By: Breanna Lynch
I recently recorded a video of myself during my home yoga practice, while wearing a leotard. Yeah. It was pretty vulnerable. In the spirit of self-growth and body positivity, I challenged myself to go through with it, and subsequently to watch it and jot down immediate thoughts. Below you will find a very small snippet of what made its way from my brain to my paper.
Yep, those are my ribs
And my spine
You can see my ass cheeks
Honestly, reading this back now gives me quite a chuckle. Let me first preface this by saying that I have posted plenty of photographs and videos of my yoga practice. But, there was something about wearing a leotard and then watching myself move through a vinyasa that was uncomfortable.
Yet again, I challenged myself to step into the discomfort and dig around below the surface. This digging looked a lot like laying in savasana on my mat for a solid fifteen minutes. While my body resembled stillness and calm, my mind was acrobatic. I thought about the fact that I generally like to wear shorts while walking around at the beach instead of just my bathing suit bottoms. I thought about the fact that I generally don’t wear anything besides athletic shorts if I wear shorts at all in the summer. I thought the fact that I have always gotten embarrassed when another person comments on any of my muscles in front of a group. And then I thought, wow, this is growth. The girl who has been avoiding compliments and shorts and emphasizing her muscles for so many years just made the most beautiful lines with her body in a very exposed manner. I felt an overwhelming amount of gratitude.
Later that night I had a great conversation with a close friend about this experience. When I explained I had seen so much life and strength and power in the video, she congratulated me. She said, you saw yourself how so many of the people that love you, see you. She said, I wouldn’t even think to do that. All I would see are flaws, are shadows. I would not be able to look past that in order to recognize any beauty, any light. From this, I realized a whole number of things. I am not alone in this. I have come a long way. I am doing okay. It is part of my responsibility to foster this journey alongside others – because we need each other.
So each day that I find myself on my mat is a good day. I hold space for myself and the many blessed people in my life – a commitment to meet everyone where they are. No questions, no judgment. Just be. Be broken, be fragile, be confused, be full of doubt or full of confidence, be grateful. Any which way you choose to be, just be. Accept the challenge of challenging yourself. And if you find yourself on your yoga mat in a leotard, know that your ass cheeks look amazing.
Breanna Lynch is a pediatric occupational therapist living a life of simplicity in good ole Cincinnati, Ohio. She fuels her soul with yoga, all the nature adventures, and a lot of coffee.