Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 1:27PM
In my continuing effort to be authentic, I will be very honest…recovering from having a baby at age 38 has been challenging (read: hard as hell). I will sincerely try not to gloss over this in order to make myself look like a model or example to those of you out there looking for one! I will set aside my ego (damn ego!) and admit, yoga teacher or not, four months post-partum, I am just NOW starting to feel a semblance of normal! Having this sweet, luscious babe has taken a toll on my body in every way—my surgery was long and awful, I had to use painkillers, I gained too much weight and despite all efforts it won’t budge, my hormones took a dump leaving me feeling crappy, I had a full-body extremely itchy rash for 12 weeks (near insanity levels of itchiness)—which, led to weaning the baby much sooner than I wanted, thyroid issues, lack of sleep, and there are many other annoying/gross/awful things I won’t mention…and after 8 weeks, what felt like an eternity, I started working out and practicing again and thus caused a neck issue that is STILL bothering me and has left me largely inactive an extra 5 weeks. It has been rough and humbling and that’s no lie. When I started this website, I promised myself (and you), that I would be human for you. I’m writing this because I put myself online for the masses as a way to connect, not as a way for me to look good. Honesty inspires honesty, right?
Here is another truth I cringe to write…I feel pressure as a yoga teacher to be an example. I was hesitant to attend yoga classes in town because I thought my students and peers would think I wasn’t a very good yogi—all chunky and broken, bottle-feeding, gasp! To be fair, it isn’t totally in my head. I could give you examples of the things people say to me at times, inadvertently confirming I am to be held to a higher standard. I see how other teachers present themselves; I know how I can judge them. I ADMIRE the yoga celebs that cop to drinking wine, eating meat, or struggle with self-image. Yet, I wanted to be a shiny beacon that said “look at what yoga can do for older mommas!”…and I have felt like a total failure in that regard! I haven't felt like the mommy warrior, the leader, the tree. Yikes! I am embarrassed to admit that because I look like such an egomaniac…and I guess I was (am). Instead of reaching out and making my experience relatable, I have been laying low (hiding) until I could present what I thought you'd want/expect. cringe! Last week I made a comment to a friend about my smaller lole yoga pants not fitting—instead of smacking me across the face as she should have, she said, “I think people who wear size XL yoga pants would still find you inspiring.” That stopped me. She was right, and I apologize for not realizing it. It isn’t as if I don’t feel “cute” exactly, I’ve been rockin’ those XL’s too ;), just not like myself. Not like the “me” I think of as inspiring to you. CRINGE AGAIN! That isn’t giving any of us much credit, is it?
So I’ve taken the past week to consider WHAT IS INSPIRING. Personally, I am inspired by people being REAL. That is, people who are the same behind closed doors. People who own their truth, who speak their opinion, who admit when they are wrong. I feel empowered by a person finding their strength by overcoming weakness. I feel moved when people are raw and honest and brave. I am inspired when a person asks for help, and then accepts it. Know what I think is totally uninspiring and, in fact, defeating and completely annoying? When people are FAKE. So when I realized I’ve been keeping quiet until I can appear more together (in the name of being more “professional”) it started to feel like a lie, like I was being fake. How gross is that?! I wasn’t being the example I look for in others. In my efforts to be “better,” I was letting you down. What do I always tell you? Vulnerability is beautiful. Not just vulnerability from a place of strength, or when it suits me, or after I figure it out.
I said it before and Ill repeat it now: YOU ARE WHO INSPIRES ME (see article below!). So I have to do what I’d have you do, which means give myself a break, take the time I need, not be so hard on myself, and own all the parts of me that could potentially be an inspiration to you. Including the messy, un-idealistic, REAL bits. Including the I’m-still-figuring-this-out confusion. Including the xl yoga pants. Including the dusty mat. Including anything that may knock me down a few notches on that self-imposed ideal yoga teacher scale…I am ok if those of you looking for inspiration in a perfect package decide to move on, I’m not your teacher. Even as I write this I wonder why should any of you care? It isn’t that I am important. I offer this only to make you look within, to spark something in you.
So there it is. I have enjoyed my baby immensely but the past few months have challenged much of what I’ve learned in yoga from every angle. But I am chugging along and lately feel some physical progress, sleeping a bit more, moving a bit more—and that improves everything! It reconfirms that yoga does help to smooth the wrinkles in life and how much I truly need it to feel good. It is a gift, too, to re-discover this delight in movement. Every pose and stretch feels brand new to these aching muscles, to this new shape. So in a way I am the yoga infant; but I plan to progress each stage with this awareness and with every bit of gratitude I can muster. I miss my students. I miss teaching. And I trust (and hope), that when I am ready you will be there—and we will both know you can trust me, cuz I’ve been there.