Yoga Diary: All of Me

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I place my yoga mat gingerly in the middle of the yoga studio. What am I doing here? As if their entry were choreographed, the other students flow into the room like dancers. Delicately, they all position their mats with precision. I am the plumpest, most bountiful girl in a room full of waifish, fairylike forms.

Like the fairy queen of yoga herself, the instructor flitters into the room—her smile placid, her eyes humbly glancing downward. In unison, the students begin to meticulously execute their movements. Like spring vines, they twist gracefully toward the sun in salutation.

This was a mistake, I think. I should not be here. But somehow, grudgingly, I give myself permission to move. And for a moment, as I flow though the rhythms of Sun Salutation, I start to welcome my body back to myself, as myself, as part of the whole of my being.

I am shape shifting and buoyant like the reflection of the full moon in the sea. My belly is round and smooth like risen dough and is soft and cool under my palms and fingertips. Once sharp and firm and angular, my shape is now curved, oblique, and tender. What was once aggressive has become giving—once aversive, now somnolent. I breathe in and cultivate compassion for this accumulation of matter that is my body. Breathing in, I become aware of my body. Breathing out, I smile lovingkindness to it.