Monday, December 2, 2013

A Post-Thanksgiving Yoga Practice

Today, in yoga studios and gyms across the country students everywhere will hear the same message. It's time to work off that second helping of mashed potatoes, the pumpkin pie, the turkey leg. We have to un-do all the indulgences by working harder to burn through calories, twist a little deeper to push that toxic sludge through our bodies and fight that holiday bulge! While I don't believe there's anything wrong with using your yoga practice as a tool to get healthy, aid in digestion, and even ward off unhealthy food cravings (if it is done in a healthy, mindful way, of course), I'm advocating something a little different in my yoga class tonight.

Image via Flickr user Ben Dalton

Instead of being our own harshest critic when it comes to the foods we put into our bodies during the holidays, I'm advocating for acceptance and love. Instead of beating ourselves up over that second helping of mashed potatoes, let's let ourselves be thankful for the opportunity to celebrate abundance and joy. Instead of being ashamed of the calories and afraid of what that might do to our health (or worse, to our outward appearance), let's trust in the body's wisdom to take the nutrients it needs and discard what it doesn't so we can come into balance once again naturally WITHOUT harmful force or negative thinking. Instead of pushing ourselves harder, let's strive to treat ourselves with kindness and compassionate, knowing that an indulgence (especially an indulgence that we share with our loved ones) might not be the best fuel for our bodies, but it just might be the best fuel for our spirits.

Sending love to my girl Anna Guest-Jelley for helping me to realize the how harmful the "burn through the calories" message can be for people the masses of people who struggle with body image issues everywhere.