How one woman found yoga, eased her inner hunger, and started loving herself. Follow Kimber as she shares her journey to loving her body, the joys and sorrows of yoga teaching, and venturing into the wilderness of writing and publishing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wake Up and Love Your Body

On Monday I shared how to love your body on a radio show hosted by Elizabeth Sampson. (To listen to the show, click here.) She’s a holistic healer and encourages her clients to undertake daily practices of healing and health. Daily practice makes a huge difference.

If you want to love your body, you can’t just do nice things for your body every once in a while.

Think of it like brushing your teeth. How would it feel if you only brushed your teeth once a week? Once a month? No way. All that yellow fuzzy stuff and bits of food just sitting there… need I go on?

When we don’t take the time to love our bodies everyday, the airbrushed images on billboards and magazines start to get stuck in our brains, a creeping sense of dissatisfaction sneaks under our skin, and the old tapes of self-criticism and negativity play in the background like the noise of a street party through an open window.

Think of loving your body every day as preventative… it cleans out the junk, the unneeded, the judgments, and leaves you with a healthy, clean feeling that nine of out of ten dentists recommend. OK, just kidding about that last part.

What do we expect? Just like you eat and use your teeth everyday, unless you live in an off-grid yurt, you get bombarded from the moment you wake up in the morning until your eyes close at night with the message that you’re not fit enough, not attractive enough, not enough enough.

Until last week, when I finally figured out how to manage ads on Yahoo, every time I opened up my email, I’d get some side bar ad inviting me to join Jenny Craig or promising me the secret to losing belly fat. I finally lost it when a Special K ad popped up challenging me to lose ten pounds in ten days. Dude, I need those ten pounds! You can’t have them! (I suppose all my internet searches for “body-image,” “eating disorder,” and “weight-loss” haven’t gone unnoticed by marketers. I wish I could reciprocate by sending them a nice, warm love-your-body message, like, “My body's not your business!”)

So here’s what you do… the love-your-body equivalent of brushing your teeth in the morning, The Good Morning Body:

1. As you wake up, let yourself stretch like a cat. Before you even get out of bed, reach your arms up, stretch your legs out, and wiggle your toes.

2. Curl up into a ball for a moment and thank your body for everything it did during the night, letting your mind rest and reset, digesting, relaxing, healing.

3. Relax back into the bed for a moment and gently touch your feet and legs, touch your belly and hips, touch your shoulders, arms, and chest, touch your neck and face and head. As you touch each part of your body, and say Good morning to each part of your body in turn.

4. To finish, bring one hand to your belly and one hand to your heart, and make a love your body aspiration for today… May I be kind to you today, May we have a great day together, May I treat you as a friend.

Then slowly sit up and enjoy the rest of your day!

You can print out these four steps and set them on your bedside table as a reminder to do them as you get up in the morning. Try it everyday for a week and see how it goes… may you find more ease within and love toward your body everyday.

Love Your Body Blog Part 61