Beauty standards are indoctrinated into women at a young age. Diet, cosmetics, plastic surgery and weight-loss ads bombard us from the media, and they all emphasize the importance of being skinny.
Women are conditioned to believe that if we lose ten pounds, shrink our waistline or go under the knife, only then will we finally have the life we wish for.
These unrealistic standards set by the Western culture have led us to sacrifice our health and well-being. Sources say more than half of women in the United States are on a diet at any given time, and at least 90 percent of women are dissatisfied with their bodies, according to the article “Beauty and Body Image In The Media,” on the Media Awareness Network website.
While weight-loss can create a positive impact on a person’s life, the overall message communicated by the weight-loss and beauty industry is unhealthy. It addresses only the physical aspect of self-change, rather than growth.
Strong is the New Skinny:
Earlier this year, a new image of a muscular, fit woman took social media websites by storm. In it, a woman perched on a chair using only the strength of her arms. Women shared praise for the photo, not because of her physical appearance, but because of the message: Strong is the new skinny.
Women Need Yoga
Women have helped turned yoga, originally a male dominated practice in India, into a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States. Whether it’s the struggle to find identity or the multi-tasking needed to raise a family and work full or part-time, women need yoga more than ever.
Female Empowerment Creates Confidence
There is no doubt yoga can be good for the body. Now it can help create empowerment, which comes from looking inward and making an individual action or change by choice. Seeking fulfillment and acceptance in a society focused on outward appearance is empowering in itself.
The Ways Yoga Empowers
Through Community: From one yogini to another, yoga shares a strong energy; as a result, others can feel your breath, energy and presence. Through the power of breath and community, yoga has the power to ripple the effects of your practice and energy to those around you, creating not only community, but individual empowerment. When a group of yogis take deep, unified inhalations and exhalations together, a strong sense of community is felt, where people become connected and whole.
Detoxification: Postures that focus on twisting the spine, or rinsing the kidneys, flush out the toxins accumulated during the day from environment and food. Yoga serves as a mental detox. It helps eliminate negative thoughts that affect both mind and body.
Focus: Yoga creates an overall sense of balance and presence. There are countless balancing postures that help women focus solely on the breath and alignment. Tierra Hancock, a CorePower Yoga instructor, relies on one particular posture for empowerment.
“When I’m in dancer, so much is happening in my body all at once, a stretch in the front side of the body, a standing back bend and most of all, this posture helps focus the mind.”
It helps one focus through tension and chaos. It connects us to, opens and clears our sixth chakra, which helps our ability to think clearly, make decisions and hone intuition and awareness.
Opens the Heart: The stresses women endure on a daily basis can take a toll on their posture and overall alignment. Backbending postures like wheels and upward facing dogs help re-align the spine and roll the shoulders down the back. They open the chest and the fourth chakra, the heart center.
From the Ground Up: When we ground down through the soles of the feet, a connection with the earth is created. That connection flows from the ground up through the crown of the head. Women can use yoga to tear down the physical expectations of our modern society, and help us to live a full, balanced, happy life at any size or shape.
Bridget is a yoga instructor at CorePower Yoga in Colorado Springs. She works full-time and is expanding her career in freelance writing. Bridget is a new Colorado Springs resident, and enjoys the year-round outdoor activities Colorado offers. As a native to the Midwest, Bridget enjoys spending time on or near the water, either jet-skiing, boating or reading by the pool. She loves to cook and try new recipes. Choosing a favorite dish isn’t easy for Bridget, but she does love to eat ice cream. She earned her bachelor’s in advertising from Michigan State University, and specialized in public relations.