BODY CONSCIOUSNESS

Recently I went downtown to get my hair cut. I found this place where they cut fast. You just go in and before you know it, you are out again. I do not particularly enjoy going to the hairdresser but this seemed like a good plan. I prefer not to have to talk when I get my hair cut, but somehow that is socially not done. So before you know it, you are engaged in this chit chat.

Feeling skinny
The hairdresser was a nice young woman in her 20s. We started to chat about where she came from and all. But after a short while we talked about our body shapes, in the sense of how we are build. She is a rather big person, with overweight. I am a tall and skinny guy, according to some people too skinny.
While we talked it brought back a lot of memories to the past. Feelings came up of being too skinny, being shy to show my body when going to a lake or beach. It is not that I suffer from an eating disorder. I love to eat. I make sure I have 3 regular meals a day. But somehow I don’t put on weight.
I remember when I had to be checked for the army, the doctor said, there is no fat on you. When she measured my fat percentage.
The hairdresser on the other hand, tried many different diets and after losing weight, always gained weight again. Her body is very slow with burning fat she told me.

Impact of remarks
The funny thing is, when I took my first Bikram Yoga class I never felt skinny. The first year or so I always practiced at the front as close to the mirrors as possible. I don’t remember ever looking in the mirrors feeling that my body was not having the right proportions. After a while I realized it was other people who always told me you are skinny or asked me how  come you are so skinny? 
The worst experience was in a club in the United States. I was wearing a tank top and someone walked past and said: that guy looks like someone from the holocaust.” I was having a good time until then. It really hurt my feelings. Up to this day I can still remember the night very clearly. Why would someone with that remark hurt me so much. And at the same time I wonder why do I let these words have such an impact on me. The time I spend in the United States made a huge impact on me. Most of the people I knew went to the gym, building muscles and working their bodies. I even ran into someone who said that I was being brave for being skinny. I decided that I should try the gym too, but after a couple of months I quit. I felt very unhappy in a surrounding where everybody was just trying to become bigger and build up a lot of muscles.

Inner saboteur
In the yogaroom I always felt okay with myself. My yoga practice has helped me to accept and acknowledge that this is the body I have. I can try to change it by going to the gym, but if it does not make me happy and more satisfied with what I have, why do it in the first place. 
It is the inside that counts, I keep telling myself. Be happy with who you are. Show what you have. But I know it only takes one remark to bring me out of balance. The yoga has given me strength and acceptance, but it is a thin line. I am still easily thrown of guard. Fortunately the world seems to be changing in the direction that there is no one perfect size.
But the biggest step is to quiet down the inner saboteur as Ru Paul calls it. That little voice that tells you, you are not good enough the way you are. Especially when other people are saying something about you. But that is their opinion that is not what you need to listen to.

Mind talk
Going inside with my yoga practice and meditations make me realize how much clutter I created and still create on a daily basis. There is no end to this mind talking about the way I look and should look. What I need to change and so on. But every time I walk into the hot room, I tell myself to have a smiling happy face when I see my reflection in the mirror. The body is the outside it is a part of me, but it is not me. There is so much more. That is also what I love about Bikram Yoga and Yoga in general no matter whether you are big, skinny, young, old, healthy or sick you can practice. You can work on yourself every day and become a better version of yourself, by accepting what is there. Every day is different and all that matters is take you take care of yourself.

What do I see 
Do not let what you see in the mirrors, or what people tell you they see, stop you from your yoga practice. A couple of years ago we had a woman in our school. She clearly was overweight. But her body did not seem to stop her from enjoying what she was doing. She had fun in the class, she was smiling and her body was quite flexible allowing her to move into a lof of postures. After class she said, this feels great I’ll be back. Unfortunately she never came back. Her friend who took her, told me a couple of days later, that her friend decided not to try the yoga again. It was too confronting to see herself in the mirrors and be in a room with people who had less weight to carry. After  class when she was home, it all sank in. And she decided that she was not good enough to practice yoga. Up to this day I wish she will come back
Accept what you have and by practice you will change.

Do not let your size be the problem or the sizes of other people around you, stop you from coming. Do not think what other people will think of you. You never know what others really think. I teach that lesson to myself every day. And it takes practice to keep reminding me. We love to see you every day no matter what.