Practice What You Preach


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“Where are all the college kids?”  He asked.


I stood there.  Stumped.  I love college students.  I used to work with them at the university.  I have an amazing group now.  Some college students but mostly a mix.  A mix of real people.  Old.  Young.  In the Middle.  I always considered myself at 41 “in the middle”.  However, as soon as I took my clothes off, I noticed a weirdness in this student that went above his regular self.  He was uncomfortable for sure.  As I put everyone in child’s pose, he stood up and went to the wall.  I teach a few more poses then he is on his phone texting in the corner.


“Are you ok?”  I whisper trying not to disrupt the class.


“Yeah, I just don’t have the energy.”


“Do you need to leave?”  (I would usually ask him to stay but I felt something else.)


He left.


I taught the class and still felt shaken.  No one noticed.  Why was I so shaken?  Well, I heard him say much more that the words that actually came out of his mouth.  I heard this:


“Wow!  Lots of old people here.  Wow, A.J., not only are you fat…but you’re old!  Oh!  And you’re a failure as a yoga teacher too!  There are no hot people here.  Shame on you.”


I conduct body image workshops.  I consider myself an expert in this area.  Most of the time, I’m very confident…much more than I used to be.  This just shows it is progress not perfection.  Maybe if I was young and beautiful like I used to be.   Maybe I would be more accepted.  I say things in class like “Watch what you say in your head as you struggle with a pose.  What do you say about your body when you see it in the mirror.”  All to remind others to check themselves.  However, I need reminding too.


When I got home I visited my “tools”.  I was able to re-evaluated reality vs. fiction.  That young student’s experience is something I will never know.  Truthfully, it is none of my business what others think of me.  I need to practice daily in order to reach self-acceptance.  I commit to not wallow or obsess about what others think of me, but rather, to practice what I preach.