Updated: Apr 10
I started my yoga journey with the intention of integrating the poses into my psychotherapy work, helping clients connect with themselves and helping my couples reconnect with each other in a new way. Little did I know, that intention would shift inward and I would meet a new version of myself. Yoga does an amazing job of highlighting the need for awareness; whether that is awareness of breath, foot or hand placement, or even just awareness of how our bodies take up space. I knew that I would be walking bravely into this awareness, however, what I was not expecting was the acceptance that would follow suit.
I found yoga in my undergrad years. I was in my early 20s and transitioning out of the body I knew in high school as a three-season athlete and into the hormonal weight changes that happen in the monotony of early adulthood. I, like most Westerners, saw yoga as a way to get stronger, be more flexible and lose weight. With those intentions in mind, I enjoyed learning about the poses, but when I wasn’t losing weight, I quickly let it go. I would go on to struggle with the increasing weight and discomfort I felt in my body. For years, I barely even looked in a mirror; I could not stand to see this version of myself. I saw myself as a failure because I wasn’t as small as I used to be and my mind quickly equated this to not being strong, flexible, or healthy.
Admittedly, I was still in this space mentally when I started RYT training last year and though my
intentions were for this to benefit my clients, not me, I had no clue the transformation that was about to happen. We quickly learned about the 8 Limbs of Yoga, and the ways that asana (poses) are only one form of the Yoga path. One of the greater goals was to be able to sit with ourselves long enough to connect with the larger, Universal light that is within every one of us. Pairing this with the awareness of breath, space, life and light, I met a version of myself that I never had before.
I was sitting with all of the pieces of myself, my senses began to change. I began touching the
stretchmarks, the dimples, the wonky shapes and the hanging pieces. I started smiling as I ran my fingers over my stretchmarks, I saw joy in the way my stomach hangs down, I relished in the sound of my laughter when I got into a pose I didn’t think I would be able to. I started seeing a strong body, a flexible body, a capable body. I started falling in love with all of my body, seeing her as whole just as she is and delighting in my sensual self.
I also tasted the saltiness of the tears that came with meeting fears, coming face to face with
perfectionism, and releasing expectations and versions of myself that no longer served me. In the
therapy world we often highlight the importance of the “both/and”. It can be exciting and scary, it can be the best thing for you and the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do. There is space for all of it, and all of you. It was here that I found acceptance, and it is in acceptance that I found love.
In a world where we preach the benefits of self-care and self-love, I implore you to meet your sensual self. Fall in love with yourself in new ways, hear your laughter, see your wisdom, taste your potential, smell the magic within you and touch the depth and light within your soul.