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Body Positive Yoga: Leave Judgement Behind

Enjoy this wonderful blog post written by Alyssa Ward, yoga teacher for Happy Hour Yoga 4:30-5: 30 pm Fridays at Clayton Yoga about the importance of body positivity, and self-acceptance. 

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Yoga Brings Newfound Acceptance for All Body Types

Even if weight loss isn’t your main goal, the idea of suspending judgment of yourself and your body is important for everyone. Here is a meditation geared towards weight loss that I found on YogaJournal.  There is a difference between observation and judgment, whether you are focusing on the body, the breath, or the mind. I think it is easy for one to become overly critical of oneself and it is important to learn to let go. And I hope you enjoy the following meditation from Tiffany Cruikshank’s book Meditate your Weight.

Yoga Medicine founder Tiffany Cruikshank says, “The way we typically think about losing weight has always been: weight loss = torture.”  We somehow believe that losing weight is something that must be “endured.”  Researchers believe this propensity for self-torture may be related to the stigma around extra weight: Overweight people are believed to be “wrong” in our culture, so they must be forced to do their penance.

Yet public health research has proven that shaming people into losing weight never works. Words are hurtful and usually false. But that doesn’t stop the person who might be carrying extra pounds from hanging on to those labels and internalizing them. And if you’re not aware, that judgment can play like a soundtrack in your head, all day, every day.

Stigma does not work, acceptance on the other hand works!  Meditation is the perfect antidote. The more we become aware of what’s going on inside our heads, without judging it, the more we can start to notice those unhelpful automatic thoughts and emotional reactions, and the faster we can stop the cycle before it starts.

Meditation:

Use this short meditation to help you become more conscious of these patterns. You can begin to rewire the soundtrack in your mind and guide yourself to a healthier mind and body. Repeat daily for best results!

Begin by finding a comfortable seat and noticing your breath. Notice the experience of sitting and all of the sensations—positive and negative—that exist here. Notice how this experience of sitting also encompasses your existence in your body, which may include thoughts and sensations like feeling out of shape, tired, too big for your clothes, heavy in the hips, or aware of the size or shape of other features of your body.

Secondly, notice the judgements around those sensations. Things like: “I need to do a longer yoga practice today to get in shape” or “I wish I didn’t have….(insert your favourite body-loathing feature)”

The tricky part here is to notice the judgements without becoming entangled in the emotions associated with them. Meditation and the practice of yoga help us to accept all of our traits in a more loving way.

Originally published on Clayton Yoga International 

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