I’ve come to realize, after decades of wrestling with my body image, how much happier I am when I live from the inside out.
For the last few months, I’ve been asking my body, what do I really need. Need is one of those tricky words. Sometimes it rides in tandem with what we want. Sometimes, it doesn’t. The answers were pretty simple. My body told me to 1. Move more. 2. Eat lots of veggies, beans, fish, some fruit. She told me sugar really was my enemy.
And she told me this: move towards whatever brings me into greater freedom, in body, mind and spirit.
I’ve been listening. I’m feeling better. My body feels more coherent, more beautiful.
And then..one day…I stepped on the scale and…I didn’t lose as much weight as I thought I did. As I thought I should. My idea collided with a number. The result? I got depressed. I moved less. I ate some salami.
After a few days of moping, I picked myself up, and began again. I swam my beloved laps. I did more yoga, and not just my usual supine poses but standing poses and easy inversions. I reached for sardines, for berries, for for avocados. My body said yes! I walked Nico, my pup, through redwoods. I started learning a new song on the guitar. I stopped apologizing for a family (of origin’s) judgmental behavior and narrow-mindedness. I got rid of clothes that no longer suited Dayna 2015. All these things move me towards equanimity and freedom.
The body has an intelligence so deep and vast, it tells us what we need and when we need it. I remember asking Ana Forrest, a fierce, and kind yoga teacher, what if you ask your body what she wants and she says “salami.” Ana answered, “there a difference between the voice of knowledge and the voice of addiction.” Echoing this thought, Aadil Palkhivala, another remarkable yoga teacher, said “A body in balance will crave that which keeps it in balance. A body out of balance will crave that which keeps it out of balance.”
Which is why developing practices around food and eating can be so helpful. Give your body some love and attention, give her good food, fresh air, and lots of movement, and she pays it back by wanting more. She pays it back with greater joy. And definitely greater freedom.
Bodies from the Inside Out. What it is: tapping into our body wisdom to show us how to walk our path towards greater freedom. What it’s not: Judging ourself from, well, the outside in. There’s no end to the pain this can cause. We are more than our wrinkles or our clothing size. We are more a number on the scale.