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Shannon Brady

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Go BIG, Sister

hand standI’m tall. 5’10” to be clear. And I love it.

Fave box of something-Os on the tippy top shelf of the cereal aisle? Got it. No step ladder required.

Barely noticed a huddle of camera-toting, jostling Japanese tourists elbowing each other in front of me – trying to get a glimpse of the gleaming golden reclining Buddha at the Royal Palace in Beijing. I towered over them, as the Buddha winked back, in full view.

Here’s the thing though. My passion for being ‘Big’ used to stop right there. With my height. Full disclosure – I’ve been blessed with my mama’s birdlike frame so weight has never been an issue, but before yoga, I struggled to be BOLD. LOUD. PROUD.

And dangit I should be! I’ve worked hard. Followed my passion by ditching the corporate safety suit (and a fine one at that – thank you Calvin Klein), and diving head first into teaching yoga – a choice that requires using my voice to a degree far beyond any prior role I’ve held. Moving 3,000 miles to follow a new romance (which has resulted in a thrilling engagement, I’m happy to report).

Following my dream or just crazy-ass wild, it doesn’t matter. I went BOLD. LOUD. And PROUD. And arrived at a happiness I didn’t think possible.

And yet…

Women today are subject to a perpetual onslaught of messages encouraging them to be anything but BOLD, LOUD, or PROUD.

“Whittle your waist.” “Quiet your hunger pangs.” “Rock your 25 Sevens!”

Huh? Not exactly BOLD. LOUD. Or PROUD.

Thank God for yoga.

I like my waist. I spent a good hour practicing several pranayama exercises this morning that require the belly to relax and let go in between powerful exhales. Pretty tough to do when you’re constantly sucking it in. So don’t ever ask me to whittle my waist. I’m gonna work it, yes, but be BOLD and let it hang out in full glory at every opportunity.

Quiet my hunger? Nuh uh. The triceps and hamstrings are starting to pop from endless chatturangas, handstands, and warriors. None of which work on wimpy calorie counts. And after each handstand I stick, I shout yes! LOUD. Don’t care who hears. Now gimme another plate of eggs.

I have a pair of rockin’ 7 jeans. Size 25. And thankfully, they no longer fit. They used to, when I was running 50+ miles a week. Running away from myself. Fleeing my past situation. Dodging my fear.

No more.

Yoga brought me back. To face the fear. To change my situation. To get strong. To go big. To be PROUD.

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