An Ideal State not an Ideal Weight

I began Yoga Teacher Training two months ago. I went from working out once or twice a week to a near-daily intensive yoga practice. And while others began to shed weight with this increased physical activity, I put on several pounds in the first two weeks.

“Muscle weighs more than fat, don’t worry!” people kept saying. But deep down, I was having an identity crisis. Somehow, I had intrinsically tied my weight to my Sara-ness. I was Sara anywhere under 125lbs. But now at 135lbs? That’s somebody else. That can’t be me.

Even though gaining a few pounds is by no means any great tragedy, I have struggled with this in the last little while. I struggled to let go of my idea of what Sara-the-yoga-teacher-trainee was supposed to look like. I struggled to dissociate my weight gain from deep-set wounds I carry within me that reinforce feelings of failure and rejection .

This last week, I noticed other yogis on WordPress in the midst of their own weight struggles. It must be the winter weight that’s making so many people think about this right now. But one amazing post in particular by michellelizabeth was like a messenger and spirit guide for me, inspiring the unfolding of my self-exploration and throwing me into deep meditative turmoil about what life I create for myself when my weight becomes so central to my identity. I particularly loved the wisdom in this part of her post:

So my happy weight? The ideal weight that I feel amazing at and where I look my best? I don’t know. Is side crow pose a weight? The number doesn’t matter anymore.

And so, I am actively choosing to live out a new phase of my journey, one that ignites my ideal state, rather than my ideal weight. And my ideal state is harmony. My one and only real goal in life is to fully realize the perfect harmony of the world, and to unite with my true spirit in recognition of this harmony. I want to never again be at the mercy of external forces, to never again chase aimlessly after transient notions of success, but to forever dwell in a state of kindness and receptivity to the wisdom and beauty that underlies the fabric of the world.

I have taken up a practice recommended by yogini Sianna Sherman to reaffirm to myself every day my true goal, and re-discover what I am, what I always will be. I want to remind myself of the eternal light inside of me that can never be touched or changed. Sianna’s practice involves meditating seated with your hands in Thunderbolt Mudra (as shown in the featured image), repeating to yourself a self-affirming mantra over and over again for three minutes, once a day. My self-affirming mantra is: I am in harmony. 

What self-affirming mantra speaks to your ideal state?

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23 thoughts on “An Ideal State not an Ideal Weight

  1. It’s really an amazing feeling when you can look past the number on that scale and focus on your inner being. It’s so freeing and it gives you the chance to focus on what really matters. I struggled with my weight for so long and I finally got to a point where ‘perfect’ wasn’t my goal anymore. It feels so good to just go by how I feel and not even care about the scale 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  2. A good post. Well timed as many are suffering from the scale syndrome. Yes, true, weight is just a number, and one should not tie oneself down to it. But that number, sadly is attached to you. It becomes an identity – Oh yea who weigh 85Kgs, be known you are medically Unhealthy and overfat! I NEVER used to bother about the scale, but how i feel on the inside. I’m tall you see, so I could get away with excess weight. But now, having taken up this Fat Loss Programme, i’m obsessed – by grammes!!!! It’s an awful feeling, and I have decided the sooner I get to my “ideal” weight the sooner I’ll be in that ideal state. I am not body shaming or anything, but clinically I have to lose weight… and its hard..and this just turned into a rant on your page…and I’m sorry….but i liked you post, and using it as my mantra! “I am in an Ideal State” (regardless)…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 🙂 Haha no worries! You expressed the struggle so well. In my third year undergrad when I lost my Freshman 15, I considered myself “ideal” enough so I pretended I didn’t care about the weight scale anymore. I was all about inner beauty since I now fit the right outer beauty standards (at least weight-wise). But now that I gained a little weight, it is very clear that I do care about arbitrary beauty standards. I think a little mantra work will help me heal whatever wound lives inside of me that makes me feel that I will only be accepted and loved if my weight scale reads the right number. I am totally for healthful practices, including weight loss, as long as the journey consists of daily moments of full self-acceptance every step along the way. So I guess this post was about coming to terms with the less healthful attitudes I have internalized and never had to confront for so long. Realizing that I have been pretending to myself that I was beyond the reach of weight obsession. Everything that happens in our life can act as as a messenger to what is going on inside, and I feel like my recent struggles are guiding me to avert my attention once and for all away from what I am “supposed” to look like, and fulfil my harmonious ideal state, which is something I always had and always will have. Thank you so much for this deep and important conversation 🙂 I honour you for your strength and determination, and wish for you all the love and peace in the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful and kind post. I love the strategy of the thunderbolt mudra and mantra. I’ve also gained a few pounds since starting YTT and have been perplexed. Very well timed post for me to read. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Isbanu 🙂 I am so honoured by your words. I figured I was in the minority when I started gaining weight. It’s always reassuring to know that others face similar struggles. Still, it’s tough to reconcile how I am “doing all the right things” and yet still gaining weight. So here’s a little self-affirmation for both of us 🙂 :

      You are strong, you are beautiful, you are whole. And your yoga training is helping you blossom as a warrior. This is your path, walk it with strength and grace. At this very moment, you are more you than you have ever been.

      The divine light in me bows to the divine light in you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This was such a wonderful read! I feel like so many people, including myself, struggle with attaching their self worth to a the number on the scale. It is very comforting to hear that other people have struggled with this also and have found a way to get past it. 🙂 Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for dropping by! I am still in the process of getting past the pull of the weight scale (not quite there yet). But my heart cracked wide open the minute I made that active decision to honour my body and self wholly by aligning myself with my deepest vision of myself. Now when I think, “I wonder how much I weigh today,” I recognize that the real need I am expressing is, “I want to feel good about myself today.” So instead of weighing myself, I do things that will make me feel good like going to a yoga class with my favourite teacher or working on my article or communing with nature or even reading a good female empowerment book. These are things that make me feel valuable in ways that have nothing to do with a digital number. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Really enjoyed this post. Every time I step on the scale I say to myself, this number does not define you. Now days I tend to avoid the scales, to be safe. If I like how I feel and what I see in the mirror there’s no need to stress about numbers. Enjoy those extra few pounds!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by! I admire your ability to go by how you feel (i.e. living from the inside out). I’m enjoying the new strength I can source because of my body’s decision to keep some extra weight 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I saw you drop by my blog and came to take a look at yours! Beautiful writing 🙂 And this post is so timely given I had just the same conversation at the weekend. We all know muscle weighs more than fat but assimilating that knowledge with one’s deeper self is a different beast entirely.

    I’m told that the “butt and quad definition” I now have is not only athletic but looks great. I’m working on believing it!!!

    Shall be dropping in regularly – thanks for the writing.

    Lisa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! It’s definitely hard to break out of our preconceived notions about what’s ideal and what isn’t. Thank you for stopping by and I hope to connect more regularly on your blog as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Your post is so timely. I am a taking a certification called Curvy Yoga. Anna is wonderful about body affirmations. I do not look like the “magazine” yoga teacher, but I am. The is, in fact a paraphrase of a sutra..I am, me, here and now. Thank you for a lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds amazing! Thank you so much for sharing that 🙂 Hopefully it will encourage more people to get into Yoga, knowing that there is such a positive and inviting space in yoga for all of us. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words 🙂

      Like

  8. I love this so much I just recently started yoga and was so upset when I found out I was gaining weight I stopped eating everything but vegetables like peas and green beans and carrots but it didn’t help me loose anything

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! Yeah it can be difficult to dissociate our health from our weight. But, as you continue, you will find your body will balance out at the best and healthiest possible state it can! I recently started developing abs, which I haven’t been able to do in years of gym, dance, swimming etc.! Don’t worry so much about limiting your food. Just worry about how you are feeling. If you are eating very healthy and doing yoga, you should feel super energetic and quite balanced mood-wise on most days. That will be the way you can measure your health, and we look our best when we are glowing from the inside out anyway 🙂 Stick with it, and let me know how you feel in a couple of months time! Your weight will eventually stabilize as well as your body gets used to this new mode of being healthy. Wishing you all the very best on this wonderful journey!

      Liked by 1 person

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