For as long as I can remember, I have had body image and weight issues. I always knew I was bigger than other girls, but I didn’t realize it was something negative until 5th grade, when at my yearly check up, the elderly pediatrician told my mother – in front of me – that I needed to go on a diet and lose weight. I was far from being obese, and obesity was not an epidemic in children as it is today. However, that comment by the doctor changed my world forever. Entering middle school, I began to take notice if I was the heaviest girl in the room (I wasn’t, but I thought that I was), I grew self conscious, and I found any excuse not to take gym class because of the embarrassment of having to change in front of all the “skinny girls.” Before high school started, I lost weight, but I could never stop feeling like I was always the heaviest girl wherever I was, including at home.
That idea and feeling had lasted throughout my whole life... until I found yoga. After trying yoga at home by watching DVDs, I finally found the courage to walk into a yoga studio, Charlotte Family Yoga Center. My very first class was Heated Deep Stretch. As I set up in the back of the room, nervous and feeling anxious, I took a look around and noticed something – there were various shapes, sizes, and people of all ages, and not one person looked at me like, “what are you doing here? You don’t fit in,” as I had experienced gyms and other exercise classes. The next day I took my second class, Slow Flow. And guess what? The same thing happened. I was a student, just like everyone else.
As I continued on my yoga journey, I began to feel strong, confident, and powerful. I stopped worrying about what I might look like in a pose, if anyone was watching me, or if I was the biggest person in the room, because it didn’t matter anymore. What mattered was that I have people who love me, not because of what I weigh or look like, but because I found love for myself from the inside out.
Now I am a yoga teacher that has led as many as 200 people in a yoga class. My latest adventure is Yoga Bootcamp, and I am actually posting videos of myself for anyone to see. I would be lying if I didn't say that every once in awhile, insecurity creeps in and I check the room. After all, I am human and always a work in progress. But I always come back to my self love cultivated through my practice, and I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.