Why I Show My Stomach in Yoga Class

Hello again Lovelies,

As I'm sure many of you have noticed, it's becoming more and more popular to wear crop tops or just a sports bra (for guys, maybe no shirt at all) to yoga classes. We see this in our regular morning class or at the gym, on social media, and even with people out and about in their athleisure attire. I can understand the mixed reactions to this and why one would choose either way - to bear or to cover up. But, I want to tell you why I choose to show my stomach in yoga classes and at the gym.

First, there's a level of practicality involved here. If I'm attending a hot yoga class, it gets, well...freaking hot in that room! Because of the heat, I'm going to wear less clothing than normal to, you know, prevent passing out. While I might actually wear a long sleeve shirt or light sweater to a restorative class, that's just not practical in a room that's heated to 95 degrees.

The second reason I might choose to wear just a sports bra to work out has more personal meaning associated with it. There's a certain amount of empowerment I feel when I show my stomach in public. As a society, we're so wrapped up in our looks - how skinny we are, how our hair and makeup looks, making sure our clothes are fashionable and name brands - that we've created such a culture of shame around our bodies and a standard of perfectionism that's unattainable. Heaven forbid we have a single roll, (because that's not what skin does when we move!), or a stretch mark, or cellulite, or some hair on our bodies. 

I know this information isn't new to anyone, and there are so many people who feel their bodies are never good enough to show to others, sometimes even to themselves. Because of this, we feel as though we should be covered up all the time. That in some way we are going to offend someone by showing them that we have a stomach or meaty thighs. But, here's the thing, by you simply having a body no one has the right to be offended. And, chances are, no one is even noticing your body.

Because I've experienced that shame and feeling of needing to be perfect, I now refuse to continue to feel this about my body. I am done believing that my body is ugly or unfit and that I need to cover it up to save others from the shame I had associated with it. I now choose to see my body as a place of strength, of being perfectly imperfect. By showing my stomach, I prove to myself that I'm worthy of having a space in the room and feeling empowered. As I'm working out, I can see my rolls and can show them off for whoever wants to see. There is nothing I need to be ashamed about, because everyone has a stomach and everyone has flaws about their bodies. By creating a space where I have no where to hide, no shirt to hide behind, I can focus on what actually makes me strong. I can see my muscles working as I hold that plank or complete a set of crunches. I can celebrate the amazing things about my body, what it allows me to do, and the growth I've made.

I have decided that celebrating my body, no matter where I'm currently at, is far more empowering than continuing to create a circle of shame around it. I actually feel more healthy and stronger, which allows me to work harder at the gym and make healthier decisions to continue to feel amazing in my body. Therefore, I will proudly wear what I want to yoga class or the gym and not feel that I should have to cover up for anyone, especially myself.

If you haven't, maybe next time you attend a yoga class or workout at the gym, give this a try. See what it's like to show off your stomach or arms, whatever part of your body you always feel you have to cover up. It might feel scary at first, but allow yourself to step into that discomfort and notice what happens as you go through your workout. 

What do you all think about this rise of showing off your stomach? Do you embrace it; do you struggle with shame around part of your body? Let me know what your experience has been like with this or what it was like if you try it out for the first time.

Know that your body is not an arena for shame. Your body is beautiful, powerful, and allows you to do so many things throughout your day. Nourish and honor that..as well as yourself.

Namaste