This is my sports bra (hello sports bra). She has many confusing straps. We did something brave together last week: I wore her and just her (pants too, obvs) to yoga class.
My business coach, Samantha Siffring, challenged me to 30 days of bravery and wearing just a sports bra was one of my challenges. I’ve always wanted to do it, but never felt brave enough. Until last week.
I walked into the class with a shirt on because it felt unconstitutional to drive shirtless to class. I set up my mat, found myself in the mirror, and whipped off that shirt with a sharp inhale. No going back now, honeys, it was already done.
I looked around at the other bodies and a few were just wearing sports bras too. My people, I thought. Is there a secret handshake for this club? At least secret glances for our shared baddassery?
Instinctively, I started to compare. “That one looks so relaxed, that one clearly hasn’t had two kids, and THAT one is just unfair…wait a minute, I don’t have a shirt on…”
The yoga teacher came in and when she set up the tone for the class, I almost snorted out loud.
Vulnerability. Growth. Intentionally getting yourself to places of discomfort and, more importantly, staying in there. Yes, common yoga themes but it was like she was talking to my sports bra and me.
We started our practice and I was so aware of my body. The way it bent and folded, the shadows it cast and didn’t cast. I was too aware. What did I look like to others? Did they wish I kept my shirt on? Should I adjust my pose to make me less creased? My postures suffered. I was wobbly and overthinking. I wanted to put my shirt back on.
It was the exact opposite of what I should do in yoga and at that moment the teacher said this:
“When you are uncomfortable, you are faced with your biggest moments of growth. So what if instead of pushing away the discomfort, you leaned into it to see where it takes you?”
So I did just that. I leaned into the discomfort of being shirtless and dropped my ego. And just like that, I was floating. I wasn’t uncomfortable anymore and it felt wonderful to not have clothing between me and my body. I loved my silhouette. There was no posture I couldn’t slay, there was no way I could fall, there was no one else in the room.
Because yoga, like life, is all about your mind, your thoughts, and your ego.
Yoga teachers often say yoga starts when you want to get out of a pose. The moment you say something is hard, it truly does get hard. But, yoga teaches you to bridge the moment between “this is hard” with the end of that sentence “and I can do it”. It is the bridge between what you think it possible and what really is possible. It’s the moment you want to put your shirt back on but don’t. This is vulnerability and that is bravery.
My yoga teacher that shirtless day asked us to breathe into hard moments and say: “I can. I am able. I am enough.” It sounds so simple but try it. See how it changes the challenge. What if we said that in the middle of hard life moments? How would that change the challenge? How would it explode our lives?
Once you lean into discomfort, you find comfort on the other side. I did that with my torso exposed to the world. I did that with the panic attacks and anxiety I thought would last forever. I’m doing that with pushing the boundaries of my life and with 30 days of bravery. The more I lean in, the less uncomfortable pushing myself is.
So, did I like wearing just a sports bra to yoga? Yes, I loved it. Wearing clothes hid my body and encumbered my movement. I am done with hiding and encumbrances. I am liberated and shirtless. I can. I am able. I am enough. Now I just need to buy more sports bras with fewer strap entanglements.
THINGS THEY FORGOT TO MENTION:
Bravery comes in all different shapes, sizes, and strap configurations. Just because something is uncomfortable, doesn’t mean you should get away from it. If you think you can’t, you won’t — it’s that simple. You can. You are able. You are enough.