Yoga and Baby Body Image: Robyn BakerJanuary 15, 2016
The following is a cross-post by Robyn Baker for the Yoga and Body Image Coalition.
A few months ago, my husband and I learned we would be having another child this coming May. I’m super excited and overjoyed with the fact that my son will have a sibling and that we will become the quintessential, all-American family of four. But unlike my first pregnancy, this time around is a bit more challenging.
When I was pregnant 4 years ago with my son, I had a corporate job for a fitness company, sat behind a computer for the better part of my day and very rarely interacted with people outside of the office. This time life is pretty different. I’m on my feet for the majority of my day, I interact with a variety of people (clients and non-clients), and the biggest difference is the body comments that seem to be coming at me way more than they ever did with my first pregnancy.
You always think you’ve got things handled until you’re thrown right smack into the middle of it, and then all bets are off.
I’m now in my second trimester and starting to show AKA that awkward point of a pregnancy where it looks like I could have either eaten a huge Thanksgiving meal before the actual holiday, spent a week partying it up in Vegas and am bloated from all the alcohol or may be (just may be) I’m pregnant.
Either way, it’s uncomfortable as hell.
My baggy shirts aren’t quite baggy enough and if I wear a tight fitted shirt at this stage I get plenty of unwanted and puzzled stares from strangers (well, at least it feels that way). I’ve been handed a body image challenge; am I confident enough in my own changing body to wear what feels comfortable and not give a crap about what other people think or will my mental real estate be taken over with preoccupying thoughts and worries about my appearance?
I’ll be honest with you; this week has been a draw…
There have been days when I feel great and don’t give a tick if people are wondering ‘what the heck happened’, and then there have been the days where I’m getting dressed in the morning and I end up yelling at my husband out of frustration, on the verge of tears because nothing fits right and wishing so desperately to throw out all the clothes in my closet. Even in yoga, the fact that I’m starting to practice variations of poses can definitely play with my ego. Yes folks, I am in the midst of my own body image challenge and I am coming clean about it.
So what has helped so far?
Yoga and breathing (for one) because even though I am modifying poses and getting the physical benefits of yoga, I am also practicing how to trust, accept and listen to my body as I move through a class. The more I can practice this on the mat, the more I can readily practice this off the mat.
Secondly, is the act of getting outside of myself and away from my ego; placing more effort and attention into every client that I interact with, sharing a laugh or a cry with friends and colleagues, and more than anything holding my son and knowing that the precious life growing inside me will one day be an amazing human being like the one in my arms.
It’s so easy to allow the little things like shirts not fitting right, to steal our attention off of the things that really matter most and consequently place our worry and anxiety into things that will be nothing more than a fading memory is a few weeks. Serving others and physically practicing body acceptance through yoga is my negative body image remedy at the moment while holding onto the deeper knowledge that this too shall pass.
Robyn Baker is the owner and operator of Asteya Fitness, Orange County’s only body positive fitness studio. After recovering from a decade long battle with anorexia and exercise addiction during which she worked as a personal trainer and Pilates instructor, Robyn decided to return to the fitness industry in hopes of changing the way people think about exercise and ending the insidious body shaming messages propagated within the fitness community. She is a Yoga and Body Image Coalition community partner and holds monthly yoga and body image workshops at her studio in Costa Mesa.