I didn’t have much time to write this (aka pls don’t judge me for how poorly it’s written) but I did want to take a minute to acknowledge something really important to me. 

The female body has been viewed and commented on by so many. Opinions fly from every mouth about what it should look like, what it should dress like, how it should act. 

I started doing yoga at a young age. When I first started, I enjoyed the physical challenge behind it. Twisting and contorting my body in ways that were unfamiliar to it, attempting at every class to be able to move on to more challenging concepts. I was completely focused on the physical feat behind it. I wanted to master my body at this point in time. I wanted to be able to control it, be able to push it to its furthest point. 

I took a break from yoga for a while when I began college. A break makes it sound like I took a week off but if I’m being honest, it was years before I got back on a mat. I just recently came back to it, breaking myself in with a hot yoga class. The class hit me, and it hit me hard. However, I found myself being able to do things I hadn’t been able to do, even when I was trying my hardest and practicing regularly. As I hadn’t been to a class in a while, I had to start fresh. I had to listen to every word the instructor was saying, watch the other members of the class, listen to myself as I exhaled deeply through the pain of starting over. This time around, I had focused not on pushing myself, but on listening to myself. On talking to my body, moving deeper into poses with each exhale. 

I accomplished much more in the exchange of talking and listening to my body, than I ever was able to when I was just telling my body what to do. Having a conversation with it, telling it where I wanted it to go but allowing it to lead me there at its own pace. I didn’t rush to get to the end, to master the pose right away. I took my time in getting there, acknowledging how my body felt at every single moment throughout the process. 

It takes time to learn how to listen to yourself. It takes time to acknowledge the fact that your best and most beautiful version of a pose, will look completely different than someone else’s. It took me years to wrap my head around what seems to be such a simple concept. I grew out of the idea of only picturing myself at the end. I now take the time to appreciate where I’m at, every single day. I acknowledge that it doesn’t matter how you look, but how you feel.

Listen to what feels right from the inside, not to what people tell you is right from the outside. Enjoy the strength that you find within, recognize the power that your body uses to push you through every day. That power is so much more valuable than any other person’s opinion.

This is just a small reminder to anyone who needs it.