Brave New Yoga Pants {And Learning To Love A Little More}


First, I just have to say: today’s photo makes me laugh. I never imagined I’d photograph a shopping bag once…much less twice! {Remember this post from 2011?!?! Same bag.} But hey, I’m not about to photograph myself in yoga pants, so the bag is looking pretty good!

But this post isn’t about the bag. Or the yoga pants. It’s about being brave. {Interesting that the 2011 bag said, “Do one thing a day that scares you.” Just reading those words scared me then! That was before the big move.} So what kind of brave am I talking about today? Shopping at a high-end, over-priced, tight-fitting athletic apparel store?!?! No. The store isn’t the point. {Though when you’re trying to choose bravery over fear, sometimes you convince yourself that overpriced yoga pants will help!}

So here’s my brave thing this week: I’m showing up in a new place where I feel extremely out of place {a yoga studio}, wearing something awkward {skin tight yoga pants}, trying something I’ve never done {yoga}. Once again, I’m moving outside of my comfort zone.This seems to be one of the themes of our move from Houston to Franklin. Had I known, I don’t think I would’ve said yes to chasing our dream! For a girl who was the master of creating and keeping comfort zones, this little yoga class I’m trying feels HUGE.

And not only that…I’m not very good at this new thing. I have no clue what the poses are {chaturanga?!?!}, and I’m ridiculously out of shape. In the past, I avoided things I couldn’t do well. I told myself I didn’t like those things anyway. Sadly, when your goal is perfection, there’s a whole lot in life you won’t try or enjoy. Thank God I’m so focused on the teacher that I can’t compare myself with others too intensely. {Though I can tell you a few are rocking handstands and holding crazy balancing poses!} At least there’s one thing that feels familiar: the Scripture she reads at the beginning of class. Life-giving words make it worth the discomfort.

Another reason this feels like a really big deal: I haven’t been to an exercise class of any kind in over a decade. I think I’m allergic to gyms…and honestly, I’ve acted like I’m allergic to exercise in general. I tried to visit the YMCA with my husband in the fall…only to pull into the parking lot and stare into the window at all the women killing it on the cardio machines. And the seniors raising their arms and lifting their legs in an aerobics class. Then came the tears…totally unexpected. All I could do was turn around and go home. {Thankfully, my husband wasn’t alarmed by my tears. He treated to me a café au lait and a gluten free donut…then cancelled the membership.}

When you’re crying in the parking lot at the sight of people taking care of their bodies, it’s a pretty good sign there’s something deeper going on inside of you. I never thought of myself as having significant body issues, so the tears caught me off guard. I’m still mining for treasure and truth in all of this, but I’ve uncovered a few things along the way. And I don’t know for sure, but maybe you could use a little uncovering, too?

One of the things that day revealed was my own shame over not taking care of myself. Here I am struggling with depression and winter blues…yet doing absolutely nothing physically to release those needed chemicals. Here I am getting older and achier…and not doing a thing to keep a little muscle on these bones. Here I am wanting to feel more alive…but not willing to do the things that bring life. Shame is a downward spiral and turns toxic on a dime.

Once I got past the shame, I realized there was something much more insidious. Something much uglier and harder to admit. In secret, I have thought the most unloving things about my body. This body that is fully known and loved by God, this body that stretched to the max to carry two amazing daughters, this body my husband calls beautiful…this is the body I have chosen to criticize. This is the body I have chosen to condemn with contemptuous thoughts and scathing downward glances. Have you been there?

This kind of contempt and disdain is nothing short of self-hatred. A harsh thing to say…and an even harsher thing to feel. Self-hatred is a thief. It steals the love you’re meant to feel from God and toward yourself. The truth is, most women fight this beast of self-hatred in secret, hidden places every day of their lives. Mostly in their thoughts; sometimes in the way they eat or don’t eat, exercise or don’t exercise. But there’s one thing a beast doesn’t like: exposure. The more a hidden thing is exposed, the less power it has, so I’m learning to call these things what they are. And daring to write about them so that you might receive the gift of exposure, too.

I want to love what God loves, including myself. If I’m hating all these hidden things about my body, I can’t love what God loves. The truth is, God loves ALL of me. And He loves all of YOU. He’s not waiting for a more disciplined, fit and driven you. And he doesn’t miss the younger version of you. He loves you just the way you are at this very moment. The only thing He wants to change is your ability to receive that love.

Wow. I didn’t know I was going to go there today. I thought I was just going to tell you about my brave yoga thing. I guess this whole deal is actually braver than I thought. It’s as if I’m finally saying, “I see you body, I know your imperfections, and I choose to love you anyway.” I’m finally responding to God’s truth that I am worthy of love…that my body is worthy of love. And so is yours!

I’m thankful for that meltdown in the Y parking lot. Pain has a purpose: it points to the places that need healing. And it breaks a heart open so that the healing can come.

One last thing about bravery: it always happens out of your comfort zone. There’s no such thing as a brave act inside your comfortable, knowable, predictable bubble. So if you’re that girl who’s moving out of your comfort zone, even just a wee bit at first, I celebrate you! I am WITH you!

So tell me…what’s your version of wearing yoga pants and going to a yoga class today?

Celebrating you with all of my brave and beautiful heart,

Linsey signature 100pix



P.S. Did you see that?!?! I just wrote an entire post. Not the one I thought, but the one that I’m trusting is needed. Now that is something to celebrate!

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  • Justine - Such a moving post, Thank you. We all need to be reminded to love and be kinder to ourselves. I think we all deal with this. I’m meeting a woman from Church for breakfast this morning, brave for my introverted self. Scripture + Yoga where?ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - Thank YOU for reading, Justine! And for taking the time to send some words my way this morning! Hot Yoga Plus. I think the class is called Christian Yoga. I know that may sound funny!ReplyCancel

  • Sherry - Your words speak volumes to me today! You are not alone. I too have been stuck in a place too long that hasn’t allowed me to find the courage to take the step forward in caring for myself in the way that I know God wants me to. I am so proud of your honesty and courage you share today. Your bravery has touched my soul in knowing I am not alone feeling the same way inside. The only difference is I haven’t been brave enough to share my feelings with anyone. Bravehearted Beauty, I thank you for your bravery and showing me I am not alone and giving me hope that I too can find the courage to face the discomfort and reap the benefits because I am worthy as are you!ReplyCancel

    • Bravehearted Beauty - Sherry, you have been BRAVE today. You have read my words and shared a heartfelt and honest response. THAT is brave, my fellow Bravehearted Beauty! You have spoken up today, and THAT is brave. I admire you and bless you for it. Thank you for your words of encouragement. I didn’t know this post was going to be so vulnerable when I started. Thankful to know it spoke to you today.ReplyCancel

  • Zanne - So I read this and was so moved, and then I happened to see this video from Dove online–now I’m in tears.


  • Amy E - Way to go Linsey! Yoga can be so terrifying at the beginning…it is a super brave thing! Tonight, I am teaching a small class for the very first time…and am TERRIFIED! Not of speaking in front of others. I have practiced, and know my topic well. I’m terrified of having to talk to the students before and after. I am scared of having conversations. I am such an introvert, and would love nothing better than to stay inside my home, and never have to make idle chatter with people I do not know. But God has other plans for me. He is taking me from behind that safe podium, and putting me in an intimate place in front of it. I know I need these connections with others, but it still scares me. I’m praying like crazy today…and using the deep breathing techniques I learned in yoga!ReplyCancel

  • emi - Wow Linsey, it’s beautiful to see you speaking out (whether through video and now this post) after asking for prayer. Definitely God displaying His glory through you. My niece Rebecca and i often comment to one another after reading a post and now seeing you in video, just how fitting your message is to us. Have you heard of IF:Table through IF:Gathering? I confess I have only participated (IF:Gathering) through my laptop not with others. But this month’s blog post titled “Cats & Bravery” is basically what you have been doing in these past postings…being vunerable. Evenmore, I cherished that time Rebecca & I spent at the Ten10 Farm table, and seeing you in the videos just flooded the memories of meeting you in person. Thank you for your posts on bravery. They definitely are resonating in this introvert. Love to you!ReplyCancel

  • Rie - I’m laughing because, after 17 years of teaching yoga, I’ve lost interest in being the “kick-asana” teacher and have turned my focus to balance, mindfulness, and loving our thighs because they are strong and serve us well. And if you like to do what I call “party poses,” (and I do!) that’s great but it isn’t in any way a signifier of greater moral character. See? I think we’ve arrived at the same conclusion from opposite ends of the yoga spectrum:-)
    PS: My awkward is my 60-year arms that no amount of chatturangas will make firm again. I’ve just had to get over that!!ReplyCancel

  • beverly - I think that most will agree that it’s difficult to try something we’ve never done before – especially if we fear failure.
    Don’t be surprised to learn that the others in your class will be some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. The other great thing about yoga class is that I’m filled with more energy for the remainder of the day and also with better thoughts. By the way, I turned 73 two weeks ago. I hope you thrive in this new experience.ReplyCancel

  • Marissa - Celebrating with you while reading this post (although I adored the videos too!) So excited for the written words you were able to express (answer to our prayers,wohoo!) and for this “word in due season.” It is SO good and SO true! You continue to “read my mail” Linsey, I love it!! As you said, it may not have been what you planned but it was definitely needed and I believe it was beautifully given to you by the Lord! Thank you for your willingness to share about this struggle so that the lies of the enemy are exposed in our lives. Early last week I was internally, harshly, criticizing my body. I had felt, by mid week, that I needed to start hitting the gym regularly to take classes for my body and my mind’s sake. So, although it’s one of my least favorite places to be, after the kids get back to school this week that’s where I’ll be…and braving the gym regularly will be the goal. Like you, not for perfection, but for my overall health. Now I see that there is even a little more to it. You called it out appropriately. Self hatred. I know that is the “fruit” of my buying into the lies of the enemy. Yikes! I’ve gotta work on that too for sure! (Maybe with some meditation of Psalm 139:14 and a few others.) Thank you again for sharing, from the bottom of my heart!ReplyCancel

  • Dianne - While I love your honesty and the fact you admit your flaws something is missing. You are too critical of yourself. Tell us what you do well. Show off a little. It’s OK!! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • As You Love Yourself » Bravehearted Beauty - […] more context, listen to yesterday’s video. Who knew that reflections on yoga pants would lead us to this […]ReplyCancel

  • Rachelle - I LOVE this post. Man you have been learning so much, and it is such meat to share with us all. Thank you for being so open! I had just had a conversation with someone earlier regarding this exact issue she was feeling, and it was so great to be able to send her to your post (as you explain it so much better, and hearing it from you I think made more of a difference than hearing it from someone who already loves her 😉 I really appreciate you and the timing of this, because I was dealing with her “self-hatred” by encouraging her (because she has a similar figure to you), but your honesty really helps get to the root of it for all of us and our own struggles with shame in any area.ReplyCancel

  • Rachelle - didn’t see my comment, but maybe it’s being moderated? I’m posting again just in case it didn’t go through.
    I LOVE this post. Man you have been learning so much, and it is such meat to share with us all. Thank you for being so open! I had just had a conversation with someone earlier regarding this exact issue she was feeling, and it was so great to be able to send her to your post (as you explain it so much better, and hearing it from you I think made more of a difference than hearing it from someone who already loves her 😉 I really appreciate you and the timing of this, because I was dealing with her “self-hatred” by encouraging her (because she has a similar figure to you), but your honesty really helps get to the root of it for all of us and our own struggles with shame in any area.ReplyCancel

  • Christmas Is For Misfits » Bravehearted Beauty - […] were on the other side of the room, so I wasn’t alone in a crowd of strangers. I even had the right pants this time. And a tank top instead of an old t-shirt. Sure my toes weren’t painted and my body […]ReplyCancel