“Right away, I discovered that Marilyn was shockingly and unimaginably slender. She was sort of like Kate Moss but fleshier on top. Didn’t see that coming, did you?
#yoga #namaste #asana #eating disorder #eating disorders #disordered eating #body image #body acceptance #body positive #Body Love #rhetoric #yoga practice
Cutting the Fat Out of Our Practice: An Open Letter to the Yoga Community
IMPORTANT YOGIS AND HUMANS!!
Please read and share… ♥
Cutting the Fat Out of Our Practice: An Open Letter to the Yoga Community
Dear Students, Teachers, and Friends!
This season, I have one wish for all of us: Nourishment. For too long, I have heard (and even been a part of) a rhetoric of unhealthy reciprocal speak about exercise and eating behaviors during the holiday season. Do we
I know that yoga is not infallible. Nothing is. Yoga is a living practice and we are all a part of it. I also know that not all of us speak like this. And, surely, few of us speak like this intentionally. But still, we CAN listen and improve! As teachers and students, we CAN raise a consciousness around how we speak about food, exercise, and nourishment. And, I’m certain that it’s time we did.
Every time we speak in terms that portray food, exercise, reward, even love(!) as part of an economy of exchange, we are latently affirming a message of, “you are not good enough as you are.” Every time we permit this language of hierarchical conditionality, we allow for the continuation of the belief, “you are not enough.” Every time we employ a rhetoric of action-consequence we effectively say, “you are not enough.” Simply, this is not yoga. We must be mindful of this. We are SO much more than conditional thinking.
On a more personal note, as a recovered anorexic/bulimic and eating disorder (ED) recovery advocate, I feel that this language is not only maladaptive, but that it also reinforces a dangerous ideal. Both from my personal practices and my work in the ED recovery field, I’ve encountered how the negative conditioning an exercise-exchange economy adversely affects people. It is often tantamount to verbal abuse. This is ironic, because as yogis, we are committed to ahimsa.
So, this season, I am committing to nourishment. I am committing to nourishment not just through physical food, but through language and action. I and my studio (The Grinning Yogi) promise to offer a message of acceptance and nourishment starting NOW. We are pledging the following:
We will NOT teach from a voice rooted in an exchange economy of food, guilt, calories, indulgence, or anything related to not “being enough” as you are.
We will create a safe-haven for our friends to feel empowered so they can take effective steps in promoting their own self-care and overall wellness.
We will open a dialogue about what real nourishment is.
We will remind our friends that food is food, love is love, and yoga… yoga is a GIFT!
Please join us in this commitment…
We are sharing this letter with friends, students, teachers and studios in the area. We will be posting our commitment publicly in the studio and on social media as well. We will be honored if you join us in making this a powerful, communal statement, grounded in love and health. Please feel free to share this and post this letter as you see fit.
We can do this, together!!!
I leave you with gratitude, and Hafiz…
“And love says: I will. I will take care. To everything that is near.”
Thank you for your nourishment,
Jamie Silverstein and The Grinning Yogi
#yoga #namaste #practice #asana #books #body image #body acceptance #body love
#Kate Winslet #notable quotable #fitness #body image #aging
I look like the people that walk down the street. I don’t have perfect boobs, I don’t have zero cellulite, of course I don’t, and I’m curvy. If that is something that makes women feel empowered in any way, that’s great. On a deeper, subconscious level, it’s one of the reasons why I’ve allowed my stupid self to be so naked on screen… I couldn’t give a shit. I mean, I’m so much less self-conscious and I think that’s something to do with getting older and acceptance of one’s self, feeling stronger, feeling more confident. I think confidence does come with time and I’ve been really surprised by that actually. I mean, I remember being 21 and imagining that at 36 my tits would be around my knees and I would have bad hair and terrible teeth. When you are younger, somehow being in your later thirties just seems really old. But I feel stronger, fitter and more comfortable in my own skin now than I have ever done.
#body image #fat acceptance #fat shaming #fitness #sociology #yoga #psychology
#mantra #yoga #body image #body positive #intention #yoga practice
My puffy face life.
Ashley Judd wrote a very lovely piece that reenforced my body philosophy. I talk about it often but I’ve never blogged about it because I try not to blog about the things I went through in my youth. From birth you are bombarded with ideas about what you should look like. There are industries built on improving our looks from make-up and hair dye to gyms and plastic surgery. You try to ignore the voices, what other people think your body should be, but when it’s just you and the mirror they all come rushing into your mind and you’re flooded with self loathing.
My mother: I remember my mother giving my older sister “Sweatin’ To The Oldies” tapes during her freshman year of high school and I can still see the hurt in her eyes. I remember all the times my mother went on about how she needed to loose weight even though she’s always been thin. When my other sister started to gain a little weight my mother was the first to point it out, almost daily. I think about all those mornings when I was in high school when my mother would call me in to measure my waist and then shake her head disapprovingly. Then there was the time my sister, her now-husband, and I were walking from a movie and passed a plus size store and she started crying. She read the sign proclaiming what sizes they sold and she was upset because now she could shop there and I knew that shame came not just from our mother but from all the times those stores were mocked . She loves to reach out and touch my stomach and tell me in a hushed and urgent tone that I “really need to go on a diet.” But there was that one time she said the shirt I was wearing looked really good. For someone with a body like mine. After my cousin’s VT graduation my aunt asked my mother to email the pictures she took so our grandfather could see them but first my mother had to photoshop us to make us skinnier (or, to make them look pretty, as she claimed). Then there is my skin. When my mother notices a particularly bad blemish she makes a disgusted face and says that I really need to wash my face as if I didn’t think of that. The rest of my family is no better. Even my aunt will told me that I needed to wear make up more often (I do so very rarely). My sister, with her nearly perfect skin, proudly pointed out that our aunt didn’t say anything to her. My sister doesn’t realize how cruel she’s been about my skin over the years and I don’t know how much she reminds me of our mother in those moments. My mother always has this sadness when discussing my body- the fact that I have to shave my legs occasionally included -like she’s disappointed that she didn’t birth a clone of her perfection.
Dating and boys: I can’t stand for men to touch my tummy now. There was this one guy, who generally has no respect for my boundaries, who would tell me that I had nothing to be ashamed of before touching it anyways. But it isn’t shame so much as it is a reminder of her; I flash on her face. Before all that, at 19, there was my first boyfriend. He told me that I would fall into the “chubby chaser” category of porn. Later he would tell me that our relationship problems were, maybe, because I needed to loose weight? The funny part is I was no more over weight then he was. Years later I was hanging with some guy friends when they introduced me to the “butter face” insult. “Yeah, she’s got a good body but her face….” They joked about putting a bag on her face. I didn’t say anything because all I could do was think about what guys must have been saying about me when I wasn’t looking.
My hair: As a little girl my mother didn’t know how to deal with my curls. I don’t even know if detangling spray existed but I do know she never bought it. As a result my hair was always a huge rat’s nest. My sister teased me by calling me “Medusa”. People tame there hair with product but as for me I let it do what it wants, letting it air dry it and most of the time there are a few nice ringlets in a collection of differently curled parts. My family will often tell me that I need to go brush my hair and when you have curly hair and you go to get it cut they’ll straighten it. People like that Millionaire Matchmaker lady will tell you your curly hair looks cheap and that you should go straighten it. When I was a teen I told a cousin that I wouldn’t dye my hair and she replied, “Yeah, you say that now but wait until you get grey hairs.” I have several greys but I love them. I still don’t plan on ever dying my hair. Occasionally I get the urge to add a pink streak or something like that but I don’t because I’m proud to be natural (and also, lazy). I don’t think there is anything wrong with doing stuff to your hair but I think it should be acceptable not to do anything at all.
So this is what I decided: I don’t worry about my weight, my skin, or my hair. I broke somewhere during all of my mother’s disdain and emerged proud. It isn’t that I never look in the mirror and feel like I’m fat and ugly but now, at the end, I hold my head up and think, “This is what I was given and I’d rather work on loving it.”
“This is what I was given and I’d rather work on loving it.”
#body image #fitness #fitspiration #thinspiration #women's issues #yoga #Asian American
Why I love yoga
Yoga is equal parts physical practice and spiritual practice, and it is the spiritual practice that has helped me accept my body the way it is.
I am naturally tall and curvy, a typical female endomorph: fairly weak, curvy and soft with a hip-heavier hourglass figure. In the past couple of years, my BMI has oscillated from 22.4 to 24.4, depending on the season and how stressed I am. I am also Asian, and the two most common comments I get are “wow you are really tall for an Asian” and “wow I didn’t think Asian girls were that curvy.”
My mother’s side of the family are small-boned, thin people; my father’s side of the family are tall, big-boned and solidly built. My sister got the big bones but small overall build, and I got the small bones but a large overall build. The women in my family, nuclear and extended, never understood how I could be so tall and curvy—they still don’t—and my mother’s reaction in particular was to always comment on how I needed to lose some weight and to act as a food police.
Under the combined pressure from family and from larger society, I gravitated towards physical activities where thinness was a pre-requisite. I believed that the more I danced and the more I ran, then being thin would naturally come. But it didn’t.
As how it often goes, I began to change my eating patterns, and they became very, very weird. My mother noticed, and the oddities irked her (for example, I refused to eat fruit because I had read that it makes you fat; I would only eat half a protein bar for breakfast, the rest for lunch, and small portions of “safe foods” for dinner), but by and large she encouraged the change because I was dropping weight and becoming what Asian women are supposed to look like. In the words of Marya Hornbacher, “when a woman is thin in this culture, she proves her worth, in a way that no great accomplishment, no stellar career, nothing at all can match. We believe she has done what centuries of a collective unconscious insist that no woman can do—control herself. A woman who can control herself is almost as good as a man. A thin woman can Have It All.”
It’s been a few years since that, and I’ve constantly struggled to eat normally and to not allow my body image dictate what I eat. In all honesty, how many woman eat normally? How many of us eat when we are hungry and stop eating when we are not? How many of us have skipped meals because we’re “watching what we eat” and “trying to be healthy?” How many of us have stopped ourselves from ordering a burger or a cookie because we’re on a diet even though that fucking burger is what we really, really want to eat right now?
One of the mantras that Emma, our yoga teacher, constantly repeats is the idea that each body is unique. Each body has its own strengths and weakness. There is no way to say one body is better than another because we all have our unique strengths and weaknesses. That idea has greatly helped me along the road of accepting my body.
No, I will never be thin. No, I do not have long, beautiful lines. Yes, I look normal in person and chubby in photos. Yes, I have beautiful lines that curve. Being curvy is not less beautiful or aesthetically appealing than being thin; it is simply different. Yoga has allowed me to understand this.
Yoga has allowed me to gain appreciation for the way my body looks. Yoga has helped me realize and appreciate the beauty of my youth. Youth in itself, without any help and adornments, is beautiful because of its vigor and clarity. Right now, I may be the most beautiful I will ever be, and I am grateful for this opportunity. Yoga has helped me recognize this, and instead of wallowing in the idea of that I could be more beautiful, I celebrate the unique beauty that I do have.
Yoga has changed how I view my looks and body from that of a critical outsider who can only see flaws to one in which I recognize the gifts I have from my own ideas of beauty. That is one of the reasons why I love yoga, and I am so grateful that I took a chance and began practicing yoga.
#body #body image #health #here's some real fitspo #huzzah! bellies #women #yoga #belly