As a long-time yoga practitioner, I remember speaking with my teachers and fellow students 15 years ago about the discomforting fact that images in the publications were almost always those of young, white, athletic women or prominent male “gurus.” Some of us wrote letters to the editor protesting this fact, but nothing really changed.
When it comes to our bodies, we as women tend to place a great deal of pressure on ourselves to achieve certain results. We deprive ourselves and push ourselves in order to whittle down, tighten up, drop dress sizes, and increase our level of attractiveness. We exalt uber-thin (sometimes, dangerously thin) bodies through images of “thinspiration.” We put these images out on social media and tell the world, “This is what I’m striving for.”
As yoginis, we benefit from a community of heart-centered peers who help us to grow toward wholeness. Social media offers the unique opportunity to connect beyond our inner circles to like-minded individuals who inspire us with their grace and grit.
Looking for some encouragement?
Look no further than these six beautiful yoginis, who each embody the spirit of presence in their amazing Instagram accounts:
If you’re a fan of social media, you’re probably getting used to seeing frequent stories about people innocently posting photos of themselves, only to find that “body-shamers” have come out of the woodwork to make negative comments about their looks, their hair, their clothing choices, their weight…you name it.
Thinking about Thanksgiving prompted me to write this blog. I saved it to my computer, planning to post it online as soon as I got a chance. Then coincidentally I heard a radio interview with psychologist Robert Emmons, author of a book called Thanks. Emmons has spent years studying positive psychology, and in the interview he pointed out that gratitude is more than a tool for self-improvement. “Gratitude is a way of life,” he said, noting how being grateful can improve your health physically as well as mentally.
Are you at home in your true nature? According to yoga and Ayurveda practitioner Felicia Tomasko, one of the most important things we can do is to stop striving for perfection or trying to be someone else. To do this, we need to be actively compassionate with ourselves by embracing who we are and our uniqueness both on and off the yoga mat. To learn more, visit LAyogaOnline.com.
Love is one of the most powerful forces on Earth. Unfortunately, I find that women who are most critical of their bodies are missing a degree of self-love. Do you find yourself looking in the mirror and having negative thoughts about certain parts of your body? Do you find yourself saying things like, “If only my thighs were slimmer,” or “I wish my butt wasn’t so flat”?
When I teach my fitness classes, I often invite my students to do some of the exercises with their eyes closed in order to really feel the movement. On a neuromuscular level, training the body while creating positive thoughts and making that positive connection is scientifically proven to be one of the most powerful ways to create and reinforce a positive body image. And, on a non-scientific level, it just feels good!
As a child, I was given free reign to eat whatever I wanted. This meant daily bowls of crushed oreos in milk, after-school snacks of burgers and fries as a “treat” for answering phones at the family business and, in the evening, half a pint of Haagen-Dazs for dessert. Every day I satisfied my “junk-food tooth” on top of my favorite past-times: reading, watching TV or playing with Barbies. Consequently I was that kid. The chubby one.
At the time, I didn’t have a lot of critical self-consciousness about it … I can’t remember inner voices telling me “you’re fat” or “if you eat that you’ll get fatter” (although I did always wear a T-shirt over my bathing suit). I say “inner voices” because there actually were some external voices saying these exact things to me, directly and out loud: my parents and grandparents. They saw my bulging belly, thick thighs and chipmunk cheeks and thought it went beyond cutesy “baby fat.”
Summertime is here and it’s time to be comfortable in your own body. It’s that time of year when the sun is out (hopefully) and so are the swimsuits. Don’t miss out on fun in the sun because you’re worried about those last 10-20 pounds or the belly fat — do something about it! Here are a few dieting and exercise tips that will help you feel good and look good for summer.
What do you love about your body and why? Do you automatically think to yourself, “Uh, nothing?” I don’t know about you, but whenever I try to come up with a list of good things about myself it takes a lot of thought and time. Now, if you were to ask me what I would like to improve about my body, I could give you a list of ten things in no time flat.
Why is this? Why is it so easy for us to be self-deprecating (no matter if we are in the best or worst shape of our lives)? Yet when we are asked to name a positive or two, we really have to stop and think. And I mean really stop and think for a while, maybe even a day or two.