If you’ve been following our Body Positivity Project, you must’ve come across several articles on how self-love and embracing one’s inner beauty are vital in the journey to becoming body positive. Today on the blog we have Teresia – a CTI trained Life Coach and Personal Pilates trainer, whose happiness comes from accompanying people on their journey and sharing their moments of growth. Read on to know her perspective on a beautiful body along with tips to embrace one’s inner beauty.
One of the best compliments I have received during my decade as a personal Pilates instructor was from my client who had not referred me to her colleague. “If you are looking for a beach body, Teresia is not the right person for you”, were her words. This captures the essence of what a beautiful body means to me, or as I like to say, it’s an inside job. The aspects of inner beauty are many. To me it is: being long, strong, and resilient.
It’s an Inside Job
Please allow me to elaborate—an elongated body creates space for bones and muscles to move freely. This translates to a healthy spine and posture, as well as a body moving without constraint and pain. I’m inclined to stretch it further and say that the mind can move freely in a free-moving body. This works both ways—freeing up tension in the body frees up tension in the mind. Letting go of thoughts that do not serve us allows letting go of tension in the body.
A strong body is a confident body that is curious about (not afraid of) challenges. When we feel strong in our bodies, perhaps believing we can run for the tram or lift the big box, we feel confident in who we are. Strong is not bulky muscles and grimacing faces in a gym, strong is a fundament, we can move curiously and playfully from.
Resilience is like a tree with strong roots that is so well grounded it can take quite the storm, swaying and moving in all directions without breaking or being uprooted. Resilience is also the antidote to injuries, the more flexible and supple our connective tissue is, the more twists and turns our body can cope with.
Why Focus on Inner Beauty?
Focusing on the inner beauty, or the inside job is in my view our most important priority. To me, it is of least importance what the body looks like on the outside. Countless are the times I have worked with people who externally represent the ideals of the day (which change every decade). Mostly my focus during these sessions has been on releasing tension from a mind and body determined to fit a certain form.
You might be surprised how much pain and stiffness lies in the bodies that look “ideal”. Lovely are the moments where I have witnessed the beautiful transformation from “I want my body to look like…” to “I enjoy feeling the deep connection”.
Often, I encounter the notion of us having a body that looks and functions a certain way. I like to think we are our body, how could we be anything else? All our thoughts and feelings, all of our history are stored in our body. Our bodies tell a powerful story of how we have become who we are today. When we learn to listen, also to the soft-spoken communication, to the wisdom in our bodies, we go much deeper and further than when we impose external ideals and ideas on ourselves.
A body free of tension is often also a body free of pain. A mind free of tension is often also creative and curious. Releasing tension allows us to let go of thoughts, projections, assumptions, and demands that don’t serve us, making us lighter and freer. When we focus on the inside job of becoming long, strong, and resilient it does shine through as inner beauty. And what beauty that is.
Here are 7 ways to embrace your inner beauty
1. Breathe. Release.
Breathing is the first and last thing we do here on earth. It is nothing short of amazing what three slow inhales and exhales can do when we start spinning in our heads. Breathing to release tension is an easy first step on the inside job.
2. Thank more, judge less
What a beautiful thing our body is: It carries us around the whole day, organizing oxygen, blood and nutrition to travel where it should. Arms and legs, hands and feet help us with a gazillion of tasks during the day. Our senses communicate all the time: Eyes see, noses smell, ears listen, mouths talk and kiss. Maybe your body has even carried and nurtured a child? Would you ever trade those stretch marks for your children? Remember to thank your body for being with you, it may not always have been easy.
3. Enjoy more, compare less
It is much nicer to turn your face to the sun than crawl down the deep dark rabbit hole of comparison. During my decade of working with all kinds of bodies, I have heard most comments and wishes one can have body-wise. However, apples are not pears are not peaches are not apricots are not bananas. And even bananas can be long or short, green or yellow, bent or straight. But they are all sweet. The saying about not knowing the other person’s story goes for comparison as well. Don’t compare yourself to others, you don’t know their whole story. Enjoy what you are, not what you think you should be.
4. What goes inside shows up on the outside
A few words about nourishing our body: What I have seen working over and over again is very simple: Focus on adding the good stuff, not restricting the bad stuff. For example, if you add drinking enough water to get your daily internal cleanse going, maybe you can have that glass of wine too. If you add a heap of greens beside the main meal, maybe you can have that pizza too. If you aim at adding those 10 000 steps a day, maybe you can slouch on the couch too. Just focus on bringing in more of the good, the bad will not feel so at home as the body wakes up to more clarity and energy.
5. Straighten up and smile
It is funny how we always have those sneaky few millimeters that hide in our bodies, being pulled down by gravity. Next time you wait for the bus or stand in the line, sit on your office chair or have dinner, amuse yourself by lengthening your spine upwards, by reaching the crown of your head towards the ceiling. I can promise you that you will grow a few millimeters, and your body will thank you for this micro gym every time you think of doing it. And remember, your body doesn’t count time as we do. Many small exercises along the day are just as effective as the same time spent at the gym. And seeing a smile, how it can lighten up a day! Choose to lighten up someone else’s day the same way. Your smile is such a beautiful and important body part.
6. Challenge with a wink in your eye
Oh no I couldn’t. That’s too…for me. I haven’t done it in…
But what if you could? What if it would be possible? Maybe not the way you did before, but a version of it? There are so many small challenges we can give ourselves if we stay curious in a “what if yes” mindset. It is so deceivingly easy to stay in the fear zone of “no”. Be a little cheeky, a little mischievous, find that smile, and try it, whatever it is! You never know unless you try. And maybe “yes I can” is possible!
7. Stay kind
Kindness starts on the inside, where else right? Being kind to yourself makes all the difference. None of us perfect, a person who feels appreciated the way they are will always do more than what is expected.
Wishing you kindness, happiness and health this spring. And lots of inner beauty!
Teresia often says that she is in the happy business since she truly loves what she does. Her happiness comes from accompanying people on their journey and sharing their moments of growth. Her life path has taken her from her birth town Helsinki through Amsterdam and Munich to Zurich, where she works as Life Coach and Personal Pilates Trainer.
Are you enjoying our content? We would love to hear your opinions in the comments sections. Stay tuned for our April posts, cuz spring is finally here. We will continue to talk about body positivity, health, happiness, ex-pat, and travel tips.
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