This is one of my go-to strategies when I need to smile
How do you feel about your body?
In my university studies I came across some staggering statistics. Looking through several reports I learned the majority of women are unhappy with their bodies. Though percentages varied in different reports, the lowest one I found was 80% of women are unhappy with their bodies. Some studies reported the amount of dissatisfaction up as high as the mid 90s.
Though this occurs more frequently in women, men are not immune. The studies I have seen for men range from between 25-40% of men are unhappy with their bodies.
So, if you are unhappy with your body know that you are not alone.
I have also struggled with body image issues. Some days I still do.
As a new 7 week session of classes begins at my studioI know that some people will struggle to come to class because of how they feel about their body. Some might worry about what to wear. Some might feel they are too out of shape to come. Some might stress about keeping up or doing things ‘right’ (or how they look in certain poses) Some might think if they can lose a bit of weight first, then they’ll show up.
How do I know this? Because I have been there. I have wanted to try a new class or go to a new gym and had all of these this thoughts.
That is part of the reason why when I first decided to teach classes one priority was to offer classes for everyone—all ages, all abilities, all shapes, all sizes—You are welcome.
So, I invite you to come out to in-person classes, or try the virtual options. I want you to know that you are good enough just as you are. You are worthy of your own movement practice. I believe, movement practices should be joyful and fun.
Because I know that despite whatever words I say it can still be hard to show up, this year I will also start offering private sessions for those who might prefer to work one-on-one. These will be offered both virtually and in-person.
The past 6 months I have been working with Mark Walsh as a mentor. He has often said that sometimes it is too much for folks to love their body right now.
He says—If you can’t love your body, can you like your body? If you can’t like your body, can you be polite or civil to your body?
Maybe that is where to start today—just being polite to your body.
Maybe this week you will also join me for a class or two and a bit of joyful movement.
Maybe today you don’t quite believe in yourself, but know that I do.
Meditation has been a strange journey for me. I always had a sense it was good for me, but also resisted doing it for so long.
That doesn’t really seem to make sense. Perhaps, for me the resistance was fear based. I worried too much if I was doing it right. Whenever I gave it a small try, I always felt I was doing it wrong.
Slowly, over time I allowed myself to let go. I allowed myself to try meditation with less judgement. I won’t pretend that it was easy. Meditation is a practice. Like with anything, the more you practice the more little successes you will have.
I continue my meditation practice. Some days are easy, some days are more challenging. Yet, I keep showing up. One reason that I continue is I have found a meditation practice to benefit my life. Below are some benefits I have experienced.
-Learning to experience and enjoy the moment (and isn’t that what life is? just a whole bunch of moments)
-More focus and discipline
-Greater feelings of calm
-Accessing imagination and creativity
-Being able to look at challenging situations with patience and compassion
-Deeper breathing into the body
I often encourage people new to meditation start with just 1 minute. That is how I started. I would also encourage you to try to set aside a block of time, perhaps 2 weeks or 1 month. In this time, play with this a practice, see where it might take you, and what benefits you might enjoy.
Do you know what I believe to be the best meditation practice? The one that works for you.
As I go deeper into my personal meditation practices I have been reflecting on my own meditation journey. I know with certainty that I had to start small and start easy. That’s what worked for me.
Perhaps, another method will work for you. That’s awesome. Embrace whatever works.
If however, you are like me and think small and easy is the answer I invite you to try meditating for just one minute a day. Give this a try for a day, or a week, or a month. Then reassess and see. Are you content staying at one minute? Or would you like to try a little longer?
I started my meditation journey with just one minute a day. It wasn’t long before I tried 2 minutes, then 5….
Over the years I have experimented with various types of meditation from guided to breath work, body scans, mantras, and recently have even been exploring death meditations.
In the beginning guided meditation is what worked for me.
I am a huge fan of the free app Insight Timer. You can easily use filters to find meditations based on length of time. You can also narrow searches to specific themes.
One of my favourite teachers is Robin Rice. She currently has 14 one-minute meditations to get you started.
Another early option I tried was short mantra meditations. It can be a challenge for me to get out of my head. Focusing on the words of a mantra has been a great tool for me.
This is one of my favourites and just six minutes long
If you prefer silence, simply setting a timer and focusing on your inhales and exhales is a fabulous option.
Next week I will share some of the benefits of meditation, but this week if you are willing, I invite you to just be curious and explore some meditation. Embark on a little experiment and see what feels right for you.
How well-resourced are you? I love this question. This is a question I first heard while working through a course led by Mark Walsh.
Often our society celebrates the ‘work hard, play hard’, ‘go big or go home’, ‘all or nothing’ type attitude. But does that ethos help or hurt?
By Mark asking participants in his courses how well-resourced they are, it allows people to really stop and think. Some days on a scale of 1-10 you might be an 8, while other days you might be a 3.
Neither answer is right or wrong. It just is what it is. Any place you fall on the scale is part of our human experience.
Things that might contribute to us not feeling well-resourced could be—not getting enough sleep, working overtime, feeling ill, relationship stress, or financial worries.
Sometimes the things that keep us from feeling well-resourced can be big, such as trauma. Some of the things can be out of our control, such as a loved one facing a serious health issue.
When we look at how well-resourced we are and apply it to fitness expectations (or even life expectations), is it reasonable to always expect 100%?
If you are feeling a 2 on the well-resourced scale, is a power yoga class really the answer? Maybe for you yes it is, but maybe not. Maybe a gentle practice will actually be of more benefit. Maybe skipping a class and getting some sleep would be even better.
The good news is that by starting to think in terms of how well-resourced we are we bring self-awareness to our ever-changing situation. We can also start to collect information on the things that help us feel more well-resourced and try to incorporate them into our days.
For me, it is the simple things that help me feel well-resourced including
-getting outside in nature
-tuning off the TV earlier and getting more sleep
-eating more fruit
-putting on some music and dancing
-making time for meditation
When I take the time to make these things part of my day I feel better, no matter what else might be going on in my life.
I have found that thinking about how well-resourced I am also helps to foster self-compassion. If I am a 3, I can lower the expectations I have for myself, be kinder and gentler with myself, and spend some time on activities that nurture and nourish me.
This weekend I encourage you to think about how well-resourced you are. Then, make a list of the things that contribute to you feeling well-resourced. Finally, see if you can add one or two of these soul nurturing things into your days.
Make a great weekend