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?