How Yoga Has Helped My Body

By: Emilee Maldonado, SDSU Chapter Member

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Living in the age of social media is both revolutionary and subversive. Whether you’re sharing your life and its adventures with friends and family, promoting a business/service, or keeping up with your favorite celebrities, athletes, and influencers, social media plays a major role in most of our lives. I think we can all agree that having the world at your fingertips is pretty incredible, but with that, it’s virtually impossible to not compare your life to the lives of others online, and that can create unrealistic expectations for what life “should” look like. Likewise, constantly seeing women, peers and/or celebrities, post pictures showing off their perfect skin and perfect bodies, you can’t help but compare your own. I know this issue is not exclusive to women, but it is true that women are held to far higher standards when it comes to our bodies and overall appearance, so it’s no surprise that most women, especially college-aged women, struggle with body image, including myself!

The emotional attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions you have about your own body are essentially your body image. Sadly, social media makes it super easy to influence and change your perceptions, often creating negative attitudes and beliefs toward your body that wouldn’t otherwise be there. 

Comparison is truly the thief of joy, and although I have not fully overcome this unhealthy habit, one thing that has helped me immensely is yoga.  Originating in ancient India, yoga is the Sanskrit word for “union” as its practice aims to unite one’s mind, body, and soul. This union not only allows for a peaceful mind and body but also helps with stress and anxiety! Most importantly, the physical and mental discipline of yoga has allowed me a new appreciation for my body. Our bodies are so complex, made up of trillions of cells, and every cell is functioning solely to keep you alive and (hopefully) healthy! Our bodies deserve thanks and gratitude, and too often, we confront our bodies with criticism and disapproval based on social media’s beauty standards that are essentially unattainable.

I have been practicing yoga for about two years now. It has been nothing but a positive experience for me and I could not recommend it more. The mind-to-body connection is so powerful and essential because no matter what your body looks like if your mind is not in the right place, you will never find the true gratification and genuine appreciation for your body that it deserves. Yoga teaches you to thank your body on a regular basis and to be nicer to yourself in general and when you do that, it becomes far easier to look past all that you compare yourself to. The goal is to be happy and healthy, and yoga is definitely one thing that helps me achieve that every day!