The sun has finally risen after what felt like an eternity of doom and gloom. As the summer months unfold before us, it's imperative that we take the time to open our arms and allow the sweet heat to melt away the dormant energy of winter.
For many, summer can be a daunting season of armpit sweat, giant bugs, and bare midriffs... It's easy to feel exposed and vulnerable during a time when everyone around you is shedding layers and frolicking in the sand for all to see. Especially when you can't even fathom the idea of frolicking half naked in the security of your own home...
I recently heard a song lyric that spoke to me on a physical, spiritual, and emotional level. The words were equally affirming, gut wrenching, and revealing in their simplicity, and they've hit me with the same level of intensity with each listen. Within the first verse of pop singer, Halsey's new aggressively raw single, “Nightmare” she sings this line: “I've pinched my skin in between my two fingers and wished I could cut some parts off with some scissors.”
Unfortunately, this is a lyric that I believe we can all relate to. We live in a society/culture that has fed us a one-size-fits-all standard of health, fitness, and above all, beauty for as long as I can remember; and as long as my mother can remember; and as long as her mother can remember, and so on... In today's age of social media, we are confronted, day after day, with images, advertisements, and headlines that affirm this standard, and thus lead us down a path to self hatred – which, as a result, leads us straight to our wallets. Quite frankly, i's a brilliant plan. What better way to get us to fork over our hard earned money than to exploit the one thing we need more than anything in this world: a sense of connection with others.
If a company can convince you that no human being will ever love you looking exactly the way you are, it becomes nearly impossible to resist the pull of our bank account.
This attack on self worth isn't limited to grown women, as they gaze longingly at the airbrushed abs on the cover of a magazine in the super market checkout line. No, for tween and teen girls with the entire world in the palm of their hand, the target on their backs – and their stomachs and thighs and chins and chests – are much, much larger. On a daily basis, girls as young as eleven are sold flat-tummy laxative tees by unconscious celebrities and influencers, who fail to inform the consumer about their personal trainers, their chefs, their dietitians, their genetics, and in some cases, their surgeries. They are made to feel so insecure about what is natural about their bodies that they eventually fall right into the narrative of that song lyric...
I have lost count of the amount of women I've known in my life who have, at one point or another, had an eating disorder. Many of my close friends and family members suffer from body dysmorphia. I, myself, tend to stare way too long at my body in the mirror and wish certain things were different.
Every week, I have the privilege of teaching yoga to some of the brightest, most beautiful women I have ever met. I watch them push themselves beyond their limits and work toward a healthier, happier relationship with themselves. I also see women who are the product of the same world I live in, fighting tooth and nail to scrap away every inch of unwanted flesh on their bones. I hear them complimenting another woman's body and, in the same breath, condemning their own. I hear mothers – actual walking miracles – sigh in defeat at the thought of what their bellies and thighs once looked like. Every week, my heart grows three sizes, only to break in two at the end of the day.
But that's exactly why I felt this message was too important not to share.For too long, I've lived in a world where insecurity is inevitable – a rite of passage; an unspoken law written on our foreheads the day we are born – and I am bored with it. I think it's time we take control of the narrative and write self love into the laws of life.
Who's with me?
Yeah, yeah, that's all sweet and cute, Crislyn, but how do we even begin to make that happen?
I hear you and, to be perfectly honest, I don't have a definitive answer. All I know is that your purpose on this Earth is so much greater than fitting into a particular pair of jeans or killing yourself to look like the airbrushed version of another human being, when they don't even look like that version of themselves in real life!
We're all aware of the cliches that remind us to love our bodies, but we neglect to harness and utilize their power. We neglect to recognize the beauty in our differences, and celebrate that magnitude of all that makes us who we are. We neglect to give thanks to the function of our limbs, and realize how remarkable it is that we still have them, when there are so many people who do not.
I may never experience what it's like to have full, voluptuous, bangin' hips, but at least my legs are attached to the right sockets.
But I digress.
To all the women and men who share their yogic journey with me, know that I see warriors posing before me, and I am so proud of you.
Keep going. Keep thriving. Keep living. Keep loving.
Summer Sun means a brand new summer schedule! Tuesdays at 9 a.m will now be home to Vitals, and Crislyn's Vinyasa class will be moved to Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. Additional changes will be announced soon. Stay up to date on our Mountain Yoga Studio Facebook Page for more information.
Your mental and physical health are our top priority. Drop in for a visit to rediscover your light!