The new year can bring a lot of energy and momentum that can be a positive catalyst for change. It’s a time that encourages the exploration of new goals and adventures.
After a holiday season of over-indulging, it can also be a time when there may be an inclination to jump head first into a new fitness regime or diet plan.
While this inspiration to begin a new fitness routine can be a positive one, far too often the new year can throw well-meaning fitness enthusiasts into a negative spiral of punishing their bodies while not taking into account the wellbeing of their minds.
There can be quite a bit of toxicity in the world of body image that can make you doubt your inner greatness through self-comparison to a perceived “ideal” body type. To be fully accepting of your body can feel like rebellion in the face of our culture’s constant feedback of how a body should look.
Often times the new year can throw well-meaning fitness enthusiasts into a negative spiral of punishing their bodies while not taking into account the wellbeing of their minds.
One of the best ways to counter these toxic messages is to do all you can to love your body wholeheartedly. What better way to offer your body some much-deserved love than by diving deep into the healing world of self-care practices and offering your body respect, support, and attention?
Here Are 3 Self-Care Practices for a Body-Positive Start to the New Year:
Self-care practices can be effective tools on the path toward acceptance. These self-care practices promote a body-positive inner dialogue – one focused on admiring your beautiful body and all its capabilities.
Below are three practices you can use to celebrate your body. By practicing mindfulness and self-compassion, you can start to shift your perspective so you see yourself as a whole person rather than fragmented parts of a body that needs to be fixed or changed.
Check out these self-care practices for beautiful ways to honor your body and nourish a body-positive relationship.
1. Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose)
Restorative Yoga is a wonderful way to cultivate self-care. This restorative posture is great for exploring how to find an open, expansive energy while still staying grounded. This pose offers the unique opportunity of being seen, just as you are.
By practicing being seen on your mat, you have an opportunity to explore this feeling in a safe, contained environment. You can then translate this confidence into everyday life. In this pose, encourage your body to take up as much space as it needs.
Let’s try it:
- Prop up a bolster or couch cushion onto two blocks. Place the first block on its lowest height and the second block on its medium height
- Lay the bolster over the blocks. Feel free to adjust the second block to the highest height if that feels more comfortable
- Place a low, folded blanket at the top of the bolster for your head to rest on
- Snuggle your hips as close to the bolster as possible and lay back on top of it
- Bring the soles of your feet to touch, open your knees to the sides, and lay your thighs on either blocks or firm pillows
- If you’d like, gently rest an eye pillow over your eyes and a blanket over your belly. A blanket placed on the abdomen adds a sense of grounding
- Hold for five to 10 minutes
2. Viparita Karani Variation (Legs Up The Wall Variation)
This pose is revered for its powerful benefits, including reducing stress and easing anxiety. This gentle inversion soothes the nervous system, making it a go-to pose for relaxation. It’s one of the best self-care practices to reset when you need an energetic or emotional boost. It’s also a wonderful tool for winding down at the end of the day.
Elevating your legs creates a gentle inversion and improves circulation. Practicing this pose nourishes tired legs and feet. You will find it is a quick and easy way to rejuvenate your both body and mind.
Let’s try it:
- Place two blocks on their highest height, six inches apart from one another
- Arrange a bolster or couch cushion horizontally over the blocks
- Lay on your back and swing your legs over the bolster so the backs of your knees rest at the edge of your bolster
- Hold for five to 10 minutes
3. Golden Light Meditation
This meditation marries mind, body, and breath, fostering a union ideal for a supportive body-positive image. The visualization incorporated in this meditation is a great way to quiet negative thoughts and create a harmonious mind-body connection.
Through encouraging the mind to focus on a positive, feel-good focal point, negative self-talk takes a back seat.
Meditation offers the unique opportunity to view your mind’s inner dialogue. When your mind wanders during this meditation, take a moment to check in with the places your mind travels.
Meditation offers the unique opportunity to view your mind’s inner dialogue.
Take note when negative self-talk bubbles its way up to the surface. Try your best not to make judgments. Simply notice where your thoughts carry you and gently encourage your mind to tune back into the meditation.
Over time, it will become easier to redirect your mind toward more positive, nourishing thoughts.
Let’s try it:
- Find a comfortable seat or lie down
- Connect with your breath, tuning into the natural rhythm of its flow
- With every inhale, visualize a warm, golden light entering your body
- Allow this light-infused breath to fill your entire body, reaching every fingertip and every toe
- With every inhale, visualize this golden light warming your body
- Turn your attention to your out-breath
- With every exhale, look for the places where you can release tension, and soften your outer body
- Especially focus on your neck, shoulders, and the features of your face, releasing your jaw and the space between your eyebrows
- Continue breathing. With each breath, breathe in golden light and exhale tension
- If you find that one area of your body needs a bit more attention, focus both the golden light inhale and outer-body-softening exhale on this particular body part. It might be a place in your body where there is physical pain or a place that needs a bit more appreciation and love
- Stay with this meditation for as long as it feels good
- When you finish, notice the positive effects of this meditation as it opens your body and relieves stress
Incorporate These Body-Positive Self-Care Practices Into Your Everyday Life!
Incorporating these self-care practices into your daily routine is an effective way to cultivate a healthy body image.
Give these self-care practices a try for a positive and bright new year.
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