. I needed to remember that I get on the yoga mat because I love myself, not to beat myself up, duh!
I had to pull my mind back from focusing on all that I can’t do (like those darn arm balances) and put my attention on all that it can do (like show up, do my best, and always have a smile on my face). I don’t want to spend another twenty years beating myself up for my strong, soft, curvy, healthy, flexible body. Instead I will be grateful for the poses I can do and the posed that I can’t.
How are you mothering yourself today?
What would you say to your thirty year old self?
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