Over the years I have walked into many settings as the “yoga teacher” to find faces looking at me questioningly. I’ve even had students approach me and ask, “Do you know the teacher for this class?” The assumption is that someone who is obese can’t possibly be a yoga teacher! There was a time when I believed that to be true as well. I practiced yoga, but to teach it? Who would take classes from a fat person?
My attitude about this shifted when I was first initiated in 1995 by my guru and given the spiritual name Atmarupa. It was explained to me that my name means “to take the beautiful form of the true self.” It doesn’t mean the exterior self. My name means I must see my eternal, beautiful, pure nature within. And to do that a serious practice of self-acceptance - the acceptance of that exterior self began.
Now, 20 years later I have not only found peace with my body, but feel grateful for it. It has inspired others to try yoga that may not have if I, the teacher, didn’t look the way I do. It carries me through my yogic journey and forces me to look deep inside to see that beautiful form of my true self. And when I can see that Self, I know who I truly am.
Hugs and Oms,