Often when we hear about the term body positivity, we tend to imagine positive and motivational messages meant for thick women and generally different people who are plus size. Well, even though that might be true to an extent, body positivity in all its essence cuts across more than just the physical appearance. It focuses on the emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of all human beings.
Over the years, body positivity has become less obscure, but the social movement remains a grey area in society. This is, for lack of a better understanding and “hogging” of the term by mainstream media and different movements. Body positivity or ‘BoPo’ the buzzword, is a movement that challenges societal standards on the physical body, regardless of size, shape, appearance or gender.
Centred on the belief that all human beings should have a positive body image by accepting their physical traits, the movement addresses unrealistic beauty standards, which demean self-confidence, self-acceptance and self-esteem of oneself and others. Body positivity encompasses fat acceptance, ethnicity, colour, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, slim people and people with disabilities.
The following practices focus on body acceptance by instilling discipline and fostering compassion towards one’s body and overall well-being.
Yoga is one exercise that prioritizes the perspective of how we feel over how we look. According to Jessamine Stanley the author of Everybody Yoga, yoga helps attain the overall state of being/wellness. It is not limited to aesthetics purposes and enthusiasts would attest that Yoga fosters emotional health, spiritual health and a connection to the soul.
- Language (Body positivity quotes, mantras)
Letters and syllables combine to form words, sentences and hence a language. Words carry the power to produce different reactions. With that said, you are what you feed your mind. Having a positive attitude and cultivating a language that shows compassion for your body can change how you perceive yourself helping you to appreciate your features and those of others as well.
Quotes and mantras inspire us to believe in something greater than ourselves, for they carry experiences and the power to change how we think. After all, “You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.”
― Oprah Winfrey
- BoPo spaces
Body positivity spaces demystify social stereotypes and empower like-minded people to thrive in a safe space. With the evolution of the digital era and social media, it is now easier to join groups and communities that advocate for people to be bold and own their differences.
Team curvy Kenya is an example of an online platform that represents curvy women in Kenya. It focuses on women because often than not societal beauty standards apply more to women than they do to men. Not to mean that men do not face the same pressures.
For even though body positivity remains centred around female populations, men do face societal discriminations and pressures that affect their esteem. This is regardless of age, sexual preference, religion or ethnicity.
Meditation is a practice known to cultivate mental strength, increase focus and alter the state of mind for the better. To help others, you need to be strong yourself. Meditation is a direct practice of introspection. Depending on the form of meditation, for instance, Metta meditation, one can specifically increase the wish to care for others. This can reduce body shaming tendencies and grow a population that appreciates diversity and celebrates differences. Health And Fitness: 7 Positive Effects Of Meditation
“Self-care is the number one solution to helping somebody else. If you are being good to yourself and your body and your psyche, that that serves other people better because you will grow strong enough to lift someone else up.” Mary Lambert
Featured image via No1Magazine.co.uk