Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fat Girls Can't Do Wheel Pose and Other Soul-Crushing Myths

I did a really beautiful wheel pose today in yoga class.  This is a big deal for me.  Yes, I have done this pose before, but usually I muscle my way into and end up kindof scrunched in the back - not fun.  Anyhow, I learned how to lead with the heart, which essentially takes all the pressure off of your back.  Fabulous!  And, I really did feel my heart open...

At first, I didn't think I was up for it today.  I haven't been to yoga class for a week (which feels like forever), and it was a really sweaty, challenging class with lots of backbends. Let me just state for the record that I usually hate backbends.  They're hard, and I feel unstable, and they tend to hurt my back.  Needless to say,  I was a little bit over it by the time we got to the wheel pose. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the teacher told us that the poses we hate are the ones we need the most. *SIGH*  So, there went my excuses about backbending being unlikeable.  Still, I noticed old thoughts creeping in - the ugly kind of thoughts like "fat girls can't do poses like this," and "I am not good at yoga because I am fat - I should just do the easy bridge pose, and fake my way through it. Nobody expects me to do this, anyway."  I suddenly wanted to hide, which was impossible given that I was at the front of the room.

So, when the teacher came over to me, and essentially told me I had to try it, I told those nasty fat girl myths to take a hike, and led with the heart. And my body followed.  I really have never actually felt good in the wheel pose, but this felt really, really good!  In that moment, I felt my heart open, and not just physically.  I suddenly remembered that I am loved and worthy.  I am deeply connected, deeply present, and deeply alive. 

I didn't need to cave in and hide, I needed to open up from the heart, and breathe. 

I love yoga because it is absolutely true that the lessons I need in my life come through working with the poses.  If I limit myself because I am "too fat," as I have done many times before in my life, where does that leave me?  Caving in and hiding out.  Bowing to the pressure of nasty myths about what I can't do, and who I can't be.  It leaves me broken and half-hearted, and I am a full-hearted kind of girl.  It only makes sense, then, that the practice I need now, in yoga and in life, is the practice of leading with the heart, and opening to possibility. 


Pauli said...

Rachel - where do you do yoga? I'm interested in starting. My lack on flexibility is starting to get to me.

Thanks for posting!

Rachel said...

Hi, Pauli! I do yoga at Green Mountain Yoga in Arvada. Really a great studio! -Rachel