Last week, for the first time, I went to a yoga class without wearing toenail polish. This may seem trivial but it was a huge revelation for me. Because as I gazed down at my scruffy feet I realized that I didn’t actually mind them stripped bare. In fact, I quite liked them this way.
I have been wearing toenail polish for a really long time. Having colourful toenails defined me, made me a woman, they were sexy! I had this mantra, you may know it, “If you look good, you feel good.” But is this true? It didn’t always seem to work. I look at photos of when I was 15 and now I think wow if only I had realized how I looked. At the time I felt so pressured to stay thin. I believed people wouldn’t notice or like me if I wasn’t wasting away. Growing older I have started letting go of worrying about what people think of me. But that inner teen is still looking for approval, and at times rears her (deceptively beautiful) head.
Recently I’ve felt that internal pressure again – the yoga industry. Social media. I have to appear a certain way to be popular. And I sometimes lose sight of what is most important. That is, beauty in the really real.
Of course adornment is a wonderful practice. But it doesn’t work if we don’t recognize the true beauty in the human form beneath the façade, just as it is. This practice of yoga is stripping off cloaks and untying knots. Sometimes we are so blindsided by our judgements we don’t see what we are fundamentally missing to wipe clean.
And as always, it starts with the feet.
Photo Credit: Faye Stacey