During my ten years as a yoga teacher I have observed the harshness with which many people view their bodies. It quickly became my most important job to teach body respect and acceptance. I wanted to make my classes the one place where there was no obligation for the body to perform or look in a certain way. In my classes it’s okay for the body to be just what and how it is. I want my students to appreciate their bodies and learn how to feel free inside them.
Unfortunately, even many yoga teachers allow their and their students’ bodies to be forced, blamed and criticized. It is very sad to see yoga become just another way to condemn the natural body.
All over the world people find ways to neglect the body’s needs and reject its appearance. What on earth did the body do to deserve this treatment? What right does anyone have to criticize their body? Were they in any way involved in its creation?
The body is precious and it’s an absolute requirement for the Earth experience. No body, no earth experience. Very simple. But YOU are not your body. That’s right. You are not your body. You HAVE a body. Your body is allowing you to experience life. It deserves a lot of credit for this. A lot of gratitude.
But often we say our bodies are too fat, too short, too tall, too old, too young, too thin, too hairy, too weak, too muscular, too <add your favorite here>, etc, etc ad infinitum.
Now, who is responsible these perceived flaws? Are you responsible for how the body looks? Are your parents responsible? Your grandparents? Did the body make any of these decisions? Can the body reverse any of theses “issues”? Of course not. But we still criticize.
Our bodies change naturally over the years. Some changes we can influence. Others we cannot. Food and exercise, for example, can affect how the body looks. The body simply responds to our actions according to its predispositions. It’s hardly the body’s fault if it doesn’t change the way we want.
The body just is, like a flower or a tree. Do we blame the trees when they loose their leaves in the fall? Do we blame the rose when it withers? No, we don’t, because we know that is the normal cycle. We appreciate all the different flowers in the field and all the different trees across the globe. They all bring their own unique beauty, and I know you agree with this – as long as it comes to trees.
So why can’t we be a bit more understanding when it comes to our own bodies?
If a tree grows in a favorable condition it may flourish and the same is with the body. If you nourish it and give it what it needs in terms of nutrition, rest and care the body will flourish according to its capacity. Any plant growing in the right condition is beautiful.
But an oak will never become an apple tree and an apple tree will never become an oak. Do we accuse the apple tree for never changing into a different type of tree? No, we don’t. We enjoy the apple tree for what it is and the oak for what it has to offer.
Even though you have a body it’s not really yours. I mean, who owns what? If you for example made a meal that tasted terrible then sure, go ahead and criticize it. But you had nothing to do with the body’s creation. Don’t insult the force that created your body. Respect the fact that you were assigned this particular form of life. Care for it. Cherish it. Appreciate it. Love it.
The body really IS a temple. It’s the home of the spirit., of your unique beingness. Acknowledge that. Know it. Live it.
Love that you have eyes to see with. Think about it: How amazing that you can see! You can enjoy this beautiful planet! Love that you have ears to hear with. You can appreciate music! Love that you can feel touch: the light caress of the wind, the touch of someone you love.
Appreciate that you have the ability to experience pleasure. The body is doing that for you. You have the ability to enjoy good tasting food. Thanks to the body. You can experience thrill, excitement, joy. All through the body.
Not to mention all the physical processes that goes on in our bodies day and night. Our bodies allow us to live. Every second of our lives we are completely dependent on the body. We gotta give it some credit for that!
Worship the body for what it’s doing for you. Who are you to criticize it? Apologize right now! And then forgive yourself.
L-O-V-E- no matter what kind of tree you are