Off the Mat Yoga

The Secret Life of a Body Love Activist

As a professional yoga instructor and body positive activist, I find that my clients and readers often have unrealistic expectations of me. It might seem that my life is all sunshine and rainbows, but the truth is that I am not who you think I am.

It’s time for some myth-busting. Today, I’m giving you a glimpse into my real life as a professional yoga instructor and body positive activist who has had her fair share of run-ins with insecurity and negativity.

Today, you get to see what it’s really like to be me. Buckle your seat belts, it’s a roller coaster ride.

 Myth #1 – I feel confident and beautiful every day.

Just because I’ve dedicated my professional life to teaching about self love and yoga doesn’t mean I wake up every day and find it easy to love my body or myself. The truth is that even though it is easier than ever before for me to feel confident and beautiful in my body, there are still days when I just don’t. Some days I wake up and I feel hideous without make-up and depressed about the way my body looks. Those are the days when I really need to love my body with yoga, dance, meditation, bubble baths, writing sessions, or any one of my go-to body love activities.

Myth #2 – I am always optimistic, upbeat, and carefree.

This couldn’t be more wrong. I’m actually better at remaining optimistic and upbeat than ever before, but I still stress out like you wouldn’t believe. In fact, I feel stress in my body every single day. My shoulders and upper back are constantly tense from holding onto the stress that floods my body. My mind races with anxious thoughts – some exciting and beautiful, some frantic and unproductive.

I also feel scared every single day of my life. I have never felt more scared than I do now as an entrepreneur. Every day feels uncertain because my business relies entirely upon my ability to dream, create, and inspire.

Sometimes, if I let myself, I worry that I will get cancer again. Sometimes, I feel like a failure.

Negativity sneaks up on us all. I have to use my self-love love tools every single day to remind myself to let go of the sea of negative thoughts and continue cultivating positivity and ease. This is where yoga, meditation, mantras, breath, and writing have – and I don’t use this lightly – saved me.

Myth #3 – I have overcome an eating disorder and, therefore, my disordered eating habits are gone forever.

This one is tough, I have to admit. I no longer starve my body. I no longer binge for days on end. I no longer overexercise. But sometimes, even now, I wake up at 3:00 am and eat chocolate cake when I know no one is looking. Sometimes I take a vigorous yoga class because I want to feel sweaty and productive rather than the restorative yoga class my body needs. Sometimes I eat too much dark chocolate because it’s delicious and I’m not eating consciously. These things don’t happen as often as they once did, but they do happen. The important thing is that I no longer feel guilt and shame with these behaviors like I used to. I have the tools to move past these moments. I have the tools to recognize that, despite eating cake at 3:00 am, I am still amazing and beautiful and deserving of love. That is the difference.

So, was I right? I am not who you think I am. I can’t be that perfect person because no one can be. I am human so grief, depression, negativity, fear, and anxiety find their way into my life just like they do for us all. The truth is that simply because I have dedicated my professional life to body love and self-compassion doesn’t mean I don’t experience body love struggles and vulnerabilities. I do. Only, it’s different now than it was before. I have the tools to recognize and overcome my struggles, whereas before I didn’t. Through lots of practice I am now able to recognize the steamroller of negative, anxious thoughts and stop it before it plows me over.

Overcoming body struggles isn’t about getting them to completely disappear. It’s about recognizing them when they find their way back to you and having the tools to keep them from taking the driver’s seat and controlling your life.

4 Comments

  1. Amanda

    Amanda

    July 4, 2016 at 8:59 am

    So true. I think this is where we really run into trouble with “yoga celebrities” and the teachers who are put on pedestals….then, when we find out they’re so very human like the rest of us, organizations crumble and people get angry. I think as yoga teachers we should be striving to practice what we preach….but also being honest about the fact that it is still a practice for us, too! Thank you for this honesty. 🙂

    1. Brandy

      Brandy

      August 1, 2016 at 9:57 am

      Amanda, I totally agree! It’s very freeing to own who you really are and show up perfectly imperfect to your practice, your students, and your life.

  2. Megan Reddix

    Megan Reddix

    July 5, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Thank you for sharing this, Brandy! Such a beautiful reminder that even those of us who promote love and wellness are still human and still ride the same emotional train that everyone else does! [Inhale] I am [Exhale] enough.

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