After undertaking an intimidating new pastime, power Vinyasa-style yoga, 28-year-old Jessica Dyer found a surefire way to bolster her confidence: the overweight girls in her yoga class.
Jessica, a longtime resident of New York City's East Village, recounted that the challenges of living in Manhattan's hottest 'hood, together with her lack of any natural adeptness at yoga, had put her generally solid self-esteem on unusually shaky ground.
"In EV yoga classes," explained Jessica, "you're among the hottest, coolest girls on the planet. It's a little daunting. And considering that I'm so bad at yoga, every time I walked into yoga class I felt absolutely awful about myself."
At that last comment, I felt compelled to interject. "You can't be bad at yoga," I told her. "No one's bad at yoga."
Jessica's response was a jaded chuckle. "Yeah, yeah. I think that's what they say to people who are bad at yoga."
I had to laugh myself. "Maybe so."
Nevertheless, Jessica drew courage to persist in her yoga practice from an unexpected source: her overweight yoga classmates.
"When you walk into class," she said, "the first thing you always see is a bunch of really skinny, ultra-flexible girls with abs of steel doing back bends and handstands. And then there are usually a few shirtless mind-body-spirit-type guys with necklaces and long hair and toned pecs."
The chagrined look on Jessica's face as she described her fit, flexible, clear-minded yoga classmates evidenced the daily hit taken by her self-esteem at the yoga studio.
Utilizing a well-established yoga technique, she took a deep breath to fortify herself (clearly, despite her deprecation of her own yoga prowess, Jessica had picked up a trick or two at the studio). And then, she smiled.
"If you take another look around, though," she continued, "you'll notice at least a couple of overweight people. They give me a real boost because I think, hey, if the fat chicks can do this, so can I!"
"The bottom line," Jessica pronounced, "is that I've learned that it's my yoga practice. And when I see fat chicks doing yoga, I think, right on. It's their practice, too. Yoga really is for everyone."