How I Joined Yoga to Lose Weight But accidentally ended Up Falling in Love with Myself Instead
As an over-weight Indian girl from a young age, watching weight was part of the ‘sanskar package’ (family values) that I inherited.
All forms and/or formats of workout be it aerobics, gym, Mickey Mehta classes, etc. . . . you name it, and I have given those classes more than a mere ‘shot’. So much so, I have lost count of the number of classes that I have enrolled and attended in my growing up years.
However, all these were of no avail. My weight always used to come back. My weight was like sand; the more I wanted to hold it together, the more I used to watch it slip through my fingers.
Childhood of giving away powers
In my growing up years, I postponed my dressing up sensibilities to that time in the future when I will be a particular number on the weighing scale. “Better to be safe than sorry” used to ring in my head before every decision – be it picking up clothes, activities, food, etc.
This not only deprived me of the ‘carefree-ness’ of my childhood, but also further, established firm roots of fear, guilt, and shame in me as a young adult.
As a teenager, I signed up for yoga classes with my mom, but in that class, I was ‘shamed’ for a stiff body.
My stiff upper body, in contrast to my mother’s flexibility, was a running joke in the class. The impact of that unnecessary comparison and shame left me with a bad competitive vibe. There was never a notion of enjoying some “me-time” or celebrating my existence. I had loved the idea of yoga but the class was toxic to my mind space. All yoga poses were converted into landmarks that have to be achieved.
Simultaneously, all this was negatively impacting my self-image, self-talk, and self-confidence. In those years, everything turned into a competition. Every activity had an objective to achieve or a goal to conquer. I developed a transactional outlook on life.
The cycle of self-doubt continued for a good two decades. Then post my marriage, a great landmark in the Indian household when one is given an ‘official degree to be an adult’, I told myself that, now, things have to be different – even though I had no idea ‘how’. Yet I wired myself not to let myself sabotage my efforts and not allow my past to define my future or even my present for that matter.
Giving in to my inner child yearning, with my yoga mat, I reached a yoga studio in my neighborhood. The class was immersive and I loved every bit of it.
However, like the twisted tale of a puppy, I went up to my instructor to know ‘how much weight can I lose?”.
She candidly said ‘none’.
I want to quote her answer here –
“It will be unfair to put a goal with a metaphysical experience that yoga offers. Commit yourself to the mat and then let your mind and body do their thing.”
That was my cue!
My inner voice told me that this is the change that I am seeking.
Her words completely changed my perspective (and since then i’ve never under-estimated the power of words).
After all the shaming and struggle, somebody told me to pursue an activity for the sheer joy of it. Prayers of no-strings-attached, pure unconditional feelings were finally answered.
We are all in this together
Soon to be 30 Aakanksha is a complete turnaround from her teenage days.
Today, I roll out my mat because I feel like it.
My self-talk is not ‘my arms are weak’ but what can I do to further strengthen my arms.
Today I am not disheartened when I cannot do certain asana, but I enjoy going deeper into asana that I have previously ‘perfected’.
The oneness of my breath and body makes me calm and puts me in a place of gratitude.
These days I hug myself more because I feel the need to compensate for all the self-hatred in the past.
As a creature of habit, I might check my weight once in a week (or more times), but that number on the weighing scale has lesser control over me.
I am finally making a conscious decision not to be defined by that number.
As a bonus, in this journey, my heart is so full of love that I have more love to offer to others.
Today when I pen this, I sincerely hope that you will also give yourself another chance. It is not going to be easy, but it will be worth the effort.
All it requires is a little bit of consciousness/ awareness on our part and you will see that your demon – be it weight, relationship, abusive habit etc, loses all its power (that power to drive you mad) over you.
In the end, just like that, ‘the weight’ <insert your demon> will have no weight.
This article drips of authenticity and I’m sure everyone relates to it in some form or another! Way to go, lots of love and light to you! 💕
Thank you Neha 💖