So you’re tempted to buy a tankini…

Well, be tempted no more. Let me explain why.

I started doing Bikram yoga when I was sixteen.

Bikram yoga is a practice done in front of floor to ceiling mirrors in a room heated to 105 degrees. So obviously less is more when it comes to clothing. Skimpy is encouraged. Booty shorts are the norm.

I never really noticed what anyone else was wearing though. I was quite comfy in my knee length gym shorts and spaghetti strap tank. And when the teacher said to “Suck your stomach in!” I swore I was doing it. Whatever… I mean, she couldn’t see my abs through my tank top and neither could I. I felt the muscles contracting… or did I? I guess I couldn’t really be sure.

Anyway, the important thing was that my stomach and upper thighs remained for my eyes only; in the yoga room, on the beach, or anywhere else for that matter {see below – me, circa sixteen years old, in my favorite tankini}.

before pic

Post college, I moved to Boston and shortly after decided to go to Bikram yoga teacher training. Whole different ball game. My new teachers called me out on everything. They told me to stop scrunching up my face {it was my “can’t you see how hard i’m working?” face} and just do the postures. They told me to get some shorter shorts and a smaller top so I could actual see whether or not my muscles were contracting. But why in the world would I want to see myself? I liked being covered in the extra fabric.

Well, here’s why. Because when we look at what we consider to be our physical “flaws” on a regular basis one of two things is likely to happen:

1. We choose to accept them.

2. We’re seriously motivated to make a change.

And sometimes both will happen, like it did for me.

 Yes, at first it was uncomfortable, to look at every wrinkle and roll.

But there was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. So I sucked in my stomach, tightened up my thigh muscles, and little by little started to notice transformations – in both my body and my mind.

My focus started shifting from my physical appearance to my physical abilities; I was impressed by what my body could do. I was amazed by my strength and flexibility, became aware of the patterns of my breath and the rhythm of my heart. I became grateful for the gift of my body and wanted to do all I could to take care of it.

All of a sudden my perspective had changed. Surprise, surprise, I actually started to accept my “flaws”, and then soon after started to like them. I was grateful for strong thighs and decided a softer stomach was actually quite nice. In turn for my gratitude, my body showed me some love – the extra weight fell away and muscle tone appeared {below you can see the result of this mutual love between me and my body}.

Are you keeping up with the sequence of events? Bottom line is…

IMG_0369

You’ll lose the weight and get the body you desire as a result of loving and appreciating what you have, not the other way around.

Step one? Don’t hide your body! Instead get to know it. Only by looking at yourself will you see what’s really there. Then you’ll be able to decide which parts to accept as they are and which parts deserve some extra love. Put on a bathing suit even if your body isn’t “perfect” {whatever that means}. Don’t wait until you’ve lost the belly fat or toned your upper arms. Stand tall and walk down the beach with your hands at your side. Shame and insecurity need not play any part in your story.

And please, moving forward, take whatever chance you get to swap your gym shorts for booty shorts, your tankini for a bikini. For better or for worse, your body is a reflection of you, and it’s about time you own it!

{Action} What will you do to own your body this summer? Join the convo on Facebook!

Written By: JodyG
Posted July 15, 2013 in Day to Day, Zero Stress

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