My sister lives up north and she hates it. She is so far from our childhood of big sunny Texas skies and sunburnt summers. For her now, the winter sun rises around 10:00am and sets around 3:00pm. The first few years my sister felt real fear as the dark nights approached often saying with a hint of panic in her voice, “winter is coming.” Every year, she has come to look forward to the Winter Solstice and the glimmer of hope it brings.
Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year and therefore the shortest day. This year, in the northern hemisphere, we celebrate this dark night on December 21st. Yoga communities honor this time as the blazing rebirth of the sun (as well as a yearly rebirth within ourselves). We take this time to set glowing intentions and to call in what we most desire. We also illuminate what is not serving us and attempt to let it go.
The very first time I meditated I was five years old. I remember laying on the grass. I watched the cotton candy clouds floating by slowly, peacefully. I closed my eyes and could feel the vibrations of the ground beneath me. I remember feeling connected to my body and the Earth. I felt my heart beating and I sensed my entire being from my head to my toes. My mind rested.
Of course I did not know I was meditating or even what meditation was, but looking back that is totally what I was doing. I was listening and observing my body; my internal world. I was simply being.
I recently learned of a new -ism. You know, like racism, sexism, classism. But have you heard of healthism? Once I researched more I realized that I actually know this -ism all too well. Like a pair of cute jeans that don’t fit but I won’t get rid of, I see it every day. I see it on social media all the time and I myself have unknowingly participated in this mindset. So what is it?
Healthism is another form of shaming people (just like those cute jeans). It is when you believe that your way of being healthy is THE way and everyone else needs to pull up their big girl panties and get in line. There is an awesome scene from the Netflix series “Shrill” that exemplifies this. The main character (who is in a bigger body) is approached while getting coffee by a very well meaning, adorable and ENTHUSIASTIC fitness buff. The fitness buff insists that the main character has a skinny girl inside her just waiting to come out. In the book the series is based on, the writer jokes that the fitness buff makes it sound as if she has accidentally eaten the pretty little skinny girl. It’s funny but also great example of healthism at its best.
Read my thoughts on yoga, teaching, parenting and everything in between. Shout out to Tiffany Stewart for help with the writing.