Samantha Finds Self-Acceptance On and Off the Mat

News | Jun 12, 2015

samantha physical acceptance determination sterling hot yoga benefitsMany students try Sterling Hot Yoga for the physical changes they hope to see—a trimmer waistline, toned arms and legs, and improved balance, strength and flexibility.

But an even more profound change, in many ways, that comes with a hot yoga practice comes from within.

Samantha Wells knows that firsthand. She started practicing at Sterling Hot Yoga Mobile just a few weeks before the 30-Day Spring Challenge began, having never tried hot yoga before.

“I avoided it like the plague,” she said of the heat.

Putting those former notions of hot yoga aside, she quickly committed to completing a 20-class goal to keep her newfound practice consistent and relied on her teammates to help hold her accountable.

What Samantha found on—and off—the mat was not what she expected.

Through sweat, patience and determination, she found a physical acceptance she didn’t realize she needed.

“The things I struggled with, I didn’t realize it,” she said. “But apparently I am. I didn’t realize it was an issue until it got better.”

About halfway through the challenge, Samantha posted this incredibly emotional account of her personal breakthrough on Facebook:

“This is me. This body is mine. It may not be what society tells us is ‘beautiful,’ but I am learning to love it,” she wrote. “What most people can’t see when looking at this picture is this body feels so much better than it did two months ago, it looks better than it did two months ago and it’s mine. And I’m proud of that.

“As I type this, tears are in my eyes. I’m afraid not everyone will see this body the way I have come to, but with everything I have I’m posting this so that other people can start to see their bodies as beautiful, too.”

Samantha’s new perspective on hot yoga was reinforced when she recently revisited her vision board to reflect on past goals and set new ones. She was struck by the irony of one of her posts that incorporated a popular hot yoga saying about the practice’s physical effects.

“I started hot yoga so I could ‘sweat like a pig and look like a fox,’” she said. “Two months in and I’m seeing that there’s so much more to it!”

Gradually, she said her negative self-talk was replaced with a positive, encouraging voice “telling me that I am strong, that I do have a lot to show for my hard work, that the results I’m looking for will come—with time.”

That self-acceptance gave way to a more determined Samantha during a recent kayaking experience. Despite typically avoiding such activities because of her weight, she decided to give it a try.

“The more I fell out, the more determined I was to do it,” she said. “This is a new concept for me. I usually give up, but that day I did not!”

Perhaps that resolve to overcome challenges outside of the hot room was strengthened by her resolve in it. Not only did Samantha meet her 20-day goal commitment, but she exceeded it by four classes!

During that time, there were physical changes, too, she said, that included increased flexibility, regulated blood sugar, improved muscle tone and a feeling of balance.

But most importantly hot yoga made her believe and accept that she is beautiful from the inside out, and she is eager for others to experience their own internal and external transformations.

“Join me if you’d like,” she said. “I’ll come with you to your first class, and we can be beautiful together!”

Come practice with Samantha and get started on your own yoga journey with our 30-day introductory special!

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