So I teach yoga in an after school program once every other week. Well, I’m there every week; I only teach every other, but whatever. I taught this week.
We did a sequence this week that required rather a lot of core awareness as well as some core strength. Judging from reactions — physical and verbal — it was challenging, but there were always modifications to make poses accessible. I liked it.
As we were rolling up mats, one student said, “I really felt that in my abs. I didn’t expect that from you.”
“Oh?” I was thinking that since I’d made an explicit point about my classes being beginner friendly, she had assumed that only “easy” poses would be offered.
“Yeah,” she continued. “I didn’t think that you needed abs to do yoga. You don’t look like you have abs, but I guess you do.”
I stopped with the mat I was carrying, looked at her, and smiled — even if it was only that learned self-deprecating smile for public. “Just because they’re camouflaged doesn’t mean they’re not there.”
Which, maybe it gave her something to think about, even if it’s not strictly true. I mean, certainly, significant abdominal strength and significant abdominal fat are not mutually exclusive — so it’s a good idea not to make assumptions about the former based on the appearance of the latter.
But my abs are not camouflaged; they are not hiding. They are right where they’re meant to be. And not that anyone needs to look at my abs, but if other people think they don’t see them — perhaps they need to rethink what they’re looking for.