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30+ Yoga Influencers Share Their Body Positive Transformations

Body transformations from Yoga occur quite frequently for those willing to put the time in effort into a consistent yoga routine.

The power of yoga isn’t just for the body however. It power exists for body, mind and soul.

There is really no such thing as perfection when being body positive. I am not perfect, you are not perfect, and nobody is perfect; but in that imperfection, lies beauty.  You are a beautiful person as you are.
body-transformation-yoga
After 3 months of yoga!

Yoga helps you accept and love your body as it is. Meditation, breathing correctly, and pushing your body to do new things that seemed impossible. You discover peace and bring joy into your life.

30 yoga experts reveal how their practice of yoga to create more body positivity in their lives!

They are all unique in body shape and how they incorporate yoga into their everyday lives.

 

Our Body Positive Questions

 

1) How does yoga promote body positivity in your life?

2) How has yoga changed your self-perception?:

 

Dianne Bondy - Body positive Yoga Dianne Bondy DianneBondyYoga.com

~ Dianne is a celebrated yoga teacher, social justice activist and leading voice of the Yoga For All movement. She inspires and empowers thousands of followers around the world – regardless of their shape, size, ethnicity, or level of ability. Dianne is a spokesperson for diversity in yoga and yoga for larger bodies.

1) My yoga practice allows me to connect with my centre and my breath. Yoga reminds me that I am more than the external or my body that my soul is the light that matters the most. My practice is my safe space.

My yoga mat is a ceasefire zone where I am safe from weight loss culture and diet propaganda.

In my yoga practice, I am dedicated to the movement of the asana (poses). The consciousness of breath and to the connection of meditation in providing my body with what it needs. Feeling the joy and strength of my movements.

Every day the abilities of my practice changes and I can honor where I am at. Yoga provides a new perspective on what my body can do. It’s a vehicle for exploring the magic and miracle of life.

Yoga teaches me my body is a blessing and not an apology. It’s here for my enjoyment-ONLY My body is deserving of my love.

2) Change your perceptions change your life and ultimately change the world.

Yoga remind me I am strong. Yoga teaches me focus, concentration, awareness and connection and all those qualities changed my perceptions of the world around me.

One person can make a difference and that the spiritual is political. We are all connected, and together we rise.

Yoga’s main goal is to help lift conscious.

My goal is to help shift and shape-conscious, and this comes with being more critically and socially aware. Increased awareness leads to humanity knowing more and doing better.

Yoga is the idea of unity and connection that helps me to see I am not alone in the world. What affects me affects everything and everyone around me.
Yoga has changed my perspective from selfishness to love, from anger to understanding and from sympathy to empathy.


Anna Guest-Jelley - Body positive yogaAnna Guest-Jelley CurvyYoga.com

~ Anna is the founder of Curvy Yoga, an online yoga studio and teacher training center that helps people of all sizes find true acceptance and freedom, both on and off the mat. Curvy Yoga is body affirming yoga for people of all shapes and sizes that helps you feel good about your body.

1) As I’m asked to notice how my body feels in a certain yoga pose or where my breath is, I’m engaged in an ongoing conversation with my body as it is today.

I think of my relationship with my body like any other relationship: it’s hard for it to deepen when you don’t know the other person, even (or especially) when that person is your own body.

When you get to know someone over time, you often soften and come to love them for their uniqueness. The same thing has unfolded for me through yoga in relation to my body.

2) Yoga has helped me be more neutral about my body and myself.

What I mean by that is over the years I’ve been practicing, I’ve been able to observe all the many changes bodies go through regularly, Sometimes more energy, other times less; sometimes able to do a particular movement, sometimes in a good mood, others not.

Noticing this has let me see myself with more kindness and roll with the inevitable changes rather than berating myself for them as I might have in the past.


Melody Moore - Body positive yogaMelody Moore DrMelodyMoore.com

~ Dr. Melody Moore, RYT is a licensed Clinical Psychologist, yoga teacher, author, and activist. She is the founder and president of the Embody Love Movement Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is to empower girls and women to celebrate their inner beauty, commit to kindness, and contribute to meaningful change in the world.  

1) Yoga is the union of every part of me. In the practice of yoga, it is understood on a visceral level that there is no separation between body and mind. There is no separation between the parts of me that I accept and the parts of me that I do not.

Therefore, with enough practice and over enough time, the yoga becomes body positivity. For me, it seems to have happened in stages. At first, it was the capacity to experience my body as sensation and as a container for emotion instead of simply an object.

As my body became an informant to my soul, I began to value and appreciate what my body was offering, versus condemn it for what it didn’t look like. Similarly, there came a time in my yoga practice where I learned not to compare the path of my life with the path of others.

This comes from the yogic teaching that we are all interconnected, and therefore necessary, to the whole. We aren’t in a race with each other. And if that is true for the way I live my life, why wouldn’t it also be true for the shape of my body.

When I stopped allowing my mind to compare and feel worse than or better than others, I felt a freedom from body shaming. Lastly, in yoga, we understand that everything is purposeful, everything is meaningful.

I began to consider that it must be true that the shape of my body, the color of my skin, my height, my attributes, they all must have a purpose. They must not be random.

I began to consider that perhaps this body is the one that my soul needed to do its work in the world. That pivoted the relationship I had to my external appearance.

Seeing my body as the temple for prayer that it is, and my yoga practice then became that prayer.

2) Yoga has opened me up to the truth of my unconditional lovability. Because yoga means union, it means that there is no separation between you and I. There is no separation between aspects of myself that I felt ashamed of and aspects of myself that I felt proud of.

I am whole, and we are whole. The understanding that there is no separation between you and I means to me that if I see you as purposeful, as compassionate, as brilliant, as fierce, as amazing, I must have that capacity within me too.

And if I see a part of myself as disgusting and a part of myself as amazing, those are just parts of one integrated whole. Yoga integrates those parts, and brings with it an acceptance of all of the aspects of my personality, my history, my characteristics.

Grasping that there is nothing I have done that would make me unworthy was a major ah-ha for me. It was a revolution in the way I saw myself. I forgave myself for things I never thought I would be able to free myself from having done, and I opened up a world of compassion for others, too.

I started to like that about me, that I was compassionate. And from there, my self-perception continued to become more and more accepting. Not as a better than, not at all, but as an equal and necessary “me too”.


J. Brown - Body positive yogaJ. Brown JBrownYoga.com

~ J. Brown is a yoga teacher, writer, podcaster and founder of Abhyasa Yoga Center in Brooklyn, NY. His writing has been featured in Yoga Therapy Today, the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, and across the yoga blogosphere.

1) Being positive about my body, and other people’s bodies stems from how I feel about myself. My yoga practice is where I set aside the external identifications and definitions for who and what I am.

When not defined by my gender, body type, or social status, what’s left is the miracle of my own being. My breath coming in and out. My heart beating. From this place, it is easy to cherish my life and the body that makes it possible.

Yoga makes it clear that my body is the profound miracle of my functioning, and I feel grateful for it.

2) When I first came to yoga, I thought there was something wrong with me. My mom died when I was sixteen and the grief of that made me feel that I was broken. It got to the point that I felt like I needed to kill myself or find another way to live.

Yoga was what enabled me to do the latter. Through practice, I came to see that my pain and confusion was not an indication that I am lacking, but rather just part of me being human. This self-acceptance changed my perception of myself and the world.


Rachel Koontz - Body positive yogaRachel Koontz AliveInTheFire.com

~ Rachel is a yoga teacher and blogger who believes that when we are quiet, we begin to see everything with love. She is grateful that yoga has given her that sense of peaceful quiet and that she is able to share yoga with her community locally in northern California, and internationally through her blog.

1) Yoga is a sacred practice. When I spend time on my mat, I hold myself in a space of compassion, and this translates out into my daily life.

Yoga helps me calm my body and mind so that I can approach situations with more understanding, and be kinder to myself and to others in the moment.
Yoga helps me stay mindful of my breath, which makes every experience more positive and uplifting.

2) Yoga has helped me shift my perception from focusing on how I look to focusing on how I feel. Instead of being hyper-sensitive. I understand my body as a beautiful, functional, strong system.

My powerful body is what allows me to practice yoga postures, to share my voice as a teacher, to travel, to hug my friends and family, and to go about my daily life. My body is not my identity but rather an aspect of who I am. A powerful tool for taking me through my life experiences.

Yoga has also helped me develop a more flexible mindset toward my body. Instead of being attached to how my body is on any given day or in any given time period. Yoga reminds me to stay present, and to love my body in every moment.


 Hannah Faulkner HalfMoonYogaAndArt.comHannah Faulkner - Body positive yoga

~ Hannah is a yoga and visual arts teacher, she combines her passions to create beauty in a variety of ways through her inspiring stories, bridging connections with deeper yoga philosophy and wellness concepts.

1) Ronald Dahl famously states, “If you have positive thoughts, they will shine off your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

The lifestyle of yoga has taught me to look inward. When I focus on movement with my breath, my nervous system calms and removes urges for external desires like unhealthy foods.

Further, as I study the 8 limbs of Yoga, I take a closer look at the harmony between my mindset and actions. Through Santosha (one of the Niyamas), I learned to be content with what I have, especially my ability to breathe and live.

Now, instead of looking in the mirror to see all the areas that are not perfect, I stand naked, without makeup and proclaim, “I love myself for the way I am today. I want to balance my body through healthy nourishment, deep breathing, conscious alignment, and many strengthening and stretching opportunities.”

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection.” ~Buddha

2) I love this quote by Johnny Depp, “I think everybody’s weird. We should all celebrate our individuality and not be embarrassed or ashamed of it.”

Through the yoga philosophy of Svadhyaya, self-study (another Niyama), I am learning how to become the best version of myself. By understanding my values, vision, and purpose, I shift my mindset towards positivity.

I accept my weaknesses and struggles as opportunities for growth. Howard Thurman proclaims, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

I strive to fulfill my potential by living in harmony with my own standards and working towards achieving my goals. Through the physical practice of yoga, I find a unity and oneness within my own body and mind as well as a connection to the divine within the world around me.


Brittany Danielle - Body positive yoga

Brittany Danielle CrazyCurvyYoga.com

~ Brittany is a 200hr Certified Yoga Instructor who specializes in teaching curvy, body positive yoga. As a larger, curvier woman Brittany now teaches ‘Body Positive’ Yoga Classes designed with everyBODY in mind.

1) I am size 16, 5’4, busty girl, and the truth is, I sometimes think about my size more than I care to admit. I don’t think this makes me any less ” body positive”, but more comparable to every other woman in the world.

I can’t and won’t pretend that I don’t struggle to love and appreciate myself because there are times that I do fall short on giving myself the praise it deserves. My yoga practice is a crucial part of my life.

Growing up I didn’t have the greatest relationship with my body. Not only did I have a poor body image but I also have been a binge eater for as long as I can remember.

Yoga has taught me how to both love myself, body & mind as well as how to cope with my eating habits.

2) Prior to yoga, I had no idea that I could love myself or that my body could do all these amazing things.

After years of hating my body and putting myself down, I learned through yoga that it’s what we think of ourselves that truly affects our overall well-being & health.

Yoga has had an effect on every single part of my life. Physically, mentally and emotionally, but the most important thing it has affected is the relationship I have with myself.

Before I was a yoga practitioner and instructor I had no idea what self-love was or how to appreciate my body. Now, I am a healthier person, even at a size 16.

Yoga hasn’t just changed my physical appearance. It’s transformed me internally. Giving me a stronger mind, body connection that allows me to be more aware of my actions, weakness, strengths, thoughts, feelings, body and of who I am.

This awareness has taught me to be grateful, which in turn makes life so much more beautiful.


Shana Meyerson YOGAthletica.comShana Meyerson - Body positive yoga

~ Shana is the internationally acclaimed creator of YOGAthletica and mini yogis yoga for kids. Based out of Los Angeles and trained by Sri Dharma Mittra, she lives a life that is dedicated to her practice, her teaching, and her students. Shana is all about keeping it real and keeping it fun while never losing sight of the classic beauty of the yoga.

1) Every day teaching, I am surrounded by beautiful people. Each and every one of my students is truly and honestly beautiful in his or her own way. When I look at my students, I don’t see skinny people or fat people.

I see lovable people who come in all shapes and sizes, and who all share the same hopes and dreams, fears and insecurities. Yoga promotes body positivity by releasing physical judgment and instead focusing on the total person. Ultimately, we are all one and that one is incredibly awesome.

2) I would love to tell you that because of yoga, I unconditionally love my body and all its glaring imperfections. But I would be lying. Like everyone, there are things I absolutely hate about my body. But there are also things I love.

Yoga helps me to refocus my energies on the parts of my body that I love, but, more importantly, it shifts my attention from what my body looks like to what my body can do.

Regardless of how flat (or not flat) my stomach is—or my breasts, for that matter—my body is amazing. It can stretch and bend and balance and hold itself up in some truly astounding ways. How can I not be body positive about such an amazing machine?


Rosemarie Jose - Body positive yoga Rosemarie Jose Bad Wolf Yoga

~ Rosemarie’s mantra is “Self-love is real love.”She believes that through yoga, she has had the pleasure of helping other people find their own voice.

1) The spiritual aspect of my practice has definitely helped cleanse my soul. I no longer focus on what is wrong with my body but rather the good it has done for me for the last 29 years.

I’m able to look in the mirror and see how strong and capable I really am – even if my body hasn’t actually changed I know something is different inside me. I am more confident with my abilities as a human being. That has opened so many doors for me and helped me meet and start friendships with so many new and amazing people.

2) My motto is: Self-love is real love.

I didn’t like myself when I first started practicing. Not one bit. I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship and felt that I was just too ugly, too fat, too this or that for anyone to love again.

But then I started practicing and opening up to myself, and one day I woke up, looked at myself in the mirror, and genuinely smiled at the girl who was looking back.

I realized that I didn’t need another human being to love me in order to validate my self-worth. It had to start with me. I needed to love and take care of me first. So I did, I still do, and it’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever taught myself.


Biola Akanni - Body positive yogaBiola Akanni YogaByBiola.com

~ Biola is the transformation yoga teacher, online lifestyle coach, and style enthusiast behind Yoga by Biola, home of culturally expressive yoga and healing.

1) Yoga promotes body positivity because it allows you to become reacquainted with your body internally and physically absent from another human being or their opinions.

As we grow up we usually learn about our bodies from the preferences of others, whether it be a partner, a friend or our parents. What’s so special about yoga is that it allows you to develop a positive relationship to your body, by yourself!

It provides the space and awareness for you to begin to craft the language and movements you want to identify your body as. It gives you the reins.

2) I went from a micro level of self-perception where I was in deep self-examination when I first began my yoga practice a decade ago, to a macro perception where I’m able to see myself on a broader scale.

It’s been a phenomenal journey of transformation, but it wouldn’t have started had I resisted the process of self-study to discover the root of my insecurities and trauma.

That has led to a place of sincere self-love, which was something I had never known before. Developing a self-love relationship with myself is one of the greatest gifts my practice has ever given me.



Josh S - Body positive yogaJoshay S JFindsYoga

~ Joshay is a happy mom that loves practicing yoga.

1) Yoga has helped with my obsession to be perfect or to “fit in”. Before yoga, I was constantly starting statements with, “I’ll be happy when I lose __ pounds.” or “I’ll be happy when I am a size___”.

With yoga, I have learned to be happy now. I’ve learned to accept my body as it is and honor it.

2) I’m one strong woman! Do I stand on my head unassisted, contort into different sizes, or have insane flexibility? Nope. And you know what? That is okay!

Yoga meets you where you are and the benefits you reap- oh they are so great. I love who I am inside and out.

If you would have asked me this a few years ago, I would have spent the time thinking of my flaws. Yoga has definitely changed that.


Gwen Lawrence - Body positive yogaGwen Lawrence GwenLawrence.com

~ Gwen has been a massage therapist for 20 years and a practicing fitness professional since 1990. She has an extraordinary understanding of anatomy and body functions, combining Massage Therapy, Yoga, Training, Yoga Therapy.

1) Yoga has absolutely created a positive body image for myself and I hope my students as well. It is a great way to get control of your body, and more importantly see great change. you can alter the body significantly with practice and a small amount of patience and in the end be quite surprised at the amazing things your body can do.

It will become stronger, more flexible, less injury prone and change shape into the body you always wanted…Strong strong strong and capable. You do not always need to use weights to change shape and get strong, your body weight in yoga practice can be very challenging!! Strong is the new skinny, and strength plus flexibility equals power, that is the philosophy of Power Yoga for Sports.

2) Much in the same vein as above, Yoga amazes me. You have to be very present when doing your practice and that is something I need as a busy mom, wife, business owner and go-getter.

If you are not present you will not be able to perform the practice. It brings me in tune with my emotions as much of them good or bad are stored in the body and can make our muscles and joints more resistant.

So I have learned to manage and deal with my emotions better and enjoy fewer aches pains and stress. Even as I get older I realize even more that I have to be proactive with my body not reactive to injury, to lead a better life. That is the approach I take when I teach my Pro athletes and all my students.


 
Kara-Leah GrantKara-Leah Grant
The Yoga Lunchbox

~ Kara-Leah is a retreat leader, writer, and teacher who has impacted millions of people through her writing and presence. Her work, through her teaching, writing, and retreats, focuses on using the process of inquiry plus the tools of Yoga to reveal conditioned mind and so help people to drop down into beingness and presence.

1) Practicing yoga shifted my relationship to my body completely. Instead of attempting to force my body to conform to an external ideal, I began to appreciate my body for what it was – it’s strength, it’s power, it’s ability to carry me through life, it’s responsiveness.

I began to realize that pinning ideals of happiness on attaining some idea of perfection was pure folly because I would always lose that ‘perfection’ one day.

If not simply from old age, disease or death. I began to enjoy my body as it was and realized that I didn’t have to look a certain way to experience this joy. Being fluid and flexible felt amazing. And that feeling was what counted.

2) I no longer identify with my body, feelings, or thoughts. My sense of identification is deeper, broader, and more expansive than that. It’s a sense of spaciousness beyond all physical attributes, beyond all feelings, beyond all thoughts.

After all, the body is constantly changing, feelings come and go, thoughts come and go… yet there something that always remains.

That which always remains is where perception lives. And even then… perception changes as more and more conditioning of the mind is revealed. That perception becomes clearer and clearer and clearer… until what?

I don’t know, as there is still conditioning coloring perception. However, the concept that there even is a ‘Self’ is beginning to dissolve.


Amy Stephens - Body positive yogaAmy Stephens YogaAmy.net

~ Amy started practicing yoga in 1996. In 1998, she received her yoga-teaching certificate from the Yoga Institute of Houston, Texas. Now, Amy teaches yoga through her blog and her workshops.

1) As a practitioner of yoga and teacher over for 19 years, the ebb and flow of my practice have provided me so many different answers to how I feel.

What does my breath feel like as I start to awaken, what parts of my body are limber and others that feel like somebody else’s.

When I first started yoga around age 24 – I was STRESSED! I was young, vibrant and full of confidence and my career was moving forward but at a pace I was not capable of, nor wanted.

I needed to slow down and my practice allowed me to experiment with a variety of styles; traditional Hatha, Vinyasa (kick my butt planks) all the way to Restorative which ended up being my favorite as I have gotten older.

2) As I have aged I have gained weight and I honor every curve to my body! This idea of skinny is the only way to do yoga is not a valid one.

The beauty of yoga is to listen to yourself. Hear the subtle movements or the hardcore movements that push you beyond what you did the last time you moved.

You honor the space of where you are in the moment and sometimes it means to cry on your mat and curl up in a ball.

It is not always about physical strength. It is also about softening the walls around the energetic heart that provide a stronger connection to SELF!


Annie Appleby - Body positive yogaAnne Appleby YogaForce.com

~ Annie is the founder of YogaForce. YogaForce clothing appeared on more than 50 top TV and Motion Pictures, such as Sex and the City, Save the Last Dance, Terminator, and True Lies.

1) Yoga changed my life. I started taking yoga classes on the lot at Paramount Pictures back in the late 1980’s. It made me feel so good.

I lost weight, I had better balance and I felt better about myself. In 1995, I cashed out on my 401 K and launched YogaForce. If yoga could make me feel so good, I knew it could help others.

2) In 2005, I created and patented an alignment mat, to perfect body alignment during yoga. Yoga just keeps getting better.

It has changed my self-perception in a positive, healthy way. I now teach other people the benefits. I teach at GOOGLE and ORACLE. I even have a dog and we teach DOGA! Yoga. Works.


Cassandra Kubinski - Body positive yogaCassandra Kubinski CassandraKubinski.com

~ Cassandra is a Billboard charting singer/songwriter who has worked with the likes of the Goo Goo Dolls, 10,000 Maniacs, Chris Botti, and Billy Joel. She practices yoga daily.

1) Yoga reminds me to breathe deeply, and how much space we have in our bodies. It also reminds me that the body is ever changing, not rigid. I often look and feel different after yoga – longer, leaner, more relaxed.

It reminds me that no matter what judgments I may hold about my body, believing that “my body just is” this or that, we can make incremental shifts on a cellular level that, over time, add up to major and lasting changes.

Yoga also reminds me that ALL bodies are amazing, not just the ones that society or the media would label “hot” or “beautiful”. I see all kinds of bodies in motion, and creating peace and wellness, in yoga class.

Finally, the meditative aspect of yoga is so powerful in offering mental and emotional space…

Sometimes I just need to release the mind’s chatter about my body and come back to a sense of gratitude and empowerment living in the body with which I’m blessed.

2) Yoga has changed my self-perception by constantly reminding me that each day is a new day. Some days, I float on the breath like it’s a summer breeze, other days, I can barely sit still or think of anything but my to-do list during meditation.

Some days, I nimbly lean over into crow pose and hold it with ease; other days, I feel like my body is lead and I have zero balance and can’t even get into the pose! Yoga reminds me that whatever my self-perception is, it changes.
We are not rigid. Not our thoughts, bodies, or capabilities and talents. Yoga has taught me patience and commitment and that “showing up” is the real practice.

That has helped me to “show up” for my music, my team, my family, boyfriend and other areas of life as a habit, and has led to so many wonderful things simply because I didn’t cop out, I showed up!


Candace Moore - Body positive yogaCandace Moore YogaByCandace.com

~ Candace is a full-time international yoga instructor, healthy living blogger, and YouTube partner.

1) Yoga promotes body positivity because it reminds me that the breath is the boss. It reminds me to close my eyes, and let the soundtrack of my breath move me through my yoga practice. It reminds me that no matter what happens in the external world, there is always calm within.

2) Yoga hasn’t exactly changed my self-perception, but it’s been a good way to remind me to take care of myself, and I am a big believer in self-care. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so self-care is one of the best things you can do to eliminate stress.


Stephen Ewashkiw - Body positive yoga

Stephen Ewashkiw MyFiveAcres.com

~ Stephen has been teaching yoga for almost ten years and has achieved the highest possible accreditation from the Yoga Alliance: EYRT 500. Originally trained in Anusara Yoga with Darren Rhodes and Christina Sell, Stephen taught yoga full-time in Los Angeles until 2013, when he started teaching internationally.

1) I love practicing at my local studio (when I am on the road teaching the idea of a “local studio” takes on a whole new meaning).

Practicing with other people, not just online or alone in my room, is a great reminder that while I might not fit the marketing stereotype (for starters I’m a 40-something man!), the reality is that people come in all shapes and sizes at a yoga studio – just like out in the world.

The variety of people that practice yoga has something to teach us. We all have our place on the mat, and we all find our way through the poses, doing the best we can with the body we have. Yoga teaches us in our imperfections, we are each perfect.

Seeing each others struggles and successes as we practice together is a great reminder of this. I love how there are now groups like Yoga For All promoting this important message.

2) Yoga has shown me how important it is to spend time with yourself. I practice this every day because yoga has taught me that when I am more aware of who I am, and what inspires me, I am less stressed, happier, and better able to focus on doing the work that needs to get done.

The great thing is that you don’t even need to practice yoga to get these benefits. The simple act of spending time with yourself, listening to yourself, talking to yourself, getting to know you and what’s on your mind, helps you discover what inspires you, what makes you happy, and what doesn’t.


Andrea Capodilupo - Body positive yoga

Andrea Capodilupo DreaDreOn

~ Andrea teaches yoga in Brooklyn, New  York at Stacked Yoga. She likes to travel, read, and she loves yoga.

1) Before I taught yoga, as a student I felt I wasn’t going deep enough into poses or able to do the more difficult poses all time and wasn’t pleased with my body, flexibility or my practice.

Now, as I teacher, I recognize the purpose of yoga is to connect the body and mind better. That happens through breathing into poses and knowing which muscles the poses are supposed to help.

I’ve now learned to be grateful for my body for just getting me to the practice and everywhere I need to on a daily basis.

Also taking time on the mat to recognize just how amazing your body is and how incredible your organs and systems are – you come to love being in your skin!

2) I don’t see myself looking in the mirror anymore and wishing I could change anything. I am happy with my body and more importantly, my soul.

I recognize that my body is only here to bring me on the journey within myself and it’s easier to be comfortable in your skin than negative about it. You get what you give.

Give yourself love and your body will love you back. It just takes time.


Sara Downey Robinson - Body positive yogaSara Downey Robinson MeanestLook.com

~ Sara teaches yoga at The Yoga Mat in Denver, CO and has studied under Erin Hardy, Alexandria Crow and Giselle Mari.

1) Yoga promotes body positivity via the teacher instilling the idea of satya in every class. There is nothing more positive than being honest and grateful for what your unique body can do in practice.

It’s never about looking like a picture on Instagram, but instead appreciating what your own body can do. The shape of a pose is inconsequential, however, the efforts are what promote body positivity.

What could be more body positive than an honest appreciation for your own body?”

2) I used to understand yoga as a means to an end. To get into a shape and look beautiful in this exotic posture. It’s not. It’s the effort and surrender to honesty and self-appreciation.

I can give more of myself because I understand my ego does nothing but stand in the way. Through my practice, I’ve become so grateful for my own body and it’s limitations as well as it’s abilities.


Rachel Scott - Body positive yoga

Rachel Scott RachelYoga.com

~ Rachel is the Director of Teachers’ College and Development YYoga. She also conceived, structured and created YYoga’s 200-hour teacher training. Rachel is not only a passionate yoga trainer, she “trains the teacher trainers”.

1) Yoga is not about creating positivity as much as it is about removing the covering of sadness and anxiety that obscures our presence and “okayness.” Often we are running around reacting to the world, stuck in our heads, and disconnected from being present with ourselves.

When we practice, we are invited into a safe space to return to ourselves. We breathe, move and feel. We reconnect to our “beingness.” When we do, we connect to the vast and loving space that lies beneath our thoughts and feelings.

This is the juicy place that helps us nourish ourselves so that we can experience and share more love.

2) Yoga invites us to view the “self” as more than our minds and feelings. Before yoga, I pretty much thought that I was the sum of my accomplishments.

I felt good about myself if I did something well and people liked me, and bad about myself when I screwed up. Now I experience myself as part of something larger. I see my limitations with more compassion. I’m just slightly less dependent on getting external approval.

And I feel as if any small way that I can make this world a better place is worthwhile.


Ashley Josephine Zuberi - Body positive yogaAshley Josephine Zuberi AshleyJosephine.com

~ Ashley is a yoga educator living and teaching in-person in Northern Virginia and the DC Metro area. She regularly publishes a mix of yoga video how-to’s and make-you-think deep dives into the lesser talked about questions and philosophy of yoga as it applies to modern-day living.

1) Yoga reminds me to be content with wherever I am, however, I am. Practicing yoga helps remind me that I am divine no matter how much I may think negatively about my body image.

It also reminds me that feeling is more important than external appearances. How I feel on the inside radiates external beauty.

2) Yoga has challenged me to stand in my own power and helped me to embrace my strengths and act on them. Although I am an introvert, when I focus on what I know I’m good at I can show up and promote positive change so much more effectively and powerfully.

Just the ability to believe in myself is a huge gift.


Melissa Krieger - Body positive yogaMelissa Krieger BloomYogaVictoria.ca

~ Melissa Krieger (formerly McLeod) is a friendly, down-to-earth yoga instructor and personal trainer based in Victoria, BC. She has worked in the health and wellness industry for sixteen years.

1) I spent my early 20’s working as a fitness trainer while battling disordered eating – counting calories, always worrying about what I was consuming and generally being totally trapped in my own head. It sucked.

Thankfully I went to counseling and was able to seek help and work through it. Around the same time, I did my yoga teacher training and shifted to teaching yoga as I was stepping away from the gym world.

This combination completely changed my view of my body, I felt my whole self – energetically, emotionally, mentally – rather than just my physical body and what I could see.

Yoga helps me realize I’m more than just a superficial body, that I’m part of a way bigger picture and there is so much more to me than my body. To me, that is the essence of body positivity.

2) Yoga reminds me that I’m more than just a body and what it looks like, it’s a holistic practice that incompasses body, mind and spirt. It helps me feel gratitude for my body and all that it does for me.

How it carries me through my day, supports the activities I love to do and creates a sweet little shell to protect me from the outside world.


Dagmar Khan - Body positive yogaDagmar Khan DagmarKhan.com

~ Dagmar is a leading movement educator and stress management specialist who helps people live better in their own bodies. From professional athletes to those exhausted with chronic pain & stress, to everyday people with sports and repetitive injuries, she creates first-class programming to outstanding performance and pain-free wellness.

1) Being sexy, and having a body that is beautiful, playful and sensual, is a dream of every woman. Sadly, the reality for so many of us is quite the opposite. We pass the mirror feeling ashamed about the size of our thighs, in a plague of guilt {after devouring a dozen of donuts} we rush to swallow green juice, we feel challenged lovingly looking into our own eyes, or we can feel awfully disconnected from our lover during sex.

We live in a society where over 2000 years our stories, truths, and wisdom as women have been burned, distorted and unheard. From generation to generation, we have been coached to disregard the potent power of our beautiful bodies.

Yoga has an enormous potential to help us unravel the stupid layers of shame, guilt, and negative conditioning that have been stealing our radiance away from us. It is a tool, a system that allows us to fall in love with the beauty of who we are, strip away the emotional dramas and be finally at home where it matters the most- in the heart and soul of our OWN PRECIOUS BEAUTIFUL BODY!

2) Back in the day, before I discovered the world of yoga, I often took the first shot to ignore the wisdom that lied inside of my own body because I no longer trusted that I knew myself well enough.

I used to suffer from a lot of shame around the size of my pelvis, I felt horrible during my menstrual cycles and carried lot of pain and embarrassment around my sexuality. Looking back, most of this came from sexual trauma that I have been carried in my body since I was 12 years old.

Yoga gave me doorway, and beautiful system, to crack open the layers of pain and start to put together the parts of myself that have been holding onto dysfunction.

Yoga offered me the perfect system to look after myself, to offer soothing balms to my ovaries, to fall in love with my sensuality and create a monthly menstrual cycle where every single day I celebrate being a woman.

My own experiences, learnings and ongoing growth made me fascinated with the health of female pelvis and over last 8+ years I have dedicated my heart and soul in helping women discover the potent power that lies in their body- so they can focus on living their best life.

Find out what every woman needs to know about their pelvic floor.


Dana Sutherland - Body positive yogaDana Sutherland Unabridged Me

~ Dana is 21. She lives in Jamaica where she is currently an undergraduate architecture student in her final year. She started practicing yoga in August 2014.

1) I’ve always struggled with accepting my body. I’ve been larger than average size for almost my entire life and in a society where model figures and smaller figures are glorified, I drowned in my low self-esteem.

Yoga brought me on a journey to body positivity in that my size wasn’t the hindrance as I thought it would be when I started practicing and with each asana I learned and achieved, I began to realize that my body was just as good as any.

elieve it or not along with the peace within myself that I developed while practicing yoga posting my yoga pictures to Social media went a long way in helping me build my body positivity over the years.

People might think that posting yoga pictures on Social Media is just a way to gain popularity but I can tell you that a lot of courage goes into posting a picture of yourself for all the world to see and criticize.

And Instagram has such a vast and amazingly supportive yoga and body positivity community which really has helped me developed my own body positivity because sometimes you can’t do it on your own and I think seeing all these other people striving for the same thing and achieving it really helped as well.

2) Yoga has a lot to do with self-introspection and looking within yourself because you have to understand yourself so as to begin understanding your body and what are your strengths and limitations while practicing.

Though it has boosted my confidence, yoga hasn’t so much changed my self-perception rather it has allowed me to better understand my personality and why I am the way I am.

A lot of people think that yoga changes you and while it can mellow you out this isn’t because of the practice itself but because you’ve begun finding peace within yourself which can ultimately lead to self-acceptance.


Jessica Mehta - Body positive yoga

Jessica Mehta Get it Oh

~ Jessa has been practicing yoga since 2003. She is a registered yoga teacher who completed her yoga teacher training near Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica in 2012. She established the Get it Ohm! karmic yoga movement one year later and joined Balance 365 Fitness in historic downtown Hillsboro, Oregon in 2016.

1) Like many women, I’ve struggled my entire life with self-image and self-love. I put on 100 pounds my first year of college, then dropped the weight the next year strictly through a low-carb diet.

I had never exercised (save for required PE classes in high school) or learned about nutrition. When I turned 30, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and exercise-induced bulimia.

After being on both ends of the spectrum, I’ve found that yoga has remained a staple not just for improving strength, endurance, balance and flexibility, but also for body positivity overall.

There’s no judgment or competition in yoga. On my mat is one of the few places I can treat my body well.

2) When I first began my practice 12years ago, the “goal” was to “look like a yogi.” Of course, now I’ve learned there’s no such thing. Yoga makes me feel strong, even when I falter.

There’s beauty in the shaking and in failure. Some days we’re stronger than others, some days we have more balance, but just like medicine, yoga is a practice—notan end goal.

My self-perception is shifting towards seeing myself as a constant“work in progress,” not an object to perfect. That’s where the beauty lies.


Lauren Ursch - Body positive yoga

Lauren Ursch IndivaraYogaWellness.com

~ Lauren is a yoga and meditation teacher based in San Diego, CA. Lauren specializes in expressive therapies and mental health counseling.

1) Despite certain stereotypes and misconceptions about who practices yoga, I assure you that yoga is for everyone, every age and for everybody.

For example, I am 6 feet tall, I have extremely tight hamstrings and when I began my yoga practice in 2008, I couldn’t even touch my toes.

There have been times when my yoga practice has made me feel insecure or vulnerable, but these emotions where a catalyst for growth. As such, so many of my yoga classes focus on self-compassion and acceptance.

I want to teach others the importance of patient and kindness towards yourself.

When you devote time and effort to a regular yoga practice it feels so rewarding to achieve and discover positive changes in your physical body, mental health and beyond.

I now feel empowered by my yoga practice, inspired to keep learning, practicing, teaching and evolving.

2) Yoga has been so transformative in my healing journey and has changed me from this inside out.

I teach yoga because yoga has had such a powerful impact on my life and I want to create a safe space for growth and give the greatest gift of guidance with the breath to others.

I have a daily yoga and meditation practice which has brought an abundance of peace, clarity, harmony and strength into my life. Every time I practice yoga it is an opportunity for a new beginning.

I practice yoga because when I am on my mat I feel like I am coming home and feel connected with the truest, brightest, most authentic version of myself.

Yoga has been there to support, guide and transform my body, mind and spirit through the darkest and happiest days of my life.

I strive to bring my yoga practice off my mat by slowing down, taking a step back and allow the power of yoga to put my whole life into perspective.

I can not imagine my life without yoga. I feel so fulfilled by the work that I do and I am devoted to helping others on a positive path to optimal wellness and harmony in all aspects of life.


Susanna Harwood RubinSusanna Harwood Rubin SusannaHarwoodRubin.com

~ Susanna is an yoga instructor and author of Yoga 365. She combines her life as a yoga teacher with her background as a writer and visual artist, bringing the three disciplines into conversation.

1) Yoga draws our attention from our external world into our internal experience. Instead of focusing on out physical appearance, yoga invites us to a deeper somatic experience of ourselves.

Somatic means related to the body, particularly the inner body as opposed to the surface of the body. So when we move our bodies in conjunction with our breath, which is what yoga advocates, we begin to refocus our attentions on this internal experience. Our bodies are amazing.

Through yoga, we begin to enter a state of wonder about the beauty and complexity of the systems of our inner body. In this way, we cultivate a deeper appreciation for our bodies and begin to love them more.
2) I am in a perpetual state of curiosity about the workings of my body and about other bodies. By exploring these shapes, called asanas, with our bodies, we discover our own capabilities and challenges.

We begin to recognize that our particularities can be our strengths. Our bodies become landscapes in which we can explore and discover our individual power.



Liz PadulaLiz Padula ArtemisYoga.com

~ Liz, the owner and founder of Artemis Yoga, has been practicing yoga since she was six years old. Liz is a 500 hour Registered Yoga Alliance Teacher (RYT-500) having completed a 200-hour YogaWorks training as well as a 300-hour training with Natasha Rizopoulos.

1) On a physical level, one of the fundamental standing poses is Mountain Pose or Tadasana. You learn from the ground up how to stand tall. This simple pose promotes not only good posture but it also creates a confident body awareness.

You can do this in the grocery line, while waiting to mail packages at the post or even when standing in line for coffee. When one learns to stand tall physically you also create a more confident, alert and positive frame of mind.

By noticing the nuances of our posture, we become more acutely aware of our attention and our distractions.

2) You typically won’t find mirrors in a yoga room, there is a notion of awareness of the body with the inner eye. To see, feel and sense the body intuitively without looking for a reflection.

As a result, you become more confident in your own sense of self and your ability to listen to your own body for feedback. This goes hand in hand with another tenet of yoga and also of mindfulness – non-attachment.

This doesn’t mean indifference but rather to not be so hard on ourselves, to work and practice at the yoga but also to realize that you do a little each day to your own ability without judgment or attachment to the outcome.

To learn to practice yoga without attachment to the results, for many requires a change in self-perception to one of compassion and not judgment.


Lucy BremnerLucy Bremner SunflowerRetreats.com

~ Lucy travelled extensively after her interest in Buddhism and yoga inspired her to find her true self. After embarking on professional yoga teacher training course in the UK, she realised co-founding Sunflower Retreats, a yoga retreat for all yoga enthusiasts, was her calling.

1) The practice of yoga begins to heal & Tone the body bringing more flexibility and openness of the diaphragm helping with the openness of breath and breathing in general.

Daily practice helps with flexibility and strength within the muscles and joints and overall health of the internal organs.

The yoga asanas and practices of yoga open up areas of the body that hold stress or tension, therefore releasing any stress or tension.

The overall positive effects of yoga are escalated with daily yoga practice and the positive effect goes not only physically but on a mental and spiritual level too.

2) The practice of yoga helps you to relax and unwind so to release tension and stress on a physical, mental and emotional level so this helps to develop a positive self-perception and attitude towards yourself, others and life in general.

Through the practice of meditation and yoga, you learn techniques which help to develop a positive self-awareness and perception with nature and your own inner nature.

The word yoga means union or joining (balance) and the practices help to achieve equilibrium and balance of mind body and soul.


Melanie KleinMelanie Klein YBICoalition.com

~ Melanie Klein, M.A., is a writer, speaker, and Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at Santa Monica College. She co-founded the Yoga and Body Image Coalition in 2014.

1) The practice of yoga helped me cultivate acceptance and awareness in my body by bringing me into the present moment through sensory awareness and feeling.

In this way, through a slow and steady practice, yoga allowed me to reconnect and rekindle a relationship with my body for the first time since early childhood.

My practice continues to allow me to tune out the cacophony of toxic cultural messages that bombard me and attempt to convince me that I need a product or service to feel whole and complete and connect with my true self.

As a result, my self-esteem and self-worth are not determined by how closely I can approximate the one-dimensional beauty ideal.

2)As opposed to viewing myself through the distorted cultural mirror built on digitally altered images that flood our media landscape, yoga has allowed me to view myself in a fully-dimensional way that goes far beyond the size of my jeans or numbers on a scale.


Amy MitchellAmy Mitchell ProYOGA

~ Amy is the founder of ProYOGA Corporate Wellness, based in Washington, DC. They specialize in making healthy choices convenient by bringing yoga, meditation, and nutrition services to where people spend the majority of their time — at work.

1) I refer to yoga as a gateway exercise. A regular yoga practice begins to subtly change your habits, making you more aware of your body and your choices. Through yoga, you not only begin to view yourself in a more positive light, but in how you view everything around you (which leads to healthier choices).

2) For me, personally, yoga has changed the way I think about myself. I am now kinder to myself and more understanding of both my positive and negative characteristics. Before I was a yogi, I was my harshest critic. Now I see the importance of self-love and self-care, without the constant mental admonishments.



Kimberly DarkKimberly Dark KimberlyDark.com

~ Kimberly Dark is a writer, sociologist, storyteller and yoga teacher. She offers two “Yoga is for Every Body” retreats per year in Hawaii, using nature, yoga and community to discover the stories we carry in our bodies. Read some of her essays on yoga at DecolonizingYoga.com.

1) Yoga promotes body positivity in my life by bringing me into the experience of the body rather than focusing on the appearance of the body. Of course, yoga culture in Western culture is a microcosm of broader society – but it doesn’t have to be that way.

We can pull away from consumer-ideals in our yoga communities and remind each other that the experience of the body, the mind, the emotions in asana and meditation practice is what we came for.

2) Yoga has changed my self-perception in a few significant ways and also perhaps in ways I don’t yet understand. As a fat kid who became a fat adult, I live in a body that isn’t expected to be able to do much.

I had already been a fan of aerobics and dance when I found yoga. That is to say, I already knew I was strong and could be graceful, but yoga practice invited a level of precision and focus that I didn’t previously know. I came to perceive myself as strong and capable, focused and calm.

 



Thank you so much to all the yoga experts who contributed to this roundup! If you found our post useful, please share it with all your friends and followers.

Regardless of your level of experience or your weight, you can start practicing yoga right now. For more awesome posts like this one, subscribe to our newsletter. Let us guide you on the path to self-acceptance and body positivity.

Remember you are a beautiful person from within and outside.

 

About Minuca Elena

Minuca is a freelance writer specialized in creating expert roundups. Her posts provide quality content. She also helps bloggers connect with influencers.

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