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Love Your Body
by Dana Layon, ERYT
NW Women’s Journal

 

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Too many times we look in the mirror and are discouraged by what we see. Our hair should be longer, our teeth whiter, our legs smaller our breasts bigger. And that’s just what I see when I look in the mirror! The point is: we all do it, even yoga instructors.



In our society, the media drives what we are supposed to look like. Thin bodies, flawless skin, shiny hair but they don’t ask us how we feel on the inside. Do any of us know? When was the last time you looked in the mirror and looked past your face – inside your eyes?


The majority of people who come to my yoga classes don’t have perfect bodies – there is a whole range of people – big and small, young and old, fit and not so fit. They come to class with different body types and different intentions.



When I started yoga, I couldn’t touch my toes, I couldn’t find my breath, and I definitely couldn’t do any of the poses I do now. From all the cardio and weight training I had done over the years, my muscles were strong but tight and it was difficult to take long, deep breaths. Savasana (Final Relaxation) was the most difficult pose – five minutes seemed to go on forever!



After I had my babies, I found myself starting from the beginning. My center was hard to find, my physical body had completely changed and my personal hurdle in each class was self-acceptance. I had to accept that my body wasn’t as thin or as strong as it was before. My yoga class took work – it didn’t come easily. This time, Savasana was my favorite pose because I could sit in complete silence – treasuring each last minute.

 


We grow into our yoga practice. Coming to class each time can bring us something different – we name our intention at the beginning of class and honor that intention throughout our practice. We eliminate judging ourselves as each day is different. We release any thought of competition or expectation of the class so we can be fully present and accepting of where we are in each pose.



When we quiet or mind during our deep breaths, we allow ourselves to look inside. Yoga teaches us to look at ourselves from the inside out. What inspires us; what makes us happy; what humbles us. It also teaches us self-acceptance.


Yoga is not a destination to the perfect body it’s a journey of self-awareness and acceptance – being content with where we are right now in our bodies and in our life.

 

Copyright © 2009, Dana Layon. All rights reserved. No part of this program, manual or book may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means electronically, mechanically or other means without express, written permission from the publisher.

 

Have a comment or question? Visit our Yoga Forum to start or join a conversation.

 

 

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About the Author

 

Dana Layon, E-RYT, began practicing Iyengar Yoga in 1997 and then Prenatal Yoga during her first pregnancy in 2002. In 2003, she was introduced to Vinyasa “Flow” Yoga, a westernized style of yoga guiding movement with breath. She has never gone back to traditional exercise because of the overall benefits she realizes with a dedicated yoga practice.

 

Currently her main program is her Zen Flow Yoga School nationally accredited with the Yoga Alliance. The school offers a 10 month program that educates aspiring teachers how to help others realize all the benefits of yoga. The course includes teaching methodology and technique, postural alignment, yogic philosophy, anatomy and the business of teaching yoga.

 

Dana is also available to speak on a myriad of wellness topics including Finding Your Passion In Life; Benefits of Meditation; Living Your Optimal Life; Making Time for Your Health; Live Long and Light: do YOGA. She currently holds monthly, life transforming, educational workshops in Vancouver, Washington and is available for speaking engagements nationwide. See the Workshops page of her site for more information.

 

She leads Spiritual Warrior Retreats twice a year – geared toward women empowerment and unity.

 

She teaches Zen Flow 5 times per week; prenatal classes once a week and kids yoga twice a week, offering yoga and life virtues to children ages 3-10.

 

Her books, Surviving the Human Experience with Spiritual Intention and Om (AUM) will both be published by November 2010.


 

 

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