I received the ultimate compliment today.
“You’re like the Jennifer Lawrence of the yoga world!”
The secret is out. Jennifer Lawrence is my Hollywood ‘girl crush’. I’ve always admired Jennifer for her unedited and playful behavior, but beyond that, I admire her honest and vocal stance on body image claiming there’s absolutely nothing wrong with loving yourself and enjoying life at the same time.
This compliment came from a student in my Amsterdam workshops that hails from Boulder, CO. She told me how much easier it’s been dealing with body image moving from Boulder to Amsterdam. Boulder is the mecca for outdoor fitness. It was jokingly dubbed, “A worst-dressed city that looks best naked” by GQ magazine. Amsterdam on the other hand, is a city full of bikes, but a community unafraid to ask for a side of mayonnaise with just about anything. It’s the epiccenter for french fries, but also long, beautiful strolls. I’ve hardly seen anyone over weight, but the interesting part is—I haven’t seen anyone ridiculously fit either. The bodies here have a very beautiful, natural allure to them and no one seems to care if they’re rocking a flat stomach or chiseled shoulders. In a word, it’s refreshing. The yogis are able, kind and lovingly accepting of exactly who they are, whether that body is small, medium or large.
My stretchy pants may be stretching a bit more than usual with my seemingly daily intake of french fries and fabulous Belgian beer (sorry Heineken, La Chouffe still rules), but my practice is as strong as ever. I’ve felt less conscious of adjusting my pant line or looking good in the crowd—I just feel good. I’m enjoying life, exploring an amazing city, eating the local delicacies and walking till my feet hurt. I still greet the day with a happy lil’ grounding yoga practice at our apartment. Hell, I’ve even been practicing in a sports bra which I haven’t done since my 20s, and the result—I feel fine! I may not have washboard abs, but they move me with ease through my sun salutations and support the rest of my body that I’m honored to call mine.
So, the final results—can you take care of your body and have a side of mayonnaise with that? Yes! Dig in, live big, stay balanced and know that you are so much more than a body. You are a spongy vessel open to experience, love, self-acceptance and a delicious side of fries.