Let me take you back to 1988, I was in 7th grade at Twin Groves Junior High. Life was good, the 80’s were good, I was happy. I was 12 years old, rocking my chambray Z. Cavaricci pants, awesome perm, I basically felt like I ruled the world. It was lunchtime, I was sitting with my friends and I got up to throw away my garbage, no biggie. While I was at the garbage can, a boy from the next table over shouted to me “Hey! You know you have a really big butt…right?”. In that second, everything for me changed. I actually didn’t know that I had a big butt. I was a gymnast and I had always seen my body as strong. I knew I had strong legs, but they needed to be strong in order for me to be successful in the sport I loved. I never saw anything wrong with that…until that moment. It was in that moment, I felt something I had never felt before, I felt shame. For the first time ever, I felt the feeling of not being “good enough”.
That feeling of shame was something I have carried with me for a very long time. I compensated for those feelings of inadequacy by using humor, but mostly by making poor choices that affected my health. I spent most of my high school and college years hating my body. I used to work out like a maniac trying to change my body, hoping one day I would wake up and I would look different. I made poor choices about what I ate…it was either eating too little or overdoing it. I couldn’t find a balance. I remember thinking that if I looked different, that feeling of inadequacy would go away and I would miraculously be happy.
Then I discovered yoga. Yoga brought me to a playful place that I hadn’t been in a very long time. It made me feel childlike and fun. The more I practiced, the more I loved it. The more I learned about it, the more I wanted to share what I learned with others. The yoga practice helped me learn self-acceptance, patience, and gratitude. Yoga taught me that nothing in life is ever perfect and that’s ok. Yoga also helped me become a better person, a better friend, a better wife, and most of all…a better mom. Are all those feelings of shame and inadequacy gone? Of course not. When those feeling start to bubble up inside of me is when I like to come to my yoga mat. Close my eyes, run through a sequence and breathe. It is my coping mechanism. The physical exertion makes me feel strong and capable, while the breathing calms my mind.
The life lessons that I have learned are why I teach yoga. Yoga has nothing to do with ego or wanting to tell people what to do or showing off the crazy poses you can do. It’s about sharing knowledge and being a guide to help others on their own path to self-discovery. It’s about providing another tool for people on their wellness journey, physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally. It’s about community, smiles, laughter, and FUN! Namaste means “the light in me sees and honors the light in you.” These are the words I choose to live by. Namaste, my friends, namaste.