just let go: bhag accomplished!

Wear only a sports bra to a yoga class, take a photo and post it publicly on the internet for all to see. What was I thinking?

One month ago, I wrote a Big Hairy Audacious Goal on a piece of cardboard that said, “I have been featured on lululemon.com in a sports bra by July 1st!”. I had a lot of friends asking me why this was a BHAG. While some people have no problem heading into a hot yoga class sans shirt, I have always been a little shy of my body. So what better way to overcome my fear than to declare to the world that I will show my stomach off! This scary goal fit into my health, personal and career goals!

  • Health: it motivated me to push my body a little harder when I worked out because I knew I was going to be wearing a sports bra in public and online.
  • Personal: it helped me overcome my ego, as I was committed to doing it whether I was in my ‘ideal’ physique or not.
  • Career: it pushed me to create and accomplish a BHAG and be featured on my company’s website for all to see!

In order to hold myself accountable, not only did I write my goal down, I shared it with the entire company through our internal communication channel and online for all of our guests to see. The response was a little overwhelming, but it was also empowering to see the support I got! For me, this wasn’t just about taking my shirt off and snapping a picture, it was about being comfortable in my own skin, literally.

following through

Flash forward to July 1st. I woke up, packed my yoga gear, picked the hottest class on YYoga’s schedule and was on my way. I even specifically wore a long sleeve shirt as extra motivation to take off my top in class. As I walked up the stairs of the studio, I secretly had my fingers crossed that the class would be full and I would be turned away. I quickly pushed these thoughts aside and told myself, “Shawna, this is not a big deal".

I was the last one to join the class and ended up right in the middle of the room. I placed my yoga mat down and pondered the idea of wearing my long sleeve shirt for the whole class (it was moisture wicking after all).

personal goal setting example
Shawna letting go to achieve her BHAG.

I'm not going to lie, I kept my shirt on for the first 15 minutes of the hot yoga class and as a result I began to feel quite nauseous. Not because of the heat, but because of the internal conflict in my head and the increasing butterflies in my stomach. At that very moment, Will Blunderfield, an inspiring YYoga instructor, told the class to “just let go”. While it was a general statement to the class, in that moment I felt like he was speaking specifically to me. I took my shirt off and dedicated the rest of my practice to myself.

Forty-five minutes later, the class ended. While I admittedly had the urge to reach for my shirt a few times throughout the class, I didn’t. No one looked at me funny, no one judged my body and no one cared. So if no one else cared, why should I? In that class, I let go of more than just my shirt. I let go of my ego, my baggage and the barrier I put in front of myself.

Will I be able to let go and rock another class in just a sports bra? Yes.

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Shawna – what an awesome BHAG! Your story is inspiring! I’m excited to hear what BHAG you’re setting next :-)

Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Jodie — July 3, 2010 @ 12:57 pm

Thank you for sharing this goal and congrats on achieving it. Your post has moved to me tears because I can relate so closely to what you may be experiencing and I think it’s beautiful that you did this. On the other hand, I feel so sad that you and I and so many other women and men feel less than proud of who we are in each and every moment just because of how we perceive we look. Why is it that unless we have a magazine perfect body we don’t want to share our beauty with others? I applaud you for embracing the ability to love yourself so much that what others were thinking or not thinking was not a factor. Way to go girl!

Comment by Alyson — July 3, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

Wow this is great. You know what your body is so fine and we should just start showing body like yours more so every girl could feel better about themselves!

Comment by Joanie — July 3, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

This is just awesome. Awesome awesome awesome. Well done.

Pure win.

Comment by Brendan — July 3, 2010 @ 1:02 pm

I wish I had your courage, Shawna!!! You GO girl!!!

Comment by Courtney — July 3, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

So truly inspiring.

Comment by Carmen — July 3, 2010 @ 1:09 pm

What a great goal and congrats on just going for it!
You have inspired me, maybe I can get over my new baby weight!

TNKS! :)

Comment by Jill — July 3, 2010 @ 1:38 pm

So great to see you accomplish this Shawna and just go for it!!

Comment by Tracy — July 3, 2010 @ 1:44 pm

YES SHAWNA! way to get it girl.

Comment by Grace — July 3, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

so proud of you lady love. i just might have to add this to my goals too! xoxo

Comment by tiffany a. — July 3, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

YOU are beautiful!

Comment by sue — July 3, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

That totally made me teary!! Congratulations and keep challenging yourself! You are awesome.

Comment by Jessica — July 3, 2010 @ 3:12 pm

Wow, you are awesome girl! I know exactly how you feel – I started doing hot yoga in April, and was so reticent about wearing shorts because I didn’t want to put my ‘flaws’ on display or everyone to see. Well…. I got a pair of Groove shorts, to do yoga at home, and am now wearing them during my hot yoga classes. I’m working my way up to wearing only a sports bra… that might take a while :-D I’ll use your BHAG as inspiration! Congrats!

Comment by Ann — July 3, 2010 @ 4:52 pm

Great job! I’ve been running, and don’t know if I will ever feel comfortable enough to run in just my sports bra. Maybe that’s a little different since it’s high impact and some jiggling is involved. but anyway – congrats on accomplishing your BHAG, be proud! :)

Comment by Amanda — July 3, 2010 @ 7:22 pm

You look amazing. Now THAT is yoga.

Comment by Caroline — July 3, 2010 @ 8:18 pm

you go girl!!!!!!

Comment by lesia d. — July 3, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

My heart is warm. You are amaze. Practically my hero, don’t think I could have done that! Big xoxo for being a rockstar.

Comment by Whitney — July 3, 2010 @ 10:28 pm

you never cease to amaze me! congrats on owning that BHAG.

Comment by Shirls — July 3, 2010 @ 11:48 pm

You are so awesome Shawna and beautiful!! See you in class without a shirt! xoxo

Comment by Danielle Mika Nagel — July 4, 2010 @ 4:14 pm

This is a seriously awesome, inspiring post. I’m an athletic gal, I run, bike, and/or do weight training six days a week, and have been doing so for years. I eat healthy and indulge in treats every once in a while (’cause I think that’s healthy, too). I’ve always felt that my physical shape doesn’t reflect the athlete that’s in my head, though, and have gone to great lengths to cover myself up when working out. I’ve been particularly tough on myself about the shape of my legs. But worrying about the shape of my legs is one of the least important things I should cloud my mind with, so I decided that is my year to “get over it.” A huge step for me was starting to wear capris to the gym. Once I got over the discomfort of showing a bit more skin in public, I was relieved at how much more comfortable I was with a bit less fabric on my skin. I’d love to be able to attend a hot yoga class in only a sports bra. I’d love to… and I will some day. This was a truly inspiring post. Thank you so much.

Comment by sulu-design — July 4, 2010 @ 7:40 pm

SJ!!! I am soo proud of you!

You’ve inspired me to finally go for my run sans shirt.

All the best!

Comment by Niki PoPo — July 5, 2010 @ 6:13 am

Way to go shahania-total hottie!!! Loving you!!

Comment by Sonyab — July 5, 2010 @ 6:43 am

You are beautiful inside and out. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story!

Comment by Kaley — July 5, 2010 @ 7:13 am

you go girl! i love this post and how powerfully you speak about achieving your goals – so inspiring!

Comment by Danielle — July 5, 2010 @ 7:42 am

OWNED it. So proud of you Shawna xxo

Comment by elim — July 5, 2010 @ 8:47 am

I am so inspired. This is something I wish I could do but don’t have the guts!!!

Comment by Dana Render — July 5, 2010 @ 9:19 am

Shawna, you and this post are a revelation. Huge congratulations!

Comment by Alexis — July 5, 2010 @ 9:54 am

You rock!!!! Very proud of you – this is quite an accomplishment – I have yet to reach it – you are an inspiration. By the way you look beautiful!!!!! Congrats.

Comment by Jennifer — July 5, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

You inspired me to do something similar – I wore shorts for the first time!

You are an elevator!!!

Comment by jacki carr — July 15, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

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