by guest author Anna Coventry, Anna Coventry Yoga
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
A unique and beautiful person inside and out?
Or someone who needs to lose weight, tone up and get some more sleep?
A lot of women – and more guys than you would think – suffer from body image issues.
It’s unfortunately very common and it is very destructive to a person’s wellbeing and happiness.
For a long time I suffered from poor body image that led me to see myself in a distorted and inaccurate way.
For over ten years I went through the entire remit of eating disorders and at one point I couldn’t even eat an apple without having a panic attack (I’m not exaggerating) about how much sugar it contained.
When I looked in the mirror, my mind actually tricked me into thinking I was overweight even though I was about eight kgs under for my height and had been told my several doctors to put on some weight!
How did yoga help me?
Ahhhhhh yoga. It came into my life like a great big sigh of relief. My first yoga class was a very gentle beginner level hatha yoga class that focused more on breath and body awareness than alignment or form.
The teacher was in her sixties and she just emanated beauty and serenity.
During the class we held several postures and instead of letting our minds wander, the teacher gently encouraged us to start viewing our bodies in a different light.
As we stood in Tadasana she asked us to offer gratitude to our feet for transporting us around all day. As we held Tree Pose she asked us to open our hearts and stand without fear and during Shavasana, she encouraged us to let go and give the body, mind and soul permission to relax…
After class I cried.
The quietness and stillness that I felt within was indescribable. I didn’t care what I was going to eat that day, how much I weighed or what my ass looked like in my stretchy pants!
I went to breakfast with a spring in my step and an overwhelming feeling of love in my heart – both to my teacher, and to myself.
When I ordered breakfast I was only interested in what was going to be kind and nourishing to my precious body, not what was going to keep me thin and under the freaky control of my mind. In that moment I knew I had found my purpose: to share the gift of yoga with others.
Yoga is a beautiful way to increase self-love and self-esteem.
- In a simple and supportive way, yoga helps us to view both ourselves, and the world around us differently. Through a regular practice we can become more grateful, more loving and more peaceful versions of ourselves.
- Through the mind-body-energy connection, our practice can help transform feelings of self-doubt and insecurity, to self-confidence and strength.
- Yoga is learning in action. Knowledge is a great tool but positive change will happen through taking action. 99% of yoga is done on the mat, which is why it is essential we get out and practice (in addition to reading about it!)
- Yoga is multi-dimensional and holistic in nature, so it gives us the opportunity to support and nurture our bodies, mind, emotions, energy and soul. We can’t help but feel good when we take care of our whole selves.
- Through postures we are able to shift and move energy and emotions that may get locked or blocked. This is why we can sometimes feel emotional after class, it is literally helping us let go of crap and create space for magic.
- Yoga gives us the opportunity to experience relaxation in action as we move through postures and focus on the breath. We can take this precious tool into our daily lives and become more present, more aware, more relaxed which all lead to a higher self-esteem and feelings of self-love.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions about yoga or my experiences, I’m happy to share!
About Anna Coventry
Anna Coventry is a NZ born writer, globe trotter, 500 RYT yoga teacher and an imperfectionist. She has a playful, down-to-earth approach and in random order she loves NZ, cookies, exploring the world, a glass of good quality Pinot Noir and of course all things yoga. Check out her website, follow her imperfect world on Instagram, Facebook, or sign up for her Youtube channel.