body image and holy yoga

I tend to shy away from writing about body image issues because the moment I mention any body image struggles people chime in, "Ugh, but you're so skinny, look you're perfect, I don't even want to hear it." Don't get me wrong, I know I look pretty good. That's not me being braggy, it's just me acknowledging the truth. I'm overall very happy with how I look, but I don't know a single woman who doesn't struggle with something when it comes to body image. 

Since having children I definitely look different and sometimes I look in the mirror wondering what happened. Well, pregnancy happened. Breastfeeding happened. Aging happened. I've struggled to maintain a positive body image more in the past few years than ever in life. 

I've tried a few different exercise regimens buuut consistency is my downfall. Mostly because exercising sucks. I mean, really. Most of the time when I exercise I just can't wait for it to be over. My internal dialogue goes something like this, "Alright, you can do it, breathe...Oh my gosh, I have to do this for five more reps?! That's gonna take forever! I can't do this! Okay, just breathe...three more...two more...gahhh! I never want to do this again!" 

This is Steph getting her holy yoga flow on. 

This is Steph getting her holy yoga flow on. 

I've been reading about holy yoga for a a couple years now but I haven't really had the chance to try it out. I thought maybe yoga wasn't for me because, well, it's hard. (I know, I quit before I even start, bad habit!) Yesterday, however, a girl I know (who is studying to become a holy yoga instructor) invited me to do some yoga with her and a couple other friends. I jumped on the opportunity and really enjoyed it! We did a 60 minute class and it's the first time I did an exercise class without wanting to die. We opened with a Bible verse and had worship music playing in the background. Our instructor told us that when we felt like we couldn't do it anymore to focus on Christ or the worship music. It really helped me. It's so important to take our thoughts captive. I tend to focus on the negative, which can really bring me down, but during this time I made it a point to stay positive. It changed my whole perspective on exercise. It also helped that I was in the company of friends - we were able to laugh and have fun and not take it too seriously. 

I've also been making peace with my post-baby body. Yes, I have the mommy pooch and the stretch marks, and I don't even care anymore. I want to continue exercising and pushing my body so that I can be strong and honor the body God gave me. I want to be able to keep up with my kids and open jars and not be lazy. I think I've really found my niche with this holy yoga thing. I'm into it! Anyone else out there given it a try?

My Joy

Isabel has always been a daddy's girl. They bonded quickly and intensely. I was really happy because Liam has always been a mama's boy and can often be at odds with Alex. 

Lately, though, Isabel has really been taking to me. There are definitely times when she wants me and only me - and when she finally gets in my arms she gives me the tightest and warmest hug. It's an amazing feeling and I cherish it. 

Isabel is getting to such a fun age. I remember when Liam was about a year and a half we really started having fun. Park outings and silly games and the beginnings of verbal communication. Isabel is 16 months so she's almost there. Her personality is shining through and let me tell you, she's a funny girl. She loves belly buttons and might want to see yours so she can point to it and laugh. She thinks Liam is hilarious and always giggles at his antics. She's not walking independently yet but she will grab your hand and drag you everywhere she wants to go. And her sleep is slowly but surely improving. Hallelu! 

We have so much fun everyday and I'm glad for this time when we get to build our relationship. Before she starts going to school. Before she grows up and gets sassy. I know that this mother-daughter thing has an ebb and flow and I'm so grateful for the flow right now. This girl is my joy.