Yoga is a practice I respect a lot, and it has helped me empower myself in more ways than one. But apart from misconceptions people have about yoga, there are lingering issues about the practice until now. One of them is that “you should look a certain way” to be a yogi—something I don’t agree with.
I recently caught up with a fellow yoga teacher, Karina Dayrit, and got into the topic of body positive yoga. I met her at Treehouse Yoga three years ago when she used to teach there. Karina got into yoga after she had trouble breathing during an intense fitness session in a gym and almost passed out. Her mom suggested that she worked on her breathing through yoga, and after one class, she fell in love. Just like me (and many yogis out there), she got addicted to the point of attending two classes a day. #yogaddict
Because of the positive energy and inspiration of her teachers, she became a teacher herself in 2017. After years of teaching, feedback, and training, she’s now certified in Ashtanga-Vinyasa, Yin Yoga, Enhanced Hatha & Yoga Therapy, and Animal Flow.
Body positivity especially among women is just one of the things Karina is passionate about, seeing as she even wrote a song about it. (You can scroll to the bottom of the post to give it a listen!) From our conversation, here are five things Karina and I have to share about body positivity.
- Our bodies are constantly changing. We’re not young forever; our skin will sag, lines will appear, we’ll put on and lose some weight—so being obsessed with looking perfect isn’t worth it. What we do have to make sure is that we practice self-care, so the “inside” doesn’t rot away.
Yoga has helped plenty of people around me own their strength and love their bodies, no matter their shape or size. The practice is really more about your internal transformation, and all the other perks are a bonus.
- We are so exposed to the achievements of people around us that we tend to compare ourselves to them (he’s got a car, she’s got abs, she can do the headstand!) but we don’t know the whole story of how they got to where they are. Meet yourself where you are at and start from there.
No one starts from the middle or near the finish line—we all start in the beginning. Each one of us have our own journeys to go through, and it’s not worth focusing your energy on others’ successes. But in the moments you do, try to make it inspire you, not bring you down. 🙂
- Having a solid support system helps. Whether it’s a group or just one person whom you know appreciates you for you, it can do wonders in moments when you don’t believe in yourself. But know that at the end of the day, you come home to the thoughts you have about who you are.
The people you surround yourself with can greatly influence your mindset. Surround yourself with those who genuinely care about your wellbeing and success, and offer them the same type of love.
- You are more than a beautiful face or having a cute butt. Find something that you love doing and are good at and share it with the world!
Yoga has given me the confidence and ability to believe in myself in pursuing other creative interests. For me, it’s this blog and offering my services of teaching, calligraphy, and card reading. For Karina, it’s expressing herself through dancing, singing, and discussing highly relevant issues in her podcast. (Seriously, this girl is multi-talented!)
- People will always have something to say about you—good and bad. You can either let them define who you are, or you can decide for yourself.
Hey, you can’t please everyone. The important thing is you please yourself. Value your opinions first, and the inner peace will follow.
Conversations about Body Positive Yoga
I asked Karina a few questions about body positive yoga to get to the nitty-gritty of the subject. Our body image is something that will always affect us, and it’s a personal story. Below is hers.
- How has yoga influenced your perception of body image? Did it affect it at all?
Yoga has helped me gain more understanding and acceptance of myself, not just on a physical level but also with how I think and process my thoughts. After all, how we talk to ourselves affects how we view ourselves. I remember being empowered by the older women in the class who were only wearing sports bras and shorts and how they looked so comfortable in their skin. That’s when I started becoming a “hubadera” too (joke) and not caring much about what others would say.
- Have you been insecure about your body image as a woman? What are some things you’ve heard from others/thoughts you’ve had, and what did you do to overcome or cope with those?
100% yes and I still have my moments until now. The negative self-talk can be draining, and sometimes it’s not even your own voice who is talking but it so happens to be the words of others. Being able to identify the difference is one step. I guess it helps to find at least one thing you love about yourself and know that everyone has their own flaws. It’s now up to us if we want to highlight the good or focus on the bad.
- How are you trying to change the conversation about body image in yoga?
We recently had a podcast in Grit and Ground on the topic of holding space with our guest speaker, Rachel Bonifacio. Before starting a class, I need to ask people how they are, what they would like to expect from the session, and to assure them that they are not here to perform. I always emphasize that every body is different and that yoga is not really so much about attaining a certain level of physique, but rather a work inwards.
- What inspired you to write a song about female body positivity?
“What is the point of looking good if you still look in the mirror and you don’t know who you are and you don’t love what you see”, says Yoga with Adriene in her talk. This is a strong statement that inspired me to write the song “Who Is She” because being at home most of the time, there would be times I’d have a cheat day and go on to pinch my belly and feel a little bad about myself. There are a lot of mirrors at home too, which gave birth to one of my fave lines from the song: “the mirror is silent, but it speaks.” The question now is, what is it saying?
Learning to Love Yourself
We’re all working through our journeys when it comes to body acceptance, and a lot of what Karina shared with me are things I can relate to deeply. She also gave me a chance to listen to her song “Who Is She” (now streaming on Spotify), which captures her insights. Check out the home video on Youtube below, and feel free to subscribe to her if you like what you see! You can also check out Karina on Instagram and Facebook.
Happy Sunday, folks!