The other day I was sifting through photos on my phone and I came across a video I made this summer. I was in the middle of completing the Yoga For All certification class when I recorded the video. One of our assignments was to video tape ourselves doing yoga.
I put on yoga pants. I stepped out onto our deck, propped up my phone, and unrolled my mat. It was a beautiful day. My yard was lush and green in the background. My dog was all too happy to join me for an outdoor yoga practice.
I did yoga.
It felt great.
And then I watched the video.
Imagine my surprise when I watched the recording and discovered that I was fat.
I was fat and I was doing yoga. On video.
What had I been thinking?!
See, here's the funny thing: I know I'm fat. I mean, I live in this body every day. It's looked roughly the same for the past 5 years or so. So I know I'm fat. And I know I love to do yoga. But I had no idea that I was fat while I was doing yoga. I'm not sure what I expected, exactly, only that I don't feel fat while doing yoga anymore. I feel like me on my mat.
The realization floored me. I felt shock.
Then I felt ashamed.
I closed the photo album app on my phone and pretended that I hadn't seen the video. I went on with my life. I didn't post the video in the Yoga For All Facebook group.
I graduated from my 230-hour yoga teacher training program. I earned my Yoga For All Certification. I started teaching. And I loved it.
I loved being able to share this practice with people in all sorts of bodies.
Skip ahead to last week. I'm rummaging through all the photos on my phone and I find that same yoga video. I don't know why, but I grit my teeth and decide to watch it.
I'm surprised to discover that it's not like I remember it. I mean, I'm still fat in the video and I'm still doing yoga, but somehow my perception of myself has softened. I watch myself with a teacher's eye, imagining how I would cue myself to lengthen my spine here, bend my knees there. I laugh at my dog trotting into and out of the frame, chewing on sticks.
Maybe it's because I've studied with teachers who have bodies like mine since I recorded the videos. Maybe it's because I've met a tribe of yoga teachers in bodies so varied and amazing that I could cry for the beauty of it. Maybe it's because I've seen plus-sized students light up when they realize that the fat lady they don't know is the yoga teacher. Maybe it's because I found my power when I went upside down for the first time.
Whatever happened, there's been a powerful shift in my relationship to myself over the past year--and especially the past six months. I hope that your time on the mat gives you the same sort of gift.
Life is too short. This is the only body I will ever have. Why not celebrate what it can do instead of hiding from the camera?
I'm done with hiding who I am.
Here's the proof--both the long and short flow videos, in all their imperfection, for you to watch.
Surprise! I'm a fat yogi, I teach yoga, and I love it.