In the Om

I’ve been going to yoga 3x a week and it has been, in a word, transformative.

Something beautiful occurs inside me during the hour and a half I’m in the studio. I am able to BE in my body. Not the entire time but in longer and longer pockets the more I go. One class last week I realized during savasana (where you lay at rest on your mat at the end of class) that I had not been in my head for the last 30 minutes.

This is monumental, you guys.

Though it’s hard to focus on your mind’s racing thoughts when you’re trying to hold yourself up in plank pose. Plank pose kicks my ass, y’all. I am afraid of it. Every time the instructor says “and now move into plank pose” something inside my body screams out “NOOOOOOOO NOT PLANK POSE!” But I do it. I try. My arms shake. My wrists strain. I feel the heft of my body balancing on hands and toes. I think about my thighs, my back, the alignment of my spine. I breathe deeply. I try not to give up.

I try not to give up.

And on the days I’m not feeling as strong and I have to rest down on my knees before anyone else in the class, I let myself be okay with that. Because I did the best FOR ME. One of the things I love most about yoga is that there is no competition, no besting except your own personal best. I’m feeling more and more comfortable in class to the point that I’ve actually stripped down to a tank top.

If you recall, I don’t wear tank tops in public as I have a lot of body image stuff around my bare arms. Sure, I am not waltzing around Capitol Hill in sleeveless tops (yet) but I am in a group of strangers wearing yoga pants and a tank top. I’d say that’s progress.

I’m excited to deepen my practice. Because in doing so I am deepening my relationship with myself and my body. I am not doing it for weight loss but for self-care, self-love, poise and peace. First I find a path to gentleness with myself. The rest comes from there. That core place inside me that is resilient yet soft, grounded yet hopeful.


21 thoughts on “In the Om

  1. I’d like to talk to you more about this. I’m still unclear what the poses have to do with anything mental. Is it the discipline of moving your body in different ways.

  2. I have been considering taking yoga for a while now. I know it would do wonders for my body, the circulation and my posture. But, I hadn’t really considered how healthy it would be for my mind. I think it would do a world of good.

    This post is inspiring. I’m going to see about yoga today.

  3. You know how I feel about yoga: LOVE. Having to focus on breathing and the different poses kicks those other annoying thoughts out of the head.

    I’m in a tshirt because I can’t bare thinking of myself in a tang top, except one time when I did strip down to my tang top because I was ridiculously hot. But never again since then. I need to let go of that too.

  4. I have never really been a fan of yoga, but I do consider my workout time meditation. Good job on the ability to be comfortable in a tank top. I am trying to work up to wearing my cycle shorts alone without other workout pants over them. LOL Cheers!

  5. For Neil: I abhor crying in public (not when other people do — when I do. I’m private like that). I also have a hard time letting myself be vulnerable; I’m very “put one foot in front of the other and keep making the next ‘good’ decision for yourself.” In other words, I’m kind of a self-control freak.

    That said, every time I’ve ever been significantly sad or upset about something, yoga has…kind of released that, for lack of a better way to put it. There’s something about thinking *only* about the way your body is moving, and really listening to the instructor tell you to listen to and respect your body, that just makes things…more natural, for lack of a better way to put it. Put it this way: I’ve cried at yoga more than once (not sobbing, but tears running down my cheeks, totally emotional) and have seen other people do it too. Literal stress relief.

  6. I think yoga is this incredible practice that allows us to better understand and strengthen our bodies and give ourselves reprieve from our minds, even if for a few moments a day. I kind of wish this practice was introduced to children at a young age … I think we might all grow up to be a bit more balanced if it was.

  7. I totally can relate to Neil’s comment, but for me, I had to do yoga (and several times) to get it. I don’t think a conversation can convey it – at least, it didn’t for me. At all. Yoga is kind of mysterious. And a little miraculous. No shit.

    Very, very, very impressed and inspired by your going three times a week. Especially since I haven’t managed to make it even once for a few weeks. I bet 3 xs a week makes it just stick in your body and heart better. And the tank? Double, triple, quadruple impressed. I don’t go anywhere near tank tops or yoga pants or yoga clothing of any type. Even though I think it would be easier to practice in that stuff. We’re all working at our own pace 🙂

    Good job, girl!


    When you MAKE yourself make time for you, you reap the rewards.

    I am so glad you are REALLY taking it to heart.

    And the tank top? Yes.


  9. My sister always said that when you are exercising– esp the tummy region– it brings forward your more deep seated issues. It can be difficult to push past, and keep going, but it is part of the progress that needs to be made.

    This may not help at all with the tank top body image thing, but I read this book yesterday that hit me sort of wrong too. You know, what people have said to us and think of us. This lady was saying how her husband was not attracted to her, since she had her baby and gained weight. His feelings, the inevitability of it all, made her very self conscious. As he removed his feelings of wanting her, she had nothing behind it to make herself want-able. Many of us, we feel that. Helplessness, and criticism, sometimes even from Within.

    I think first off in life we start off as fresh and new and how WE see ourselves. Then we want to compare to others favorable. Then we get Afraid. Then of a sudden we realize, we are afraid of how we look, because of Other people’s conceptions of us. It becomes a punishing stick, or a wall we constantly bump against in futility. We therefore can feel worse about ourselves. 😦 I mention this, because I am struggling against the concept of how I feel because of how I am Viewed. I struggle against my own weight, and how it stands between me, and feeling truly worth it and loved. I wonder sometimes who it was who put that Wall there. Was it me? My Mom? Other people? Spouse? Am I the one to blame, in the long run? If I suffer, is it me who is making me suffer really? Just thoughts.

  10. I’ve been so away from yoga…which I am supposed to be studying, *cough*. But that’s a story for another day.
    In plank, try spreading your fingers apart and then push into the mat with your thumb and first two fingers. It helps release some of the strain. 🙂

  11. Oh, I sooo want to be in your place right now. I took one yoga class at a work retreat about a month ago and thought one class was transformative — I can only imagine what a practice would do for me. Unfortunately, there are no no classes in my little town. But I bought a couple of DVDs and hope to get going at home just as soon as mom gets out of the hospital. (She’s out of ICU!)

  12. This makes me so happy to read, Sizz! I’m a little embarrassed by all of my yoga endorsements on here, but every time I read your more emotional posts I can’t help but think of how helpful it would be for you to take your troubles to yoga class.

    Neil – One of the main focuses in yoga is on breath/breathing. It truly does transform our bodies and brains just by increasing oxygen levels and getting out of our heads for a bit. It’s amazing that something so basic can be so profound.

  13. Yep, this is exactly why I love yoga. I’m a thinker too and yoga, and now meditation, is one of the few activities that gets me focused on my body and not my thoughts. You seem to have a total handle on it!

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