I’ve often had students ask me if yoga will help them lose weight. It’s a valid question, as many people come to yoga to improve their health and maybe even achieve the coveted “yoga butt.” However, the answer is somewhat loaded and is worth examining.
We live in a society where media is virtually inescapable. It’s an advertisers job to send us one clear message: You are not complete… unless you buy this product. They try to sell us the idea that looking a certain way and owning certain things will make us happy. This plays into the natural human penchant for that ever-gnawing desire. This has even seeped into the yoga world. Flip through an issue of Yoga Journal and the advertisements are filled with beautiful, slim, white, and uber-spiritual women. For the average person, it’s easy to take that in and feel like we’re personally falling short. There’s a sneaky little invasive voice in our heads that says maybe, just maybe, if you buy those $100 yoga pants and that $50 weight-loss supplement, you’ll be closer to achieving personal fulfillment!
So what does a personal yoga and mindfulness practice actually do? To put it bluntly, it’s cuts out all the bullshit. Through increasing mind-body awareness, the truth becomes clear: You are worthy, you are beautiful, and at your core, you are pure love and light. You’ll find, through time and practice, that your relationship with your body changes. It is not something to disdain, but something to celebrate! It becomes easier to make healthy choices for you and the environment, and it feels glorious to move your body like the divine being you really are. When you find peace with yourself, something magical happens: your body finds equilibrium. This might mean losing or gaining weight. You will be fit and radiant with what feels like effortless ease.
Will this match the images of beauty the media constantly throws our way? Probably not. But you’ll have something that is real, precious, and sacred: A body, mind, and spirit in glorious union. And that is something that cannot be bought or sold: the potential already lives inside of you and that divine seed is just waiting to sprout.