Now that in the Northern Hemisphere it’s summer, I got several times per week the same question: is there a way to accept my body?
We live in a society where physical appearance has an overrated role. Also, the idea of what is considered beautiful or even acceptable is dictated by social media trends, that are absolutely disruptive to many people’s self-esteem or self-image.
We are continuously getting suggestions about how slim, long, fit, and smooth women should be and how cared, fit, and lean men should be.
Yet, most of us have a body that changes, that evolves, that shows the signs of age, of our lives, of our choices. Blindly following the trends is not a good nor a wise choice.
The social pressure for a specific kind of body can create a disconnection between our actual bodies and the image we create of them.
In this way, many of us struggle with our bodies. We are not happy with how they look, they move, they work, they are made. Quite often in my webinars, seminars, lessons, and coaching practice, I hear people complaining that they cannot make that move, they cannot hold that position, they are not flexible, they are not fit, they are too big, they are too contracted, up to the worst of all, that they are too ugly.
Many people are not doing so great with appreciating or accepting their bodies.
So, today I want to show you a meditation and mindfulness exercise that will help you to feel stronger, to stay as tall as a mountain in hard times, or when in doubt.
I will show you that when we finally give up the identification between us and the external aspect of our bodies, we can relax, we can chill down, we can stop considering ourselves at fault as we are not as a trend would like us to be.
In this way, we will work on awareness and at the same time, we will get rid of the negative pressure of (self-) judgment.
Standing tall as a mountain
To start this exercise, find a place where you can practice for 10 to 15 minutes undisturbed. Turn off your phones or at least mute your notifications. Wear something comfortable or loose up your dresses.
You can practice this mountain exercise in the position that most suits you: standing, sitting, or even lying down.
Start by breathing out completely and then breathe in from your nose and breathe out from your mouth for all the length of the practice. You can keep your eyes open or closed, just as you prefer.
- Breathe deeply, pushing slightly out your belly when inhaling and contracting it when exhaling. After several breaths, bring your attention to your body. Become progressively aware of how you feel here and now.
- Notice how your body interacts with the environment. If you are standing, feel your feet touching the ground, your weight evenly distributed over them, and your body relaxing while you continue breathing. If you are sitting, feel your thighs and buttocks touching the chair. If you are supine, feel your entire back touching the mattress. Make a body scan and become aware of how your entire body feels. Notice if you are tense or relaxed, and notice if you have some pain points, some stiffness, or some discomfort.
- Now, start getting rid of your thoughts. Let them pass through your mind without remaining attached to them. Imagine that they are like clouds that are getting blown away by the wind, leaving you under a perfectly blue sky. Then, start thinking about a mountain, that stays tall at the horizon. You can see it in its entirety, from where it comes out from the ground and up to where it reaches the sky. Imagine its details, the ones you prefer, there are no wrong answers here, that’s YOUR mountain!
- Then, start getting closer to the mountain up to the point where you can become the mountain. Your entire body is the mountain. Your head has become the top of the mountain, its peak, your torso is the core of the mountain, your legs and feet are the roots of the mountain, getting to the ground and under it.
- Now, every time you breathe in, imagine bringing in you, in your mountain, the energy of the Universe. You are filling up you, the mountain, with all this pure, nourishing, refreshing energy. With each breathing out, imagine sending out all your negative feelings, attitudes, and behaviors about your body, the mountain. You stand as tall as this mountain, and you are perfect as you are, you are thankful for your strength, resilience, and shape. Feel how good it is being free from the negative impact of what others expect from you and your body, the mountain. Enjoy the freedom of becoming unconcerned about what the other mountains are thinking, how they appear, and where they are. You are here and now, breathing calmly.
- Repeat yourself three times: I am a mountain. I stand tall as a mountain. I feel at ease and appreciate how I am and appear. I am this mountain and I am my body. I feel calm, relaxed, and stable.
End this meditation with three deep breaths, then get back to your normal daily activities.
Did you try this exercise? Did it help you as it helped me?