Little did I know, this false belief was my biggest obstacle, not my ass.
I remember there was a time in yoga class when I watched people around me balancing precariously on their hands in Bakasana (Crow Pose) and believing it was impossible. The pose itself looked crazy and the teacher demonstrating the arm balance was a petite brunette who made it look effortless. I had a hard time identifying with her because she looked like a Cirque du Soleil contortionist and I, on the other hand, look more like an Amazon Warrior. After finding Bakasana incredibly difficult, I blamed my big ass and declared that I was probably never going to succeed with that pose. Little did I know, this false belief was my biggest obstacle, not my ass.
To be honest, I’ve been 5’10” with an hourglass figure since middle school. With good coordination and all older brothers, I grew up playing team sports, attempting daredevil stunts and enjoying epic adventures in Mother Nature. I always loved my body but I was very aware of the extra junk in my trunk. Even as I entered the yoga world, I was occasionally intimidated by the fact that I often had the biggest butt in the room and I used it as an excuse to avoid challenging arm balances.
Eventually, I learned that simple modifications, and the use of props, could help me accommodate my curves and unique body dynamics to deepen my practice and build self-esteem. I mustered the courage to try Bakasana again, despite the fear of falling on my face, and was thrilled to learn how to achieve the impossible.
The mere act of starting on a block gave my butt the benefit of the doubt and the little lift I needed to engage my core strength and squeeze my knees into my triceps. All of a sudden, I could feel what it was like to defy gravity and I realized that the work wasn’t in my arms, it was in my core center. Immediately, I wanted to show others this simple trick to make Bakasana happen and started teaching it in all my classes. Now I share it with you.
In the end, I learned that my biggest obstacle is the negative voice in my mind that compares myself to others. I realized that I can’t be discouraged by that fact that my body is different because every body is different. Luckily, yoga is for every body, especially when practice with props and modifications. When we come together in a public class, it’s a real opportunity to explore and celebrate our bodies, through different variations and modifications, to find our essential power. Encourage yourself to at least try and try again; you never know when you might succeed.
Gigi Yogini is the Mama of Diversity and her mission is to inspire people to live healthy, happy and connected lifestyles through creative self expression. Gigi hosts dynamic and empowering public classes, workshops and retreats in Los Angeles and around the world, incorporating sacred sound and movement. She uniquely blends traditional yoga with West African dance and eclectic world music in order to facilitate deep healing and transformation. She has a background in Psychology from CU Boulder and a Masters in Communication Management from USC. When she’s not teaching, Gigi can be found riding her bike or hiking in the Santa Monica mountains with her dog, Zoid. Follow her videos, Find her on Facebook or visit her website!
Prepared by Aminda R. Courtwright / Editor Tanya L. Markul
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