• Kanika Lal

Our Bodies Don't Deserve Self-Criticism


I'm slowly starting to eliminate feelings of annoyance that almost everyone is practicing Yoga like it's their part-time job.

It's the dark side of me that felt guilty and a little envious that a holistic and almost religious practice done by my ancestors and my own grandfather is a "trend" in today's America.

And it's a trend I didn't help spread, start or learn more about when I should have. (Yes, I know how that sounds.)

The word Namaste has been printed on T-Shirts in the form of a pun - which are pretty good I admit - and the core of Yoga has been dwindled down to simply a "workout."

So, I know I should have paid more attention. It was an aspect of Indian culture I didn't know much about, but am glad to have more of an in-depth understanding of it.

I applaud the non-Indians who have really embraced this wonderful practice, but I'm also like, "go away, you're annoying."

Anyways, that's for another blog post.

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I've started to implement at least a couple of Yoga poses during the day and evening on my own private time; Not as a workout, but rather a "check-in-with-my-body-and-mind" practice. Certain poses either heal an emotional and/or physical feeling - or strengthen it. In a way, it is a workout, but not for burning calories in the heat or getting that booty-pop body.

This afternoon as I was getting ready to leave the house, I decided to squeeze in some poses that could act as some detox moves after I emotionally binge ate last night. Another problem to dive into for another time.

Once I moved into Balasana, Sanskrit for "Child's Pose", I noticed how tight my inner thighs still were, and I started breathing in and out of the pain. All of a sudden, I broke down crying.

With my forehead, face down in my carpet, my arms extended forward, thighs resting under my chest as my knees were wide, I felt as vulnerable as the child in the pose. Enough to release tension that has always been there but decided to come out at that time.

And that's the beauty of Yoga. It's listening to the body - breathing into every muscle, tissue, organ, cell - and honoring it. Because our bodies hold so much history. It's traveled through our own childhood, experienced trauma, energies of our past, present, and future.

It was the first time I admitted out loud that I've been hard on my body. I've neglected it, tortured it, challenged it, overworked it, and been so dissatisfied with it. For a large portion of my life.

Why? It doesn't deserve it. It's the only thing here for me. It's a beautiful creature that doesn't deserve embarrassment.

My obsession to keep it tight, toned and sexy shouldn't be because of society, stupid ideals, a vision of what it should look like. It should be tight, toned and sexy because I keep it healthy and balanced. And the natural outcome is how natural I keep it.

Let alone my body, my obsession to have this ideal life of mine from my career to my creativity has only led me to self-damage. Whether that is not taking the right action, or any action at all, binge eating through my emotions, starving myself to reverse the binge - it's all just so sad. Because I don't deserve to have my own self hate me and punish me. There's already enough of that from other people and circumstance, I don't need it for myself.

I love Kanika, I love my inner child, and I don't want to do her wrong. I want to live a good life for her, make her smile, laugh and never bring tears to her eyes. Like the feeling she had when she was at Disneyworld, when she watched her favorite Bollywood actor romance on screen, when she played outside with her brother after she finished her homework. When she read all types of books, licking the pages of the ones that smelled good (yeah...I was a weird kid, too. Still have love, though).

Girls, boys, ladies, gentlemen - why? Why are we criticizing ourselves? Comparing ourselves? Following the pack? Why is sometimes hard for us to be our own individual without fear of other's thoughts? Whether it is family or friends or lovers.

I know we are headed towards a time where self-love and embracing our beautiful, God-gifted uniqueness is welcomed - but I'm not sure how deep it goes, how long it'll last, how authentic it is.

Even though I try, it's hard. My mind is not at peace, but I have to keep reminding myself. As I hope I am reminding you.

As I hope you'll remind me, too...

I don't know who this is, but he's cute. I'm VERY single. But that's for another blog post...


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