Fast forward to my first day of training here in Santorini. As our instructors took us through our first day of the Ashtanga primary series, I looked around in utter amazement. The things these women could do with their bodies! Women of all different shapes with varying levels of yoga experience and all of them just so amazingly beautiful in their movement. At mealtime we would sit around complimenting each other on our mastery of different postures – a tableful of conversations involving, “Oh, I wish I had your core strength,” or “Your headstand is so good!,” or “I wish I could get into that arm balance.” Always followed by some self-deprecating remark about our own abilities.
Then the other day my roommates and I decided enough is enough. How absurd is it that this group of 23 beautiful, strong women are constantly putting ourselves down? What is there to criticize really? Our bodies are truly remarkable. They have carried us through 14 days of demanding, day-long yoga practices. They have allowed us to balance upside down, carry the weight of our bodies on a single arm, and sustain countless chaturangas. Who are we to complain about these bodies and their petty imperfections?
I’ve seen the human body perform some pretty incredible acts. I watched my husband’s body transform from a comatose state, to semi-paralysis, to walking with a cane, to carrying our son a mile to school in the cold winter. The healing and the strength our bodies are capable of are absolute miracles. And yet we send them so much negativity.
So, I have made a commitment to bring more awareness to my inner dialogue as well as to the comments I make aloud about myself. This body has done so much for me in the past nearly 32 years, it’s time to start showing it some gratitude. Our bodies are awesome creations. And our health is the most valuable gift we have. We should enjoy it while we have it, give thanks for our strength and infinite potential, and make sure we allow ourselves necessary healing. Gratitude to self is just as important as gratitude to others.