For my friends who struggle with body image, weight issues, eating and anxiety disorders.
Don’t think about gaining or losing weight or how you think or feel about how you look.
Concentrate on nurturing your self with wholesome foods, expansive thoughts, and loving self-care practices.
Take a long, hot bath.
Let yourself dream of what you want to experience and how you want to feel in your life. Allow your actions to support that feeling. Drop actions that don’t support that feeling…
And some other stuff, but that was the gist of it.
On the one hand, it’s refreshing to see Stiles – who generally posts hotel room selfies, pics of knitting projects, and announcements about her new clothing line with Reebok – address something like body image and weight issues. On the other hand, this is a person who wrote a book called Slim Calm Sexy Yoga. A quick search on YouTube reveals:
Which isn’t to say that Tara Stiles has posted 30,000 “weight loss” yoga routines on YouTube, as some of those results are playlists that other people made or keywords that they used. But the search results did turn up things like:
Anyway, so when I saw Stiles’ post I couldn’t help myself and I made a comment that went something like: “This is a nice sentiment but I hope you understand that publishing a book called Slim Calm Sexy Yoga actually perpetuates negative body image. It’s easy to spout body positivity rhetoric, but it’s more difficult to change actions and reflect on the impact of your work.” It got a few likes. A few people commented, saying I was being negative.
Then the comment was deleted. Probably because somebody else thought I was being negative.
I love seeing the conversation about body image expand, and it’s great to see high profile yoga teachers acknowledge it. But it’s disappointing to see the lack of connection between previous work and present messaging. It’s disappointing to see a lack of responsibility or recognition that there are many social and cultural factors that play into negative body issues. And it’s most disappointing to see a lack of engagement (deleting a critical comment is actually silencing).
The downside of the mainstreaming of the body image conversation is that words of empowerment can become just words.