Child Bearing Hips

BY SARAH FUHRMANN, E-RYT & DEBBY SIEGEL, MSA, RYT

 

I recently caught up with one of my yoga teacher training leaders, Sarah Fuhrmann, and we discussed something she’s been dedicating her thoughts and actions to – a healthy body image. According to Webster’s lexicographers, Body Image means: the subjective picture or mental image of one’s own body.

Here is Sarah’s:

I’ve been an avid self body shamer my whole life. Ever since I can remember, I was tall and referred to as a “big girl”. When I was a kid I remember wishing to be a boy like my brothers because they could look and act however they wanted and it didn’t matter. When I hit puberty, my hips doubled in size and so did the comments about my body. It’s as if growing into womanhood sent off signals to the world that commenting on my appearance, my body, was acceptable. I just wanted to fucking hide. I used to poke and prod and pinch at all the parts on my body I thought were ugly, oversized, underdeveloped etc.

Poor self image is quite a real thing folks.

I know a lot of women in my own circle besides myself that suffer from it even if unconsciously. The words uttered “I ate too much last night.” “I’m bloated” “Ugh, I didn’t work hard enough in that whatever.” This issue is a united women’s problem and it’s something that we can come together on and help create change in. So why do we as women judge ourselves as harshly as we do? Why do we look at one standard of beauty as the only standard? What if instead we began to embrace our bodies..to idolize our bodies..to feel and connect and realize that all bodies are in fact beautiful amazing vessels capable of amazing things! I won’t say that shifting out of self hate is easy, I still catch myself in it. AND we have to go back years and years into our conditioned behaviors, unmask our biases, and start to see that the stuff we’ve been believing about ourselves and others isn’t the truth. Are you ready to stop lying to yourself and LOVE who you are? I know I am.

Our conversation, coupled with preparation for an upcoming speech I’ve been asked to give on Self Love, got me thinking about how we can effectively shift our head speak to ourselves about our bodies. Here’s what I came up with. May you find some answers here. Sarah and I would love to learn about your shifts and how you overcome the messages we’ve all carried for our lives….

According to the Nobel Prize-winning scientist and Princeton professor Daniel Kahneman, each day we experience approximately 20,000 moments. A moment is defined as a few seconds in which our brain records an experience. The quality of our days is determined by how our brains recognize and categorize our moments—either as positive, negative, or just neutral. Rarely do we remember neutral moments. The memories of our lives are recorded in terms of positive and negative experiences. Scientists are proposing that a ratio of our positive and negative moments contributes to our overall mood. (I guess we needed scientists to tell us this?)  But a somewhat interesting fact elicited by their research, is that this ratio can be used to predict—with remarkable accuracy—everything from workplace performance to divorce.

In marriage counseling, I was introduced to John Gottman‘s exploration of positive-to-negative ratios in marriages. He created his famous Love Lab and discovered a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative for marriages to succeed. They discovered that for every negative interaction during conflict, a stable and happy marriage has five (or more) positive interactions. In their studies, Gottman and his colleagues predicted with 94% accuracy whether 700 newlywed couples would stay together or divorce after 10 years from just one 15-minute conversation between each husband and wife based on their 5:1 ratio.

So let’s extrapolate this. Let’s have a loving marriage with our bodies. Maybe this ratio is where our answer for shifting the self-loathing head speak lies? How about this for a plan… the next time you find yourself in a “negative body moment,” stop, breathe deep, and counteract it with 5 positive statements about your body. If you need some, here’s a list of amazing things your body does for you every single day. Feel free to use them in your 5/1 battle:

  • The largest cell in the human body is the female egg and ironically the smallest is the sperm cell. A woman’s egg is actually the only cell in the body that is visible to the naked eye. Now that is interesting…

  • Within half an hour the human body is capable of producing enough heat to boil a gallon of water.
  • Teeth are the only part of the human body that can’t repair themselves. Everything else in your body can! So let’s start by being happy for those parts that can repair themselves.

  • The brain operates on the same amount of power as a ten-watt lightbulb, even while you are sleeping. In fact, the brain is much more active at night than during the day. Let’s hear it for our dreamers!

  • Your nose can remember up to fifty thousand scents. Furthermore, women smell and identify scents better than men. The nose knows…

  • The focusing muscles in your eyes move around 100,000 times a day.

  • An average adult human is made up of about seven octillion atoms. Just to make a comparison, there are about 300 billion stars in our galaxy. So, how about that for your body?

  • Next time you say you’re being lazy, remember lazy can be good: it takes 17 muscles to smile, while you’ll have to engage 43 to frown.

  • Your skeleton keeps renewing itself every ten years, which means that every decade you get a new skeleton. So celebrate that!

  • The strongest muscle in your body is your tongue, and the hardest bone in the body is the jawbone. So we’ve been working out in all those conversations with each other! Good to know…

  • Inside your belly button “live” thousands of bacteria that could literally form an ecosystem the size of an entire rain forest. I can vouch for this. Chris sometimes has Avatar in his.

  • We all have the potential to become the Hulk when adrenaline kicks in. Adrenaline is released as soon as your brain is told danger is coming from your sympathetic nervous system providing us super human strength we may need in an emergency.

  • Achy joints can actually predict stormy weather. When a storm or colder weather is coming in, the pressure of the atmosphere drops which increases pain in the joints because the sensory nerve endings can tell when there is an increase in joint fluid pressure making them achy.

  • Your pupils tend to dilate when you are attracted to someone. So that’s something you can think about!

  • Your body’s largest organ, your skin, holds everything  in your body together. It also protects your body, helps keep your body at just the right temperature, and allows you to have the sense of touch.

  • Your transverse abs will fire up to protect your spine. Try it. Pretend someone is about to kick you in the stomach. That reaction is your abs corseting up around your spine, because your amazing body knows just how vital this portion of your anatomy is.
  • Your adult heart beats a whopping 115,200 times per day! Pumping about five quarts of blood through a system of blood vessels that’s over 60,000 miles long, every minute! That translates to about 2,000 gallons of blood every day. Your ticker is pretty amazing. Plus, it loves you.

So, let’s shift this body image we all tend toward. Let’s begin positive conversations with our bodies. Let’s feel comfortable in our own skin. Next time you look at someone and start to judge your appearance based on hers, stop. Please. Take a moment and remember how amazing your body is. Go through the list of amazing ways your body gets you through each day and how it carries your soul.

You are a soul. You have a body.


Sarah Fuhrmann:  Sarah is an E-RYT Yoga Instructor who hails from St. Louis. Currently located in Milwaukee, she empowers change and self discovery on and off the mat leading classes, teacher trainings, and retreats locally and internationally. To breathe, connect, and feel with her check out sarahfuhrmann.com

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