When I started Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga six weeks ago, here were certain poses I was unable to do, mostly owing to a lack of upper arm and core strength. But now, it’s been almost two months and I’m doing yoga 3+ hours a week (the class is scheduled for an hour and a half, but sometimes it goes over. Last week it ran two hours!) and those poses are becoming easier, stronger. I can do The Wheel now and even a Supported Shoulder Stand.
source: Eastern Serenity
When I started, Plow was one of those poses. Say what? You want me to roll back? Like, all the way over? And then just kinda hang out in that position? Riiiiiiight. And what’s this business about dropping my knees to my ear? And then you want me to do Full Lotus while hanging out flipped over? Good one. No, really. You are freaking hysterical, oh dear instructor of mine.
Six weeks ago: Impossible. Now: Possible. Or at least it might have been had it not been for two not-so-small things. Last week I was able to roll back into the position but had my chest sitting directly on my throat and could not breathe. And then it happened again in the following Tuesday morning class. Sure, while my instructor and I joked about it, her telling me “That’s what happens when you have a nice rack,” I was annoyed and frustrated. Here was this pose that was physically impossible just a few weeks ago because I just wasn’t strong enough and now it’s physically impossible because of my boobs?!
So I started searching for solutions and, along the way, found Curvy Yoga, which might be one of my new favorite blogs. I don’t know why, but I was honestly surprised at how many other women had this issue. But, again, I don’t know why. I shouldn’t be. We have big breasts. They get in the way. For some, like me, it’s in Plow. For others, like Anna at Curvy Yoga, it was Bridge. So we adapt. It’s nothing new: I’ve required a bra since I was about twelve and even then it was probably close to a C. You learn to deal with them and you learn to get creative.
For me, it meant going into my closet. While one of the other instructors at my studio suggested duct tape, I wasn’t that desperate. Yet. Instead, I decided to wear a minimizing bra under my sports bra. It didn’t look like it had done much, but I could tell a huge difference during my first Down Dog: instead of staring into my cleavage, I was staring at the wall behind me. Those babies were packed on down and rolling back into Plow I breathed a sigh of relief because I could actually breathe.
In just six weeks, I’ve come so far and it makes me excited to go to each class, to see how I’ll surprise myself this week. It makes me optimistic to know that, yes, one day I will be able to do Firefly. I’ve lost a total of 59.2 pounds (1/2lb this week) and my entire attitude and relationship with food and myself has changed. Over the weekend I made a (vegetarian) pepperoni pizza with a cauliflower crust and didn’t even miss the dough. My weekly Tuesday post-yoga latte is non-fat & sugar free, something I would have scoffed at in the past, in a what’s the point? kind of way, but it’s a ritual I look forward to.
The fact that I posted pictures in my last post is monumental. I’m more of the sort to hide behind my words, but I’m proud of where I am and how far I’ve come and like to think the confidence radiates. Make no mistake, for all the healthy changes I’ve made in my life, I still have a lot more weight to lose and am still very much a Fat Girl. Just because I can do Wheel now doesn’t mean I get to stop, as there are plenty of poses still left to conquer. But the key is repetition and courage. Every time I go to the mat, I have to at least try. Even if that means making an ass of myself and falling over. I mean, hello: if I can figure out how to do Plow and still breathe, I can eventually figure out something as simple as a supported headstand.
Love from the ashes,