The Illusion of Perfection – Meet Sarit Rogers, Part One.March 31, 2015
The Yoga and Body Image Coalition is committed to building conscious community and highlighting the work that inspiring yogis are doing in their local communities and beyond. We’re pleased to introduce you to Yoga and Body Image Coalition community ally, Sarit Rogers.
A healthy body image includes accepting all of ourselves: the muscle, the fat, the rolls, the bones, the short and the long limbs. It means the cessation of holding ourselves to unrealistic standards. It means becoming friends with ourselves and unpeeling the layers of divisive thinking around how we think we should look– essentially starting the work from the inside. When I heard Jon Kabbot-Zinn speak a couple of years ago, he asked the audience how many of us had ever looked in the mirror and said, “I love you.” No one raised their hand. I began to delve into that practice, and I discovered that it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I cried, I stuttered. But I began to believe myself when I said it.
Describe yoga’s impact on your body image?
I once viewed yoga as an activity for those naturally inclined to bend their bodies is remarkable ways. As a result, I danced in and out of a yoga practice since my youth. I was terrified of going to public classes for fear of not fitting in, so I relied on videos or friends who taught privates and wanted to share their practice with me. It was a significant fall that brought me to my mat and to the public sphere. I couldn’t move, I was disconnected and I needed help. What I discovered was a profound shift in my relationship with my body and to my trauma. I slowly began to forgive myself for the significant harm I’d done via my eating disorder, self-harm, and addiction to self-hatred. It also has allowed me the space to hold my trauma with compassion and care instead of resentment and shame, all of which I held tightly in my body and mind.
What is your current relationship with your body and your body image day-to-day?
Some days, I forget myself and forget how distorted a window reflection is and the old tapes kick in. My practice has taught me to pause, to notice my feet planted on the earth, to notice the air against my skin, the beating of my heart and my breath. I have learned to ground myself, to tell on myself, and to ask for help. I will place my hand on my heart and breathe, giving myself a healing self-hug; I also have a regular gratitude practice: I note three or more things for which I am grateful for. In times of a body-image 911, I find three things about my body that I love and I write them down or share them with someone I trust.
What does body positivity mean to you?
Body positive yoga to me means an inclusive environment: classes taught that celebrate every body, and each person’s individual practice. More teachers who are willing to change the language when they teach so that it includes everyone. Yoga magazines showcasing round bodies, thin bodies, medium bodies, black bodies, brown bodies, differently abled bodies, old bodies, young bodies EQUALLY. Not just in the margins. And not just as a one-off. It means yoga clothes having wider size ranges. Less aversion to difference, more acceptance of individuality. We are all perfect, just the way we are. Perfection is an illusion anyway.
Who are your yoga role models (if any)? Why?
I admire so many of my yogi sisters and brothers. I admire Julian Walker for his ability to create space and his wisdom. I can cry safely in his classes, I can dance, I can heal. I admire Hala Khouri for her ability to make me laugh and dance through my practice. I’m grateful to both of them for teaching me and mentoring me. I admire Micheline Berry whose teaching makes me feel like I’m breathing and dancing with Mother Earth. And to be perfectly honest, my biggest role models are my son and the rest of my teen and tween yogis. They teach me to be equanimous. And they teach me to love wholly.
What does it mean to be self-empowered?
Self-empowerment to me means standing in the truth of who you are and owning every single bit of it. There is no one in the world like you. Dance with yourself, love yourself, laugh with yourself, cry with yourself. Be your own superhero.
If you could say 1 thing to your younger Self, what would it be?
You are beautiful and worthy of all of the love in the world. You are enough. I love you. Completely.
Sarit Z. Rogers is a Los Angeles based photographer, writer, yoga teacher, and founder of the LoveMore Movement. Her work is collaborative and inclusive: her clients are creative cohorts. She believes that her camera is not a weapon of mass perfection, but is instead a vehicle for celebrating authenticity.