which regularly travels three continents, and traverses the diverse cultural constructs found there.
To my body which has been groundlessly shamed, in spite of the protection all loved ones have placed around me.
To my body, which has endured sexual abuse, both above and under the influence, in youth and maturity.
To my body that dances through the madness and heals even as it terembles.
To my body, which has been attacked and battered without provocation, and in spite of my attempts of self defense.
To my body, which I have have abused, and occasionally still do, and hope never to do again. And again. And again.
To my body that practices, sustains, and grows with every breath and cycle.
To my body, that is so much blood and bone, fat and muscle. That is skin and other organs in and out that deal with the world and taking it in.
To my body, and your body, you deserve so much more than destruction. I hope you know your beauty. I hope you live your strength.
As a yoga teacher and a body worker, I strive at all times to provide my students and clients with a safe space. By the time I came to yoga, at the age of 14, I had already endured sexual abuse. It was my discovery of my body through yoga and dance, and the help of a loving community, that allowed me to move forward. Capoeira was my next step along the path, and was my island of safety during an eating disorder, PTSD, and the process of recovery.
The wound is the place where the light enters you. – Rumi
This evening, I was body shamed, for being “half-naked” in some of my recent yoga pictures. I then deleted almost all of those pictures from Instagram. With the unfaltering support of my partner and husband, and after an emotional conversation with a dear friend in Australia, who pointed out to me I have nothing to be ashamed of, I wrote this and decided to show myself again… Not for pity or approbation, but because I know I’m not alone. I know there are other people who have faced greater obstacles in finding center and over come them. All I can do is bear witness in my life to my struggle and maybe, in doing so, I will affirm the struggle of others.
If my words sound familiar, no matter what your body type, history or status, please know you are not alone. Please know that agency is yours for the taking. Claim your power. Know your beauty. Release pride for a deeper awareness; you are not better because you aren’t someone else, you are amazing because of who you are.
And, now that I have shown you much of my inner self, with words that still terrify me as I submit them to public view, I am finally going to bed. And I am posting some of those pictures I took down. Thanks for reading.
May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be free from all suffering. May you share your gifts with the world, and may you know your true self in this lifetime.
Kayla Ankeny, SahajaSoma
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