Before you get the wrong idea, I’m not a part of any hipster cult or weird nudist colony. I would consider myself to be a very average, married, vanilla mid-twenties female. I’m very new to yoga but I’m curious to how far I can push my body. And like many women I, too, have body image issues. I’m 5’5”, 170 lbs, and a little thick around the middle. I know I’m not fat, but I’m not skinny either. I’ve noticed the changes my body has endured since I’ve become an adult, and some of those are harder to accept than others. There are stretch marks and jiggly parts, scars and blemishes. I so badly want to accept those things, but it seemed I wasn’t taking the correct steps for it.
Rewind back about 5 years ago. I got to the point where I was obsessed with my weight. The number on the scale, specifically. I was weighing myself multiple times a day, counting calories, and recording it all. I did see results from it, but that process took a much greater role on my mental health than the good it was doing. I decided to ditch the scale. I haven’t owned one since and only weigh myself at the doctors office and I find myself surprised at how low my weight is every time. Not that it’s a significant amount less than I would think, but it reels me back into the reality that I’m not a huge, enormous cow like I see myself in the mirror.
The mirror. Here arises the next issue. I’m a comparer. The older I get, the more I find myself pinching, squeezing, and repositioning my body in the mirror every day. Wishing my boobs were perkier, my thighs touched less, and my muffin top a little less muffin-y. I don’t know why it’s consumed me so much lately, but again I became obsessed with my body’s imperfections and I’ve even noticed a change in mine and my husbands relationship because of it. It’s hard to let someone else love you when you don’t love yourself.
I’ve been trying to find ways of acceptance and self love through gentle meditation and prayer, but I was still struggling. I’m working to become more disciplined in my yoga practice due to my extra time at home now (thanks COVID) and have really been trying to focus on the strength my body gives me instead of its physical image during the actual practice. I don’t know about you, but this has been crazy difficult for me. I’ve always been a believer in facing my problems head on, and today I did just that. I did a little research on the idea behind naked yoga (totally blushing) and decided to really come face to face with my problems. So I got naked.
I closed all the blinds and locked all the doors. This was to be for me and no one else. I didn’t even tell my husband I did it, hence why I’m venting to reddit. But I made it through a pretty intense (for me) practice and by the time I made it to savasana at the end, I laid there with tears in my eyes. For the first time in my life, I was able to accept and love and be proud of my body for what it had done, and during my short meditation I prayed a thankful prayer for my strong, imperfect body.
Did this solve my self-image issues? Not even close. There were still pinches during certain poses from the extra love I have and it took some serious mental focus to get myself away from those thoughts. It’s going to take lots of work and a lot less criticism in the mirror to get to a good state and stay there, but I felt it today. I found the peace with myself, physically and mentally. Now, if you read this far, thank you. If this helps one person find that same love for themselves as I got a glimpse of today, then this terribly long post was worth it.
Edit: Wow! I wasn’t expecting an award for this post. It’s my first. Just wanted to bring someone a little hope that peace is achievable. Much love!