Yoga and body image
I am sure some of you came across to the terrible news of a young eleven years old who took her life because she could not bear with her appearance in social media. Her tragic story is not an isolated case, in fact, researches confirm that body image is very important for adolescents. 77% of Irish teenagers rank body image as being important to them, with 43% not being satisfied with how they look (Department of Children and Youth Affairs studies, 2012). Even though we do not know all the real details of her shocking and sad story, it moved many of us in Hot Yoga Dublin to reflect on the effect of social media and body image.
Social media are the virtual extension of our self. There is no turning back (tried to boycott them unsuccessfully for years 🙂 ). This is the era we are living and instead of demonizing them, we can try to understand how to use them consciously by setting an example for the generations to come.
By flicking through the Facebook feeds, most of us come across to beautiful happy stories, friends travelling in this exotic places, eating delicious meals, hugging smiley friends and couples kissing passionately under the Xmas tree. It seems like most of us live in Never Ending Summer. Everyone happy, fit, with the perfect, makeup and marvellous families. Is it really this way?
There is no such a thing as a Never Ending Summer, there are Winters, Autumns and Springs. All the other seasons are as beautiful as the Summer.
Why not teaching to the new generations that it is ok not to look perfect all the time? That rather than looking for perfection, it would be more rewarding to aim for acceptance. Also reminding them that the social media image does not reflect the reality, it is fictional most of the time, it is what we feel safe to share and it does not contain all the colours of our diverse personality.
People who come to Yoga they do it for many reasons. I like to think that in some ways they unconsciously want to peel the external conditioning in order to embrace their real self. In my opinion, serves us more a conscious research of our body expression during the pose rather than aiming for the “perfect asana”. We are all unique, different body types, different emotional and physical injuries, different mind settings, therefore the poses will not look and feel in the same ways for everyone.
Let’s honour our winters, our grumpy mornings, our messy hair, our fine lines, our misaligned Trikonasanas 🙂 .
One of my favourite quotes is from Anna Magnani, an Italian actress who used to say: Don’t retouch my wrinkles, it took me so long to earn them.
Be imperfect, be vulnerable, be as you are, embrace yourself and pass it on to your kids.
Teach them that is ok to be whom they are, that you would love them anyway with their imperfections like you love and accept your beautiful unique self.
Loving yourself for who you are is a revolutionary act. Let’s change the world together 😊