Yoga and the Thin Girl


Last Wednesday a girl arrived just a second before class started and put her mat down in front of me. She was just thin, with a slight frame – she wasn’t anorexic, or bony, or even excessively skinny – but I winced and didn’t want to practice behind her because I felt so large.

There’s a teacher at my studio whose classes I don’t go to for the same reason. She’s thin. And I feel gigantic compared to her.

The rational part of my mind knows how unhelpful, unhealthy it is to compare myself to others in this way.  Logically I can acknowledge I have come far, I have lost a lot of weight, and I am now fit and healthy. That just coming to class and wearing yoga pants and a tank top is an achievement. I also know that other people are probably not judging my appearance as harshly as  I am, and I definitely don’t feel animosity towards these women.

I just feel large and I don’t like it.

What I do feel is (all kidding aside, that logical part of my mind realizes how melodramatic it sounds to say this on the topic of a thin girl in a yoga class) a sense of injustice that it is so unfair. Their hips are SO narrow. They were just born like that! They may or may not diet or exercise or do other things to maintain their weight, perhaps they have or have had eating disorders, even, but some of it is just luck of the draw.

This unfairness also comes back to me. I am super conscious of what I eat. There is a list of foods I do not keep in the house because I overindulge*. I exercise a lot, often motivated by a fear of weight gain. And yet I’m larger than these girls. It seems like for all I do, I should get “more” than just maintenance of my current weight and fitness level. I should get to be thinner.

I want to end this post on a positive note, or at least with a clever-sounding deep thought. But I don’t have one. I guess I can say – at least I’m not thinking this all the time, or for the whole duration of the class. It’s better than it used to be.

*chocolate, peanut butter, chips/crackers, ice cream, cookies, Lara bars or any other similar product

2 responses »

  1. Look at Kino. She’s about the most advanced Ashtangi out there, and no, she’s not skinny. When I did my teacher training we all marvelled at the biggest girl in the course who could do postures we never dreamt of achieving. Keep going! 🙂

  2. Thank you for this supportive comment! It’s interesting that it did not even occur to me to relate this postures and yoga practice – the stuff with thinness is so strong in my mind that even in a yoga class, it did not cross my mind to think, maybe I can focus on my practice instead.

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