May 15, 2015

My Buddha Belly: Addressing Body Image through Tantra Yoga.

lela articlephoto

I’ve only passed out once in my life.

I was 15 years old and cheering at my high schools pep rally. I didn’t know it then, but the stress of my teenage years was stirring up a design that would find a way to slow down my whole body.

All I remember is how hard hitting the polished wood floor of the auditorium was—the next thing I knew I was being rushed to the hospital.

They did an immediate surgery and removed a cyst, the size of a grapefruit. It was wrapped around my Fallopian tube, cutting off my blood supply, so that had to come out too.

They hacked an 8-inch scar into my abdomen from my belly button to my public bone and ripped out my insides.

Years after that surgery, I can still feel them inside me.

As a teenager, no one taught me how to deal with this trauma. I couldn’t shake the feeling of the surgeons hands inside me. Most days, I blocked it out. Eventually, I shut down that part of my body. I never allowed myself to think about it. I even went so far as to envisioning a black hole in front of it and over time It became numb.

Fast forward 20 years—I’m driving a motorbike through the streets of India. Two buses, adorned with disco balls and green fringe proudly displaying the names Lakshmi and Jesus, are driving side-by-side down a road only wide enough for one and a half cars. A cow has decided to cross the road, and then there I am, driving straight into it on my motorbike.

While surveying the situation and calculating all possible outcomes, I become increasingly aware of my core—I jumped.

What was that? 

A twinge—a feeling from that black hole, that body part we just don’t talk about.

What? Wait a second—there’s another one. What is happening down there?

After all those years of neglecting my core, and it still wants to support me? It still wants to give me the power to weave my way through this situation? These twinges are a jump start to 20 years of repressed emotions.

I start to cry, and I’m crying so much that I can’t see through the tears. I wiggle my way in between the buses, swerve around the cow, and make it unscathed to the other side.

I slowly putted back to my hut and collapsed on the floor. I laid there weeping like a child.

Thoughts raced in and out of my head—20 years of blocking feelings and thoughts, 20 years of unresolved belly trauma, 20 years of absorbing life issues instead of having the confidence to deal with them.

The emotions and repression spills out, gooey and smelly, onto my dusty concrete floor in India.

I just lay there…

After 10 minutes I’m exhausted and all out of tears. I placed my hands on my stomach. I envisioned soft pink light extending from my hands on to the skin of my stomach. I wanted to stop so many times—I was getting angry, disgusted, sad—but I continued to try to have a positive feeling towards the black hole.

The next day I made it a part of my yoga practice—I gently touched the thick, rough scar.

The touch made me sick. It was hard not to simply get up and ignore it for another 20 years—the emotions that were coming to the surface weren’t pretty.

I am taking my therapy slow, dealing with years of neglect and hatred towards my belly. The next week I envisioned my core muscles fusing back together. I envisioned them being strong. I envisioned them being happy.

I have been practicing this every day. It has been six weeks since the awakening. Every day I feel my physical body getting stronger, and my days are filled with more self confidence. After all, the stomach is the seat of our solar plexus—the chakra that gives us strength and self confidence.

My days now revolve around cultivating love for my body. This new exploration has changed the way I address my body image issues.

Most days I want to hide this Buddha belly, but recently I have been celebrating it—even joining the other girls in my hot Tantra yoga class, with crop tops.

One step at a time. One day at a time.

If my core is still willing to support me, I should support it.

To the lovely men and women of all shapes and sizes—you are Divine beings and your bodies love you. Do yourself a favor and drop the expectations. Drop the preconceived notions of how you should be and just be.

Be your true loving beautiful selves.


Relephant Read:

Embrace Your Buddha Belly. 


Author: Lela Becker

Assistant Editor: Yoli Ramazzina/ Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Author’s Own 

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