Mostly, I feel pretty good about myself. Not always, but mostly. Not so the last few days. It may be because my skin is even shinier (read greasier) than usual, and my limbs have been sweat-sticky from the heat. I have been feeling cumbersome and uncomfortable.
It’s at times like these that I miss my Ashtanga body. Although I had a sore neck and wrists, and there was that hamstring injury, my body fat was lower; I was closer to our cultural ideal of beauty. It’s a source of great frustration to me that I should still fall prey to external ideas about my appearance – and then bring them into my internal world. Body image is one of those things that needs constant attention, otherwise the bad old self-loathing habits creep back in.
I have just finished Kelly McGonigal’s Befriending your Body practice, and I already feel better. The creeping sense that everyone is staring at my chubby little arms (there, now you know my worst fear) has abated somewhat. The weight issue is a tough one, though, even for a dedicated yogini – on more than one occasion I have felt the pressure to look like those buff hotpant-wearing Yoga Journal models. I just keep reminding myself that internal comfort is more important than some unattainable physical ideal. It really really is.
Just don’t stare too hard at the arms next time you see me!