You can’t enter a newsagent these days without coming across magazine titles that demand you to ‘loose those last five pounds’ or ‘become ab fab in three weeks’, all ‘just in time for summer 2017.’
The way to the perfect beach body is often portrayed as a complicated one, littered with sacrifices, requiring a huge time commitment. However, the way to a beach body is quite simple, really:
Have a body. Go to the beach. TAH-DAH!
One of the most beautiful lessons yoga teaches us is that we already are what we are seeking to become. The happiness, confidence and ease that we might hope to achieve through grueling workout sessions or fad diets already lies within us.
If we are not happy with the way we look today, chances are more than slim that three kilos less on the scales will change that – in fact, dieting has been linked to depression and anxiety.
A much more successful approach to your ‘perfect beach body’ is to be kind to yourself, develop a mindful approach on how/what you eat and practice gratitude* for the body and everything else you have got. Practicing yoga regularly can help you incorporate all of the above into your life (even off the mat) and help you shift the way you see and feel about your body. Results are usually subtle and the shift will happen over time. In the beginning, you might not be sure ‘what’ is happening, it can be more of a vague feeling of ‘something’ happening, and that ‘something’ usually makes us feel good.
Speaking from my own experience, yoga has the potential to change lives quite radically. In relation to my body, I have learned to appreciate that feeling at ease in my own skin is much more important than feeling tight and taught (but maybe having a backache and a frozen shoulder). I don’t care that much about toned arms anymore. Funnily enough, as I stopped caring so much, a regular yoga practice also meant that my arms got stronger… The irony is not lost on me. There’s something to be said about the ability to let go.
*Gratitude (together with compassion and forgiveness) is often listed as the top ingredient to a happy life. Washboard abs, however, have not been mentioned.