Yoga & body acceptance

Yoga & body acceptance

The beauty of body acceptance…and that moment you realise your worth. Give yourself permission to go the distance, to discover how you deserve to feel within each and every day! By Alexandra Reece-Ford

Body acceptance is the daunting reality most of us face every time we look in the mirror: when we try to squeeze into those jeans or embark upon rigorous fast-paced exercise and diet regimes that only ever seem to fill us with dread when the time comes.

But do we ever think that slowing down and finding connection will take us into a place of true self-acceptance to fall in love with who we are, as we are, without the negative connotation of body image? It’s something we never dreamt was possible…until now!

Yoga teaches us to be who we are in the moment we are in, releasing the anxieties of yesterday and the fear of tomorrow. It allows us to just be in that space to focus on our intentions of how we want to feel and the awareness that life only ever truly exists in that moment.

When we learn to be present, our thought processes begin to shift and we embrace the changes that we feel within.

We get obsessed with how we look, the size of our clothes, the number on the scales, and how we feel others perceive us. However, in reality, do any of these things make us actually feel good or do they just increase the pressure of our perception of ‘perfection’ within us?

Slowing down long enough to listen to your feelings and emotions about your body will give you your starting point to body awareness, to move away from self-judgement and the thought of others’ opinions and societies expectations on how we ‘should’ look.

Let’s take the aesthetical factor out and just ‘feel’ what we want to ‘feel’ within.

Yoga takes time and patience to achieve your desired outcome, but the best thing is the connection never ends; you will always find more acceptance, you will grow stronger each and every day and you will love yourself a little more with every breath you take. When we channel the negative thoughts and feelings about our body image, we create self-respect, we learn to love ourselves like we did before expectation and judgement framed our self-perception.

Finding acceptance is one of the most beautiful things you will do in your lifetime. No matter what your background or your past traumas, you will be so proud to be moving on that path of healing: the contentment you will feel within as you move with purpose on your mat, the way breathing with intention impacts your mindset to nourish and fuel your being with life force and the acknowledgement that everything you ever needed to be happy was right there within you all along. It is the most empowering feeling you will experience, much more than the feeling of finally doing those jeans up!

Don’t be scared of the prospect of change. Embracing a different path in life is growth and becomes that pivotal moment that we truly know we are living; we realise our worth and start to appreciate the love we have for the skin we are in. Our imperfections make us unique, and those feelings we have about the areas we self-judge will give us a different outlook when we shift our perspective.

Yoga & body acceptance

A question I ask a lot is: What area of your body do you feel you focus on with negativity? The answers vary, but one that seems to stand out a lot is arms (or ‘bingo wings’ as they are commonly referred to in the UK). My answer is simple: Love your arms because they are there to hug the ones you love and the feeling you get from that contact is worth so much more. Reframing your mindset is something yoga and meditation will give you.

It can be hard to accept ourselves. It is tough to not get caught in the cycle of trying everything on the outside to feel happier. But, ultimately, it is like eating a chocolate bar when you feel down, it gives you a lift for five minutes and you come crashing down. Yoga and meditation give you so much more than that quick fix, your mind is calmer, you respond instead of react, your body feels amazing and that lift stays with you like you are finally rising into the best version of yourself. The feeling of peace begins to move into your life on and off the mat; to bring mindfulness into each and every day, giving you a new-found love and respect that you will want to continue to grow with and move forwards in your life. And when you arrive back on your mat you will find a whole new acceptance. It is a lifestyle change that will make you wonder why it has taken you so long to try it.

Your yoga journey won’t be straightforward. Like anything worthwhile it takes time to connect, it takes time to not feel silly or compare yourself to others and it takes time to adjust your mindset that this may actually change your life. But when you reach that point in your life when you have tried it all and still aren’t happy within, that’s when you know it’s time to go inwards. Are you about to gain something you never thought possible in your wildest dreams?

Yoga is the key to a new life that lasts. That is true strength! You will change your life when you commit to yourself each and every day, your mind and body as one to find true happiness within everyday life no matter your circumstances. Yoga does not discriminate, it is not one size fits all, it is not just stretching, it is the beauty of feeling confident within yourself each time you look in the mirror, feeling content when you get dressed, being who you are and the calm feeling within the chaos around you.

Find yourself in the stillness to regain your life and get connected with the skin you are in. Connect with your worth every day with yoga!

Alexandra Reece-Ford is a Hatha yoga teacher based in Essex. Visit: or find her on Instagram @yoga_byalexandra

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.