Change Your Mind, Change Your Body
When I see a young woman, who is thin and beautiful lamenting over her so called “roll”, I have a few different thoughts.
- Roll! What roll?! That is skin! I’d love to have your roll!
- You want to see a real roll?! Let me show you! I have a real roll of excess weight, a muffin top! Ugh!
- And then I think, wow! The struggle is real for us all no matter the body size or shap.
At 50 something, I so want to be set free of body image ssues. I know that it is about making peace with my body, but I have yet to be able to do that permanently. Just when I think I have it beat, the next thing I know I’m at square one again beating myself up for this imperfection or that imperfection. And at my age, new imperfections are showing up sometimes daily!
Making peace. Embracing your physical reality. Loving every inch of your body including ALL the imperfections. Letting go. Love! Love! Love! … is the answer!
What we think about we bring about. What we focus on we create more of. So, when we are obsessing and stressing over our imperfections day in and day out, it is a process of creating more of the same. Always feeling the roll, thinking about the roll, trying to cover it up, making sure you sit right, stand right, wear the right close, going on diets and/or crazy exercise programs that end up being temporary and end in failure. Ending the day promising tomorrow will be different, waking up thinking about it, passing by a mirror and being disgusted by what you see judging yourself harshly, and on and on. It is so much energy, emotionally and physically, wasted on something that is only helping to create the very thing we don’t want!
Yoga is a beautiful thing that can help with body image. At the same time, because there are many young, beautiful, thin, "perfect" women in the yoga community it can also be difficult. Yoga isn’t just for the young and thin. And as I mentioned earlier, even they have their own body image issues, unfortunately. We don’t want to judge anyone for anything. You know how it goes! What we judge others for, we ourselves do. So even judging others for being thin and beautiful or for being curvy (curvier than what we think we are) participates in creating more of the same, the thing we so desperately don’t want.
It’s a complicated issue but it can be boiled down to the fact that it is as you believe. Negative body image programming begins at a very young age and continues throughout our life until we decide no more! The thing that creates so much heartache and discord within us, on one hand is simple. It’s only a belief system, a belief system that can be changed!! But how?!
I always say that love is the greatest healer of all. You will hear that a lot at yog-i-nspiration. So, we start by changing our minds. At first it takes a lot of effort, but in time, it will become effortless. You can begin by …
- Finding kind things to think and say about yourself.
- Noticing your thoughts and when you catch yourself thinking something negative, cut yourself off and say, “No, that used to be true for me, but not anymore. Today, I am ______ (fill in the blank with the opposite of what you were thinking).
- Going general in your thoughts about your body. What I mean is, stop focusing on the specific issue and look at all the great things about yourself and express your appreciation about those things. And there is a lot to appreciate!!
- Creating a habit of when you happen to look in a mirror, say something nice about yourself. Prepare ahead of time if you need to!
- Regularly looking yourself square in the eyes and say, “I love you!” It’s powerful!!
- Complimenting someone (in your thoughts or directly to them) rather than comparing yourself. Then complement yourself.
Hopefully these ideas will spur on some of your own, but regardless, start changing your mind about yourself. Shower yourself with love. I believe that each of us, in our individual essence, is pure love. Pure love! Let’s go deep and uncover our purest selves and let our love shine, which is our true beauty! And when we are free to shine, it frees those around us to do the same. It can become one big love fest!!
Shine on, my lovely yogi followers! Do share your thoughts, experience, and ideas on body image in the comment section below.