Not A Bikram Body

Everyone has physical limitations.  Everyone.  Even Venus Williams.  However, today is all about my non-Bikram friendly body.  Which really means it’s all about boobs.

See, mine are pretty big.  And no, if any of you are rude enough to think so, it’s not a weight issue.  As my boob doctor so kindly told me “That’s all breast tissue, sweetie.  The weight you’ve lost or may lose later isn’t coming off there.”  I know that many of my female friends are saying things like, “Wait, how do I get on that train?  What the hell are you complaining about?  I want big boobs!”  Sure you do.  I like my boobs, too.  They just get in the way sometimes.

Start with the fact, as mentioned above, that I have to have a boob doctor.  Then, note that I have to buy my dainties from speciality vendors, and they cost A LOT.  Note the extra work I have to do on my pecs to support the weight so I don’t get backaches.  Note the trouble I have finding blouses, as designers seem to think you are allowed to have both broad shoulders AND big boobs – even though, practically, the broad shoulders belong with the big boobs in terms of supporting the weight (yes, I said it again).  Note that I really can’t go braless comfortably, even at home.  Note the nasty comments I get all too often from strangers – in public.  Now ignore all of that.

The real problem is that some of the Bikram poses are just not designed for big boobs.  And in order to get half as far as someone else (e.g., a guy or a small-breasted gal), I have to work that much harder to (to name just a few) a) lift my chest off the towel (Cobra/Bhujangasana); b) get my forehead to my shins (Hands to Feet/Padahastasana); and c) find cute outfits.  (Okay, the last one is vanity, but still, it’s true.)  And by the way, while everyone else is looking at their bellybuttons, I’m being smothered in my own cleavage.  Not as fun as it may sound.

Teachers don’t tend to be very sympathetic to these problems.  Mainly, they claim it’s because I’m not flexible enough; I’m not working hard enough; or, if they have a sense of humor and are actually listening, that my boobs are just too big.  But seriously, folks – especially Bikram teachers – I am not as flexible as I could (will) be.  Yes, anyone can always work harder.  But no, my boobs are not too big.

See, I love my body.  I’ve worked very hard to learn to love my body.  But comments like yours aren’t helping.

Revelation

Until yesterday, I loved makeover shows.  It started one New Year’s Day, when I was sick as a dog, and some random channel showed an entire season of The Biggest Loser.  From there, I moved on How Do I Look?, What Not To Wear?, and on occasion, Ruby and Too Fat for Fifteen.  I also admit to watching Extreme Makeover:  Weight Loss Edition.

None of these shows are very realistic, as I’m sure you know, even though they are called “reality shows”.  I mean, seriously, losing double digits every week?  dressing up as a ballerina on a daily basis – with fairy wings?  But I was obsessed.  They seemed to fit right in with the personal makeover I started on August 6, 2005, when I was reborn as a Bikram yogi.  Since then, I have reshaped my body (thanks go as well to Weight Watchers) and established a place in my own head where I am happy with what I see in the mirror.  Most of the time.

But I have to admit – sometimes it’s still hard.  I choose my clothes not only as outfits that might make me feel good, but based on what other people might think.  Some days, nothing works, and I head out sure that everyone who sees me is secretly snapping photos to send to Stacey London and Clinton Kelly, or even worse, to Jeannie Mai.

We have all heard the stories of how even those women who society considers the most beautiful have doubts about their looks, but I don’t believe it.  It’s got to be a publicity stunt.  While I am sure some of then went through their awkward phases, and I hate for them that paparazzi make a point out of trying to catch them looking “bad” (normal for the rest of us),  I also remember reading Lauren Bacall’s autobiography when it first came out.  In it, she makes a big deal out of talking about how gawky and unattractive she felt…just as she tells the story of moving to Manhattan to work as a print model.  Hmph.  Someone who makes a career choice that puts looks front and center is not my role model when it comes to doubts about my looks.

What brought this on, you might ask.  Well, I was watching last week’s episode of What Not To Wear (which was once my fave), and I noticed – I can’t believe it was for the first time – that despite all their talk about accepting your body as it is, the mannequins they use to show the looks are all standard mannequin size.  That is – thinner, taller, and better proportioned than 99% of the women in the world, let alone than the women on the show.

And that is when I had my revelation – don’t TELL me how I look is okay.  SHOW ME.  As much as I love the Dove Real Women campaign, and the Fruit of the Loom commercial on that same theme, those women still have conventionally beautiful bodies – just larger than the model stereotype.  Show me lumps, and bumps, and scars, and sagging bellies – even wrinkles and cellulite.  And show those women with pride and joy – they deserve it!

So ladies, start sharing those “flawed” photos – you’ll be surprised by how many of your friends will see how beautiful you are.  To get you started, here’s mine.

This was taken on South Beach in July, 2012.

Worth a read… it’s not just the yoga, it’s you.

Just here. Just now.

Just doing yoga isn’t enough to make you a spiritual being.

I was in class the other day with an experienced yogi from a different tradition. It was her first Bikram yoga class and from the moment she walked in it was clear she wanted to prove she was beyond this. She rolled her eyes at instructions and when asked to correct her grip she simply refused. She did completely different postures when she didn’t like the ones the class was doing. She kept glaring at the teacher defiantly as she stood sideways on her mat.

I tried my best to focus on my own practice but the sharp, loud sighs from directly behind me were hard to ignore.

After class as we all sat, happily sweaty on benches in the lobby, this student got in my teacher’s face, pointed her finger inches from her eyes and yelled something nasty…

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Bad American. Bad! Bad!

Nope, I’m not.  Not watching the Olympics.  I know, this makes me a bad American.  But honestly, I can’t take the suspense.  I’d just as soon hear the results and see the (endless) replays of the best moments on the news.

Now, I don’t think I actually am a bad American, and I certainly support our athletes.  Especially the ones that are actually still amateurs.  The dedication and commitment it takes to be an Olympian is awe-inspiring.

I did watch the opening ceremony. On DVR.  In the middle of the night.  And the horrific job NBC did of editing it, especially their choice to cut the memorial tribute, certainly contributed to my lack of interest.  Also, I’m admittedly still annoyed at the decision to make the American uniforms in China.  And that they’re ugly.  I have a feeling when I go to London next month, I’ll have some explaining to do to friends there.

But hey, I hope you’re enjoying the events…in the meantime, I’m catching up on my reading.

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