Turning Body Image Woes into Body Appreciation Bliss

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My 5-year-old son and I have an evening ritual…we dance to 1 song together before bedtime.

For 5 blissful minutes we dance with abandon, together, and it always feels like the perfect way to close our imperfect days.

Some nights we get home too late and some nights are too busy, but I try to come back to it as much as I possibly can because I think it is such a simple way of having a bonding moment with my son AND let him feel the amazing power movement has to bring him joy.

I want my son to feel absolutely capable, strong, and confident in his body for the rest of his life, so we practice fostering that attitude just a little bit every day by rocking it out together in the living room.

There is no denying that we live in a body-obsessed culture today: six-pack abs, chiseled biceps, and defined derrieres seem to be more desirable than movement skill and exploration and that’s…well… sad. Getting to live in such a remarkable vessel as the body without utilizing its abilities is a missed opportunity, to say the least!

By focusing on the exterior, we are robbing ourselves and our children of the glory that comes from being IN the body.

Personally, I’d rather carry an extra few pounds and be the first one out on the dance floor, than an image of perfection sitting in the corner afraid to dance because of what others may think of me.

The five-minute dance ritual with my son is my small way of helping the younger generation to free themselves from the bonds of “body image” and steer them in the direction of “body appreciation”.

I have heard countless testimonies from my clients about how elevating their capacity for movement, elevated their life: the hike they had to spend months preparing for, the ballroom dance class they finally registered for, the yoga retreat they just returned from. Life seems to crack open when we dare to try on the things that pull at our heartstrings and when we allow ourselves to do something just for the sake of tasting newness.

And, yet, we let rationalizations keep us small and comfortable and blah.

“I am too old.”
“I am too heavy”
“I don’t have time”
“I am not coordinated”

To which my mentor, Ido Portal would say: “There is no such thing as lack of coordination, only lack of education.”

If you want it enough, you can learn how to do it.

Here are my top 3 tips for stepping away from body image woes and closer to body appreciation bliss:

Courtney Townley1. Step away from the mirror.

I don’t know whose idea it was to put mirrors in movement classrooms but I think it is a mistake. It perpetuates the mindset of “what it looks like” rather than “what it feels like”.

2. Build Skill Where You Lack It.

Do more of what you suck at. I know…that is a hard pill to swallow, but seriously, your body will benefit more from the things that you aren’ t so good at. Whatever your movement demons are, try spending more time with them, they may just turn out to be some of your best friends.

3. Risk looking like a fool.

To build skill or have a new experience, you have to risk looking like a fool. Sorry, but you will fall on your face, mess up your hair, and, at times, look utterly ridiculous and incompetent. That is just how growth happens. It’s messy!

So what are your rationalizations preventing you from doing?

What new movement experience or skill would you love to have before you die?

What the hell are you waiting for?

This “getting healthy” stuff doesn't have to be so complicated.

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