Below is a guest blog I wrote for Sutra Lifestyles, and an introduction by my beautiful friend Maiko!
The last time I was in Hawaii, I went to my friend Cara’s Hot Buddhi Yoga Class.
During class I just kept thinking… “Wow, Cara looks frickin’ amazing!”. Cara has always been beautiful and fit, but something just seemed different. Not only was her body a lot more toned and lean, she just seemed to be glowing from the inside out. I finally had to ask her, “what the heck are you doing different sister, I want some of that?!”
Cara told me that it wasn’t so much about doing tons of yoga and working out like a mad woman or even dieting or starving herself. She said it was more about looking in the mirror and appreciating all the beauty of her body, instead of negatively focusing on all the things she doesn’t like. (Which I hadn’t even realized is what I do every single time I look in the mirror. By unconscious habit, I automatically always search for what I don’t like or what I’d like to change about myself.)
Cara’s pointers really resonated with me. I started to practice each morning when I’d look in the mirror and even when I’d do the simple things like put on lotion or make-up… I tried to see my beauty instead and made a conscious effort to catch my negative self-talk. And holy hell, I never realized how much I was beating myself up! I loved her insights into how she transformed her body so much that I asked her to write a guest blog post for our Sutra readers…
Here ya go, you will love this! Thank you Cara for all your positive vibes, showing us an example of inner & outer beauty, and for all your meditation tips (they have helped me more than you know)!
Here’s what Cara has to say:
When friends tell me that I look great and ask what I’m doing differently I tell them the truth: I appreciate my body.
A few years ago I noticed that when I took a class at the gym I would mentally pick myself apart in the mirror. I was basically criticizing myself for that entire hour!
Once I realized I was doing this it occurred to me how detrimental it was. I thought if I’m going to spend an hour staring at myself in the mirror while I exercise I should be thinking positive things about myself not negative things. That was a lot easier said than done. But I worked at it, I keep working at it, and the payoff is wonderful. By letting go of the constant self-criticism I was able to start seeing my body as beautiful. I was able to see the overall positives and feel better about myself. In doing so I felt tremendous relief and joy. And then something else happened. My body began to change. Things shifted. Body parts that I had previously criticized became what I was most proud of. I became confident enough to wear clothes I never thought I’d wear.
All because I started appreciating my body!
Think it sounds crazy? Well let’s break it down. By now we all know something about the law of attraction. Like attracts like. Most of us are coming to understand that our thoughts are part of this attraction, i.e. what you think or say is attracting more of the same to you. So if every time you look in the mirror you think ‘I hate my big butt’, what are you putting out there to the universe? What are you attracting? I’ll tell you, you are shouting to the universe “big butt, big butt, big butt”, and you are attracting more of the same. You may be asking for a smaller butt in every way you know how, but you are also broadcasting ‘big butt’ every time you criticize yourself. In this way you are holding yourself apart from what you desire to attract.
Don’t worry, the change is easy. All you have to do is stick with it. Here are the steps I recommend to make a change in your thought patterns. When you notice yourself having a negative thought about yourself do one of these two things:
1) Quickly take your attention to something positive about yourself. For example if you don’t like your stomach, and you begin to think about that, quickly take your attention to another body part that you do like. Focus all the attention that you can on liking that body part, list all the things you like about it, compliment it, stare at it and think the positive thoughts until you shift your focus. “I do have good legs, they look strong when I do this, I like how long they are, I can rock short skirts, I should wear them more often…” etc.
2) Soften the negative thoughts. For example, if you look in the mirror and think “my butt is big” try to soften those thoughts by saying something like “proportionately it’s okay for my body, and it looks pretty good in jeans, and I’m sure no one’s looking at it right now but me”. In that way, you begin to soften your negative thoughts and take baby steps towards thinking positively about that body part. Doing this repeatedly will shift your thoughts permanently.
As you practice these patterns of positive thought it will become easier and easier to appreciate you body. It really is that simple. Changing your thoughts changes everything and it feels great! Give it a try. Do it because feeling better about your body is what you really want in the first place. The rest of the changes that come are just a bonus.
“I am Beautiful, I am Sexy, I am Strong.”
In good thoughts!
Sutra Guest Writer