If I hear, “love your body”, one more time…
Not a day goes by where I don’t honor and love my body. I share the following with everyone; “Love your body because it’s a miracle”.
What I can’t stand is the watered-down version of the slogan, “love your body.” It keeps popping up everywhere I look, from grocery stores to magazine covers. The body culture, where nothing matters but our appearance, triggers me. As though our body is this polished shell; manicured, and manipulated, forever young, with a fake smile with frozen lips that can’t reach the soul.
For what? To fit an image that sells. To love our bodies is so much more than this. Please look the other way if these images make you feel less than because your body looks or feels different, is less flexible, older, or injured.
This culture creates much grief, especially in women or people who are different. Look within instead. Care passionately how you feel and less about what you think.
Treat your body like it belongs to someone you love, and treat yourself the way you’d treat someone you care deeply for.
Make friends with your body, learn to listen to what it has to say; honor it. Thank and hug it every day. I believe the relationship we have with our bodies is essential to our health. We can’t separate the body from our mind, our soul, or our spirit. If we live in our heads driven by the roller coaster ride of our thoughts, we can become depressed. If we learn to pause, create a balance between being mentally engaged and physically active, we feel better.
Our bodies listen to the story we’re weaving in our minds. Too much worry or sorrow creates fear which can make us shrink. We must seek happiness and remember what we are grateful for. This will set us free to choose how we want to live our lives. Our body feels our intention of how and why we do what we do. If we force it, sooner or later it will break. If we sedate it into a couch-potato lifestyle, it will lose its vibrancy.
Our body is our companion.
It has been with us from birth, is here with us now and will be with us until we leave this planet. It has witnessed every emotion and feeling we’ve ever had. It holds and stores our story and if we learn to listen to its voice, it will help us release what we have unconsciously stored in our cells when trauma, injury, or disappointment numbed us. If we pause frequently to breathe and feel, our body will show us where we’re too tight. We can release tension before our muscles or joints scream. It’s a practice; a skill we can learn.
I’m sixty-two years old. The best thing that happened to me on my professional path as a yoga teacher, was the study of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, which I started in 1994. Who I am as a woman, how I teach, and how I live my life is a result of this practice. Through self-reflection, I formed a commitment to thrive despite the never-ending obstacles life with my special-needs daughter presents daily. The words below are embedded in my core.
The most profound pilgrimage I can ever make is within my own body.
Pause here for a moment and breathe; let these words sink in.
Breathe again and feel your breath touch your body. Scan your body for tightness; breathe again and gently move your shoulders, neck, hips, feet. Give yourself a smile and a hug for planting the seeds to a lifelong friendship with your body.
I survived a life-crushing experience when my girl was born a micro-preemie in August of 1990. She weighed only one pound and fifteen ounces and spent the first six months of her life in the NICU. My husband and I had just moved to the U.S. and were starting our life, company and a much-hoped-for family together. We were utterly alone. Everything changed forever.
When my daughter finally came home, still on oxygen, daunting questions moved in along with her; through many haunting nights and exhausting days filled with caretaking and fear.
Tragedy changes us. The dark shadow of worry settles into our life and weighs heavy on our bodies and souls. My left shoulder was frozen for many years from holding my baby in my arms, afraid she might die. I held her close to my heart for hours to let my heartbeat encourage hers.
A profound disconnect happens between our body, mind, soul, and spirit when our lives dramatically change. Most often without warning.
Dreams fall apart not knowing if we can create new ones. As our heart breaks, so does our body.
Let me promise you right here that if you practice yoga or any form of movement that has mindfulness at its core, you will learn to free yourself from limiting beliefs and fears formed when our life falls apart and a new direction needs to be found. Learn tools to befriend, feel, accept, forgive, heal and love your body in a new way. As you would your best friend.
Think of how friendships form. When we meet someone for the first time and feel a connection, we want to learn more about each other. We listen, we ask questions, we honor silence and the necessary time until we meet again. Maybe we go on trips; hike, dance, or sing together. We want to learn from each other’s stories, insights, and wisdom.
Can you imagine this friendship with your body?
Ask yourself, “what could I do today to show my body that I accept it, forgive it, and love it”?
I’m a passionate Yogi. I believe yoga in its true essence is for anyone and every body; for every age, shape, size, and ability. I teach my students to create a relationship with their bodies based on sacred respect, reference, honesty, and love.
My practice and how I teach is based on the Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy approach to embodied mindfulness. It’s a powerful transformational practice using focused moment-to-moment awareness to connect us, through our bodies, to our essence.
To release stress from your day or your life is possible. It happens with our daily commitment to be present with ourselves. Transformation is something that happens when the conditions are right, and we’re committed to showing up to our life’s calling.
Imagine your body as your new best friend; like a miracle that you get to love from the outside in and back again.
This blog was first published by The Wellness Universe on August 19, 2019 .
Witness Without Judgment is my signature workshop.