Body Image

I never liked my body. Probably you hear that a lot, especially from women.
Me too, I hear that a lot and I think that a lot, well I thought.
In the past I was shy and embarrassed about my body and the way I look.
The endless circle of thoughts I had was about negative body image and insecurity in my appearance.
Even with learning and educating myself in feminism scripts, in alternative philosophical attitudes toward mainstream beauty standards and in meaningful theories of Buddhism I couldn’t shake off Society’s pressure (the way I interpreted it).

I also never liked sport or exercise so much. At school it was not appealing to me and only when I traveled for the first time and had to hike mountains, I realized I should find a sport that suit me. It took me years to find Yoga, really, 12 years. I didn’t do any sport regularly, I dieted a lot but it only made me eat more. When-ever I told my brain to NOT eat something, I would want it even more. That’s how my subconscious work. It hears no – it will do/want the opposite. A feeling of lack creates more desire and more void. So obviously limiting diets, counting calories and being always in a hate/love roller -coaster relationship with food didn’t work out for me.
I don’t believe it works out for anyone.

Because I am a mirroring person, I get a lot of motivation and inspiration from people; if I meet a super exceptional person – he/she influence me.
I started Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) in Australia and upon meeting my wonderful teacher, I saw she has imperfect body! Not like the bodies you are used to see in the Yoga world, fit slim, masculine without any fat on it. She had muffin tops at the sides of her abdomen and thighs and arms that were masculine but with a bit of fat on top. That was the day the Penny has dropped.
I saw in front of my eyes the preaching I’ve been taught. It doesn’t matter what type of body you have as long as you are healthy. Healthy body can come in different shapes and sizes. It doesn’t matter if you are a yoga teacher and your body does not look like the magazine yoga bodies. The magazine, adds, commercial images won’t show you fat yogis, medium yogis, skinny yogis, or any other type of body that is not the mainstream beauty standard. Yoga industry too have fell to society rules.
But at that moment I understood that It doesn’t matter how I look, I am worthy of teaching yoga even if I have fat on my abs, and not highly visible muscles in my arms.

Gradually I felt more and more comfortable with my body thanks to yoga. Everything I read and thought about in theory came to practice on the mat.
I started practicing more and more, and with the practice came the understanding of my body, being attentive to it, being aware and mindful to every feeling, every muscle and every joint.
 
During the YTT course I learned anatomy, spiritually and physically. During the asana practice of yoga I got more in tuned with my body and during the meditation I improved my brain activity and gained the ability to tame and control my emotions. Body and mind came together.

Only by noticing what I eat, when am I really hungry, when have I had enough and I am full. What is this food makes me feel, which kind of food my body rejects! And my body rejected. My body showed me when was enough and what types of food does not make it feel good.

After inquiring all that – I lost 8 kilos, without even “dieting” consciously. I was dieting subconsciously.
Today I am more in peace with my body image. I learned to let go. I learned that really what important is the beauty within, the beauty of the soul and the health of our body.

I also think that in the yoga world which is not competitive, there is room for every body. There is room for imperfection. Besides, who decide what is perfect and what is not?
I am imperfect, I am a human being. I can be a yoga teacher without the abilities to do every yoga posture exist, not even every ‘difficult’ one. And again, who decide what is difficult? What is difficult to me is not to you, and vice versa.
I am not a competitive person and that is why I resonate so much with yoga.
There is place for everybody.

I used to hate looking in the mirror, and even after loosing 8 Kilo I still looked at the mirror and saw big thighs, Muffin tops on the sides of my belly, and a big double chin :)  Nooooo, All that doesn't matter! Love your self from the inside out :) 

I used to hate looking in the mirror, and even after loosing 8 Kilo I still looked at the mirror and saw big thighs, Muffin tops on the sides of my belly, and a big double chin :) 
Nooooo, All that doesn't matter! Love your self from the inside out :) 

Amsterdam Yoga Buddhism Blog