yoga for real girls

Guess what? I heart yoga. Seriously, I never thought those words would ever leave my lips.

My belly dance teacher actively encourages pilates and yoga to strengthen our core muscles and I have been known to dabble in pilates, but yoga? No, that really wasn't for the likes of me. I'm a size 18, I'm not a fan o' lycra and there is nothing even remotely ethereal or om-like about me.

Turns out I was totes wrong - and I am REALLY okay about that - because it felt amazing. I felt amazing. [quote style="boxed" float="none"]flexibility and strength have nothing to do with size[/quote]

I was under the impression that yoga-doing people are long and bendy and really rather glorious. I am not, so I kept my distance from all things bendy-wendy. I'd often walk past the yoga class at the gym and drool a li'l bit at the girls who were doing it. I'd just pounded the treadmill, the exercise o' big girls who go to the gym, and these girls looked all stretchy and positively serene in comparison.  I figured that when I dropped a few dress sizes, I'd join in. But do you know what? You should NEVER wait 'til you've dropped a dress size to do anything.

Midnight Iris, burlesque dancer, belly dancer and all round woman-o'-awesome-who-I-get-to-call-my-gal-pal intro-ed me to the yoga goodness, and promised me that 'flexibility and strength have nothing to do with size!'

So I did me some real-girl yoga.

I felt my body move in deliciously different ways. I opened up my hips - the beau is all kinds o' happy 'bout that - I stretched, I breathed and I stretched some more. I can't pretend it was beautiful and serene, mainly because there was lots o' giggling, a variety of expletives that would make a sailor blush as our bodies experiences positions they'd never found themselves in - well, not whilst sober anyway - and I was petrified that because of the positions I was finding myself in, I would fart. A lot. But, despite that, I found real love stuff for how it made me feel as a girl in the world.

When I knew I wouldn't be totally rubbish at it, I decided I wanted to find an actual class. I wanted to learn about yoga as a way to connect, I wanted to know about it as a spiritual practice as well as a way to move my body, and by some beautiful serendipitous loveliness, I found this gorgeous li'l sanctuary in the middle o' the city. Going there made me want to drop to my knees, kiss the floor and shout 'baby, mumma's home'. The beau and I go on a Sunday morning together, and wow, it has cracked me open from the inside out. Finally, after 32 years, I'm no longer trying to tell my body what to do, I'm letting it tell me what IT wants. It's delicious, it's emotional, it's right and I love it.

It's nothing to do with size, and everything to do with being real. If you're ready to get to know yourself, and let your body lead you in letting you know what it really needs, do it. Do it now. I arrive at the mat open honest, raw and real and each week I have a truth bomb dropped on my ass. Whether it's the right words said at the right time, in the right moment by our gorgeous teacher, or whether it's a pose I find myself in where I feel resistance and have to ask myself why. It's pretty freakin' incredz.

Yoga. It's for REAL women.