“Reality check: Anybody with a body can do yoga.”

Video by MWN

I signed up at a local gym wanting to get in better shape and lose weight, you know how it goes.

They had recommended that I start with a yoga class. I had wanted to try yoga for years but I was too embarrassed of my body. I didn’t want anyone else seeing my big butt bent over and in the air or boobs trying to escape my shirt.

I would do a YouTube video class at home sometimes but half way through I would end up sitting on the couch just watching. I told myself, I’m paying for the gym membership I better use it so I put my yoga/pyjama pants on (you know the ones that are now grey but used to be black like a decade ago) and an oversized shirt.

I had envisioned that everyone in the class would look like that ideal yogi but it turns out there were people of all shapes and sizes. Still feeling embarrassed and the largest one in the class I parked myself on a mat in the back of the room.

My teacher was so warm and welcoming, I started to relax a little bit. The class was challenging but the teacher gave lots of modifications to the pose so I still felt like I was able to do the pose and not just give up.

Let your inner light shine ☀️

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At the end of class laying in savasana (corpse pose) I was proud of myself, not because I was able to do the yoga poses cause let me tell you my balance was shit in this first class, but because I showed up.

Showing up was the hardest part and I did it.

I kept going to yoga but I was searching for more. Then I was scrolling through Facebook one day and saw Dana Falsetti and Jessamyn Stanley, both plus-size yoga teachers breaking that yoga stereotype and bringing yoga to all bodies.

I thought to myself I can do this. Signed up for my first teacher training and cancelled it just two days later. I was so scared to step out of my comfort zone, into a world that I thought I didn’t belong. I felt so sad that I had cancelled and made up an excuse in my mind that it was too expensive and that I couldn’t spend that kind of money on myself.

Feeling these emotions about cancelling I knew that it was what I needed to do. So I found a new teacher training and paid the full amount so that I couldn’t back out and I showed up!

LISTEN: Mamamia Out Loud discuss, is it ever OK to comment on someone’s weight? (post continues after audio…)

Now I’m able to not just say yoga is for everyone but actually show it. Screw those social media stereotypes of what a yoga body should look like.

Anyone with a body can do yoga! Bring your saggy boobs, flappy arms, and jiggly butts to the mat and try it out. Don’t worry about looking dumb, because everyone else is also too wrapped up in their own worries about their bodies to notice yours.

Going to your first yoga class can be intimidating but just remember EVERYONE feels this way the first time. And let the idea of the perfect body in the perfect pose go because no one can look cute in happy baby pose, laying on their back, legs open, with their feet up in the air. Actual yoga practice is not about looking like a “yogi” at all, it’s about connecting the mind and body.

So pull on those yoga/pyjama pants, oversized shirts or go for a sports bra (do it!!!) and let’s crush this idea of the perfect yoga body.

Crystal Holt is a US-born yoga instructor based in Melbourne. You can visit her website here, follow her on Instagram and read about her travels here.

Have you ever felt self-conscious while exercising? Why/why not?

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