Our bodies are the medium through which we experience the world and ourselves, yet also the central object of our being that we can often feel most critical of. As we try to take a step further into understanding our bodies, we invite you to reflect with us on the ways in which we can see it for what it is, away from what cultural conditioning, media and contemporary narratives espouse.
1.Getting to know our body
Our bodies change continually, and something we have found essential to accepting and learning about our bodies is the need to let go of the idea that they won’t or shouldn’t change. The more we are able to meditate on how natural it is for our bodies – like everything else in nature – to change shape, the more we will be able to connect deeply with the reality and novelty of its ever-changing nature. As a practice, we encourage that we engage with our body in different ways. To touch and feel the different textures, bumps and birthmarks that embrace it. To do a body-scan to see how our body is feeling physically (after a meal, a long day, a good run, a hectic day, and the like). To understand its language of communicating with us. To dress ourselves affectionately in different styles and observe what emotions stem forth and how we respond to them. Mindfully engaging with our bodies in this way grants us the opportunity to build an intimate and realistic relationship with it and to become involved in its movements and feelings.
2.Accepting our body as it is
Each of us has a unique body type, and there is no definitive shape that is healthier than the other. We believe that as part of living more consciously, it is imperative that we start working toward and resting in the feeling of health and acceptance, overlooking a way that has been prescribed by someone else. Committing to recognising that all kinds of bodies are worthy of love, representation and acceptance is a step toward acknowledging that we wish to have not only a healthy body, but a healthy lifestyle and personal dialogue with our body and selves. Cultivating body neutrality can be an authentic way of conversing with ourselves and being human, toward our very human bodies. Watching who we are, what we do and how we think about our body can become a spring to initiate healing and identify that we are much more than our bodies.
3.Questioning normative and cultural conceptions
The cultural ideals of beauty have long displayed a singular portrait that have enabled size discrimination, racism, and ableism, unfortunately, affecting the way we feel about ourselves. Questioning frameworks that pit us against ourselves and one another, consciously contemplating and building our personal values, as well as contributing to the larger conversation on body politics are all ways for us to challenge the status quo and play a personal and active role in bringing about an inclusive account of beauty. Concurrently, partaking in routines that help us feel good and at home with our bodies can affirm our resonance with the dynamism of our bodies.