Wednesday, September 17, 2014

how getting outside helped me get outside of self-hate

Yoga helped save me from self hate.

Learning to love my body has been a long journey. In high school, I used to fall asleep thinking about how ugly I was; self-hate and body-image issues haunted my life. When I discovered yoga and learned to windsurf, I took the first steps towards healing. Exercising had always seemed like a punishment to me, but I fell in love with yoga and windsurfing for the sheer fun of it, for the tension of sails and wind and water on my windsurf board, for the joy of holding crow pose two seconds longer, for the thrill of challenging myself and growing. I discovered that my body is capable of more than being looked at.
It’s through my body that I get to experience the world, I get to hug my baby sister, dance through fall leaves crunching under my bare feet, taste triple chocolate brownies. While loving my body for its own sake was still a long way off, I slowly began to appreciate my body for all that it allowed me to do. I began to exercise to celebrate, not punish, my body.  And eventually, the day came when I was able to appreciate my body for its own sake too.

I’m thrilled that this fall, the Annual Women’s Center “I Love My Body Day” on Wednesday, September 10th will coincide with a new social media campaign #girlgetoutside which encourages girls and women to engage in outdoor activities. As a participating college, we’re also using #sienagirlgetoutside to join the nationwide campaign. Join us. It just might change your life too.

I got outside; I got outside physically, I got outside of my comfort zone and challenged myself, I got outside of my prejudices about what “exercising” had to look like. Most surprising of all, this helped me get outside of the cycle of self-hate I’d lived in for so long. I’m signing my name on our “I love my body just the way it is” banner with a proud flourish, because thanks to God and getting outside, it’s finally true.

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