Many of us know someone who struggles or struggled with body image issues. February 23 to March 1, is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. "I Had No Idea," is the 2014 theme selected by The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). This theme was selected so that we could all bring more awareness to the symptoms, struggles and signs of eating disorders. As owners of a yoga studio and Health Yoga Life Coaches, my sisters and I see and know intimately individuals who have greatly benefited through self-care techniques like yoga and coaching to begin to change their relationship to their bodies. In today's world of Kim Kardashian being called fat while being pregnant, it's no wonder women and men of all ages are afflicted by eating disorders and body image issues.
You can't open a magazine or watch TV or walk down the street without "perfection" (as decided by someone else and photoshopped by yet another) being projected as a uniform norm. Through this bombardment, we are shutting down our innate interest in individuality, true beauty, and the light that makes us each shine. Eating disorders and body image issues are complex. From criticizing our thighs to starving ourselves to death, each of us finds ourselves on a different spot on the very wide spectrum of self-love and self-worth.
A master yogi, BKS Iyengar said "It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity." The self-care practice of yoga can help us to heal and begin to understand what being a spark of the divine truly means. Through observation of our thoughts we begin to understand that we are more than our thoughts, that we are more than the records that play in our minds of what others define us to be or what our inner critic shouts. What yoga, meditation and coaching can help us see is that the perfection will never be found outside ourselves and can only be found within ourselves.
The yoga mat can be the judgment-free zone each of us so desperately needs! By practicing yoga and connecting your body and your breath, you can delve deep into the exploration of the divine and begin to honor and respect that. This will then translate to the actions and choices you make off your mat to do the same.