Reflecting back on 2020, one positive thing that came out of the year was expanding my yoga practice. I enjoy the mind body connection yoga brings, the connection to my breath and also hearing the instructors encouragement.
As a Pilates instructor I understand the value in cueing and saying what is needed for the student to get the most out of their practice. One of the cues my favorite yoga teachers communicate frequently, is to “take up space on your mat” or “let your body be heavy into the earth.” To me this is not just a cue, this is a mantra. The more I have heard it, the more it has gotten me thinking about allowing for space and weight.
Our media has trained us to seek the newest diet trend, a smaller dress or pant size, continuously shrinking ourselves. I personally am always reaching for a smaller body, to diminish myself into what society has deemed acceptable. Rather than shrink into the smallest version of myself, I want to spend 2021 growing into the fullest version of myself.
Authors Lindsay and Lexie Kite write in their new book More than a Body, “…if your mission in life is primarily to take up less space, beautify the background, or mold yourself into something you’ve been taught is worthy of love…your life will never be fulfilled.”
To understand the concept of taking up space, we must first support our bodies. Practicing yoga is one of my favorite ways to support my body. When our bodies feel supported from the inside out, we can then allow ourselves to take up space.
On the mat, take up space not only with your body but with your breath. Do this by laying on your back and sending breath throughout your body. In Warrior 2, allow your body to take up all the surface area it requires, from your fingers to your feet, to be strong and supported by the earth beneath it.
We are meant to take up space, to occupy the space that our body needs, and to move in sync with our breath. The more I hear this reminder, the more I feel fulfilled in myself.
Off the mat, I have tried to incorporate this mindset into my daily life. As someone who is used to shrinking into myself, I am allowing myself to take up space whether at the coffee shop, or making dinner for my family at home.
A great practice is finding time for daily mindfulness through meditation. Taking 5 minutes alone, to sit in a comfortable place focusing on your breath truly supports your body internally.
Escaping into nature is another practice I use. When I am able to walk a trail or see wildlife and the nature around me, I am reminded of my body encompassing the space around me and feel more grounded.
When we are grounded from the inside out, allowing for space physically becomes a natural practice. Our bodies have weight and need space. Take up as much space as you can. There is only one you, let yourself take up as much space as possible.