„Damn, I am fat.“ – This is the file name of a selfie showing 13 year old Alexa. There are many other pictures I took for my SchülerVZ account (the social media of the 2000s in Germany) in that folder. The published ones have names like „mah b0dy <3. Today SchülerVZ does not exist any more, and Instagram is the platform where I publish my pictures. There are some essential differences though:

  • My intention now is to shed light on topics that are important to me and to become better known as a Yoga teacher while coming closer to the vision for Nahata Yoga. Back then I needed the attention for my ego.
  • The pictures now are (semi) professional photos taken in so-called tfp-shootings[1]. I don’t need standard model size and I can bring my own creativity into the work. I can use the photos to make matters visible and send messages.

My message to all girls is that their female curves are beautiful. It would have been good for me to hear and believe this message in my teenage years and to realize that I am not fat.

I had defined myself a lot, like many teens, by external factors and compared my body with other girls’ bodies. Being surrounded by the ideal “size zero” and a lack of information about the female body’s changes during puberty,  I lost my healthy appetite.

I felt insecure about my weight. And mad. Why can some girls stay so thin and I get “fat” thighs? Nobody explained to me that my weight gain is completely normal, that the development has different velocities and that there are different body types – all of them beautiful.

I started to eat less and exercise as much as possible to lose some kilos[2]. When I got back to a normal diet or I had the munchies for sweets, I felt ashamed and even less happy.

At some point I realized how much energy I was wasting and I decided it was time for a change. I wanted a healthy relationship to my body.

I set milestones that felt important for me and my well being and still are today:

  • I exercise regularly.
  • My diet is predominantly healthy.
  • I can weigh myself calmly.
  • I can handle my weight with an easy-going, relaxed attitude.
  • I feel good about myself even when I gained a couple of kilos.

Movement used to be a means to an end – to lose weight or stay thin. Eating was exhausting and involved a lot of thoughts and planning. Now I enjoy movement, it actually brings me joy and I am able to find a good balance between relaxation and exercise. Yoga helped me a lot. And a healthy diet with sweets every once in a while is normal now.

With this article I want to encourage reflection and discussion about the way we treat and think about our bodies. I wrote about my own experiences and I’d like to emphasize that in my role as Yoga teacher I can support and accompany processes. I cannot take on the role of a doctor, therapist or dietician.

[1] tfp means time for prints. Neither the photographer nor the model pay for the shooting and both are entitled to use the photos within the agreed conditions, e.g. on their website.

[2] back then I weighed around 55 kg at 168cm, today a bit more