I get flooded with comments and questions about looking pretty. Yes - about looking pretty. Some also involve feeling good (in a combination with looking pretty) but so many of them come down to the same thing: Changing the way we look. It’s questions about losing weight. About diets. Beauty products. Exercise routines. Yoga for weight-loss. Yoga for better skin. Yoga for… For what? On any given day I get 100-250 emails, and the majority of them are questions from people that want advice on how to change something about themselves. I do my best to answer in my own hippie way (“do yoga, eat your veggies, meditate, use coconut oil” etc etc) but I think there is a fundamental issue beneath all of this that no one is addressing. Why is it that we on some level feel that we are not good enough the way we are?? Who taught us that we need to see a certain number on a scale to be happy? When was it decided that we need to look in a special way to feel ok with looking at ourselves in the mirror? Yes - we want to be healthy. Yes - we want to feel good. But this world (especially this strange social media one) is so full of unrealistic expectations that simply no one can live up to.
My least favorite comment I see on my feed is “You are perfect”. No, scratch that. My least favorite comment? “I wish I looked like you”.
You guys know this is an Instagram feed, right? I choose what I post here. I could post photos of myself eating cheese while lying in bed last night watching old episodes of How I Met Your Mother (yep) or of how oily my skin gets when I’ve had too many beers the night before (yep) or the stretch marks I have on my upper thighs (yep). Or any of the million things that are not, in any way, “perfect” about the way I look. But I choose not to. I choose instead to post photos of me when I’m having a good hair day, or in a yoga pose that looks good in profile, or in a pretty dress on the beach. But I’m thinking now I may have been wrong in portraying just one side of me. I am not perfect. I’m not always in balance. I cry and get sad and emotional all the time (ask my boyfriend!). I have days when I feel ugly, or fat, or insignificant. I have days when I feel… Not good enough. And you know what? I call bullshit!
We need to stop comparing ourselves with others and start loving ourselves, just the way we are. Love your body. Love your soul. Of course we have a hard time finding an exercise or diet routine to stick to - the whole reason we feel that we need one is because we deep down feel that we are not good enough as we are! Know that the most difficult thing is not to find an exercise or diet routine to stick, to but to deeply accept that we are already okay. You are okay. You are more than okay! You are beautiful, just the way you are.
I say, change it up. Instead of thinking you need to change your body so you can love your body (“after I’ve lost 20 pounds, I’ll be happy with who I am”), do it the other way around. Love your body so you can change it. You might find nothing needs to be changed at all, and that the flaws you saw before are the very aspects of you that make you who you are. You are a gorgeous being of divine light! So please, be nice to yourself.
Love your body. Love your soul. #loveyourbodyloveyoursoul
I’m so thrilled to share this with you. Today, I have been featured on Elephant Journal for my artistic work with Rachel Brathen. Check it out, and share it if possible! Thank you Waylon, Bryone and Rachel! :-)http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/07/love-with-everything-youve-got-photographs-of-rachel-brathen-anais-benoudiz/ #yoga #yogi #yogini #yogagirl #yogainspiration #yogaeverywhere #yogaeverydamnday #loveyourbodyloveyoursoul #asanas #lifeisgood #lululemon #wanderlustfest #thetravelyogi #wherewillyogatakeyou #enlightenment #fromyogagirltogoldengirl #beauty #art #yogajournal #yogaphotography #anaisbenoudizphotography#anythingispossible #anaisbenoudiz #nirvana #grateful #photography #photoshoot @yoga_girl @dbenoudiz @mantinidesign @carmenkmua @cbenoudiz @thetravelyogi @yogainspiration @yogajournal
Insanely awesome photography by @anaisbenoudiz …insanely naked modeling by me. How did I let a random photographer talk me into taking off all of my clothes, paint me gold and throw neon colored paint powder in my face??😄 I gotta say, it was well worth it. I love how the pictures came out. What do you guys think?
Did you go upside down today? This is a pop-up from tripod headstand, (eagle variation) during a playful session on the beach the other day while @dennisfromsalad was catching some waves. Yes - you can surf in Aruba!😉
The next time you see me on the beach we’ll be in Hawaii…😍 #happy #happy #happy #yogaeverydamnday #loveyourbodyloveyoursoul
The strength I have on the mat and the space I’ve created in my body is a result of a lot of hard work, but mostly…a lot of letting go. We hold so much emotion physically. Practicing yoga is releasing—that’s why it’s so difficult! Not because we move in different ways or inhale to lift this and exhale to lower that. It’s scratching at the surface of what you don’t want to see; it’s unveiling all the fears and judgments you have about yourself buried deep inside. It’s connecting to what’s really true.
And yes, along the way we might pick up some strength and flexibility and handstands and backbends and arm balances—this is a bonus. It’s not why we keep returning to the mat, every damn day. It’s not the purpose of this practice.
As I move deeper and deeper into backbends, I move deeper and deeper into self-love. As I build strength to balance steadily on my hands, I build strength to face whatever the world throws at me. As I release tension from the hips, shoulders, hamstrings, I release fear, frustration, sadness. Little by little…I release the need to control.
As I learn to surrender on the mat, I learn to surrender to the present moment.
This is the practice.
It’s accessible to you, to everyone, right here, right now—but you have to do the work. No one is going to do it for you. Don’t hold back.
I just uploaded a video on my YouTube channel discussing a very important topic that I feel is not being discussed enough: body image. A 16-year old girl wrote me an email yesterday asking “How can you love yourself if you’re really ugly?” and this question just broke my heart.
I’ve decided to do a series of talks sharing my wisdom and ideas about the things you ask me. In this first one I’m talking about weight loss, eating disorders, distorted body image and this very radical idea of just loving ourselves for who we really are… It’s just me and the camera, nothing fancy, but very real.
Hot water with lemon. Colloidal silver, 10 drops. Chia seeds, 2 shots. Raw organic green powder, 1 teaspoon. Friway WELL unprocessed mineral salt, 12 sprays. Grapefruit seed extract, 10 drops. Take before breakfast, after yoga practice. Your body is your temple! Treat it royally.
Took a break from the Q&A… Needed a headstand to clear my head! Holy cow you guys have a lot of questions!! I decided to reply to them all in blog form instead of tagging and replying in the feed, it’s much clearer plus more people can take part and read that way. I’ve answered about 150 so far but I have a long way to go - will post the final post tomorrow on my website (rachelbrathen.com/blog) with every single answer. I could do them all tonight but would have to cancel movie night with @dennisfromsalad (we’re watching Hangover 3! Is it any good?) and that just won’t work☺
I love you all! Thanks for keeping me busy this Sunday afternoon😊😘 And YES - those are mangoes on my yoga mat… The season is starting and all of our trees are bursting with fruit! Happy happy happy that I get to enjoy them before we leave the island next week. xoxo #loveyourbodyloveyoursoul #yogaeverydamnday
Begin in Tadasana, Mountain Pose. Lift the right leg, bend the knee and place the ankle right above the left knee in a figure four shape. Flex the foot and keep it active. Bend the left knee until you’re in half chair, bring your hands to your heart and take a few breaths here. Think about lengthening your tailbone towards your heels, drawing the low belly in and lengthening up through the crown of the head. From here, fold forward. Place your palms down shoulder with apart, spread your fingers wide and keep the creases of your wrist in line with the top of your yoga mat (unless you’re in the grass, then just focus on keeping the index finger pointing forward😊). Shift your weight forward until you can get the right knee high on top of the back of the right arm (the higher the better but this depends on how open your hips are). Now this is key: hook the top of the right foot around the upper left arm and clamp there it tightly - this action is what keeps the pose together after take off! Widen through the collar bones, spread your shoulder blades wide and soften the neck. Bring all of your weight into the hands until you feel the left foot becoming lighter. This may be a great place to just gang out - focus on your alignment and your breathing and don’t go any further than your body allows you to. You want to be comfortable here! When you’re ready, lift the left foot off the ground, press the thumb and the index finger down and feel the triceps hugging in. Once your balancing on your hands, extend the left leg up and back behind you, trying to not open up through the hips here but keeping everything squared with the shoulders. Breathe! Come down the same way you came in and then switch sides. Be careful not to push your shoulders up to your ears when your balancing on your hands, and make sure your knees are happy throughout every step of this pose. If you ever feel your knees talking to you - back off! This pose is to be practiced only at the end of your practice when your body is nice and warm and you’ve done plenty of hip opening and core work to prepare. Listen to your body and remember: you’re here to breathe and connect. Work your body - not your ego!😊 #yogaeverydamnday #love #loveyourbodyloveyoursoul
Getting down to business on the blog: HOW TO LOVE YOUR BODY.
Did you know 81% of ten year olds are afraid of being fat? And that 80% of women in the US are unhappy about their appearance?
"Even if you were one of the 5% of women who actually posses the “ideal body” that so many strive for, would this make you a better person? Would it make you more worthy? Would you love yourself more? The answer is, no. Being skinny does not make you a happier person. Happy people are truly happy because of the joy they put into their lives, not because of weather or not their ass looks good in a size 6."
Absolutely loving this new campaign from @aerie using real models and zero retouching in their ads. This is the direction we need to take when it comes to advertising! Media had to get on board and get real - the time of unnatural looking starved models and celebrities has passed. It’s time to teach young people all over the world that being who you are is GOOD ENOUGH. You don’t need to change or retouch your body to love yourself! It’s time for real people, real connection, real life. If you want to sell be something, resonate with me on a deeper level than fear of being inadequate. Be real! It IS possible to do business with a heart and thrive and still stay true to your values✌️
I love food. Seriously. So much. I believe food is meant to be eaten and dessert is meant to be had and wine is meant to be enjoyed - just like life! If there is guilt involved in your eating habits I invite you to look a little closer at that today. What’s your relationship with food? With your body? With yourself?
Love your body, love your soul. Eat up! When you love yourself, making good choices for your body is easy. So begin with love. Remove dieting and guilt from your vocabulary!
Go follow my dear old friend @olivehummer and get inspired. She is the best chef I know and and I love her carefree, indulgent attitude when it comes to food. Some day not far from now we are going to make a cookbook together and it’s going to be about loving food, not bashing on your body❤️ @olivehummer #blog #loveyourbodyloveyoursoul #eatfood #healyourheart #loveall
I choose love, joy and freedom. When I am honest with my true emotions and let my inner light shine I open my heart and allow wonderful things to flow into my life. When I believe in myself, so do others. I trust in the process of life.
#love #affirmation #loveyourbodyloveyoursoul Photography by @anaisbenoudiz