Body positivity, body confidence, and self-love have become not only buzzwords but a real movement over the past decade.
The social shift and acceptance of bodies of all sizes, shapes, and colours can now be seen in print media, adverts, runways, models, and where the shift all began, across social media.
There was a clear ‘look’ throughout the past few decades with the focus on models, actresses, and public figures being wafer-thin and deemed ‘healthy’. There is no denying that there is still a long way for the media to go, but the eruption of social media has enabled the showcasing of the diversity of human beings, and how wonderful that is! This statement is not ignoring the social media filters or trends that are constantly impacting society’s illusion of appearance today, instead, it is celebrating the fact that REAL bodies, REAL flaws, and REAL people do get to be seen if that is the intention.
Plastic surgery, injections, dangerous diet culture, and extreme workout regimes are still the norm of today, alongside the extreme use of social media filters, face tune and photoshop, but there are SO many more body neutral advocates that are seen and heard amongst the noise. You just need to be willing to be a part of this movement.
This ultimately comes down to true, deep self-love and acceptance, which is a daily and ongoing practice. Self-love is inextricably linked to self-esteem, which is in itself our ability to see ourselves as a flawed, imperfect individual and still hold ourselves and our worth in high regard.
As human beings, we are incredibly complicated and complex. We are programmed from a young age by the influences of our parental figures, surrounding peers and environment, media, and education. It takes a lot of self-discovery and experiences to get to a place where we can see and live outside of social conditioning and constraints.
“My great hope for us as young women is to start being kinder to ourselves so that we can be kinder to each other.
To STOP shaming ourselves and other people: too fat, too skinny, too short, too tall, too anything. There is a sense that we are all ‘too’ something, and we’re all not enough. This is life. Our bodies change. Our minds change. Our hearts change”
- Emma Stone (actress).
This month on the Soul Sanctuary, we have centered our practices around the concept of body positivity, body confidence, and self-love. Our bodies are THE MOST INCREDIBLE machines on this planet, and when we are able to shift our mindset and release unrealistic expectations of how we ‘should’ look, we can learn to treat our body as our home, with unconditional love and acceptance.
Our founder, Cat Meffan, has been very open online about her own deep struggles with eating disorders and body dysmorphia. She expresses:
“These diseases were part of my life for many years and they took so much from me during that time. Finally being able to look in a mirror and honour the woman that stands in front of me is an incredible feeling, one I truly never thought I’d have.
As women (and quite simply as compassionate human beings) we need to support and stand by one-another, but we also need to be courageous enough to be vulnerable. I hid my pain for so long, to the point that some kind of explosion was inevitable.
Don’t wait to fall in love with your body, the home for your soul, the beautiful container for your energy. It might not be every day that you find love for yourself, but bit-by-bit when we start to get curious about why we have these thoughts and feelings, we can lean into that inner child and give her a hug. We can tell her that we DO love every curve of her, and that though sometimes we might not tell her, we’re working on it.
My body does not define me, but my body does carry my soul in this life and for that reason I’m going to treat her with respect.”
On the mat this coming month, we strip away the notions of shame around body image and dive deep into how each of us and our flaws are beautifully unique. When you can start to comprehend that there is genuinely NO ONE else in the world like you, that you are the ONLY version of you in the 7.9 billion people in the world today, that is something truly empowering.
We also dive deep into the beauty and gratitude of what our bodies do for us every single day, and how learning to understand that your appearance is simply NOT the most important feature of who you are as a person and that there is NO such thing as a perfect or ideal body.
It sounds like a cliche, but true beauty and happiness comes from within. There are many who strive for constant beauty, perfection, and worth by the way they look on the outside, yet struggle with unhappiness, loneliness, and negative self-talk on the inside.
Your WORTH is NOT defined by how you look.
“If we make self-love or body acceptance conditional, the truth is, we will never be happy with ourselves. The reality is that our bodies are constantly changing, and they will never remain exactly the same. If we base our self-worth on something as ever-changing as our bodies, we will forever be on the emotional rollercoaster of body obsession and shame” - Chrissy King.
Our bodies, our thoughts, our emotions, our hormones, our lives change every single day. On the Soul Sanctuary membership and in the yogic lifestyle, we move with the elements of earth, water, fire, air, and ether, and also have a focus on keeping our chakras (internal energy system) balanced. Through these systems and yoga, we are given the most beautiful opportunity to tune into the body, to honour and recognise that everything is holistically connected.
The body holds messages and is always communicating. By learning how to tune in to the body through this month’s practices on the membership, you will increase self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-compassion.
In our second week, we have a 30-minute moon-flow-inspired practice that focuses on drawing on our inner wisdom. A beautiful hip opening flow that brings your confidence deep from within to the surface. We also have our monthly meditation which delves deep into your own self-trust and embodies all that your body can do for you. Allowing yourself to sit deep within your home with love and compassion.
The third week brings a bit of fire to our practice with a power flow that is all about sculpting the mind. We move through a strong sequence that we hope will leave you in a state of empowerment and the eagerness to share this power with others.
This month, for our Movement Breakdown, we dive deeper into the asana Parsvottanasana, also referred to as ‘pyramid pose’.
In our fourth and final week, we have a 20-minute stretchy flow.
This practice focuses on lengthening the body, and embracing acceptance of the ‘container of our soul’.
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 below. You can also find these additional practices in the calendar function on our beautiful app or search for them on the membership via desktop.
Don’t forget to practice along with our monthly playlist HERE.
It is so important to remember that we have ALL been challenged in our lives around how our bodies look or are perceived. Everyone’s relationship with their body is different and is constantly changing. Practicing compassion with your own judgments and the judgments that may arise towards others surrounding body image is so vital today.
Bring love, compassion, and gratitude to your body every day and you will start to feel and experience a shift.
Can’t wait to see you on the mat this month x