I walked into the High School to teach a yoga class for an all girls after school program. This was not the school I went to but somehow it is still taking me back.
Back to the days when I thought popularity had more to do with what you wore instead of who you were inside and what you were passionate about.
Back to when being healthy meant dieting and striving to fit in skinny jeans and in the process somehow looking like the girls in music videos.
Back to when I would literally use a clothing iron for hours to take every single curl out of my hair because none of the girls at school had curly hair, and in my mind “curly hair isn’t cool, its too loud.”
Back to when the last word I would have ever used to describe myself is beautiful.
I look at this circle of girls and I see myself. Magnificent, fluttering, social butterflies; still a bit nervous, huddled to close friends and unsure of what to expect.
I ask the girls what they think yoga is. I get a lot of looks, a long pause of silence and when they come to understand that Im not about to give them the answer; I hear some of the most intelligent responses flow from their hearts.
“How your bring yourself back to centre.”
“Breathing in the moment and letting go of stress.”
“Space to be calm in who I am.”
Deeply they know their beauty and radiance, but as women of any age we so often struggle with giving ourselves the permission to shine.
We dive into a fun flowing sequence to get things moving, hearts working, lungs cleansing and then comes the good stuff.
For only around 10 minutes, but we dance with our eyes closed, and we dance as hard as we possibly can.
When eyes open, we see each other, we make eye contact and talk about how beyond our external differences that we share a strong common ground.
We open our arms wide. School is out and the gym is ours. We start today’s goddess chant.
“I AM BEAUTIFUL!”
“WE ARE BEAUTIFUL!” Our determination echoes on the walls and strikes me like a lightning bolt into the depth of my being. 15 year old Rachel needs this too.
What if every woman, every girl knew her beauty? What if every girl, every woman felt safe in her skin and loved herself confidently, unconditionally? How would that change our world?
We all have fears, dreams, happiness, sadness, insecurities and strength but as girls we start to create walls from a young age. We create differences. We go on auto-pilot and see each other as threatening instead of seeing ourselves in each other.
We get together and gossip, we put each other down, we disrespect each others clothing choices, life choices and we meddle in each others happiness. Instead of lifting each other up and celebrating ourselves as sisters; We judge each other, because deep down we judge ourselves.
We try to create some kind of invisible competition to prove our worth in contrast or comparison to each other when in all reality, theres nothing to win and in the process we lose ourselves.
I don’t care if you have stretch marks, messy hair, glasses, freckles, or all of the above. I don’t care if you have big boobs, little boobs or no boobs. Your beauty has nothing to do with the number the scale gives you, if you’re petite or plus size or whatever lives in between. It is irrelevant how tall or short you are, curvy or lean. I don’t care if you have a high heel collection or wouldn’t be caught dead in them. You are beautiful.
I want you to look into your eyes in the mirror every morning and say “I am beautiful.” Until you can say it and not have the little thought that tries to take it back.
Once you know your own beauty you can walk through your life and each sister that you meet, say in your mind, “We are beautiful!” or take it another step and say it aloud.
See her shine? Thats because it is mirroring yours.
Feel her warmth, grace and strong presence in this world? Remember that whatever you can recognize in someone else, lives also in you.
Repeat after me…
“I am beautiful.”
“We are beautiful.”
Respect. Nourish. Uplift. Celebrate!
Lather, rinse, repeat.