When I first started doing yoga, I really didn’t like my body very much. I rarely had any positive thoughts about it. Mostly when I thought about my body I felt frustrated, or ashamed. These sound like big things to feel but in my experience talking and working with women these are some of the most common ways us women feel about our bodies.
When we give ourselves the time and space to really listen to what we tell ourselves about our body, it’s surprising what we hear. It’s unusual for us to have thoughts like “I love my body,” “My body is amazing,” “I appreciate everything my body does for me.” Mostly we think things along the lines of “I wish my body were different,” “I don’t like this part or that part,” and “I’m too big.”
What if there were a way to go from body-bashing to body-loving? What if you could go from wishing your body was different to seeing how amazing it is? It’s all in the approach. I’m not going to say that yoga is the be-all solution. But practiced with an awareness of how it can help you love your body, yoga can be a powerful force of positive transformation.
5 Ways Yoga Can Help You Fall in Love With Your Body
- We realize how we talk to ourselves about ourselves. When we do yoga, we have to be with our body and our thoughts about our body. There’s no distraction from the thoughts of self-judgement or rejection. We become keenly aware of what we say about our body. And that’s the first step to moving from believing those things to realizing they’re untrue. Takeaway: Start to notice what you tell yourself about your body.
- We must choose to stop feeding those thoughts. Body-bashing thoughts, like most thoughts that pull us down, can feel really attractive. There’s a part of us that leans into them, relishing the way we feel. To continue growing and learning in our yoga practice, we need to shift our focus to what how we’re growing and what we’re learning. And we learn how to be in a very body-focused environment without feeding those body-bashing thoughts. Takeaway: Focus on what you’re working on in your yoga practice, not the thoughts about your body.
- We learn to use our body in a different way. During our yoga practice, our body becomes a tool for physical strength and flexibility. It becomes a part of us that enables us to do a handstand, rise into tree pose, or arc into a backbend. It becomes a part of us that supports us as we learn something new, and then master it. Takeaway: Notice what you’re doing now, that you weren’t doing before.
- We start to appreciate what our body can do. Seeing our body in a whole new way helps us to appreciate what it can do. We’re less likely to take it for granted, especially since we can experience such a dramatic change in how we feel after practicing yoga. We start to appreciate what our body can do for us. Takeaway: Make a list of reasons why you appreciate your body.
- We learn to see our body in a different way. Rather than looking at our body only as something to be assessed, measured and compared to others’, we start to see it as a part of us that helps us gain inner and outer strength, access deep peace and contentment, and even begin to live from a place of love. Takeaway: See your body as a way to access an inner state that begins to impact your world and how you experience it.
Yoga is one of the things that helped me powerfully transform the way I feel about my body. It’s not often that I think negative thoughts about this incredible vessel I’m honoured to live in. From this place of gratitude, it’s rare for me to see my body as something to be assessed and compared to others’. I just look at it and think “Thank you.” And for that, I am eternally grateful.
I hope these tips help you, too.