Saying goodbye to vanity

Updated: Mar 26

It's been a while since I felt the urge to write. This winter has been bloody brutal for so many of us and it's hard to reflect when your mind is crammed with Matt Hancock day in day out.

The musings that brought me to my laptop today are that of a joyful discovery that I just had to share with you all.

When I first began to take my Yoga work online, I was daunted and terrified about the idea of seeing myself on camera, let alone splashing my image all over social media. It's no secret that I have been plagued with body shame for most of my life, and I have written about this a few times before.

My light-bulb moment came last Sunday when I was preparing to teach my Yoga For Mental Health Course live class. Along with the live classes are pre-recorded classes to use at home, and I first recorded these last summer. At that time I would cringe as I edited the videos, picking holes in my size, my clothes, my hair and my skin. I knew that I had to just get on with it because I wouldn't miraculously transform into a polished and lithe creature overnight.

Since then I have had little reason to watch the videos myself, until last week when I needed to remind myself of one or two aspects of the class, and I was astounded to find that I have gained an objective eye. If you have taken this course you will no doubt have noticed that my hair is in desperate need of attention and there are moment when my tummy peeps out from under my t shirt. BUT IT WAS OK!! This last year of online teaching has done away with vanity, embarrassment and crappy self doubt, and replaced it with a trained eye for the physical form and an appreciation that each body is different and requires individual attention during Yoga practice.

Now, I have never bothered with make up on camera, and the most my hair gets is a cursory brush. Most of my Yoga gear is second hand, and yeah, followers of my Facebook page already know about my boobs and belly. This is a true reflection of me as a person, I'm not inclined towards grooming beyond a basic level and I can't see any reason why I would try to hide or deny this in my 'public persona'. I will admit that sometimes during a live class, if I'm wearing cropped leggings, the flourishing wilderness of my hairy legs concerns me, but this is only fleeting (for me, anyway. I can't vouch for my students.)

I don't have a blue-tooth mic, a high tech editing programme (or skills!) or a flashy studio space. I don't edit our gaffs from my videos because I feel it takes away my personality and my human-ness. Sometimes I teach from my front room which is easier on the eye, and sometimes I'm relegated to my teenage son's bedroom, and believe me you are lucky that they never invented a full sensory experience through a camera lens.

During my Yoga Teacher training I studied many of the ancient, and more recent philosophical Yoga texts, which strengthened my resolve to teach others that the physical body is but a small part of the practice of Yoga. Infact, in Pantajali's 8 Limbs of Yoga, the Asanas (Postures) form just one limb, the other 7 being concerned with energy, meditation, discipline and intentions...the foundations of how to live a Yogic life and be free from outside influences and distractions.

Selling myself as a Yoga Teacher means selling ME. I figured out fairly early on that I can't please everybody, and that just as there are so many types and expression of Yoga, there are also just as many Yoga Teachers out there offering different experiences and approaches. If my 'rough around the edges' style isn't for you, then I'm OK with that and I no longer take it personally. Yoga really is for everyone, and there needs to be a Yoga Teacher to suit everyone too, so the more the merrier I say!

So I have made myself a promise, and it is a common phrase these days, which I am glad about. Just Be You. I teach this to my kids, I teach this to my students, and I'm hell bent on making sure that I am always teaching this to myself.

With love,

Clare x

P.S. Check out my other blog posts for more about body image and confidence

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