Body Trust™ Insights with Anna Ipox

We are delighted to invite Anna Ipox, founder and teacher at Fat Yoga PDX, to share some of her wisdom that she’s discovered through her professional and personal life in our latest Body Trust Insights. Get to know a little more about Anna and her revolutionary new yoga studio in Portland, OR.

 

annaipox-2Yoga is an extreme sport in its own right. There’s every reason that fat people enjoy the benefits too. In the spirit of the Health at Every Size movement, Fat Yoga strives to create a Portland where every person experiences Love, can recognize the Truth, feels Empowered and finds Acceptance. Learn more about Anna and Fat Yoga PDX here.


I’ve never been a dieter, I’ve always viewed dieting, diet conversations and the whole self-hating thing as incredibly asinine. That being said, I had come to a stage in my life where I’d found myself out of shape, unfit and feeling lethargic and resigned. I wasn’t moving my body except for the trip to and from the car. My longest walks were through the grocery store. I started my quest to find fitness through my returned practice of yoga and to be involved in a ‘large-body’ or ‘big girl’ community — as I used to say, before I realized “fat” was the honest term.

I was led to Health At Every Size just as I was discovering the awesome political size-positive community that we are blessed to be a part of here in Portland. Did you know we’re actually a destination city for folks seeking an active Fat acceptance movement? I grew up here, benefiting from this community however not consciously aware. Yet I couldn’t find a big (pardon the pun) fat-fitness presence. Hence Fat Yoga was in the fetal stages of conception early last year.

One of my dirty little secrets is the Colbert Report of all things. By some incredibly cosmic alignment, one night, Amy Erdman Farrell was on the show talking about her new bookFat Shame. I had just read Fat!So? so I was eager to read Fat Shame! I ordered the book online that night and read it cover to cover within a week or two. That amazing book led me to Linda Bacon and Health At Every Size® (HAES). Here was this perfectly scholarly book written, researched and cited, proving and explain all the things I’d always suspected: diets don’t work and they suck. And to be able to clearly identify the cultural aspects of fat-hatred was mind blowing!

  • What has been the biggest struggle as you have learned to accept yourself?

Realizing and owning my responsibility in every situation and every interaction. Hands-down this has been the most difficult. Interestingly, it’s also the single biggest source of strength for me too. Oh! And accepting that I cannot control or be responsible for others or their choices. That’s a rough realization too. That we’re not gods spinning the universe on our fingertips.

  • What are three aspects you feel are the most important to remember when moving toward radical self-love?

Number 1: Spiritual Faith aside, all we’re really sure about is this one chance at a tiny lifetime and this one miraculous body. No matter how many aches and pains, no matter how we feel, the fact that our bodies function every day on the crappiest fuel and worst possible living conditions imaginable is nothing short of amazing.

Number 2: Recognizing the opportunity for possibility everywhere. Most especially in the realm of the doubly-unknown. For example, I know that I know how to train my dog to do a trick. That is doubly known. I know that I know it. Then there is what I know that I don’t know, such as astrophysics or German. This would be the known-unknown; and here is the stopping point for many folks. However for me, in my radical self-love, I mollify my ruffled feathers by knowing solutions and opportunities are just out of sight, just over the horizon. The things I don’t even know that I don’t know about—that’s where all the luck and successes are waiting for to be embraced.

Number 3: Find something alive & outside of yourself to foster and shower with love. Adopt both a pet and a houseplant to take care of and love unconditionally. Pets teach us how to nurture without smothering, and the plants teach us how and when to hold back without neglecting. Then extend that same unconditional love to yourself. Know when to leave yourself alone and when to give yourself the hug you deserve!

  • What is your favorite part of your body? How do you celebrate it?

I have two favorites lately. So I’ll share both. First is my upper arms, yoga has made my biceps and triceps rock hard. Sure my arms look like regular fat girl arms, however I got a little secret! How I celebrate this is I flex and show just about anybody, any time the conversation moves towards fitness or exercise. I love the shock on people’s faces when they realize I’m not what they assume. Perverse pleasure, to be sure, but I do LOVE it!

My second favorite body part is my panniculus! I never knew it had a name. And since discovering the term, I’ve decided it is my best feature. It gives me street-cred in the fat community no matter how fit I get or how much weight I incidentally lose; I’ll always have my panniculus. This is comforting. I say, rock it if you got it, and NEVER wear loose, ill-fitting clothing to hide it.

  • What is your favorite food and how do you like to enjoy it?

I think my favorite food is wet food. Soups, gravies, sauces with or without meat & veggies. Especially spicy, and unusual ingredients are a must! I like all of these dishes best when I cook them myself. I learn and research other peoples’ process via youtube and then adapt them to my taste. Oh the secret ingredients I’ve discovered this way! Frankly the quality control in my own kitchen is tons better than any restaurant or processed food-product.

  • What inspires and renews your dedication to your process when you need it the most?

This might seem like a shameless plug here, but it’s yoga. When I’m freaking out, I can just take a moment to do some cat/cows and everything is better all of sudden. Feeling run-down and exhausted by my kooky schedule, I bust out a round or three of sun salutations and like POW! I’m energized with second wind, ready to keep on keeping on. Ok, and when I am too lazy for that, a nap with our three little pound puppies puts everything into perspective again.

  • Radical self-love means…

Giving ourselves permission to live a life we love. To love ourselves & our lives how they are now. To allow our needs to be met. To make ourselves a priority, maybe not the priority, but we should at least make the list.

  • What books, music or websites inspire you right now?

I’ve mentioned several already. I should probably let at least one of these answers be short 😉

  • Favorite quote or poem?

I have a few:

“To thine own self be true.”~William Shakespeare

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world”- Mahatma Gandhi

“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will” – ML King Jr.