What's This Blog All About Then?

I'm on a mission to roadtest ways of overcoming negative body image. For years I have struggled with feeling I don't look 'good enough', I'm too fat or flabby. Even when I was a UK Size 8! During each of my two pregnancies I fell back in love with my body, marvelling at the amazing things it was doing and at my feminine voluptuousness.

Now that my most recent baby has been outside of my body for a while, the mum tum and stretchmarks are starting to bug me. I have decided enough is enough. I want to feel proud of my body like I did when I was pregnant. I don't want to wait until I'm a certain weight or dress size to feel good about the way I look. I want to love my body just the way it is right now. And I want to help other women to love their imperfectly perfect bodies too.

Join me on my quest for a better body image. During my journey to (I hope) total body confidence, I'll be posting useful resources, tips and research on body image and self acceptance. There will also be posts from other people shedding light on how to feel comfortable in the skin you're in - maybe you'd like to send me an article? Contact me at annacolette(at)gmail(dot)com with 'Body Image' in the title.

Monday, 29 November 2010

The Daily Yoga Cure

Yesterday I was feeling particularly achey and unfit due to a 'veg out day' spent indoors with hubby and baby.

I enjoyed chilling out, but it didn't do my self image any favours as I've been hugely inactive for weeks now (mainly due to the rubbish weather)and feeling bad about that. I'm all for loving myself as I am but I realise I need to care for my body in order to love it more.

When the most exercise you're getting is a five minute mooch around the local shops or an evening of lifting a glass of wine to your lips you know you're not loving your body like you could.

My back was seizing up so I decided to do a few yoga postures to ease it. I enjoyed the feeling of my muscles stretching, the paisn in my back easing and my body feeling energised. All this just in a few minutes of doing Cat, Downward Dog and a Seated Twist!

I then got to thinking about how exercise can improve your relationship with your body when it isn't solely about 'exercising to look good' but you're coming from a place of 'I'm doing this because I want to be kind to my body and this is what my body needs to function well. Oh, and it feels good and makes me happier!'.

The problem with most exercise regimes I have tried to follow in the past is that the goal was always to look better, so while I was exercising I was subtly punishing myself for not looking good enough now. Hardly a motivating frame of mind.

Can you imagine going to an exercise class where the instructor shouts at you 'come on, jelly belly, if you don't work harder at this you're doomed to a life of looking like a flabby freak'?! Compare that to one where the instructor softly encourages you to 'give your body what it needs, feel that stretch nourishing your body and helping it to feel strong and supple.'

So, I've dug out the DVD hubby bought me a while back: Basic Yoga Workout for Dummies which takes you through 12 postures they call the 'Daily Dozen'. Now I'd love to tell you how I'm going to do those Dozen every single day for a month and see how that affects my body, mind and self image. But I'm not sure I can go from couch potato to yoga devotee straight off.

So, I'll make a promise to you, and myself, that every day I'll do at least one yoga posture. I mean everyone can find three minutes in their day right? Even me, a lazy busy mum with a demanding baby..

The challenge will be for me to keep the right frame of mind i.e. to do daily yoga because my body loves it and it helps with my body image NOT in order to change or improve the way I look (although that may happen as a by product).

The word yoga means "union" in Sanskrit, that is the union of the body and the mind which results from regular yoga practice. When I was doing weekly antenatal yoga classes with Marie from Gently Strong yoga I began to feel more connected with my body, I was encouraged to listen to it, respect it and to enjoy moving it.

The weekly class became my meditation and my treat - to my mind and to my body. I wonder if it played a part in the profound sense of wellbeing and the positive body image I enjoyed throughout my pregnancy.

There's only one way to find out...

I'll keep you updated on my daily yoga practice for the next month as well as continuing to find you other news and views to shed light on negative body image and how to love yourself more.

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