Living Authentically – Meet Saeeda HafizJanuary 29, 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 community ally, Saeeda Hafiz.
What is yoga’s impact on your body image?
I have been a teacher who has had a body type desired by others. People often asked if they did yoga and ate well, would their body look like mine? I emphasized that yoga and eating well helps you find your own true body type.
I was amazed by one of my yoga teachers in the early days (a swami) who looked “out of shape” but did the asanas better than anyone. It was early on my teaching and studying that I understand that our bodies didn’t need to look a specific way to care for it. What was most important was to be in touch with your most authentic body and only you can decide who and what that is.
How can we as a society promote a healthy body image for all?
We as a society can benefit from promoting each person to be as authentic as he/she can be. We are here to advance on our individual as well as collective journey.
In yoga, this means – becoming one, in unity, with the physical expression of your spirit.
The culture would be understanding regarding where each of us are in our growth, physically, mentally and spiritually. You can’t get it wrong, only more right. We would see more variety in body images from all shapes, sizes, skill level, colors, and ages.
How does your work address body image issues?
Now that I am in the wellness industry for public schools, we are promoting healthier habits over what a student or staff member looks like. It is a work in progress. We want students and staff to be healthy – not fit into a manufactured model, especially if it is unrealistic.
Why do you believe these issues and this work is important?
Our bodies are one expression of life and finding peace with it can be a feeling of amazing and pure joy, perceived “flaws” and all.
This is the only body you have for right now. Love it!! Hug it! Treat it like a new and precious friend.
Since January 1990, Saeeda Hafiz has been experiencing the power of her yoga practice and the benefits of eating a whole foods diet. Her initial encounter with this holistic lifestyle led to a personal transformation that ultimately led her to become a certified yoga instructor and holistic nutrition educator for the last 20 years. She is the author of The Healing: A Memoir of Food, Family and Yoga.