Have you ever felt like your body is not enough? Do you struggle with self-doubt and limiting beliefs towards your physical appearance? If so, you're not alone.
Body image issues are a common struggle, and this month on the Soul Sanctuary we will be guiding you through transformational and empowering practices to help you break free from unwanted body image beliefs and patterns and to embrace the power of body alchemy.
So, what is body alchemy?
Body alchemy is a holistic practice that aims to transform the physical body through various methods such as movement, breathwork and energy work. The goal is to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Some of the specific techniques that are explored for body alchemy through yoga, meditation, martial arts, and energy healing are detailed below:
Through the practice of yoga asanas, you can explore the sensations in your body and develop greater body awareness. Some yoga postures, such as twists and backbends, can help release tension and negative energy stored in the body, leading to a greater sense of ease and peace.
Meditation is a powerful tool for quietening the mind and fostering body awareness. Focusing on your breath and being present in the moment can help you to release negative thoughts and cultivate a more positive relationship with your body.
The practice of martial arts, such as tai chi and qigong, can help you connect with your body in a new way. By moving through slow, flowing movements, you can increase body awareness, improve balance, and release tension (this can also be achieved through various styles of yoga such as restorative and yin yoga).
Energy healing techniques, such as Reiki and acupuncture, can help unblock stagnant energy and promote balance and healing in the body. By focusing on specific points on the body, these techniques can help release tension and promote a greater sense of well-being.
The connection between yoga and body alchemy lies in the belief that yoga encompasses more than just physical movements, but also a holistic understanding of the unity of the body, mind, and spirit. In this approach to health and wellness, all three aspects are viewed as a unified system and equal attention is given to promoting physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By integrating techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises, physical exercise and proper nourishment, a balance between the different aspects of the self can be achieved, leading to optimal health and fulfillment.
A few journaling prompts and affirmations to get you started this month:
* Write about a time when you felt confident and proud of your body. What made you feel this way? How can you tap into that feeling again in the future.
* Consider the role that movement and physical activity play in your life. Write about the ways in which body alchemy and yoga have helped you connect to your body in new and meaningful ways.
* Write a self care plan that includes body alchemy and yoga practices. What steps will you take to prioritise your body and mind in your daily routine?
* Think about a body part you tend to criticise. Write a letter to that part of your body expressing gratitude and appreciation for all it does to you.
* What impact does your environment and social media have on your body image? Journal about ways you can cultivate a positive body image despite these influences.
* Reflect on the concept of 'your body is a temple'. How can practicing body alchemy help you to cultivate a more positive and fulfilling relationship with your body?
Affirmations / Mantras:
* I am enough just as I am. I celebrate my unique qualities and imperfections.
* I choose to focus on my body's abilities, not its appearance.
* I am grateful for my body and all that it does for me every day.
* I replace challenging thoughts about my body with ones of love, compassion and gratitude.
* I trust my body and listen to its needs.
* My worth is not defined by how I look.
* My body is a temple and I choose to treat it with love, respect and nourish it.
* * * * * * * * *
As you move through this month's practices, you'll begin to develop a deeper sense of awareness and appreciation for your body. You'll learn to listen to what your body needs and to appreciate its strength, flexibility, and resilience.
Throughout our practices and meditations, we will focus on transforming limiting beliefs and feelings about your body into empowering beliefs. You will be encouraged to embrace your unique qualities through your yoga practice by cultivating a deeper connection with your body and with your mind.
In our first week, we have a 60-minute mandala flow that focuses on the Kali Mudra yoga gesture. This mudra symbolises transformation and is used to honour our radiant self, releasing limiting beliefs and allowing us to embrace our inner light. The practice brings awareness to the present moment and embodies the energy of the Hindu goddess of transformation and liberation, Kali.
In the second week, we'll offer you a 30-minute restorative practice that opens the hips. This practice allows you to explore the idea of shape-shifting, both physically and mentally, and embrace changes and transformations in your bodies and lives. The practice creates space through various shapes and acknowledges personal shadows, encouraging a positive and accepting relationship with the mind and body.
During this week's meditation practice, you can expect to cultivate feelings of kindness and compassion towards yourself and your body. Through guided visualisation and self-reflection, this beautiful meditation aims to deepen the connection to your inner compassionate soul, promoting feelings of love, understanding and body positivity.
In our third week, we have a 45-minute vinyasa flow entitled 'Attitude of Gratitude'. This creative flow is designed to cultivate an attitude of gratitude for our bodies and a positive self-perception to enhance our body alchemy by combining movement (peak pose Shirshasana) and 'Breath of Joy.
In our final week, our beautiful guest teacher Caroline will guide you through a dynamic 20-minute flow that will help you step into your power by honouring, listening and giving your body what it needs - whether that is expressing through stillness or modifications.
This month's Movement breakdown focuses on showcasing one of the most popular yoga poses - Chaturanga Dandasana. You will be guided through a step by step of this challenging asana.
We can't wait to guide you through a month of body acceptance, self love and the unity of mind, body and spirit on the mat.
As always, we have our suggested Soul Sanctuary flows from the back catalogue (in black) that align with this month's theme, mapped out below in our printable calendar. You can also find these additional practices in the calendar function on our beautiful app or search for them on the membership on the website via desktop.