This morning I sat on my yoga mat and attempted my yoga practice, like the awkwardly self taught beginner I am. During each pose I tried to remember a few things; to be gentle in my movements, respectful in pushing boundaries, and to truly appreciate every inch of my body. That’s when it hit me and it hit me hard. It was the first time I talked to and about my body in a compassionate and loving way.
It saddened me to think how careless I’ve been with my words and actions; how unloving I’ve been about myself, inside and out. Soon, I had tears in my eyes. Here I was, having a conversation with my body, a heart to heart that finally expressed something I should’ve said to it a long ago: “I love you. I thank you. I appreciate you. I cherish you.”
Because I should love everything about my body. My hands have held little one’s fingers, as well as those of dying loved ones. My arms, they carried the weight of the world, the weight of my choices, but also the bundles of hope and encouragement that pushed me along. My lips, they spoke comfort to others and to myself, telling me I could go on even when I thought I couldn’t. They stood up for my opinions and they stood up for others. They kissed, and they tasted the saltiness of the sea. They spoke bitter words and taught me how those words are weapons. My eyes have looked at others with amazement. They’ve also seen evil, witnessed solidarity among people, squinted at the beautiful sunlight, took in majestic mountains, peered at the horizon, and watched the painted sky. My heart, which shattered to pieces and then mended time and time again, even when I thought it would never heal again. It is a heart that holds memories of everyone I’ve ever loved. It bursts with gentleness, understanding, and love. It has dark crevices, too, but they only help me love even the less flattering parts of myself. My stomach, the core that kept strong when I needed to be a mountain in the middle of a storm. My womb, it carried a child and brought life into this world. My feet, which carry me through life, step by step, always moving forward.
Yes, this body is amazing because it carries me. This skin is tough and incorruptible. I will respect it, cherish it, love it and protect it because it’s the temple of God.
Too often we’re told how we would be prettier, stronger, leaner, only if we looked different. We push our bodies, bend them, take them for granted. We look at them as if mere pillars of bones and muscles, a heap of organs that simply reside inside of us. There’s so much more. The intricate balance and beauty we crave has always been within us, experienced through the temple of our bodies.
Through the practice of yoga, I’ve finally done something I should’ve done as a child. Fall in love with my body. Not because I worked out for years and it looks the same I think it should. Not because it has the perfect weight, the perfect hair, the perfect teeth. ‘Perfect’ is the most imperfect lie ever believed, and it continues to deceive us. For the first time I see myself and my body in a new light, understanding how damaging the way I talk about myself can be. No, I am not perfect in the way the world perceives perfect to be, but for the longest time I wanted to be. Now, I know that true perfection lies in cherishing the body you’ve been given. It is a steady companion, a true temple, and nothing can replace it.
Please love yourself. Realize how amazing you are and how wonderfully you’ve been created.
in the loneliest moments
i have been there
― Sanober Khan