Don't be Afraid to Take up Space

I have gotten back into yoga recently. I was an avid yogi a few years back before falling ill with my various chronic illnesses. Once I got sick, I stopped doing yoga and haven't practiced it since. With my ongoing improvements in strength and endurance (although no where near normal yet), and because I just want to feel better about my body and be 'in shape' again, I decided to pick it back up and give it a try. The first class was hard because I lost a lot of strength that I used to possess. But the more I got myself up and to class, the easier it became. It can still be difficult; my muscles will still spasm and shake at times, but overall I am seeing improvements.
However, I want to digress from this a little bit and talk about something that the yoga instructor said the other day. She was telling us during several different poses to 'take up space' and to 'not be afraid to take up all the space you need.'

This stuck with me. This phrase went straight to my heart and made it smile. Because someone was actually telling me that it is OKAY to take up space.

As someone who has suffered from an eating disorder for 7 years, maybe even longer, this was a statement that I needed to hear. You see, I have spent so much of my time trying to take up as little space as possible. I spent hours a day obsessing over the fact that I was 'too big' and 'taking up too much space.' I would starve myself to become invisible. I wanted to disappear - and that is exactly what I was happening. I was slowly fading away to nothing. I was skin and bone and it STILL wasn't small enough.

Fast forward three years later...I am in a yoga class at a healthy weight, still feeling somewhat uncomfortable in my body, and this yoga instructor says exactly what I needed to hear.

"Take up space."

Let's just sit and reflect on those words for a minute.

We all need to take up space. We need to and should be proud of who we are, grateful for our bodies and all they can do, and accepting of whatever size our bodies are. Because we are made in the goodness and likeness of God. He did not intend for us to scrutinize our bodies at any chance we get. He did not intend for us to acquire such a hatred and loathing for how we look. And I use the word 'acquire' because I really do not believe any of us are born disliking our bodies. Rather, we learn to criticize our bodies and pick apart all of our 'flaws.' But the thing is, we are made just the way God intended. We need to stop worrying about taking up space and start embracing the space that we take up. Because we are worthy of taking up this space. Our voices need to be heard. Our bodies need to be loved. And our personalities deserve to shine through. God made only one of you - you are special to Him, and to the world. So sparkle, take up space, and emanate your love and kindness from the inside out. Let your heart grow bigger and bigger every day, don't shrink and shrivel wasting away to nothing. Because you are so beautiful with all that you are. You wouldn't silence or be cruel to a friend, so I plead, don't do that to yourself.


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