by Laura McCorry
The body positive movement means finding ways to respect, honor and love your own body as a daily practice. Feeling positively about your body has nothing to do with your health, fitness or size. (Can we repeat that about a thousand times across the twitterverse?)
The culture we live in is always ready to tell us that we’re not good enough. Sometimes all we see in the media are airbrushed and photoshopped images of women and men that misrepresent the natural body of the model. Not only have we elevated one type of body to an ideal, but often the thin/fit/flawless body is a complete illusion.
So what does it mean to step out of this culture and onto your mat to practice yoga?
Every belief you have about your body will follow you onto your mat. If your thoughts are predominantly negative, this can have disastrous consequences for how you feel about yoga and your likelihood of maintaining a regular practice.
But yoga teaches present moment awareness – which means paying attention and honoring how your body moves that day, without comparison to how it moved in the past or how you’d like it to move in the future. The more you practice this mental shift into the present, the more you can circumvent negative self-talk.
Body positivity doesn’t mean complacency in the face of health risks. It means rejecting the “not good enough” mantra and replacing it with affirmations of love, acceptance and encouragement.
When we feel positively about our bodies, we create an atmosphere of nurturing protection for the body and prompt the desire for more positive change. Sometimes the biggest physical challenge you encounter in life is not the super hard workout or the discipline to stay active – the bigger challenge is the radical acceptance of your body. All of it, without exception.
You are only given this one vessel with which to experience the world. Treat it kindly. Allow it to feel the warmth of the sun and the caress of the breeze. Take it on adventures and let your body carry you through a world of new experiences.
Know that all change starts within. If you can change one thought, you can begin to change your way of thinking. If you change your thinking, you can influence others to do the same. Maybe one day the cultural legacy we leave behind will be one that affirms the value of all bodies and contributes to the health and happiness of all.
(Here’s a great place to start, 10 Ways to Practice Self-Love.)
Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.