We all have our own body hang ups, that can be hard to get past. The great thing about yoga is how it relaxes you, and lets you focus on your breath, and how your body is moving. This makes it a great practice to boost your body positivity. Yoga is a practice that all body shapes and sizes can take part in, however it can be hard sometimes to focus when we’re thinking about our body hang ups. Here’s our top tips for practicing body positivity when you’re on the yoga mat.
1. Channel Your Strength
Feeling strong is a great way to instantly reap the benefits of body positivity. It’s hard to feel negative about yourself when you’re channelling all your strength, and staying strong and powerful in your poses. Channelling your inner strength to push your body that little bit further will help you gain confidence and feel good about yourself! Look at your body, and notice the strength you have gained and how powerful it makes you feel. Warrior pose is a great pose to help your body feel strong and capable, and ready to take on anything!
2. Focus on Your Breath
Breathing deeply has a wealth of benefits for our bodies, but it mostly calms our nervous systems an allows us to take stock of what’s happening within us. Deep breathing allows us to identify any areas of pain or tightness during our practice, and allows us to release all that tension. This release can also release all those negative emotions, allowing us to connect to ourselves in a happier and balanced way.
3. Practice Self-Love
It’s easy to get caught up with that negative voice in our heads, telling us we can’t do something or we shouldn’t feel body positive. But that voice that points out perceived flaws is actually your own. It’s easy to forget we can control our own thoughts and change that negative voice into a positive one. When we realise we can change this we can start to practice self-love. Try to catch yourself if you’re ever thinking negative thoughts, especially if you’re struggling to master a new pose. By changing the narrative to focus on the positive aspects, you can start to practice self-love, and only think positive thoughts about yourself. Set yourself a body positive mantra if it helps, to think over in your head while you’re going through your yoga flow.
4. Appreciate Your Body
If you’ve managed to master a pose you’ve been working on for a while - take the time to congratulate yourself and your body for reaching your goal! Perhaps you’re finally able to get into crow pose, or you’re progressing into more advanced binds and moves, but it’s important to take a moment to recognise how far you’ve come. We’re so wired to move onto the next challenge or task, and taking some time to appreciate your body and the journey it’s taken is a great way to change your mind set to be more body positive.
5. Be Present
Negative thoughts stop us from being present and appreciating our lives and bodies in the moment. It’s easy to go down a negative thought spiral when we’re focusing on the past or future, and feel shame. This loses our connection with our bodies and makes it even harder to feel body positive. Yoga can help us to practice staying present. Next time you’re on the mat, try to sit and breathe, without thinking about anything else. Just focus on your breath, and your body, and how breathing affects how you move. This helps you to use your body to help calm your mind - an amazing tool to help you feel more body positive and appreciative of your body.
If you’re curious about body positivity in yoga, our program this week comes from Dana Smith, author of Yes, Yoga has Curves. This is a program to help break down barriers and stereotypes and helps you get on the mat, regardless of your body type - to help you reap the benefits and feel body positive!
By Amy Cavill
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