Your body is it’s own uniquely expressive sacred temple.
(Yep I really did just say that… go with me for a moment.)
What I mean by that statement is that your body in and of itself is an expression of you and the unique way you are embodied in this lifetime.
From your size, shape, color, gender identification, family history, genetics, and more, you have been gifted in this lifetime with your own uniquely expressive body.
To think that everybody should have the same looking body and expression is ludicrous. Not all bodies were created to be the same expressions, thank god!
And yet it pangs me when I hear so often these very common stories when it comes to bodies and the physical practice of yoga:
“My body is too curvy to do yoga”
“I’m not flexible enough to do yoga”
“I don’t feel like I identify with or look like the girls in the yoga magazines, so yoga must not be for me”
“I am super flexible but that doesn’t always mean my body feels good in these shapes”
As someone who doesn’t fit the often popularized mold of a “yoga body”, I truly understand all of it.
As many of you know I struggled with body image and eating disorders for many years and have struggled with my own thoughts in wondering if I am fraud or if people will take me seriously because I don’t have what the mainstream might consider a “yoga body.”
When I first started teaching the physical yoga practice I had doubts of whether or not I could really bring the teachings of yoga to the masses (especially the physical practice), even if I couldn’t do all these bendy shapes, if I couldn’t go up into a handstand without the support of a wall, and if my skin hung out the side of my pants sometimes.
While those thoughts might still cross my mind from time to time, I have chosen to love the thoughts and love and celebrate the uniquely expressive body that I’m in.
So much has shifted since then, and while I don’t have all the answers, there are a few things that I know to be true now. I want to share them with you here in hopes of inspiring you to come home and own the unique expression that your body is, too.
While yoga is SO much more than a physical practice, we do have the gift of being in a body in this lifetime, and my belief is that one of our pathways home to our essential selves is learning how to love and embody ourselves (so much wisdom lives within our bodies).
It’s time to stop trying to fit yourself into a cookie cutter mold that was never yours in the first place.
Here’s what I know to be true:
- Yoga is for every Body (period). If you have any inkling that somehow yoga is not for your unique expression of a body I want you to try on this phrase: Yoga. Is. For. Every. Body. One of the ways I support my clients and students is to have them remember that ALL of their body and parts of themselves are welcome.
- There’s not one way to practice yoga. Yoga was by design never intended to sculpt, perfect, fix anything. The physical practice itself was created so you could sit more comfortably in meditation. What I love about the whole system of yoga (not just the physical) is that it is designed to support us in reconnecting and yoking all parts of ourselves, and to rediscover the truth of what is already within us.
- Each pose in the asana practice, in my opinion, is not intended to “fit” the same on everybody. Some of us have more internally rotated hips, others might have flatter feet. The beautiful thing about alignment in the physical yoga practice is that while yes, there are certain alignment cues that support the integrity of the shape in your body, they begin as an invitation to explore what lining up and alignment is for you. Use the cues offered and align them to your unique expression and body form from the inside/out, not the outside/in… which means they may look different in your body than the yogini on that mat next to you.
- Begin where you are… there’s no where to “get” in yoga because once you get there, there will always be another place to explore. You don’t need to pass any certain yoga tests or requirements to arrive to your mat. All you need to do is come to your mat. This simple act in itself is sometimes the hardest step of all. Give yourself permission to breath, explore, have fun, and get to know your own unique expression through your body.
- Speak to your body like you would a dear friend. We often are the meanest to ourselves. How we speak to ourselves matters; your body is listening. See if you would be willing to see your body as your ally, and begin by making friends instead of enemies with yourself so your full expression can come out and be felt by you.
Bringing it back to you…
Where do you know deep down inside you are holding off on unleashing and expressing the full range of expression in your body?
Have you been blocking yourself with a limiting belief about your body? Trying to fit into a box that isn’t yours to try and fit into anyways?
What new story are you willing to choose towards when it comes to meeting your body as the uniquely expressive temple that it is?
Begin this new story by choosing one mini action step you can take today to support you.
I would love to hear what is landing for you and which bullet point is speaking most to you right now. Hit reply and share away – I would love to hear your perspective on this!
P.s. I am getting really excited that in just a week and a half The Expressed Woman event will be here. Imagine yoga+sisterhood+exploring your unique expression+nourishment+inspiration, and so much more. There are still a handful of spaces open. Click HERE to claim your complimentary spot.