It’s an exciting time to involved in dance and fitness. Almost every week, I see another new article related to body positivity and the wonderful benefits that come from a happier relationship with the body. How does one become “body positive” or improve the relationship with the body?
It might sound strange or scary to get positive about the body. Daily, there are constant messages that remind us how the body isn’t’ perfect. Models, fitness gurus, links on social media are clamoring to tell us how our lifestyle is wrong. Fitness programming and messaging uses shame and/or fear as their standard marketing approach. Fear and shame around your current body weight, fear of not having everyone’s approval on your physical appearance, the shame of feeling like you can’t keep up with the way you are “supposed” to look/feel. Even though it’s scientifically proven that shame does not work as a motivator, it is still the main method for marketing health, wellness, fitness, and nutrition. No wonder I hear from clients that they feel overwhelmed, annoyed, and frustrated! I’m going to offer a countermeasure to shame.
I’m not going to post the photos of fitness inspiration that drives me bonkers, however I will share this delightful blog “Fit is a Feminist Issue” that delves into re-framing of fitness messages and encouraging yourself with shame free messaging. Here is one example of a “fitspo” edit.
Healthy body conversation
I’m going to offer an experiment, a small thing to try that might have a ripple effect into developing your healthy habits.
I invite you to take a moment and connect with your inner voice. Talk to yourself as if you are another person, it might get weird. Go with it. Observe what happens if you say, “Body, would you like to have a more comfortable relationship? ” What are the next thoughts that bubble up? Observe them and if you would like, write them down. Try and avoid engaging in rationalizing or explaining anything to yourself, just do. Then take some more quiet moments/breaths and imagine your body saying, “yes” and nothing else. Just YES!
Observe & note: How does that feel to hear that response? It may run the spectrum of emotions from relief, anxious, knowing, confident, and more. It may also be a whole bunch of emotions all at once, all of them are true. We are wonderful beings capable of holding on to multiple ideas and truths. To be honest the first time I did this type of exercise I had the inner dialog of the rant Bill Murray goes on in “Ghostbusters”.
Observe & note: Where in your body do you feel this, “yes”? Maybe it’s hanging out around your heart and lungs. Or warmth in your gut. It is also totally normal to not feel any sensation, don’t freak out if you just sit there.
The journey to relating with and through your body starts like this, on the inside. When you pay attention to how you respond to, it is a step toward a healthy relationship. You have a lifetime with this body, might as well get along.