Having a good body image starts with looking at more bodies that look like your own.
Remember when I talked about the importance of body diversity, looking at a range of body images, especially ones that look like your own, in order to have a better body image? I love that my absolute favorite hot yoga instructor, who I miss dearly with gyms closed right now, is a very fit, very athletic apple shape. I hope she isn’t offended by my saying that if she ever reads this. I think she’s an athletic, super fit apple shape because she has great legs, narrow hips, and like many apple shapes, a fuller chest. I can tell that if she ever gained weight she wouldn’t gain it in her hips and magically become a pear shape or an hourglass.
Let’s talk about body acceptance for an apple shape
Part of my journey to body acceptance is accepting that I won’t ever have that gazelle neck like many pear shapes do. I won’t ever have that teeny tiny waist in comparison to my hips like an hourglass. When I gain weight, I know it will primarily be in my face, neck, back, arms and stomach. That’s my reality, but I also know I’ll never struggle with saddlebags or cankles. My legs will stay slim even if I gain weight everywhere else. Body acceptance for me as an apple shape is accepting the good with the bad and realizing that there isn’t a single person on earth that could say there’s absolutely nothing they would change about their body.
Imperfect bodies in an imperfect world
We live in an imperfect world, and in that imperfect world we have imperfect bodies. Acknowledging that and being grateful for what our bodies can do- push out babies, hike up mountains, hold a tree pose for 3 minutes- instead of just what they look like, really helps with the struggle.
What I love about yoga
Yoga has become so integral in my life because it constantly challenges my body physically, and it’s one of the few athletic activities where you can get better with age. Runners tend to have knee issues eventually. Dancers, wrestlers, boxers are at their peek when they are younger. With most sports and exercise, youth gives you an advantage. This isn’t the case with yoga. Go to any yoga studio and you will see that the most advanced yogis are older. The longer you practice yoga, the better you get at it, and age doesn’t affect this. In fact, it actually helps because with age usually comes more focus, mindfulness, and being fully in the moment.
I used to hate yoga!
It might come as a surprise that I used to hate yoga! I got bored. I didn’t feel like it was challenging enough. I think that all changed when I started doing yoga in a heated room and focused on power Vinyasa instead of just static poses in hatha. I like that power Vinyasa flows from one pose into another. I feel more physically challenged in a class when I’m constantly moving. I think that’s why I would get bored doing hatha yoga or pilates in the past.
Yoga does it all
Someone once told me that yoga is the only exercise that targets all three cornerstones of fitness-strength, flexibility, and cardio vascular health. I don’t know if this is true or not and I could see the focus on strength and flexibility, but once I started to do hot yoga in a fluid Power Vinyasa flow setting, I did start understanding the cardio vascular portion.
Beyond the physical
Is yoga harsh on the body? My friend asked me this on Facebook. My response was -what do you mean by harsh? It’s an amazing workout, super challenging, and after a class you feel amazing. For reference I usually HATE super challenging but for some reason with hot yoga and the element of deep breathing and stretching and mindfulness, being in the present moment and the teacher speaking positive meditations and guiding you through the flow in a warm room, it also feels really luxurious and like a treat. So weird that it is all this plus super challenging too. My other friend also chimed in that it is a super challenging workout but also meditative and relaxing. She said it had done wonders for her anxiety.
What to expect from this exercise video
I love this video from Mistilyn because I get to see someone who has a body shape similar to mine and get a dose of healthy body diversity for my mind and a challenging workout for my body. She packs in so many poses in this 45 minute video! I prefer when instructors fit in as many poses as possible in their class rather than repeating the same ones over and over. If you’re ever in the Seattle area, make sure to check out Mistilyn’s class at 425 Fitness in Redmond! I know she’s also at other studios like Hot Yoga Experience. You can keep up with Mistilyn’s classes and programs here!
Have you ever tried hot yoga? What do you think? What exercise do you love? I’d love to know!
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- 12 pieces = 35 outfits
- tips for choosing each piece specific to flattering your shape
- picture of author wearing each outfit so you can visualize the items on an apple shape