I, and the people behind the Yoga and Body Image Coalition, know that self-care is the first stepping stone on the long and winding path toward self-love. As Jodi Strock, MA, licensed marriage and family therapist, says, “Self-care is what happens when you meet yourself as you are, and where you are [and] true self-care can happen in any moment...true self-care is not driven by an effort to become more or better. It meets you right where you are, just as you are.” This is easy to understand, but by no means simple. A practice of self-care may be one of the most important and most challenging aspects of your yoga practice, but make no mistake, this is what doing yoga looks like.
Certainly self-care can start from the safety of your yoga mat guided by the principles of ahimsa, but yoga is so much more than what you experience in a pose or a 60-minute class. To practice yoga mindfully is to participate in an act of self-care, but you don’t need a yoga mat, a teacher, and four walls to get up and move!
Taking your practice off the mat is an incredibly powerful tool for making positive and healthy changes in your life.
MONDAY: Kill the comparison. Try to notice when you compare yourself to others and make a note of when you compare, who you compare yourself to, and what you say to yourself when it happens. Is it fair? Is it realistic? What effect does it have on how you feel about yourself? What can you say that may be more helpful?
TUESDAY: Unfollow/unsubscribe. What we read, see, and watch has a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves. Because of this, be mindful of the images and stories being put forward in your Instagram feed, on your Facebook newsfeed, and in your email Inbox. Unfollow or unsubscribe from any organizations or outlets that promote body shame or are triggering you to compare, disparage, or feel disconnected from your body.
WEDNESDAY: Make a top-10 list for yourself. Make a list of (at least) 10 things you like about yourself—things that aren’t related to how much you weigh or what you look like. Post your list somewhere visible and read it over often. Add to it as you become aware of more things to like about yourself.
THURSDAY: Make space for your practice. Share your favorite yoga pose on social media, exactly how you practice it. I want to see lots of prop options and creative ways of moving even if it doesn’t look like a “traditional” yoga pose.
Follow FRIDAY. Consciously seek out media that reinforces positive self-image and share why you love them or how they have changed your perspective.
Jodi Strock's essay in full.