The hard part about yoga isn’t contorting your body, it’s confronting it.
I’m reminded of a suggestion my instructor made during a recent class. She said, when you see yourself in the mirror, stop and enjoy the view.
Consider the weight of those words.
Stop, meaning take the time to confront your truth, without shunning any part of your being.
Enjoy, meaning love yourself enough to live with your physique fully, regardless of size and shape and imperfection.
View, meaning respecting your body as something worth witnessing.
What a difficult thing to do. Because regardless of body type, there isn’t a person alive who doesn’t cringe a little when staring at their naked body in the mirror. I’ve been practicing yoga for eight years, and only recently has my inner monologue started to become compassionate towards my body.
But that’s the benefit of daily confrontation. As I learned from a brilliant sex therapist, the best way to increase body esteem is to develop pride through exposure.
And so, on the journey to becoming integrated and actualized as human beings, the kindest thing we can do for ourselves is to stop and enjoy the view.
Are you willing to believe the truth about yourself, no matter how beautiful it is?
Scott Ginsberg is a writer, daily practitioner and work study volunteer at Bikram Yoga Park Slope.