Preface and disclaimer: This blog post is in NO way an attempt to body shame or make fun of the individual described. It is merely a depiction of the “who the hell cares?” attitude we should all adopt in regards to our bodies.
The scene: I’m unpacking my iPad and yoga mat, preparing to teach a morning flow class at the studio where I received my yoga teacher training. I look up as a sweet looking, heavy-set Asian man enters the studio. His English is broken, but I can tell he’s new and wants to sign up for the class. Through smiling, gestures, and pointing at the registration liability waiver, I get the gentleman signed in and I refer him to the dressing room area so he can change for class.
Instead, he stands right in the lobby and proceeds to pull his pants down. My heart leaps out of my chest and I make a strangled effort to shout, “Noooo, there’s a dressing room over there!” But all that comes out is an indecipherable croak. He then whips his polo shirt over his head to reveal a wrestling singlet underneath his initial layer of clothes. And there is it. A chubby man wearing an adult wrestling outfit, getting ready to take a yoga class. He walks past me, mat under his arm, and enters the studio. I am floored. 100% confused, shocked, and somehow delighted.
The conclusion: The rest of the students arrive, check in, and enter the studio. At the downbeat of class, I walk into the studio and there’s my new friend, front and center. Here’s the magical thing (though one could argue there are several in this story): absolutely no one gave a fuck what he, or anyone else, was wearing. No one cared in the slightest that he was overweight and wearing a somewhat revealing outfit. Once the initial shock wore off (shock over the novelty of his attire, not his body), he was just another person, another body, devoting himself to his practice. I adored this experience because it was not only funny and surprising, it taught me that no one gives a good goddamn what you look like. In yoga, we are all just there on the mat, doing our best. $120 yoga pants and wrestling singlets aside. I hope you think of this story the next time you fret about your own body, and please realize that absolutely no one is paying attention to your perceived imperfections. Let’s all be like the smiling, kind-eyed man in a skimpy onesie and just let it all hang out, enjoy our practices, and be kind to those around us. We’re all doing our best.
A native of Las Vegas, Nevada, Elizabeth Marshall is the founder of Rise Wellness. Dedicated to all aspects of health and wellness, Elizabeth is a yoga instructor, Pilates trainer, and Reiki Master. Rise Wellness is located on the fourth floor of the old Custom House in Portland.