By Chante Dreyer
Editor: Marcelle Jordaan
I always thought that yoga was reserved for people with a certain body type. I desperately wanted to try it, but I was afraid I would not be flexible enough or that I might embarrass myself when trying to do a specific pose… or that I might fart while meditating!
One morning last year, as I was scrolling through YouTube videos, I saw a simple 15 min Yoga class: Yoga with Adrienne, and I decided to try it. There was no better place to try it than in my own home with no strangers staring at my rolls or witnessing me embarrassing myself in some way.
From the first minute of that class, I was in love. I decided to join Adrienne’s 30-day challenge and promised myself that I would commit to practicing once a day and record my progress on Instagram, mainly for accountability. With every practice my self-confidence grew, and I was able to move my body in ways I never thought possible. I learned to celebrate every victory, no matter how small. My confidence in my yoga capabilities grew every day while I practiced and at the same time, my self-confidence in other areas of my life also grew. Before, my mind confined my body, but now I realize that my body is capable of so much more than I thought it was. It astounded me to see how much progress I made by just practicing a little bit every day. I started getting feedback from my followers on Instagram and I soon realized there were men and women like me who were also self-conscious about the size and shape of their bodies and it held them back from new challenges. I realized that I have a purpose in this, that there are people out there who need to be inspired and motivated by my journey. That was the moment I found my purpose in life.
As my practice became more advanced, I wanted to challenge myself further. I saw someone post a video of a headstand and I thought, “Well, that seems easy enough – I’m sure I can do it!”. Little did I know, it’s difficult standing on your head. I did some research on Yoga teachers near me and I found the Yogi Paige on Instagram. I decided to try my luck and reached out and to ask for help. I needed someone to watch what I was doing wrong and guide me into every pose. Headstands are not just about getting up and balancing on your head- they are also about technique, not forgetting to breathe and trusting yourself. I was adamant to do it and Paige was wonderful by always believing in me and encouraging me. She guided me and I was able to get up, wobbly and not very stable at first, but man, was I proud of my accomplishments. I couldn’t believe I did it and it didn’t matter how much I weighed or that my tummy wasn’t flat. I practiced every day. I fell a lot, but I never ever gave up. With the precious help of Paige.
As soon as Paige’s classes moved from online to in person, I was ready and more confident in my abilities and I made sure I was there on the rooftop for her first class. She has been an instrumental part of my yoga journey. She has encouraged me, supported me, and helped me so much in finding my passion through yoga. Her classes focus on creating strong bodies and minds, which taught me to breathe through the uncomfortable and to believe that my body is CAPABLE! My movement became my meditation, my breathing helped me to refocus, and I became stronger; mentally and physically. I am so grateful to have crossed paths with this amazing person.
A year ago, I struggled to look at myself in the mirror because I hated how much weight I gained, however, because of my yoga practice, I now focus on what my body can do instead of what it looks like. I take better care of my body; I exercise daily, and I practice yoga. I have lost a lot of weight since last year, but I don’t want that to be the focus, I want my message to be about the importance of not letting the idea of what you think your body size or shape should be, hold you back from trying something new.
Since starting to practice yoga, I am more confident in my own skin and it portrays in how I speak and act. I feel like I am the person I was created to be- living in my purpose.
A few months ago, I made my Instagram page public and renamed it The Curvy Yogi. I want to be someone people can relate to; I want to encourage people and inspire them to not give up even when they fall. I want to show people that it’s ok to not always love your body but to always respect it and take care of it.
I must give a disclaimer though; it was not just yoga that helped me be the person I am today. I worked on my self-development, saw a therapist, and worked on my relationship with God. I also had a coach that taught me how to feed my body to fuel it and I made some incredible new friendships, but it all started with my passion for yoga, and I hope you will also be willing to try it.
About Chante Dreyer:
Chante is a yoga enthusiast, coffee lover, entrepreneur, marketing student, wife, and dog mom of four. Follow her journey on @thecurvyyogi on Instagram.