At my Friday night yoga class our super hippie, free-spirited yoga instructor talked about things that liberate us and things that bind us. As she spread lavender oils on our palms and temples she explained that our attitude is what decides whether or not we will feel liberated or bound. It is up to us.
I let that thought settle in overnight. The next day, when it was time for Angela and I to run on the hilly, shadeless trails, I considered ditching my racer-back tank top to stay cool under the unforgiving sun. This would mean running solely in a sports bra. For some, this is an everyday occurrence, but for me it was a moment filled with hesitation. I have always wished for the abs great enough to flaunt and the confidence to do so. I have a fear of something jiggling here or sticking out there and I never have the guts to bare my stomach.
At that moment I decided, to hell with it! I chose liberation over feeling bound and I whipped off my shirt. We hit the trails and immediately I felt exhilarated! This may not seem ground-breaking, but it was so much more than just the removal of clothing.
This was my moment of emancipation. Freedom from all negative thoughts and ideas about my body. I was feeling gratitude for the strength in my legs and my lungs and the stability that came from my core. I was in amazement at what my body can do for me. From long runs to fast runs to crazy yoga poses, it does whatever I ask it to. How can I ever talk badly about something that does so much for me every single day? I felt sudden regret for all of the mean things I have ever said about my precious, beautiful body. For all of the times I have looked in the mirror and pinched myself here and there, I felt disrespectful.
This run provided the chance for me to internally apologize to my body that has done me good even when I treated it horribly. This was my moment of complete and total satisfaction with myself and love for my body.
Why is it that we know it is mean and disrespectful to talk poorly about others, but we find no harm in talking that way about ourselves and our bodies?
Do you notice the amount of jokes or comments made about weight, fat and cellulite when you are in a group of women? It is always women speaking of themselves! Why is it so easy for us to tirelessly tear ourselves apart?
I know my moment of self-love will not last forever and I will once again be flooded with thoughts of imperfection and changes that need to be made. These are the moments we all face, when we need to remind ourselves what our bodies do for us. How good they are to us. How lucky we are to run races, cycle for miles and manipulate our limbs into Crow Pose. Your body is yours. Your one and only. Treasure it and treat it with as much love and respect as you can muster up.
Maybe your moment of self-love and mental release will happen differently than mine, in fact I am sure it will. Either way, remember not to let negative ideas about your beautiful body bind you in any way. Choose liberation over constraint. I did, and it felt damn good!
Glowing after our liberating run!
Ang took her top off as well and felt the joy!