Hot Tips for Holiday Body Love

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The holidays are getting into full swing!

For many of us the parties have already started. And, as I mentioned before, this time of year can be really wonderful, but it can also be really stressful. And in terms of feeling good about your body there are many triggering situations that can come up.

So I wanted to offer some more strategies to get us through this holiday season loving your body as best you can.

Book Self-Care into your Schedule

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I think one of the biggest gifts we can give ourselves at this time of year is actually making some time in our schedule for self-care. With the change in routine, the demands of the season, the darkness, if you are in the northern hemisphere, and the cold, if you are in chillier climates, we really need to take time to recharge. I highly recommend booking your self-care into your schedule. If you know there is a form of self-care that really works for you like, restorative yoga, meditation, running, dance, naps, etc actually book those into your schedule. Or if you know you would like to be more spontaneous, you could create a list of self-care ideas and then when the time comes up in your schedule pick the one that is calling to you.

Use Affirmations

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To help me stay in a body positive headspace, I will write out or say my body positive affirmations every morning to get ahead of the game. Affirmations like, “I love my body. I love every cell in my body.”, “I give myself full permission to eat whatever my body desires.”, and “I listen to my body’s needs and lovingly respond.”.

Plan Ahead

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For many of us the coming together of family can be very triggering. Family members may like to comment on our bodies or any changes in our weight since the last time they saw us. Or they may pass judgement on what we are eating. And if not that, then they are making food-shaming and size-shaming comments about themselves. It can be so tricky to stay grounded in loving yourself as you are. And it can be challenging to still listen to your own body through all that noise. What I like to do for this one is to plan ahead.

I will prepare little responses to different situations that might present themselves, like when my friend says she needs to lose 5 lbs so that she can look fabulous in her new dress on New Year’s Eve, I may redirect the conversation with “I am feeling pretty fabulous about rocking these boots with this skirt today!”

If I am feeling bold and so over shaming comments about my body, instead of the redirect I might go for the direct, “Actually, I’m not inviting comments on my body today. Thanks.” I am even thinking of creating some t-shirts that say “My Body – The Comments Section is Closed.”

Plant the Seeds of Body Positivity

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Another thing I like to do is arm myself with anti-body-shaming thoughts to help plant the seeds body positivity for my family. Like, “Food is just food. It is not good or bad. You are not a good or bad person because of what you eat. You are not a more or less valuable person based on how much you weigh.”

These concepts might be new or unfamiliar to our friends and family. Our friends and family are a part of our body-shaming society too. So the holidays can be an opportunity to educate your family by speaking openly about body-shaming. And if you are feeling keen you could have at the ready data from the Healthy at Every Size website.

What are your tips you use to stay in a body loving frame of mind over the holidays? Tell me all about them or share them in the comments.

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season so far!

Krystal

P.S. If you are looking for some great self-care for the holidays, try my Daily Luscious ReTreats – 21 Days of Meditations to take you from beginner to relaxed meditator. Only $42CAD!

How to Love Your Body Through the Holidays

The Reverse Bucket List (1)

The holidays are a peak time for finding yourself in situations that trigger feelings of body shame:

  • all of the chaos and busyness;
  • seeing family you haven’t seen in awhile who think they can freely offer up their opinions on your body;
  • large group meals;
  • food focused events; and
  • New Year, New You pressures.  

I know some of you might even be feeling anxiety about the holidays and your body before we even get there. And I too am starting to get anxious. So for me and for you, here are some posts we can put in our Body Love Toolbox to get through the holidays loving our bodies as best we can and hopefully nip any body loathing feelings in the bud.

  1. From Adios Barbie: How to Stay Body Positive Through the Holidays

I particularly liked the idea of the redirect – when someone inevitably brings up weight loss or their great new diet, try to redirect the conversation back to less body-shaming territory. Like when your friend says she needs to lose 5 lbs so that she can look fabulous in her new dress on New Year’s Eve, try “I am feeling pretty fabulous about rocking these boots with this skirt today!

If you are feeling bold, or just over any shame-y comments friends or loved ones might send your way, instead of the redirect, go for the the directActually, I’m not inviting comments on my body today. Thanks.

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  1. From A Healthy Paradigm: A Body Positive Guide to the Holidays

Being mindful is a great strategy for staying sane and shame-free for the holidays: Mindful of your body’s needs; mindful of how you are feeling; mindful of what you are eating; mindful of your thoughts; mindful of how you are moving your body; and mindful of your environment and any changes you might need to make. Check out the article for more great tips.

  1. From Huffington Post: 4 Tips to Stop Holiday Body Shaming

Food is just food. It is not good or bad. You are not a good or bad person because of what you eat. You are not a more or less valuable person based on how much you weigh. These concepts might be new or unfamiliar to our friends and family. For our friends and family are a part of our body-shaming society too. So I love the tip of openly talking about body-shaming if you are feeling up to pushing against societal norms. And if you are feeling keen you could arm yourself with some data from the Healthy at Every Size website.

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  1. From Persephone Magazine: 5 Body Positive Gift Ideas

This fun list of body positive gift ideas includes some great books and I would add to that list, Dietland, by Sarai Walker, which is an interesting take on flipping the script of our patriarchal society. But I gotta say the Yay! Scale is my fav. After smashing my actual scale a while ago, I’m ready for a more accurate scale that let’s you know how you’re doing this morning from “Lookin’ fine!” to “Hey sexy!”

  1. From Psych Central: Create Your Own Body Positive Traditions

This article offers up some great ideas for creating our own body positive traditions around the holidays to help keep the body-shame at bay. I think I will try the idea of writing a love letter to my body extending gratitude to my body for everything it did for me in 2015 and dreaming about everything I hope we can experience in 2016. Anyone want to join me on this one?

What is in your Body Love Holiday Toolbox? What ideas will you try?

Wishing you all lots of body love this holiday season,
Krystal

My 5 Top Tricks to Turn a Body-Loathing Day into a Body-Loving Day

We are always learning, always growing, always changing. Or at least life is always providing the opportunities for these things. In the beginning of my body love journey I thought, maybe one day I won’t have to think about this so much. Maybe one day I could fix this problem. Maybe one day all the mental, emotional and physical energy I put into loathing and punishing my body will be mine again. I used to wonder what people who didn’t have to work on their body (i.e. thin people) did with all the extra mental, emotional and physical energy that I was dedicating to the process of trying to comply with beauty and health standards. I know better now and I know that this struggle is definitely not one that “thin” people are immune to.  

I also know that loving your body is a lifelong journey.

That magical moment of never having body loathing or shame ever again will possibly, and probably, never come. Because if the world around me is forever changing, and my body continues to age and change, and my LIFE JOURNEY continues to follow its winding, bumpy and beautiful path, how could my relationship with my body remain unchanged? So that means there will be times when I might feel body-shame and body-loathing. Even as I work as a body positive advocate, there will still be these days. Yes, I put WAY less energy into hating, fixing and changing my body, and when I get the bad-body-feels they don’t last too long, but my relationship with my body will always be an ever-changing journey.

So I thought I would offer you my 5 top tricks to turn a body-loathing day into a body-loving day.

1 – Be a REBEL

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When I have thoughts of hating my body or that I am not good enough as I am to show up in the world, I like to use my rebellious nature to my advantage. I really don’t like being told what to do and I don’t do well with feeling like my choices are limited. Sometimes this part of my personality can be a challenge, but when it’s me and my self-limiting beliefs restricting me from living the life I want, I can take my inner-rebel and unleash her wrath on all that shame. ‘Take that negative self-talk! You can’t tell me what to do! I’m the boss of me!’

2 – Body Love Outfits

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I LOVE clothes and costume and make-up. I love using my body and face as a canvas for expressing my creativity. It is an important part of feeling free and authentic in my day to day life. However, big events that I get really excited about and create grandiose outfit visions for are often a trigger for my body-loathing. And the more excited I am, the more triggering they can be. Lately though, I have started doing this thing that’s changing it all. I’ll put on my ensemble of choice for the event, usually an ensemble that pushes me out of my comfort zone, and then I will stand in front of the mirror assessing the situation like I normally would. And the usual boring negative thoughts about my body may come up. If they do though, I say to myself and my body, “I am going to love you. I do love you. And I am going to keep loving you so hard that you will rock this outfit. I will love it so hard that everyone else will just have to get on board. This is a body love outfit.” And then I rock that outfit HARD!

3 – Move it and Lose it (the Loathing that is)

When I move my body in ways that feel nurturing, empowering, and delicious, I forget about all that body loathing and start enjoying my body here, exactly as it is, in the present moment. I forget about what I look like. I don’t care about how my body appears. I care only about how good it feels to exist in my body. Yoga asana is absolutely a practice that brings me back to loving and appreciating my body. But I also could truly dance forever. Dancing fills my soul and I feel most free when my body and mind are lost in moving to the music. When I move my body I feel free, I feel strong and I feel powerful.

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4 – Through My Eyes

When I am hating on my body, sometimes it is good for me to remember how I see the world. Where do I see beauty in the world? It shows up in a smile. In the warmth of a breeze on my skin. In feeling seen and heard and supported by my loved ones. It has nothing to do with conventional and commercial concepts of beauty. I fall in love with people for their humour, their incredible mind, and their heart. These things have nothing to do with the way they look. So maybe the way I look isn’t really that important in being able to show up in the world and be loved.

Anahata Mudra

5 – Flawed and Imperfect and That’s Okay

On that note, there are days where the positivity can’t drown out the negative thoughts. Days where I feel like I am not enough. Where I feel like I am not good enough to show up in the world. On those days, I let go. I accept that maybe, just maybe, I can still show up in the world as my flawed and imperfect self and maybe I can let people love me anyway. Maybe I can even let people love me because of those flaws and imperfections. And I turn to this quote from the wise Brene Brown, “We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known.”

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So that is my wish for you – to allow people (even yourself) to love you “flaws”, “imperfections” and all!

Krystal

Tips for Developing a Home Yoga Practice (Infographic)

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Yoga is essentially an inquiry. An inquiry into ourselves. An inquiry to observe our actions and reactions. An inquiry to get to know ourselves a little better.  An inquiry to tolerate the consequences of being ourselves a little more. And hopefully an inquiry to LOVE ourselves a little more.

A home and personal yoga practice is essential to receive all of these benefits. The experience is yours. The practice is yours. You get to shape it into whatever you need, whatever you want.

OWN IT! The journey of self-inquiry is profound and endless.

Below are some of my best tips to get you started on this rich path to deeper SELF LOVE in your home yoga practice!

1. Give yourself the gift of space

Creating a space at home or the office where you will do your practice can help remind you of your intentions and also encourage you to practice. Knowing that you have a space that you can use can be half of the battle. And the more you practice in it, the more that space will remind you of how good you feel during and after your practice. Your space can be filled with your props and any other visual cues like an altar or a poster displaying an intention or affirmation. Often anxiety about the other obligations we have in our life can overpower our desire to begin or maintain our own home daily practice so having those visual cues of your dedication can be very helpful. Give yourself the gift of creating a little space in your life and in the day that will be a sacred practice for self-care.

2. No rules

A yoga practice is just that, a practice and twenty minutes of daily yoga practice is more likely to show positive results sooner than two hours of occasional practice. So allow yourself to let go of a rigid idea of what your home daily yoga practice should look like and see if there are any natural breaks in your day that might lend themselves to begin a practice with the time available.

3. Listen

Take some time at the beginning of your practice to notice how your body is feeling. Are there places in your body where you need to release tension and stretch? Are there place that need more gentleness and compassion? Do you have energy you need to release? Also notice what is happening in your mind. What kind of mood are you in today? What kind of thoughts are you thinking? Are there any shifts you would like to make in your mind that your yoga practice could help you with? Notice your breath too. Your breath can be an excellent indicator of how you are doing. Is your breath fast or shallow? Are you able to breath easily into all parts of your torso? Use this information to get a feel for what you need from your practice each day.

4. Use your breath

Use your breath at the beginning of your practice to clear your mind, setting the intention that you will be present with your body, mind and breath for your whole practice. You can begin with deep belly breaths and work into a three-part breath or ujjayi breath.

5. Choose Your Asana

Asanas are the poses we do in our yoga practice. For your asana practice it is nice to start with some poses to warm up your body like the six movements of the spine (cat/cow, side stretch and twists) and a few sun salutations. From there you could move into other poses based on how your body and mind are feeling that day. You can get ideas for which poses to do by making some mental notes in class on how the different poses make you feel and which ones you like or feeling like might be healing for you. If want some more help and guidance with a personalized therapeutic home practice, you could see me for Private Yoga Therapy Sessions.

6. Get Creative

  • Have kids and find it hard to make time for your practice? Make your yoga practice “Family Fun Time”.
  • Standing in line at the grocery store? Come into Tadasana and take a few conscious breaths.
  • Feeling tension in your neck and shoulders at work? Take a five minute break and do the 6 movements of your spine right from your office chair.
  • Having trouble sleeping? Lay in your bed and swing your legs up the wall coming into the Great Rejuvenator, Vipariti Karani.

Infographic - Tips for your home yoga practice

Tips for Your First Yoga Class

Curious about yoga but afraid to try it out?

I will be offering a new round of my Empowerment Yoga for Beginners class, starting April 19th, and I know that yoga can be intimating if you’ve never tried it before. However, yoga is a beautiful practice that can be beneficial to your overall health. Here are a few tips for your first yoga class to ensure that your experience as a beginner is as smooth, beautiful and healing as can be!

Short version - yoga tipsTip 1: Be an earlybird

We all have our zone of comfort and arriving early to       meet with the teacher, set yourself up, and pick your favourite spot, will help you begin your first class from a more relaxed place.

Tip 2: Dress for comfort

Speaking of comfort, you want to wear clothes that you feel comfortable in and that will also allow you to move your body. Dressing in layers is a great idea because, depending on the style and flow of the class, you may be warmer or cooler. Most classes end with a pose called Savasana, where you will be laying on the floor in a relaxed state for a few minutes, and you don’t want to miss out on the bliss that is Savasana by being chilly.

Tip 3: It’s about Practice, not Perfection

Please do not worry about what the other students’ poses look like or even how the teacher appears in the pose. Every body is different and every body has different needs. Always practice in a way that is minimizing your risk for injury while maximizing the benefits of yoga. One of my favourite things to remind students about is that we always adapt the poses for our body’s needs rather than trying to adapt our body to the pose. Yoga is a practice not a state of perfection.

Tip 4: Choose wisely

How do you know how to adapt a pose? Look for a teacher who will offer modifications for any needs you might have like an injury, illness or life stage. This goes back to 1 – Be an earlybird so that you can discuss any needs or concerns with your teacher. It’s also a great idea to check out the different styles of yoga offered where you live online beforehand so that you can make an informed choice. Not all styles of yoga are the same so you want to choose the best one for your needs.

Tip 5: The 8 limbs of Yoga

Most classes focus on the physical aspect of yoga, asana, or poses. In truth, asana is just one of the eight limbs of yoga, which also include guidance for everyday life, breathwork and meditation. Asana was primarily developed to allow the yogis to sit in meditation for longer periods of time. So I invite you again to let go of worrying about how “perfect” your poses are, and maybe notice more what is happening in your mind during your asana practice. How we show up for yoga is how we show up for life.

Tip 6: “I really regret going to yoga” said no one EVER!

Yoga is an incredible practice offering so many benefits to our bodies, minds and spirits when it is practiced safely and with awareness.

I hope this guide helps you to feel ready to start your own yoga journey and I hope to see you on a yoga mat soon! You can register for my upcoming beginner class here.

Love,

Krystal