This past weekend blew me away. I attended a retreat at Omega called Buddha Body Yoga. It was through a series of interesting circumstances that I found myself in this class but I was called to give up work for this weekend and focus on myself. I am thoroughly entrenched in this journey it seems!
I will admit that I read and reread the description of the class and looked on Michael’s website to make SURE it was for larger people. Let’s face it. When you think of yoga, you don’t think large and lovely- well at least I never did. My thoughts were always spandex, yoga pants and feet behind your head and those were not joyous thoughts. There were SO many awakenings during this weekend so there will be several posts about it and so I welcome you to my yoga journey.
When I first arrived at the class, I saw folks of many sizes. (and I did feel a bit betrayed to see some skinny folks in there but softened a bit when I heard they had some physical issues.) I will tell you that when a larger person walks into an exercise class and sees other larger people, there is a huge sigh of relief that goes through us. Ok, maybe I’m generalizing here but I think I speak for many. Let’s be clear- I DON’T mean those who feel they need to lose 20 lbs to get back to the insurance scale’s numbers. I mean those of us who are fat, obese, and large. There are so many discriminating factors that skinny folks aren’t aware of and won’t ever experience in the exercise setting. They are subtle and they are blatant and I won’t go into them now. Needless to say, I was happy that the Buddha Body Yoga class HAD large bodied women in it.
They asked our approval to take video and pictures. We were assured that only those we approved would be loaded on Michael’s site for Buddha Body Yoga. At the time I said yes and thought- “oh- not really feeling this”. On day three the assistant shared with me that they’d gotten a “beautiful” video of me on day two. Here’s what I want you to know. Beautiful and physical activity and Yvette were not three words I would have EVER placed in the same sentence or expected to hear. In fact, my immediate voice said “yeah right!”
At the culmination of day three, I was actually having lunch with Michael and I mentioned the video. He brought out his phone and proceeded to share it with me. My body tightened up in readiness for disappointment and the critical voices. I’ll admit, I had to put away the initial conversation of “look at my size” to see the grace with which I moved through the steps. Oh my gosh! It WAS beautiful or should I say- I was beautiful! To see myself so graceful and grounded has me sobbing as I type this. I really watched it with a bit of disbelief. As we watched, Michael was pointing out things like “Look at your rib cage open up there.” “Look at that extension.” I don’t know if you can even get how huge it was not only to see myself with beauty but to have someone point out the positive. (Yes, I’ve had the surprised “You did good today.” spoken by an instructor- which is the discrimination of which I speak.) But to have true, positive, constructive response to my physical activity is a new realm for me. We’ve taken “well, hello gorgeous” to a whole new level! What put it over the top is that I’m crystal clear that there won’t be any video of the smaller people that will be posted on this site. In fact, I’m guessing there wasn’t even video taken of them. This man’s focus is on those of us who are larger. I feel as though Michael’s passion has given me passage to restore a piece of my life.
If you are in the NY area, I really suggest that you check out Buddha Body Yoga with Michael Hayes. This weekend has altered my life and for that I’m grateful.