Last Friday, during a Yoga class in Costa Rica, as I stood balancing on my left leg in standing splits, a sensation filled my entire being; a deep sense of elation, of confidence, and of pride. In this moment, I had the realization that I am proud of my body. For me this is not easy to say as it comes with worries that it might sounds egotistical, boastful or vain.
Balancing on my left leg, hips open, it was the first time I’d ever enjoyed this posture. Balancing on my left leg, right leg extended behind me, reaching towards the sky, crown of my head to the earth. My right hand grasping my left ankle, feeling the muscles and tendons working to maintain my balance. My left leg feeling strong, stable, grounded, like a tree. Balancing on my left leg.
Ten years ago I was preparing for a total hip replacement of my right hip. My left hip had been replaced four months earlier and had resulted in nerve damage causing paresis in my left leg from the knee down. Ten years ago I wore a brace on my left leg to hold my foot in place so that it would not flop and drag as I walked. I used a cane to help me balance. Ten years ago the nerve in my left leg began its healing process, beginning to speak to the muscles and tendons again, quietly sending signals of how to move, circulate blood, feel sensations. It slowed me down. It gave me time to think, to listen and ultimately revealed to me the path I am now on.
Ten years later, I have regained the strength in my leg, gaining a nice amount of movement in my foot, the muscles and tendons in my calf becoming stronger, and it’s really hard to tell, at least in my mind, that I have modified my walk to accommodate my slightly droopy foot.
And on that Friday morning, it all hit me. There I was, balancing on my left leg, my hip replacements solid, the muscles in my leg quivering, my foot rooting down into the earth, lifting me up to try to touch the sky with my right toes. I am proud of my body for its resilience, strength and ability to heal. We are so fortunate to live in these magnificent bodies. Take a moment to connect with your body and enjoy that sensation of pride, satisfaction, gratitude for your body and all that it does for you each day.
Perhaps if we allow ourselves to feel and express this we won’t focus on all of the things that we are told to believe “wrong” with our bodies.