Yoga Helps Me Love My Body

The truth is, I have a head full of bouncy, unruly, very determined set of curls.  On rare days, I can manage them with a bit of gel and leave in conditioner.  But most times, I resort to the sacred flat iron and pray for low humidity.  So much so that most people who have come to know me in Tampa, have never even seen my natural hair.  Earlier this summer, a dear friend pointed this very fact out to me and it left me with a lot of think about.  Why did I fight my natural beauty to the point that others hardly recognized with me without it?  What was I subconsciously trying to augment about my physical self every time I washed my hair?  Why couldn’t I just see my unique attributes as a gift, rather than attempting to blend in?  

This is where yoga has helped time and time again to aid me in the journey towards self-love and alter the conversation I have toward my body.  Yoga has afforded me tools to compassionately dissect and question the mindless behaviours, habits, and thoughts I have towards myself and others.  In yoga, a repeated action that has become strong enough to alter our thought process is referred to as “samskara”.  At this stage, we can have a difficult time discerning how and why these particular impressions formed.  And we often believe that this particular action is a product of who we are and the choice to do something differently has been forgotten.

This week, I challenge the dialogue I have toward my own body.  This week, I celebrate my unique being through Why I Love My Body, a body positive campaign founded by Cyclebar instructor, Monet Izquierdo, in 2017.  Monet created this campaign to encourage our community to talk about something they normally don’t…why they love themselves and for us to recognize what our bodies are capable of.  See below for a full list of studio offerings throughout Tampa, where we will honour each of our distinct abilities and recognize where the samskaras lie in each of us.  After all, “yoga is a mirror to look at ourselves from within” (B.K.S. Iyengar).  

By Chanel Vanzant, Bella Prana Yoga Instructor