Recently, I published advice along with a photo on how to get and maintain a bikini body. The steps were simple:
1. Get a Bikini. 2. Put it on your body. 3. Realize how hot you are!
The idea was to use confidence to “get a bikini body” and
throw away negative feelings of how women are “supposed” to look in bathing suits.
My hope was to help re-infuse women with a bit of empowerment and bravery to get out and prance, strut or dance feeling more comfortable in their own skin.
To go with the piece, I used my own photo. Driving the notion that we should put ourselves out there and not feel shy or bad about our bodies.
The majority of the responses were favorable but some commented that the article should’ve featured a photo of “a real woman” who is “less toned”.
I appreciate that these women think I have an athletic physique, I do practice a lot of vigorous asana… and enjoy being active, but I used a shot of myself to add authenticity to the article.
Am I not a real woman? I have a vagina, breasts, I get my period.
I am sensual and sensitive and feminine and strong, compassionate, creative, loving, capable and so much more.
What is a “real” woman anyway?
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone- especially women – would stop tearing one another down about what a ‘real woman’ looks like. Every single woman that looks in the mirror sees a reflection of a real woman staring back at her! I’m pretty sure it is my genetics and chromosomes that determine whether I am a real woman. The number on the scale, dress size, breast size, ass size, jean size has nothing to do with my femininity.
Maybe the women who criticized my photo wanted to see a picture of an “average” woman… Well, I’m 5 feet tall, so certainly I’m not ever going to be average sized in North America. However, I would be average height and weight in China. If I headed to Sweden, I’d fall way short, where average REAL women are 5″6 and 147lbs (which would be a giant in Bahrain). But that doesn’t matter anyway, because I am not an average woman, and I never will be. Why would I ever label myself average when I want to be extraordinary? Successful? Strong? I am human. I am a female. I am alive. I bleed real blood. I have real hair. I have real fat in certain places and real muscle tone in others. I have real bones and real teeth and real feet and toes…
I’m pretty sure I’m a real woman.
I am more curvy than many yogis out there. In fact often when I’m at yoga festivals I feel like one of the bigger women due to my substantial hips and twirkable booty. I’ve often felt insecure due to my big thighs and thought that maybe I need to loose a few pounds to better fit in to this industry as a teacher. Then I give myself a swift reality check and realize that I am fine exactly the way I am. I represent a healthy body type of a woman who eats healthily but without restriction. I have never been on a diet. I have never tried to eat less than what would satisfy me during a meal. I have altered my style of eating to include more greens, grains, fruits, veggies and less fats and sugars. But this isn’t a diet. It just makes me feel good.
My body looks as it does because of my lifestyle of health and wellness.
My physique is a result of years of searching for a way of being that makes me happiest and finding it in yoga, adventure, mindfulness and healthy eating.
I am just as real as any other woman. I have feelings and insecurities. I have cellulite and wrinkles. I have areas of my body that I want to improve. But I’ve decided to stop dwelling on those points and start embracing the REAL woman that I am. I will continue to be active, because it makes me feel good. If this leads to a certain body type, so be it. I will continue to practice yoga because it feeds my soul. I will continue to eat as I like because its fun! If eating healthy makes my physical appearance change, well that is a consequence of consumption, not an effort to look a certain way.
I am who I am. I put myself out there- half naked and unphotoshopped. Take it or leave it.