Have you ever found yourself struggling with those extra pounds?
Have you ever experienced the sense of failure because of dieting then binging, then dieting again, feeling more and more trapped in an endless cycle?
And have you ever compared yourself with other women, always feeling less attractive, less capable, less… everything?
If you resonated with the above, then I’m very much like you, as I have been through this torrent of emotions over 2,190 times — and that is at least once a day for 6 years.
I have been chasing a thinner, fitter, and better looking body since I can remember — becoming aware of having… well… a body.
I tried every possible way I could think of to get the body I so desperately wanted: gym subscriptions, team sports, jogging, and — when I finally could afford one in my late 20s — a personal trainer. I knew I could do it, and I was determined to find a way…
But nothing really worked out the way I planned.
The gym would drain me rather than energize me. Waking up in the morning knowing I had to put myself through another exhausting workout, turned the first half of my day into a living nightmare. My muscles would be sore after each session, turning me into the most irritable and tired person throughout the rest of my day.
And on top of that, failing at seeing any visible results within the crazy deadlines I would set for myself, I would give enough reasons to slip back into the old cycle of binging and skipping workouts, once again trying to get out of it.
The key to break free wasn’t actually that far away, yet I was looking everywhere else.
Until the day everything changed…
Today, I’m almost 30, and I have the best body (and health) I could have hardly imagined even when I was in my early 20s.
But wait! That’s not all!
Today I know it’ s not only a simple goal I reached, but a whole new level in my self consciousness. A new LIFE!
Today I look at myself in the mirror and I see a beautiful creature inside and out… and like this wasn’t enough, everyone else sees her too.
And the best part?
I actually achieved my goal the moment I stopped obsessing over it.
Not only did my body actually change and shape up in a way I never thought possible, but I also embarked on a journey that made that goal just a simple side effect. This then triggered a chain reaction of new self discoveries and mental breakthroughs.
And yes, yoga did the trick!
Taking the steps on a new journey with yoga gently forced me to shift my focus towards 4 things — things I had been neglecting until now. Below are my 4 shifts that suddenly made my goal a reality.
Shift #1: Away from aesthetics, straight to inner body
“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul” — Max Ehrmann
When you practice yoga, you can’t afford to pay attention to your aesthetic. It’s that simple. The moment you glance in the mirror, trying to check how your muffin top looks while you twist it like a towel and bend yourself into unusual shapes, defeats one of the main purposes of yoga: become just a witness of your thoughts, free of judgement, and stay fully focused on the present moment.
With just a little time and patience, I finally let go of any interests in my looks, my yoga outfit, and anyone else’s ‘’physical performance’’ in the class.
I shifted my focus onto my own breath’ s flow during the postures, slowly becoming aware of what I had to improve without having to look it up in the mirror.
Needless to say, this shift boosted my self esteem off the mat, in ways I can hardly describe with words. Even emotional eating became a distant memory. I did not need to find temporary peace in a chocolate bar anymore. I had found long lasting peace inside.
Shift #2: From ego to integrity
“A flower does not care about his neighbor. It blossoms anyway.” — Anonymous
This was a BIG one for me. Being a very competitive person, I could not stand the idea of not being a top performer in anything, let alone my yoga class. Glancing at someone in the room, being more flexible than me, easily pulling of postures that were so though for me, all while being publicly praised by the teacher, would fire me up.
Fortunately, I did not have a choice. I had to let go and start believing I was enough, right in that moment. Beating myself up, forcing my body into pain, and judging myself and everyone else, just wasn’t an option anymore.
Fully accepting and embracing my limits, was my new and only way to transcend them.
Shift #3: From resistance to acceptance
“What you resist persists!” — Carl Jung
No words could better describe what happens when you fight the place you’re currently in, but are seduced by where you want to be. You can only move forward once you truly accept every step you are taking right now.
And by accepting every little step of the way, you will recognize lots of micro successes that you were not even seeing before. All of which, in return, will let you enjoy the journey to health in ways you had never imagined before. To the point where stepping on your mat becomes as natural as brushing your teeth in the morning.
Shift #4: From the end goal to enjoying the journey
“It is good to have an end to the journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end” — Ernest Hemingway
Yoga showed me that by simply putting a goal ahead of me, I was playing too small. That getting the outer body I so desperately wanted wouldn’t have been sustainable, nor would have given me any happiness, without becoming aware of who I was as a whole.
It showed me that I could achieve my dream, whilst loving the journey!
Amazed by how much more vitality, energy, and confidence I felt pretty much immediately, committing to a daily practice became second nature. So much so that I forgot about the goal… until I actually reached it.
And the moment I did, I realized the journey had just started, and there was so much more waiting for me.
Now, I’m not saying yoga is the only thing that will work for you… What I am saying is this:
- Find something that challenges your limits, helps you forget about the goal, and makes you fall in love with the journey.
- Something that makes you love yourself unconditionally while doing it.
- Choose consistency and expansion, rather than boring repetition (whatever shape or form that means to you). This way you will never get bored of it, and you will be surprised to see how the goal you were chasing for so long was actually already accomplished inside you, just waiting to be brought to light.
Enjoy your journey,
P.S. Do you practice yoga? What does your practice mean to you? I am thrilled to know and ready to be inspired
Entrepreneur, yogi, and CEO of Mindvalley Italy, Cecilia Sardeo is a woman of many talents. She loves creating businesses that help communities at large, while cherishing life and enjoying running her multiple businesses in health and wellness.
She found in yoga the means to reach a new level of balance and performance in her previously chaotic and busy lifestyle.
We were so inspired by Cecilia’s story and her quest for happiness through self-acceptance. In spirit of Yoga Month, we delightfully share her story on how yoga helped changed her prospective and manifest her best self.
To get a head start on a new yoga routine, try meditation daily to enhance your benefits and retrain your thoughts.
-Cecilia’s article was originally featured in FinerMinds. You can find and follow them here.