As a human being living in today’s world, you have likely experienced body image issues before. Unfortunately, society has minimized the value of feeling good in our bodies as second only to “looking good.” We’re comparing ourselves to others all day long, through real world interactions as well as the technology we’re flooded with.
If you’re having body image issues, I highly recommend adding some sort of movement into your daily routine. By learning to move in our bodies, we learn to feel them and ultimately connect with them better. Let’s take a look at why yoga is such a wonderful movement practice to help you resolve body image issues.
1. Yoga Teaches You how to Move without an Emphasis on Losing Weight.
We certainly don’t need yet another voice telling us we’re not skinny enough. One of the many special aspects of yoga is its distinctive goals. The goal is not to get thinner, but rather to cultivate a healthy relationship with your body and mind. Movement and postures (asana practice) become a way to detach from the negative thoughts that constantly fill your mind.
2. Yoga Relieves Stress and Promotes Self-Acceptance.
Project EAT, a 15-year-long longitudinal study demonstrated that yoga was associated with higher levels of body satisfaction, particularly among young adults who had low body satisfaction prior to practicing yoga.
Body satisfaction is closely intertwined with stress. When we’re stressed, we tend to be harder on ourselves, that inner critic creating a more permanent home for herself in your mind. This can quickly evolve into a vicious cycle as the inner critic in turn generates more stress. Yoga as a stress-reliever helps us to be just a little more gentle on ourselves.
In fact, some schools are finally catching onto the power of yoga and using it as a method to help students manage stress! Can you find time to add some stress relief to you or your child’s day?
3. Yoga Helps You Get Out of Your Head.
In yoga, we use the breath as a powerful anchor for the mind. By focusing on our breath, it’s impossible to hang around the endless dialogue that normally runs our mind. Yoga gives us space to observe our thoughts, notice when we’re speaking unkindly to our bodies or comparing ourselves with others, and correct the self-talk. With practice, our inner voice becomes louder, our innate wisdom clearer.
4. Yoga can Help You Learn to Let Go.
It’s so hard to let go of our ideas of perfection, to let go of our expectations about what things should look like, and how things should happen. The beauty of yoga is that there is no need to be perfect. The poses can always be refined and modified to better suit where you are—physically, mentally, and emotionally—in your life and yoga practice.
In fact, yoga is just as much about the transitions and the process as it is the final pose. Yoga helps us to re-learn how to surrender to reality, rather than strive for unrealistic images of our bodies.
5. Yoga can Help You Find a Healthy, Body-Positive Community to Surround Yourself With.
One of the joys of exploring yoga is finding and discovering your yoga community. Studios offer a judgment-free space where you are free to be yourself, exploring movement in your body. The journey towards self-love and acceptance is a life-long one, but one always worth embarking on. Having the support of an awesome community can make the journey that much easier.
Our body image consists of how we perceive, see, and think about our bodies. Having a positive outlook and relationship with our bodies is important because the way we treat our bodies often stems from the way we regard them. Yoga can teach you how to view your body as a temple, listening with great curiosity to the sounds that echo off the walls, and always stepping in with love, respect and gratitude.
Image credit: Paige Rene