After losing 70+ pounds, I started practicing yoga as a way to switch up my workout routine. At first I struggled a lot, I was down on myself often, and almost gave up many times.
I remember being in a beginner class where down dog was the resting pose, but my shoulders were so weak and I weighed so much I couldn’t hold it. After months of practicing, yoga has become the foundation that my life stands on.
It teaches me daily to believe in myself, to keep doing what brings me and others joys, and to be ever open to giving and receiving love. Some days I gain physical strength, some days mental, but every day I commit to my practice I take one more step on the path to find my most authentic self.
What did you think yoga was before you tried?
I was intimidated by the class setting and thought yoga was for fit, (probably white in the western view) long/lean women. My fear came from a belief that my body was too big, that I would never be strong enough to do most of the asanas. But my perspective has changed.
As I said above, I see myself in a more positive light, this receiving more positive light. I have accomplished a lot with my physical body in the last 7 months of practice, but that is only a small expression of the internal change that’s underway.
Do you identify YOUR body as a yoga body?
Yes! My body and every body is a yoga body. Yoga knows no physical boundaries. Yoga is not about contorting your body into a pretzel or standing on one hand. Yoga is about the internal path to the true, authentic center of self. It’s about dedication, intention and passion.
Yoga is about stripping away every layer of the ego until you have nothing left but who you really are. A yoga body belongs to anyone who is willing to commit and surrender to the practice on the journey to self love and acceptance.
How are you Audacious?
I have always been independent. I’ve always been all or nothing. When I want something to happen, I make it happen. In some ways this has been positive, but sometimes I am impulsive or controlling. I think embarking on this yoga journey and sharing it with others is one of the boldest things I’ve done.
I am doing it to stay true to myself, to follow my passions and do what I love. I have realized that when I’m doing things that make me genuinely happy and allow me to share my gift with others, the universe rewards me – things fall into place.
For me, allowing my ego to dissolve is the boldest thing I can do. It makes me vulnerable, less controlling, and impulsive in ways that follow my heart. That in itself is unconventional for many, even me.
Advice for beginners?
Do it for you. You are enough in this exact moment, exactly as you are, and you owe it to yourself to believe that. If you don’t, allow yoga to be your guide. Don’t worry about anybody else’s practice, because it is not yours. You don’t have to do crazy poses to be good at yoga. Give yourself a chance at self discovery. And do not compare – comparison is the killer of joy.
Any tips for trying new poses?
My favorite tips: for arm balances, keep the gaze out, use your fingertips as breaks, draw the navel to the spine to create space, squeeze everything towards the midline, don’t be afraid to face plant.