does this yoga make my butt look big?

I’m in a practicum for yoga teacher certification. I believe in the ethical precepts of yoga, read sacred texts, perform yogic breathing, meditate, meet regularly with fellow yogis for inspiration, and practice yoga on a daily basis. I attend challenging yoga classes that make me stretch, twist, jump, and sweat. I’m feeling stronger and more physically capable than I have in a long time, and I’d like to think that my practice has helped me to be a more emotionally stable person. So why the hell do I give a damn that my ass is getting fat? But it is.

My jeans are stretched to capacity, and when I catch the occasional glimpse of my backside in my yoga pants, I see a reflection of a bulging derriere. As much as I want to be all yogic and practice non-attachment, I find my backside expansion to be disconcerting. I want the elusive “yoga butt”! Is that too much to ask for? Ahem.

Before anyone alerts the yoga police, let me clarify. Like many women in this body obsessed culture, I have had body image issues since adolescence. I’ve never been super skinny, and even when I was eating a mostly raw, vegetarian, low fat diet and exercising like a mad woman, I was wearing a size 12 pants. Sometimes 14.Who am I kidding? I’ve pushed the 16/18 boundary several times, too.  And I’ve worked hard at being ok with that- working diligently to love my body and to practice the yogic principle of Ahimsa (non-harming, fearlessness, compassion). Inner voice: this is why they call it “practice”.

My body is strong and healthy, and I am grateful for all that my body can do. But to be honest, I can’t seem to shake the nagging part of me that wants to fit in- not just my pants, but with the crowd of athletic yogis who look so lithe and “healthy” in their Lululemon yoga gear and who adorn the covers of shiny yoga magazines. These yogis are stunning to look at. And….so am I. And so are the masses of “curvy” people who are finally stepping forth to claim a place on the mat or in the front of the room.

These lovely yogis are proving that yoga can be done regardless of size. It’s not just bold; it’s what my friend has proclaimed to be a yoga love revolution. And it’s a powerful and equally beautiful thing to behold. My ass is bigger- yes. And maybe, just maybe, that’s not just because I adore sharing sugary baked goods with my yoga book club friends, but also because my heart has expanded beyond the confines of my rib cage. Perhaps my ass is making room for what my torso can’t hold.