For reals? Do they realize that I quit soccer in middle school? And during my 8th grade dance recital I leapt into the air and landed with an humiliating thump?
In my Athleta application I outlined my thwarted athletic career:
As a chubby girl on my rural, co-ed soccer team, puberty hit hard. Playing alongside the boys felt increasingly intimidating as my lady parts emerged. After that dance performance, some of my classmates made fun of me so I hid in the bathroom and cried. During high school gym I wanted to disappear in my frumpy, grey sweats. Draped in sedentary shame, I gave up on organized sports and dance.
As an overweight adult I wandered into a yoga class. Yoga immediately gave me a refreshing new way to live in my skin. Craving ease, grace, and physical competency, I began attending classes several times a week.
I stepped onto the mat 13 years ago and it’s been a magic carpet ride ever since. I lost over 40 lbs., peeled off those layers of shame, and reorganized myself. Ten years ago I started teaching yoga and can’t imagine more gratifying work.
Being chosen by Athleta sparks whispers of old insecurities. How will I look in their lovely designs? Should I try to lose weight before the announcement? Am I really an athlete?
I remind myself that we all face these doubts as we step into the game and the public eye. Trying yoga or a new sport is intimidating. If you are out of shape, joining a gym is daunting. When I teach Yoga Basics, I support newbies moving through the awkward, unfamiliar poses. I marvel at their bravery. I’ve so been there. The judgments of others are never as nasty as our inner critic.
Even with the Ahleta annoucement, I still squirm under the title of “athlete.” As a teenager, I walked off the playing field as a failed competitor. I could still be on the sidelines but as an adult I discovered my own movement practice.
Now, I’m surrounded by athletes as the In-house Yogi at Clif Bar & Co. (Many of which claim yoga is the harder than any sport.) I’m much more at ease with the title of “teacher.” Whether mental or physical, I’m committed to removing obstacles to movement. Everyone may not be a competitive athlete but we all need to understand our personal movement medicine.
(You may wonder what being a Sponsored Athlete means. This year I’ll write for the Athleta Chi Blog and hold in-store teaching events. Biggest perk: Feeling awesome in the Athleta clothes!)