Reflecting back on my childhood I have never been the fittest girl in the class , always on the round side , always too boyish to fit in with the cuties . My favourite sports where never anything to do with grace , they were mostly team sports played wearing unflattering uniforms .
I remember begging my mother to take me to artistic gymnastics once, I loved the idea of floating around with a ribbon following my every move. Needles to say that lasted one term, some of the girls openly laughed at me and the teacher herself was not very supportive and always made sure to point out that I was not as slim as the others but that I could try anyway.
Even when I joined the volleyball team I never really liked being in those tight hot pants as clearly they were not designed for girls with my curves. So I shifted and drifted from sport to sport until I went to university and started doing exercise classes and hitting the gym and doing a lot of walking . Although my figure did change considerably as I grew older I still stayed anchored to the idea that I was never meant to be a super-model , (who wants to be anyway ? ) and that jeans and t-shirts suited me much more than pretty tops and dresses.
Then in my late 30's I met yoga and things started to change in my body as well as in my mind. I remember going to my first classes wearing some old sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt, desperate to hide a body I was far from proud of .
As I got into practising more and more I started finding cotton too bulky and made a move to purchase some lycra trousers and fitted tops. Although it still didn't feel right and made me even more conscious of my rolls and curves I went along with it and watched my body being slowly transformed by my practice.
My abs started to show , my legs started to tone up and my jeans started to feel looser. I remember running back to my car after dropping the kids off at school one day and feeling like I could run and run and my legs would just keep going.
The physical benefits of yoga became apparent to me very quickly but the mental benefits are the ones that have been most astonishing.
I now teach several classes a week and could not teach in baggy clothes , I would wear my yoga kit all day every day with pride. I am simply not bothered about how I may look to other people's eyes , I feel great in my skin (most days).
Occasionally I still suffer from leggings envy or the dreaded "hide all the mirrors" day but as these days happen I watch my thoughts come and then let them go.
Finally the other day I decided I as ready for the ultimate test and shot not one but two videos with my belly showing with the sole purpose of sharing them with my students and anyone who would take the time to watch them to sustain their practice.
I had to battle my fears , the voices from the past telling me that I should not wear anything too revealing and cover up my wobbly bits, the media images floating in my head of all those stunning yoginis with flat bellies and 6 packs. My video had a purpose and it meant something to me. It does not have to be the picture of perfection but just a picture of my perfect imperfection.
We live in a culture where young girls hate their bodies and do anything to become what they think they should be in order to be loved , it's about time we all took responsibility to promote diversity and the beauty of shapely bodies.
If you want to know more about feeling good in your own skin take a look at these inspiring yoga teachers :
Thank you for stopping by ...
Love and light