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Warning: naughty language ahead!
When I started to prepare myself for yoga teacher training, I read a lot of the books one of the teachers recommended to me.
I knew that yoga teacher training was going to be a good and growing experience, a journey to learn more about myself, and also about what’s going on within. And I already knew that yoga is way more than just a physical exercise, something that will help me accept and understand my body and my inner goddess on an even deeper level.
But it all kind of hit me while I was reading one specific book. There were sentences that have been stuck in my head ever since.
Everyone has heard enough of the “You are unique, you have to love and accept yourself, that is the only thing you can do” bullshit, and everyone knows that it isn’t as easy as it sounds and that those words don’t even help sometimes. They can make you feel worse, because you haven’t yet found a way to do so, and that is frustrating.
Every time you see another article about how to love yourself, you think that this time—for sure—it will give you concrete steps to finally love and accept yourself, but by the end of the article, you realize it is the same bullshit only with different words. Words you understand, but you can’t really adopt. Words that leave you feeling like you already failed in loving yourself.
Okay, stop that now. Immediately. Here is something different.
In Yoga Mind, Body and Spirit—A Return to Wholeness, author Donna Farhi explains how unique we each are, and she does so in a way that left me with a such a profound understanding that I couldn’t wait to share it with others. She says:
“From the extraordinary moment when egg and sperm are ignited into being, our bodies form a design unlike any other that has ever been or will ever be through a wondrous process that is both a replication of an ancient blueprint and a uniquely individual expression…”
Read it again. Read it maybe five times. Read it and pause.
Take it in and try to imagine the whole timeline of the world, with all its creatures. Try to imagine how many people have lived since the world was created and how many will live after you. That’s a lot to imagine, right? And that should open our eyes to how fucking lucky we each are to have our unique bodies.
Self-love and acceptance, like yoga, are a daily practice. And before you get frustrated again because you don’t know how to practice them or because you are not able yet to accept and love yourself to the fullest, here is something practical we can all do—even just twice a day:
Brush your teeth, naked.
It’s as simple as that. Naked and in front of a mirror—those two things are as important as brushing your teeth in general. It is even kind of meditative, I guess. Watch your body, be present, be aware of your thoughts. Watch your boobs jump to the rhythm of your teeth-brushing hand movements. If you are a guy, well, watch something else dancing to your movements. If you feel like you want to touch yourself, do so. It’s not like anybody is watching…except for your neighbour (just kidding!).
Get over the weirdness, because there’s actually nothing weird about brushing our teeth naked. The strangest thing is the fact that we are brushing our teeth in front of a mirror instead of outdoors under a sky full of stars. So we might as well use the mirror for what it was invented—to watch ourselves. Naked.
There is nothing to hide, so own it and embrace the moment. Then remember Farhi’s words, visualise them again, and see how you feel about your body.
As for me, I couldn’t help but feel grateful to the bone, completely fucking amazed about how beautiful I truly am—and amazed that this feeling had not hit me earlier. I felt absolutely sorry for all the times I hadn’t been kind to myself, to my body.
I thought about how one day we’ll each have to leave these bodies, and shouldn’t we be doing that while looking back and thinking, “Well, we had really good times together, mate. It was a pleasure to live in you. I might even miss you—all the scars, the wrinkles, the stretch marks…”