I walked out of my yoga session that day, hot and sweaty as usual. That yoga glow, so bright and pronounced, brought out the cheeky smile on my face. I thought that was the reason a stranger was looking at me so intently. But, I was wrong. He wasn’t looking at my gleaming face. He was staring at my beautiful goddess Kali tattoo sitting on my right shoulder. This stranger takes a few steps towards me and boldly says “I don’t know why attractive women feel the need to get tattoos.”

I am usually complimented on my choice of body art. This complete stranger’s comment caught me off guard.

Months back, before I started my yoga practice, I would have simply shied away from a person like this with a timid smile. I would’ve wanted to speak my mind, maybe angrily, but in order not to offend anyone or seem out of place I wouldn’t have said a word, and just nervously nodded. But today was different.

I smiled at him, even bigger before, and lovingly said, “Maybe the answer is as simple as this: I love how tattoos look on my body.” He smirked and walked away.

My reaction and answer to him was possible because of one of the many reasons why I love my yoga practice.

Confidence.

This can come about as courage, self assurance, strength, fortitude, fearlessness, tenacity, and determination. And even more beautiful than all of this is that it’s rooted in self love.

I have the courage to speak my mind firmly with loving kindness.

I have the self assurance to wear whatever I want proudly, even if my body is not the perfect image you see in magazines.

I have a strong body, with the power & resolve it takes to hold me up in given asanas.

I have fortitude, which allows me to keep my heart and vibrations up, especially when I feel as though life is pulling me down (Utkatasana, anyone?)

I have fearlessness, which allows me to stay in touch with my feelings and emotions; understanding that it’s OK to be sad and feel anger, disappointment, or any other emotion on a given day, as long as I learn to move through it.

I have the tenacity to let go, knowing that holding on to past emotions or future thoughts can only create unwanted stress and anxiety. Letting go, trusting and believing that I am exactly where I need to be at this exact moment in time, frees me in ways I never dreamed possible.

I have determination to keep striving for my personal best, while having compassion for myself and understanding of yin/yang, failure/success, balance in all things.

For all of  this, I say thank you. And thank you, perfect and rude stranger, for unexpectedly bringing out the best in me and making me feel so damn confident in myself.

With love,

Narima

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