I've been practicing my headstand lately, and crow pose, too. I'm getting there! But I was actually flat on my stomach in a hot yoga class, lifting up into cobra pose, when the epiphany struck. It overcame me as I raised myself off the mat, tops of my feet pressing down, legs engaged as one body, thighs rotated inward and upward, little to no weight in my hands, my face in front of me in the mirror, flushed and sweaty, hair soaked, chest and shoulder muscles taut. I saw strength and beauty. It was heart stopping.
It took me until my 40s to appreciate my body, to stop the constant criticism and self sabotage. It just wasn’t necessary, all those years obsessing over this or that imperfection. For me, clumsiness, scoliosis, life-endangering shyness, sexual scars, and residual major trauma from school gym classes only made it worse. I’m so glad I’m getting a second chance; I’m so glad for that moment in cobra. To all the girls and women I know who are picking yourselves apart, I wish you weren’t, because I know the feeling, and it's a bad one.
The size of your thighs, the smoothness or roughness of your skin, the whiteness or yellowness or straightness or crookedness of your teeth, the shape of your breasts, the cellulite that you either do or don’t have on your butt…none of this is the point. None of this matters the way you think it does. The body is more than a home for spirit; it is a vehicle for joy in and of itself.
This is the great gift of yoga, the opportunity to discover our bodies not as a collection of flaws to nitpick, insufficiencies to overcome, but temples within which our infinite selves reside. Such was my epiphany during cobra, while my mind was not at all in perfect, empty stillness but instead running rampant with stray thoughts. I landed on this one. I revisit it often and would love your company.