Monday, January 4, 2016

An Ex-Yoga Teacher on Aging and Fat Tissue

Addressing the Body

I've always been athletic. The only place I found validation for my athletic body was in a gym. Gym owners loved my sprinter's thighs and I worked on my upper body to get it in balance with the rest of me. Remember, this was before Madonna made biceps fashionable. 

I trained for fitness competitions when I was in my twenties and walked around on stage in a bikini flexing my muscles. 

I loved athletic yoga. I have spent half my life in a gym training. I really enjoy it. And I am sure one day, when the time is right, I will go back and start training again.

But at the moment I'm a stay at home mother who has deleted most of the exceptionally beautiful yoga instagramers from her phone because it makes her depressed to see everyone in great shape while she is sitting with rolls of fat and her thighs rubbing together. I thought it would be inspiring, and its not. It's just irritating. 

I especially used to follow a woman who has three little children and a flat ironing board stomach and she used to say 'no excuses!' and shout it at the camera and I was honestly terrified. I only felt more shame for my inability to get on top of my weight gain. I happily unfollowed her and have been feeling remarkably better. 

Moving from Fear into Acceptance

We all know the drill. Face your fears. Just do it. It's so common that it's trade marked. But that doesn't mean it's not true.  I have posted a few pictures of my stomach and I aim to continue posting pictures of my body, not necessarily just the parts I'm uncomfortable with, but all of it. It's ok. It's just a photo. It's not me. I can not be defined by a few rolls of fat. Even though I was living in total fear of them.

Ever since I posted the first picture, and facebook tells me thousands of people have seen it,  I feel liberated. I feel fantastic. The other day I was walking through our town and a few heads turned to check me out, and I let my stomach out, and felt it wobble and thought yeah, and with a belly. That's right. Check it out! It was really funny. I surprise myself. I had no idea how much I cared about my extra jiggle. 

Archetypal Shift

I'm big into archetypes and I like to read about them and talk about them in a way to help understand what is going  on. And during December I went through a conscious archetypal shift. I went from fear to fun, in one night.

I was living in 'used to be' land. That is, I used to be a fitness professional. I was a teacher, instructor and I felt a lot of responsibility to maintain that image. And every day I was failing. I was getting fatter and less fit and resenting my life changes because I wasn't being the best I could be. Yes, that's my perfectionist! 

Once I realised what was happening, I turned to my self and said, give it up. Just stop. You are not a fitness professional any more. You are not a yoga teacher. You are a stay at home mother who has a few classes here and there. Just give it up. And I cried. And I felt grief. And the next day I woke up feeling wonderful, and it was the beginning of facing my fears.

I didn't have to struggle to be perfect any more and I could be just a fat bottomed mum, just like everyone else. It is wonderful. No more judgement and expectations. And I have my sense of humour back, my sense of fun and wonder. My writer re-emerged. And here I am blogging again! I love my writer! She's interested in the world, she's fun to be with, she wants to be engaged in life and talk about things and explore deep issues. My yoga teacher wants discipline and practice, and if you fail her, she's constantly disappointed and frustrated. And that's how I spent the last 6 years of my life. 

Being a sad, disappointment to myself. And feeling everything was in my way of being where and who I was suppose to be. 

Let's get something clear. I still teach. I still practice when I can, and I still give talks. But I am not going to be dominated by that dictator in my mind who thinks she knows better than I do.


First and foremost at this time in my life, I am a mother. And I tell you right now that I am turning to embrace this wonderful experience. I will not spend another minute of my life wishing for something that I do not have. I embrace this life. I welcome it. And these are not just words. This is what is alive in me. But I did have to let the other one go. Before the new could come in to take it's place.

And I won't be in 'Mother' for ever, but I am now, and I am so happy for the shift. I'm happy for this opportunity, I'm happy for not bringing my daughter up to feel that she was in the way of my dreams. No. She is in my dreams. Actually, literally. This is a post from 2008 about dreaming of Lydia!! Just saw it today and was seriously amazed. 

Thank you.

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