I haven’t always loved my body. Actually, I have always been far from loving it. I grew up as a chunky child and matured into an overweight twenty-something. I finally learned how to lose and keep the weight off when I reached my thirties, but I never learned to love my body until I eased into my forties and met my body’s best friend – yoga.
I still flirt with all of the other exercises out there. I know that I must do at least twenty minutes of cardio at least three times a week for my heart health. And so I run, but running doesn’t call me at all hours; I endure my running appointments the way one endures a bi-yearly visit to the dentist – a necessary evil.
And I still have a steady fling with the kettlebell. But I only use the kettlebell. I use it as a tool to make my body stronger so that when I meet my true passion, yoga, I am stronger and ready to go to the next level within the poses.
Even my training in the martial arts cannot surpass the wonder and awe that yoga has taught me about my own body. My yoga practice has given me a deep appreciation for the capabilities of my body. It has shown me that with consistent practice, my body can still perform a beautiful backbend or a challenging handstand.
Yoga has taught me great patience in learning how to ever expand and open, but at a slow and methodic pace. Gone are the days when I pushed my body to its limit to pursue a faster time or lower weight. Instead, I embrace a less hectic workout schedule and the time that I spend working out is done with a focused intention of how my body is benefitting and not how I personally am benefitting. My workouts no longer are about me and my shallow desires, but are about doing the best that I can do for my wonderful body.
Why do I love my body now? Because yoga has made my body better than it has ever been. Sometimes I have such a happy feeling of being blessed to own this strong and powerful body that I almost overflow with joy!
My body isn’t different than your body. Yoga can teach you, with time and patience, to love your body, too. You will learn to love the way that your powerful arms hold you steady in a balancing Side Plank. You will smile when you realize how fluidly you get up and down from the floor. Your heart will flutter after you rest on the floor between backbends, realizing you went deeper than the week before. And you will positively glow after a few minutes of Savasana (lying quietly) at the end of your practice when your mind is clear and calm, and your body is tingling.
Finally, I love the fact that that my body continues to get better even when I am not pushing myself to the limit. My yoga practice is a like a safe haven in a world gone mad with cardio. Yoga offers a beacon light of sanity and common sense, and freely shines a light on the path to balancing fitness against the everyday stresses that we all endure. Yoga gives so much back for such a small investment.
Yes. I love my body for all that it does for me. For ten minutes everyday on my yoga mat, my beautiful body and I are a team, and I love it that way!
Pilsung, (Certain Victory)