“The success of yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures, but in how it positively changes the way we live our life.” – T.K.V. Desikachar
I’ve been holding onto these photos for a long time because I haven’t wanted to just post them as another outfit… instead I wanted to have a chat with you guys! Way more fun.
So, if you asked me 10 years ago what I thought of exercise, I would probably say something along the lines of “meh.” Haha real talk. I had been to yoga classes at that point, but I barely practiced while I was at college at all. I would occasionally hit the elliptical at the gym, and I usually counted down the minutes until my dance classes were over. And then all of a sudden, I shifted. A lot of it had to do with cleaning up my diet. The better I ate, the more I wanted to exercise. The more I exercised, the more I wanted to eat well. And slowly but surely, it led me to where I am today.
See, I eat well and work out, but I am not the skinniest person in the world. I do not have a thigh gap, nor am I not crazy ripped. I still have body insecurities. So why do I exercise if it’s not solely to make my outside appearance as perfect as possible?! Ahhh… do yourself a favor and scroll back up to read that quote again ❤️
I exercise because it positively effects my entire life. If my body gets stronger, I get stronger. If I flip myself upside down in class, I can try to see things from other perspectives outside of class, too. If I nourish my body and treat it well, I can spend less time worrying about how it isn’t perfect and more time focusing on everything it’s allowed me to do in my life.
But here’s the thing: it’s easy to write this stuff when I’m in a great mood on a great day.
But what about the rough days? What about the first time you put a bikini on? Or go shopping for white jeans? What if you’re surrounded by a bunch of gorgeous tall gals? What about when you hear naturally skinny girls joke about how they never work out? It can get in your head. It gets in mine! I start to think… if I did harder workouts, if I went more often, if I committed more, if I stopped eating pasta (?), if I ate less in general, if, if, if… THEN I would have the perfect body. But quite honestly, who CARES if I have the perfect body?
You know what I really want? A healthy body.
Again, how easy is that to type from behind a computer? I don’t want a perfect body? Pshhh, of course I do! But life is so much better when you can be grateful for what you have instead of putting yourself down for what you don’t.
For me, I need to remind myself to shift from “my arms look fat” to “my arms are never going to be super skinny, so let’s try to make them strong.” And honestly, one of the reasons why I’ve started wearing sports bras/crop tops to yoga the past few years is because it helps me train myself not to judge so harshly. Depending on what position I’m in or which way I’m bending, sometimes I can see my muscles and sometimes I can see my rolls… and both of those things are OKAY! What a concept! That is my attempt to be grateful for all of it. I mean, what if this quote was really true?!
“Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do. Not a punishment for what you ate.”
Now I know some of you intense athletes might be rolling your eyes a little… this girl just doesn’t want to push herself to her limits! In a way, you’d be right. Woops.
Here’s the bottom line: I firmly believe in finding workouts you ENJOY, instead of ones you suffer through. I look forward to yoga, barre and spin. I honestly LIKE them! That’s half the battle for me. If I don’t like the workout or the teacher, I won’t go as often. Simple as that.
For example, a lot of my favorite yoga instructors have left or changed their class times at my closest studio, and I’ve been having trouble finding new teachers that I connect with. This means I’ve been going to barre more than yoga – and why not?! Once I find new CPY teachers that I love, then I’ll be right back into #YogaEveryDamnDay ? It’s all about finding what speaks to you.
What about you?
Do you struggle with your body image? Do you find exercising makes a difference? Which ones make you feel the best? I’d love to know!!