The sand is perfect, the water is perfect, the sky is perfect, the setting sun is perfect, the child is perfect, and the mother is perfect. All bodies are just as they should be.
Let's get honest. It is more than a little scary to put a photo of myself in a bathing suit on the internet. I see women who can show their non-conforming bodies with casual courage and they try and call others out and let us know that its ok. I see you, I bow to you, I have deep gratitude to you and I am taking your leadership to heart.
Every shred of information that I have obtained about female bodies in my early life stated that a person basically has no right to enjoy their body at my size. I shouldn't get to wear bathing suits, feel the sand and sun and water, I shouldn't move in a way that draws attention to my body.
I have found a lot of peace through my yoga practice and counseling, and finding new and cool ways to employ my body, notice my strength and participate in the world. But I haven't found enough to not panic when I see a photo of myself.
I want to say this out loud, because I think that there can be a lot of pretense in the discussion around body positivity. Yes our bodies are perfect and just right, but I have to assume that many many many of us fight hard to remember this on a daily basis.
Whenever I feel that my body is wrong or that big is wrong. I think of elephants. I love elephants. The are huge, and sweet, and powerful and tender. They are perfect and beautiful. They harbor no shame. They traverse the earth with an unchallenged understanding that they belong. An elephant would not be surprised by herself in a mirror. She would have no expectations that she should be different.
The way I apply my yoga practice to my body is that I allow myself to observe. I let the panic of imperfection arise. I practice non-attachment. I come back to my breath and stay there letting the panic dissipate in its own time. When the panic is gone, I am still there, my breath is still there and body is still there. Rinse and repeat.