Body Love & Yoga Inclusivity – Meet Sarah LowensteinJune 11, 2015
The Yoga and Body Image Coalition is committed to building conscious community and highlighting the work that inspiring yogis are doing in their local communities and beyond. We’re pleased to introduce you to Yoga and Body Image Coalition’s community ally, Sarah Lowenstein.
How has yoga impacted your image with your body?
It’s constantly evolving. Each time I step onto my mat, I am giving myself the opportunity to work with the body I have in that moment. I am deeply honoring and deeply connecting to its unique balances and imbalances, which has certainly evolved from the disconnected relationship I once had with my body. The longer I have been practicing, the more I am able to drop in to my own sense of integrated connection with myself.
Does yoga promote body positivity?
The practice of yoga promotes positive body image, but the public perception of yoga isn’t being addressed as much publicly yet as it should be.
The conversation is now progressing towards a more diverse, inclusive and body positive practice for all – that’s why I absolutely admire the work that the Yoga and Body Image Coalition and similar individuals are doing to spread the message of diversity in yoga! The push to truly change the conversation leaves me so excited for what the future will bring!
What does “healthy body image” mean to you?
Having a healthy body image means being content with where my body is at right now. One of my favorite vegan bloggers, JL Fields coined the phrase “Stop chasing skinny”, and I have found that simple phrase to profoundly shift my perspective. I spent my whole life “chasing skinny” by any means necessary, including (but not limited to) eating disorders and extreme exercise.
My experience as a cisgender woman had previously conditioned me to believe that larger bodies are not okay, my squishy belly is not okay, the layer of fat around my hips is not okay and the double chin that shows up a lot, is not okay. I have found that my definition of healthy body image lies within my ability to be truly content with all of it: my belly, my chin, my hips. Whatever my size, I seek wholeness and health over pant size any day.
How can we as a society promote a healthy body image for all?
Representation is key. When people see how diverse yoga bodies can be, it opens the door wide open for those who may not have ever considered trying yoga. The images out there now (and have been for awhile) are primarily white, affluent, thin, cisgender women in her twenties, which can be intimidating to those who don’t fit into that limiting definition of a yogi body. I love seeing how social media has finally begun to embrace highlighting more images of diverse people who practice yoga. The next step is more diverse teachers who create inclusive classes for their communities!
Describe one of your transformational moments on your mat.
The most transformational moment for me has been simply having a body. Really. For most of my life, this strange appendage I called a body was just something that got me from point A to point B, something that moved me through my asanas, but rarely felt like much more. Towards the end of a particularly challenging class from my first teacher, Bill Dorigan, he had us put our hands on our hip bones, feeling how they felt as we moved through a slow sequence. It was the first time I felt: Oh, those are my hip bones. It may sound overly simplistic, but up until that point, I really felt no direct connection to my body. I now have this body and I now LOVE IT! I am so grateful for his patience and guidance – it’s changed my life.
Sarah is a bold, magnetic visionary whose passionate and grounding spirit emboldens students to go into the unknown to ultimately lead to radical, creative freedom. Classes with Sarah are powerful, engaging, humorous, and move through a creative flow that unravels outworn structures to invite students into their own greatness. She is inspired by her teacher, Shannon Paige, Carl Sagan, mythology, music, social justice, her life experiences, students, and her husband.
Find me at: http://www.sarahlowensteinyoga.com.