Sunday, December 9, 2012

Yoga in the Mirror

I think I have taken yoga out of the "diet mentality" zone.

A few months ago in therapy, we talked about exercise and how sometimes at the same time as breaking free from the diet mentality, people will give up exercise.  For me it had been placed in the "supposed to" category.  Not good.  When you take diet mentality to the extreme I did and it becomes a way of life to restrict, fail, binge, and mentally deride yourself into shame over and over again, it makes sense.  I struggled with exercise in the same way as food.  In the same way that I knew I should be dieting, I knew I should be exercising because it's good for you.     Yet the instruction from my therapist was to move in actions and ways that feel good.  The directive was to find joy in movement.

I have been feeling a little more called to the mat lately.  I have been going to yoga because my body was calling me too!   I started by just getting on the floor at home and holding positions.  I worked up to a 15 minute DVD at home on occasion but this is the ugly process, I would deride myself and think,  "It's just 15 minutes, that's nothing, you should be doing more."

It takes a long time to stop that voice.  

When I do go to yoga, there are mirrors at the Y in the exercise room.  (I think yoga classes should not have mirrors but this is gym and not a yoga studio. )  As I have been contorted in positions instead of standing up straight, I see flesh in my middle area that I would not rather see and was actually shocked by my appearance in the beginning.  I work very hard to find clothes that do not cling to my body.  I think I have some form of body dysmorphia because the image in the mirror does not match with what I feel or think in my head.  I have been looking at this mirror at this Y in this way for a couple of years.  On Friday, I looked in the mirror and felt disappointed.  I thought I really need to shake this up.  I closed my eyes and FELT MY BODY.  I thought to myself, this exertion feels SO good. I feel the strength of my arms as it holds up my body.  As I confidently and smoothly flowed from pose to pose, I thought this feels good.  (Well, smoothly on most of the poses!) And then I opened my eyes again and thought this body with it's extra flesh IS DOING THIS.

This was just a moment but it was a beginning.  I need to consciously repeat this thought process.

I am beginning to understand how much work my body does for me but all I do is criticize it for it's appearance and compare it to others.

I think in that one moment of appreciation, I was practicing body self acceptance.  I hope to build on that.

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