“Guidance from Guru’s”
by Tira Feierstein
Do you ever feel like you’re running in place? (Metaphorically speaking?) I felt that way many times in my life, but never more than I did with my struggle to find normalcy in my post-baby body. It seemed no matter how many stairs I climbed or hot yoga classes I sweated through, my efforts where exhausted and my progress was nominal.
I participated happily in my fitness community, firmly supported by those on neighboring yoga mats and various workout classes. But, the truth is, I was unable to push past my self-induced limits. I didn’t want to get truly uncomfortable. That’s not to say I wasn’t working hard and sweating harder, but I was so emotionally exhausted from the rigors of my existence, that if I COULD keep my knees down in chaturanga, I was going to.
What I was missing in my journey was focused guidance. A guru. A person who could hold me accountable when my depression, exhaustion, limiting beliefs wouldn’t. I began to seek out support both from fitness and spiritual teachers. I desperately needed some one-on-one time with anyone who could listen to and support my very specific needs and goals. I needed guidance that was tailored to my body, mind and soul. I needed the kind of inspiration that spoke directly to my fears and overactive ego.
I began working out with a very special trainer/woman/friend. She was more than a personal a trainer, but a person who sees her clients as individuals. Emilee looks beyond measurements and scale numbers into the souls of the people she works with. That is what I needed. I am completely over our fitness culture’s obsession with before and after’s, body weight indexes and charts that shamed me in my pregnancy and that where now plaguing my sense of achievements.
My relationship with Emilee Jones of Body by Emilee changed the trajectory of my fitness and my life. I walked in with photos of how I wanted to look and she met me with compassion and love. She explained to me that my progress would be influenced by my perceptions of my experience, not the scale. She said, being healthy is a lifelong commitment to self-love and the desire to do right by my body because it deserved it and I did too. We had soul-to-soul cha
ts about self-love and what “progress” really means. How showing up for yourself and making decisions rooted in self-kindness on a regular basis, is the truest example of ‘success’ for your body.
After a couple of months of training, Emilee introduced me to her spiritual teacher, Santi Devi. On the heels of the all of the work/obsessive energy I had been putting into my body over the last 2 years, the idea of doing some work on my soul sounded like a trip to the spa.
I embarked on a journey of work that pushed me beyond my physical and emotional limits. Healing the external and internal wounds. Letting go the emotional and body-weight that was weighing me down and holding me back. Turns out, the key to finding body harmony is very much an inside job.
I’ve thought a lot about the word “guru,” and it’s meaning. Who is a guru? Who has been a guru in my life? Why are teachers so important to our growth, healing and progress? A Guru is, not-so-simply, a spiritually influential teacher. My Son is one of my gurus, as are some of my closest friends. Spiritual teachers are so vital to our lives because they help us to see and face our fears, to meet them with love and acceptance. Without self-love there is no growth or positive expansion; physically or mentally.
When it’s comes to my body, I’ve always operated from fear. I never wanted to be noticed or seen (in a positive or negative way). When I was younger and desperately steering the course of conformity, I found that I didn’t want to shine too brightly for fear of being watched. Thus, I struggled with a very mild case of teen obesity. As a young woman, I was desperate for attention, so out of fear of being overlooked, I starved and purged my way to a thinner place. And now, here I was, a mother, trying to be the very essence of love for my family and I was in a place with my body where I couldn’t heal it because I had never expressed love for it.
How can we physically embody health and wellness without a true appreciation and honoring of our bodies? It’s not enough to be skinny, it’s not enough to go to yoga six times a week … If you are beating up your body with diet and exercise, how is it supposed to produce positive change? Maybe you’ll drop some pant sizes due to the caloric laws of science, but you might just start to feel like you are running in place…like I was.
I am fortunate to have the support and the means to seek out teachers who have helped to inspire me and have given me to the tools to enjoy my biggest success, self-love. By exercising this love, I have largely healed my physical body.
This is the third installment in Tira Feierstein’s “We Love Her” series. Love Squad’s “We Love Them” series takes a deep dive into the personal fitness journey of a guest writer, in weekly installments told over the course of several weeks. These narratives will get real and open as they talk about life-changing events and personal obstacles that were somehow overcome through fitness, exercise, and both mental and physical wellness.
If you are interested in contributing a personal story of your own as a part of our “We Love Them” series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org !
Tune in next week for more.
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