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Loving yourself


“And I said to my body, softly, "I want to be your friend.

It took a long breath and replied, "I've been waiting my whole life for this."

Nayyirah Waheed


So when was the last time you loved your body? I mean really, really loved it as opposed to hauling it to the gym in an attempt to beat it into submission as you try to fix or change something about it?

There is a gorgeous woman who comes to one of my classes who said her body “looks like it’s had kids” and she’s never liked it. How terribly sad - I wish she could see herself as the rest of us do - truly beautiful. Sadly this is not uncommon as we live in a capitalist culture designed to make us feel inadequate and not good enough so that we can then buy some sort of wonder product - be it face cream, tights that hold your tummy in or some other such bollocks that probably won’t make a scrap of difference. Actually - rewind - definitely won’t make a scrap of difference.

When I used to teach my regular menopause workshops in London we always begin with a sister circle - a time to consciously share where we are before we begin our practice. On one occasion there was a woman in her 50s who started to cry and it was painful to hear her describe just how much she hated her body. She told us when she looked in the mirror all the self-loathing came up focusing on her wobbly bits, her perceived flaws. She said she just couldn’t see the point in practising yoga even though she admitted it made her feel good and peaceful afterwards. I asked her a simple question : at what stage in her life had she felt good about her body? Sadly she also hated it in her 20s, 30s and 40s too. Just like so many of us.


Isn’t it time to stop that nonsense now and take some time just for you - befriending your body and slowing down to really care for yourself? Move how you like to move in a way that feels intuitive and kind, tune into food that you really want to eat - which can be chocolate - just let it be a conscious choice rather than an attempt to distract yourself from a painful thought or feeling.


Today I asked my body what she needed, Which is a big deal Considering my journey of Not Really Asking That Much. I thought she might need more water. Or protein. Or greens. Or yoga. Or supplements. Or movement. But as I stood in the shower Reflecting on her stretch marks, Her roundness where I would like flatness, Her softness where I would like firmness, All those conditioned wishes That form a bundle of Never-Quite-Right-Ness, She whispered very gently: Could you just love me like this?

Hollie Holden, June 2016



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