Your yoga does not end when you roll up your mat. That’s because the practice works as much on your heart and mind as it does on your muscles.
Yoga has helped me shed much of my body shame and realize that perfection is not a reasonable goal...gratitude and body positivity are.
In honor of that, here are 5 ways you can be body positive with yoga:
1. Be Here Now
Anxiety happens when we stop focusing on what we have right now. When we worry about the weight we want to shed before that party, or the date we had last night. What ifs fester in our thoughts and worries multiply like mosquitoes at dusk.
For most people, body positivity does not come as naturally as worry and anxiety. When we get on the mat, we can begin to battle those sneaky thoughts that steal our peace. We breathe in the moment, exhale the chaos. We fill our minds with thoughts that breed gratitude, and body positivity is a natural progression.
Being here now means letting go and living fully in this moment — a place where acceptance is all that can exist.
2. Practice Self-Love
Sometimes we forget that we control that voice in our heads. Yes, we narrate those nasty thoughts. We are the authors of the lists of flaws we tally in our minds. Sure, most of us have picked up our body shaming tendencies from society, and even our very own mothers who stood in full-length mirrors and made self-deprecating comments.
But guess, what? You have the power to stifle that voice. The next time you hear yourself criticizing any aspect of your appearance, practice self-love. Ask yourself: Would I say that to someone I care about?
3. Tap Into Your Strength
If you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, you’ve probably mastered some asanas that were initially difficult or seemingly impossible at the start. Go back to the days when you teetered in Tree Pose, and only had dreams of hitting a Forearm Handstand. Consider the amazing journey that has brought you to the level you’ve achieved on your mat.
You’ve come a long way, baby!
Thank your body for bringing you thus far, and for the strength it provides daily for every task. Maybe you have a ways to go to master various postures, but take a good look at your limbs and tap into the strength you have. Forget about what your body isn’t, and take stock of all that it is. Let Warrior Pose help you own your strength.
4. Expose Your Ego
Yoga philosophy has much to say about ego. Your ego is the image you have of yourself, which most certainly does not reflect your true self. It’s comprised of labels, judgements, and harsh criticisms.
Self-awareness is our path to exposing our egos, and removing every false layer until we finally realize our own value and worth.
Begin to expose your ego by realizing the suffering it’s caused you. Commit to nurturing your beauty, and making space in your heart for the power of a more positive body image. Let a heart-opening sequence stretch your body and mind.
5. Find Your Tribe
Birds of a feather flock together. Show me your friends, I’ll show you your future. I’ve got a million little cliches about the importance of finding good friends. So if you are struggling with body positivity, take a look at your tribe. Are you hanging out with a Debby Downer?
Is your crew compassionate, or do they tend to thrive on comparisons? If the latter is true, it’s time to find a new tribe that believes in supporting others, and building people up in their quest for a more positive life and body image. Attitudes are contagious.
Are you finding ways to become more body positive with yoga? Yoga is not just a workout; it’s a work in. How has it “worked” on you? Share with us below!