By Emily Holden
For many years, I thought well fitted, sucky-in, smooth-out-the-bumps clothes were exactly what my body needed.
Spanx, fat suits, control top pants, tights that reached my nipples… Not daily, but certainly for a wedding or a night out, when you want to “look and feel your best”. Because, obviously, we all know that we look best when we look small and we feel best when we look small.
Since my yoga practice has deepened, I’ve developed a strong aversion to restrictive clothing. Jeans with the waistband that cuts the digestive organs in half. Tights that leave pink lines across my soft belly. Bras that hinder the expansion of my ribs. Why am I still wearing this when I know it’s uncomfortable? Oh well, it looks nice, it’s MY size (like MY size is a number and not the way the clothes fit me – what insanity!), it cost me money, it goes with this other thing I have…
And as my connection to my belly has grown, I notice the discomfort even more – a tightness, a stuckness, and tension around the organs. And I don’t like this feeling. I like space, and softness, and ease around my organs. I like breath to flow and limbs to move unencumbered. I like to digest peacefully.
And I get to thinking about women, and how we get “confident”. Do you remember Gok Wan and his forever dressing women in fat suits, pencil skirts, waist belts and heels?! I literally can’t think of a more restrictive or uncomfortable outfit to try and move in! And I love Gok, and I know he’s trying to help, and his heart is completely in the right place. But the poor woman’s internal organs don’t even know where to place themselves. And this isn’t new – we’ve been restricting and hurting our bodies for centuries in the name of beauty, fashion, or even social status.
But we don’t just restrict our bodies externally, through the clothes we choose to wear. I’ve been discovering that my entire posture, the way I hold myself, has been unconsciously tweaked to make myself look thinner.
And we know what that means – suck the belly in, tuck the tail bone under, create a nice flat stomach. It’s not even a conscious choice – a belief about my body that has become so ingrained that my body responds without my even choosing this posture.
I’ve found that my belly is calling to me, and it’s calling to be let free. Breathe me. Release me. Let me be round, and soft. Let me meet the space in front of me. And the spine behind the belly responds too – a juicy release of the tail bone, an opening in the pelvis, a cheeky ripeness in the bum. It’s feminine, it’s sensual, and there’s nothing tight or flat to be seen.
I’ve let go of clothes that don’t allow my body, and my internal organs, to move and function freely and comfortably. I’m choosing to allow my body to occupy the space it needs. We are liquid beings, full of juice, made of flow.
Is your wardrobe, or your posture, restricting your flow? Trust that your body will let you know.