This is What a Real Yoga Body Looks Like. ~ Rachel Priest

Via Rachel Prieston Oct 11, 2013

Rachel Priest

For more: this will blow your mind and heart wide open.

Also, read: Maitri (Pema Chodron).

 

“Excuse me ma’am, I really enjoyed your yoga class tonight. But I wanted to come by and tell you that as a yoga teacher, you need to lose weight. Namaste.”

Wow, well this was an unexpected turn of events from the yoga class I taught tonight.

How many times has this all happened to us though? When someone (a stranger usually) comes up to us and imposes their idea of what we should do, be, look or behave like to fit their idea of perfect?

The answer is: all the time. And then what happens? We become sad, self-conscious and unhappy with ourselves, feeling like we are unworthy or not lovable the way we naturally are.

This is the message today: we need to start a revolution of self acceptance and love for who we truly are—and for once, not care what anyone else has to think or say.

For once, just say, “F*** it, I’m gonna do me! Be me and love me, for myself and no one else!”

Seriously, right now, say that out loud.

To cycle back to the beginning, this was a comment I received from a student right after teaching (what I thought) was a class with wonderful energy and great people sharing their practice together. She questioned my eating habits and other exercise practices I do outside of yoga… and then pinched my side.

I was at a loss for words—especially since this happened in a yoga environment, a supposed safe haven from judgment and hate. I had struggled with an eating disorder for eight years, and had found a good place—but these comments shook me and I began to question all of the personal progress I have made in my life.

I was faced with a choice, as we all are when people criticize and critique our life to try and “fix” us. I could either fall into old bad habits of the eating disorder and self-loathing.

Or, I could finally realize that I love myself and I’m perfectly fine the way I am, no matter what judgements a stranger may have and if you don’t think so, then great, that stranger can carry their judgment to their grave but I will keep living in light and love and no longer be affected by another’s hate or criticisms.

That is my message: we all need to rally together and promote self acceptance and love. Let’s keep on living our life happily knowing that we are all beautiful and undying souls and we were born perfect and will never be more perfect than we are at this very moment.

Because perfection isn’t an outward appearance or attire and seriously, who has a supermodel body and is truly happy within themselves everyday? Probably no one.

I know that I am not “perfect” by American standards and probably never will be. But what I am is loving, adventurous, silly, goofy, a strong kid and no one can crush my spirit.

I will never look like a typical tiny yoga teacher, but you know what? I look pretty freaking good—I am strong, flexible, knowledgeable and want to help people and so if that isn’t enough, then I will quit openly.

So looking into our own lives, where today can we realize that we are behaving in a certain way to please others?

Where are we not truly ourselves because someone made us feel inadequate to be ourselves and said we needed to change?

Can we just take a moment, look inward and then eliminate this person or situation from our lives?

For years I used the disorder as my crutch but now, it is my strength. Through my pain, I can help others who are struggling and keeping silent. If need be I can be the voice that shouts out, “you are beautiful and perfect exactly this way and fuck anyone that can’t see the beauty in you that I see.” But Ideally, I want us all to have the strength to do this.

We all need to let go and just truly accept ourselves for who we are.

When our time comes and our physical bodies die, do we want to look back and realize we lived our lives trying to change to please others? Or do we come to a point and realize that we are perfect now, we will never be here again and in that moment, we are more beautiful and no one…let me say that again, no one, can steal or snuff out our light.

So just as I am standing in that picture, in a bathing suit with everything showing, I can say that I think I look pretty good.

Can you look at yourself today and say, “Damn, I love you self, I have never met anyone like you. You are exciting, fun, happy, and I truly see you, how honored I am to know myself.”

Sometimes this is easier said than done and it has taken me a long time to come to this place. But whatever you are struggling with, pains, sadness, eating disorders, fears, desires, anxieties, etc. whatever it is, try to let a little piece of it go today.

Letting go a little piece of whatever your struggles are, even just changing one negative thought a day about yourself into a positive thought, do so.

Begin the journey of self-acceptance. People always ask, “Well, it’s scary to let go of my pain and other’s criticisms because it is all that I know—what will I find when I let go?”

I answer, “Finally, you will find You!”

 

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Ed: Bryonie Wise

About Rachel Priest

After growing up in Knoxville, TN, Rachel moved many times with her family and then continued to travel the world globally through the years. After struggling with an 8 year long battle with eating disorders, Rachel Finally found her freedom and self acceptance and love through the practice of yoga and rock climbing. Rachel currently lives in Charleston South Carolina and teaches at various gyms and studios in the area, promoting the idea of self love and acceptance. Beyond Teaching, Rachel is a beach bum at heart and loves the waves and ocean and soaking up the sun.

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437 Responses to “This is What a Real Yoga Body Looks Like. ~ Rachel Priest”

  1. SMSchain says:

    Rachel, you're perfect. End of story.

  2. Jo-Dee says:

    this is beautiful. As a "non conforming yoga looking teacher".. I can relate to this article so well, but if someone came up to class to me and said that… I think it would have gone down a bit like this,… warning, fowl language. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70Tsqmzdu00

  3. Toddasana says:

    “you are beautiful and perfect exactly this way and fuck anyone that can’t see the beauty in you that I see.”

  4. I'm a 54 year old male yoga teacher/psychologist. My weight varies around the high 180s – low 190s (and I really work hard to keep it that low). I have a lot of muscle, as well as some fat. That is how I am embodied. I certainly will never show up on the cover of Yoga Journal, and I don't fit the image of a yoga teacher, and I have also received an occasional comment to that effect. However, I view that as function of how in the west hatha yoga has become used with ego attachment with body image, and not yoga as a vehicle for greater awareness. With that said, I find my rather atypical appearance as a benefit as it helps my students (typically folks in drug rehab or facing health or mental health challenges), more accepting of asana as a vehicle for change.

  5. Nadia says:

    I don't see any weight you need to lose. Only see strength, freedom and celebration.

  6. Joanne says:

    Life is for living not for worrying so much – you look fab as you are and it's time everyone spent less time focusing on this and more time being themselves and enjoying life. We all deserve to do that <3

  7. Stacey Harlow says:

    You look absolutely amazing Rachel. I would love to look as good as you do! Don’t allow others to define you. If we listened to every negative comment and/or advice that people have us we wouldn’t know who we are or what direction to go. Everyone, listen to yourselves and who YOU want to be and look. I’ll follow my own advice here from now on

  8. Maggie Leonard says:

    The only thing I can think is maybe your student was a wee bit jealous but unconsciously. I think you are super-hot and your body is awesomely beautiful.

  9. Ling says:

    You are beautiful. You are amazing.

    Do not let those who cannot appreciate your beauty beyond the the physical body dampen your fire and passion.

    Continue the great work and keep smiling :)

  10. victoria says:

    That's what your yoga body looks like. I have a yoga body but it doesn't look like yours nor is it fake. Personally I think you look healthy and very attractive and strangers telling you to lose weight should not be accepted by anyone other than a doctor diagnosing you with a disease caused by your weight. Thank you for sharing your experience but please don't single others out with the "this is what a real woman looks like" campaign.

  11. Nyla says:

    Beautifully written…just like you Rachael! Thank you for this incredible article! BRAVO :-)
    ~Namaste

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