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Mental Health

Yoga Helped Me Love Myself

Written by Paige Readmond 

YOGA. Please do it.

Throughout high school, I had a very bad sense of self-worth. Add onto that a horrible body image and an eating disorder. I know I am not alone either,you guys feel me right? We all have (or have had) something we would like to change about ourselves. It has become such a normal thing for us to compare ourselves to others, and judge ourselves based off of those comparisons. It’s becoming an epidemic. Approximately 30 million people suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S. Why is it so hard for us to love ourselves and appreciate our bodies?

Two years ago, my life changed forever. I discovered how amazing my body and my mind was…I started to love myself. Now this sounds dramatic, but it’s true! Two years ago was when I started truly practicing yoga on the regular. I had done yoga here and there with friends when I felt like it, but it was never a regular thing that I took seriously.

My best friend, a magnificent soul, decided to become a yoga teacher after we graduated high school. She had a requirement to meet in order to get certified to teach, so I volunteered to be her guinea pig. I would go to her classes and help her figure out which poses should come next, but one day really took me off of my feet and put my mind exactly where it needed to be. We were staying at the beach for a few days, and we got up early one morning to do yoga to the sunrise. Now my friend was WAY more advanced than I was with yoga, and she started to do all these crazy poses.

So I’m sitting there in the sand, sweaty and tired, asking myself why I even attempt to keep up with her. She keeps telling me to try but my mind kept getting in the way! I was getting so frustrated I was about to go back up to our room and pass out. And I don’t know if it was God or the voice in my head, but something told me to try these poses she was trying. To really try. So I tried one, crow, and I actually got it on the first try. Crow is a challenging pose for those of use who are not full blown yogi’s! This sounds crazy, but this was the best feeling I had ever had.

Not only did I get the pose, I held it for SO long! Never in my life had I ever felt more empowered and prouder of me. I just overcame my body, and my mind. That is the hardest thing to do. My mind had kept me from doing a lot of things back then. I would always tell myself “Nah you can’t” or “I wish I could do what they can do” This is what we need to get away from people! You need to understand that YOU ARE AMAZING. Inside, outside, and all around. No one else has what you have and no one else can do what you can do.

Ever since that day, I have been practicing yoga daily. I practice other self-love rituals as well, like journaling, meditating, prayer, and just waking up every day to be happy and to be present. I also have the support of my loving boyfriend. Get your people on board to the self-love train! Let them know what you’re going through and how you want to change it! But yoga is the thing that changed my perspective on everything and woke me up to life. It strengthens, balances, and zen’s you out all at the same time. Yoga is magical people! And you can do it anywhere! You don’t even need a mat (although it is a help). Just go outside in the sunshine or set up in your living room with some nice music. Get in your zone. Let yourself go and find you at the same time. Here are some simple poses you can Google or YouTube to get started:
Downward dog

Warrior

Mountain pose

Tree pose

Bridge

Cobra

Pigeon

Trust me, I know how hard it is to really, truly love yourself. I get it. I know what it’s like to wake up every day and doubt yourself in every step that you take. I know what it’s like to not like what the mirror shows you. I KNOW. But life is so short. It’s our job to make it as sweet as we can.

You just have to love yourself to be happy. You have to show yourself the love you show everyone else. You deserve the first ounce of love that you ever give out. All of those qualities and traits that you tell yourself aren’t good enough: someone else wishes they had those. And who are you trying to be good enough for anyway? Don’t try to impress, don’t compare, just see yourself for who you are. Forget everything else! Look at your true self… And yoga is a great way to get onto that self-love path. Just do a little bit each day, say 15 minutes? And do this with the intention of finding inner peace and  love for your beautiful soul. Look into your heart. You will love what you find, trust me.

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