I tried yoga a couple of years ago because I wanted to lose weight and do exercise because fat shaming is a thing & hating my body (& myself) is my favourite past time. I spent my time on the mat using every pose I struggled with or couldn’t do to further hate my body and berate myself. I pushed myself to stay in poses that hurt or for longer than was possible/wise for me because I “should” be able to do it.
Shockingly(!) my yoga practice didn’t stick!
I started doing yoga again a week ago because I felt the obscene tension/tightness in my neck & shoulders, where I store all my stress. I felt it and, instead of being angry or annoyed at my body for coping that way, I decided the self loving thing would be to try to help my body and relieve some of that stress & tightness.
I decided to go into a new yoga practice with a different attitude. I started doing short sessions, 5 minutes in the morning because then even if I do no more, I’ve still done something. 20ish minutes at night, but it’s ok if I don’t have time, or can’t face it. Turns out I both have time & want to do it.
I also came back to the mat with the acceptance that I am new to it and that’s OK. I have allowed myself to choose gentler videos, to move out of poses I’m struggling with sooner than the video says, to modify poses so that I can manage it.
The experience has been a thousand times different.
I am learning to slow down. I am connecting to my body (this a big, huge fucking deal for me). I am listening to my body and doing what I can instead of berating myself for not being able to do X/Y/Z. It is a motherfucking revelation, let me tell you.
This is all to say that yoga has (this time) so far been incredible for my mental & physical health. I would absolutely recommend it but with a huge caveat: come to yoga (or any exercise) from a place of self love.
Also published on Medium.