Week 04: Yoga Lord

22 Jan – 28 Jan 17

With my recent weight loss, I am often asked what I’ve been doing. Everyone is almost always surprised when I say yoga. I don’t blame them. Before I went to my first class in 2015, I thought it would be so easy. What would be so hard about what looked like an hour of stretching? Because of that silly assumption, I would never forget the pain of sitting on my hips in child’s pose for the first time, and that was supposed to be one of the more relaxing poses.

I kept going for a few months until I let myself get talked out of it by one of my cousins, who claimed that it was too feminine of a way for me to lose weight. I moved on to doing cardio and a bit of weight training at the gym, but I got frustrated at how exhausting it was and how slowly I made any results. I eventually quit going by convincing myself that this is what my body looked like, and I could be okay with that.

Except I wasn’t. I constantly felt sick, and my blood pressure would only reach normal levels when I haven’t eaten yet. I went back to yoga, to a different group that was closer to where I lived, because I actually liked it, no matter how girly it was (this part, I beat myself up for believing in the first place). Still, I felt embarrassed to be in that class because I was terrible at yoga, and our teacher would always take photos and would post them online. I didn’t let that stop me from going, though, because my desire to be a healthier version of myself was stronger than my shame.

Eventually, I got better. I gained the ability to reach my toes, and I could lift my legs off the ground. But there were still things that I couldn’t do without any help, such as this:

I almost broke my neck when I tried doing it on my own for the first time. My teacher recommended that I do it with the help of a wall while I built my strength. That was two months ago, and the longer I use the wall to keep myself up, the more it feels like I’m using it as a safety blanket every time it’s time to do the shoulder stand, instead of something for support while I built my strength. Obviously, I would attempt to do the pose without the wall on this week’s issue of #theROYCEproject.

We only did shoulder stand once every class, so with the number of times I went to yoga in a week, I gave myself three tries to do this. I’m not going to beat around the bush: I didn’t do it all three times because I knew I didn’t have the strength to do it yet. Even in the weeks that followed, I couldn’t bring myself to do it for the same reason, and I didn’t want to injure myself, which would cause me to stop going to yoga at all. I’m also waiting for my yoga teacher to give me the go-signal to try it without the wall. I’m not without progress, through. She has told me that I’ve gained more control of my legs while they’re up in the air. That’s not so bad, right?

by Royce


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