by Stephanie Spence
Are you comfortable in your skin? Do you feel sexy? If not, get to a Yoga class.
I’m going to go way out on a limb to say that Yoga can help you feel and look sexy. I know… I know… Yoga isn’t about how you look… or is it? What about how you gaze upon yourself? I was very uncomfortable in my skin as I entered puberty. I wish I would have had Yoga.
Now in menopause I not only feel great, I love how I look.
I’ve been afraid to write about this topic. YogaDork.com just reported on an ongoing discussion about the evolution of positive body image awareness in Yoga. This is a hot topic for all ages — female and male. This topic is critical, though, for the healthy development of teenage girls.
Menopause and teenage years for females do have a lot in common. Yoga can help you navigate through what can be a challenging time. I propose that it could be the best time of your life.
What does the phrase positive body image mean to you? For me, it is feeling strong and able to move in a way that allows me to participate in sports. It also means loving the way I feel naked in front of a mirror. Yoga gave me that.
How I wished I would have found Yoga when I was an awkward teenage girl. I’m grateful to have it now to witness coming out of the other side of all that messy monthly stuff. You know what I’m talking about. I’m content. I love my body. I look and feel sexy.
It really has nothing to do with how much I weigh or if someone else gazes at me. This self-love of my naked divine self is coming from inside awareness I gathered on my mat.
As a feminist, I debated whether or not to write about feeling sexy over fifty. Objectification is a notion central to feminist theory. It can be roughly defined as the seeing and/or treating a person, usually a woman, as an object.
There is recent discussion by feminists devoted to exploring the connection between objectivity and objectification. More recently, some thinkers have challenged the idea that objectification is a necessarily negative phenomenon, arguing for the possibility of positive objectification.
While treating a person as an object is often problematic, objectification can, in some contexts, take benign or even positive forms, and can constitute a valuable and enjoyable part of our lives. Who hasn’t witnessed the huge increase of yogis posing on all forms of social media?
Perhaps being free to express yourself in a healthy way could be a positive thing in your life. This kind of thing, though, could cause some women/teenagers more anxiety about being seen.
Psychiatrist and UCLA anxiety expert Jason Eric Schiffman has helped to develop the web-based, self-directed Cognitive Behavorial Therapy program for Anxiety Disorders found on Anxiety.org.
Dr. Schiffman says, “There is absolutely a connection between hormonal changes and psychiatric symptoms in general, and women undergoing specific hormonal changes have increased risk for particular psychiatric disorders.”
He does go on to say that “… there are practical things you can do to help reduce your anxiety including reducing or eliminating caffeine, exercising on a regular basis, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep and setting aside time to do relaxation exercises.”
Yep, that means Get to Yoga.
When I hired a professional photographer to take a black and white headshot for work, he also captured me in Yoga poses. As a huge gift to myself, I also allowed myself to be photographed in a boudoir-style shot. It was for myself. I didn’t take the picture for anyone else. I see that as healthy.
I eventually gave the photograph to my life partner. He loved the gift. Taking those pictures that day made me feel good about my body. My Yoga body. I highly recommend it.
Do you hate or love your body? Have you thought about why? I would love to hear your thoughts. Namaste!
Coronado, California-based screenwriter Stephanie Spence is the former publisher of the award-winning monthly wellness lifestyle magazine in Pennsylvania, Health & Fitness. Her publishing company, Spence Communications, Inc., published numerous magazines and produced a short documentary film. Stephanie has worked in TV, films and radio and is currently in the Advanced UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting. This mother of two spends her time practicing Yoga, writing and traveling. Contact her via her blog, One With Life: The Tales of the Traveling Yogini, or via twitter.
[This post originally appeared on Rebelle Society and was republished here with permission.]