Yoga and body acceptance: can constant practice lead us to a path of loving kindness towards our outer appearance and our inner nature? The answer is yes: we’ve had this conversation by letting Simona Tarabini inspire us: yoga teacher and founder of the Bali Yoga centers in Milan, she has shared her personal experience with the readers of Lover’s Journal. From the practice of asanas to breathing techniques, the search for our inner self through yoga can teach us to embrace our body the way it is, distancing ourselves from stereotyped images and external conditioning.
Simona, every woman should live in total freedom to be able to express herself. Can yoga help us to live in a healthy condition of acceptance of the body in all its essence?
Yoga does even more than that: not only does it allow to accept who we are on the outside, but it also helps to accept and welcome all that we are deep inside. Starting precisely from this, we can appreciate all the personal characteristics that we might consider defects.
A non-conflictual relationship with our body also guarantees a strong inner peace. How to consolidate your inner balance through yoga?
The profound balance between body, mind and soul is our duty: we need to feed it so that our life van be seen as a light flow and not a heavy and forced transit. Starting from the practice on yoga mats, even after a few lessons, we find ourselves listening to something which goes beyond the physical body; you feel emotions that perhaps had been kept hidden, never-approached fears and joys slowly surface. It is in that moment that yoga of awareness begins; you begin to flow in the physical part (the asanas) with more and more presence and lightness, the body lets itself be carried into unexplored spaces and the mind is freed from emotional conditioning and blocks. After some time, you will naturally find yourself doing pranayama (conscious breathing techniques), stopping in meditation and feeling the deep peace that leads our own body to naturally return to balance with the mind and our deepest essence. Yoga offers both a journey that from the body proceeds towards mind and soul (from asanas towards conscious breathing and the inner peace of meditation) and a journey that from the soul proceeds towards mind and body (from conscious breathing that leads to states of meditation deep to arrive at a true meditation in movement, even in life).
We often hear about eating disorders. In addition to psychotherapeutic support, is it possible to invite those who suffer from it to approach yoga to get closer to a greater acceptance of their body?
Certainly. With practice led by sensitive and attentive teachers, you are guided in recognizing yourself better, in observing yourself and also realizing in a deeper way that you may need help to overcome a difficulty that cannot be faced alone. The whole process starts from recognition: both physical and meditative practice leads to this goal. Yoga is not a substitute for medical treatment, but it can be an incredible facilitator.
Pranayama: Breathing techniques are unknown to those who do not practice. Yet, from a simple pause (stopping to breathe, literally) you can benefit so much for your mind and body. How does breathing help us feel centered?
Breathing is the involuntary action that, activated with awareness, can allow us to calm states of anxiety, reverse and calm emotional fluctuations and feel even more in the present. Pranayama techniques act on the nervous system and, by lowering the brain waves, give us calm and presence towards us, reducing distractions of external elements. Just as the mind and intense emotional states can shorten the breath, in the same way the voluntary action on the breath acts on mental states bringing us to a state of centered, calm and presence in the present. There are several techniques, to be acquired gradually, which give incredible neurological and emotional benefits.
At Chitè, we imagine the body as a sacred temple, to be honored and respected. On the other hand, it preserves our essence. What do you suggest to women who haven’t found the right balance to be able to fully love themselves?
I suggest they leave the house and smile at the people they meet, they will receive smiles and appreciation; I suggest to be among the people and offer their help if necessary: they will receive thanks and esteem. I suggest giving oneself, to realize in depth that what we are really is much more than a body: we are souls who are naturally led to food.