In recent months I've had two very different opportunities to speak out about Body Image in a public forum at both a yoga festival in Bondi and a training in Bali. I choose to speak up about the issue of Body Image, because I spent so long overwhelmed that so many people hold back from living fully because of a preoccupation with the way they look (myself included for a long time!). There MUST be more to life than just achieving the ideal body. Surely. I have a deep faith that there is. I'm not advocating for remaining in a body that isn't healthy, but rather to achieve health through loving rather than punishing means, and to enjoy our bodies in the process. That's what I speak to when I speak up about body image. It's a very pertinent issue in the yoga community, where the media prtrayal of the 'the yoga body' excludes many people from even trying the practice because they don't fit the image, or those who are commited to the practice chasing the yoga body at the expense of their health. I speak up in the hope of bringing more light and conversation, humour and clarity to this topic.
The first opportunity I had to speak up was in balmy Bali, where I shared a discussion with a room of yoga teacher trainees at the amazing School of Sacred Arts about the importance of embracing positive body image as a yoga teacher, and of encouraging inclusivity in the classroom so that students might also experience a more loving relatinship with their body through the practice of yoga. Sharing tales of body image challenges and breakthroughs with these trainees offered a powerful forum for sharing real stories and of discovering the truth in the idea that through vulnerability we buid intimacy with each other.
The second public forum was a cold morning on winter solstice this year. It was mighty chilly, but not cold enough to deter a crowd of yoga practitioners form gathering at Bondi Beach to celebrate the first International Day of Yoga. The United Nations World Yoga Day event ran from dawn until dusk and was overflowing with colourful offerings from many of Sydney's most beloved teachers. I'm already looking forward to next year's event. I was privileged to be invited to speak on a panel titled Yoga and The Body Beautiful, alongside renowned international yoga teacher Ana Forrest, as well as Michael De Manincor -former head of Yoga Australia, and other insightful and inspiring colleagues in the field of yoga and body image.
You can check out a video of the panel discussion below. I hope you'll join me in continuing this conversation with your own community and sharing these ideas with anyone who may be inspired to join the growing movement to encourage positve body image in all of us.