Yesterday I received an email that really upset me. It was from a wellness clothing company & the language/message/images were, well, problematic.
I called them out....and they reached out.
They apologized and asked for feedback and clarity. This usually doesn’t happen and I appreciate it when it does (especially because it holds me accountable to dialogue over assuming/dismissing). For some transparency (not to pat myself on the back, but to remind privileged folks that we need to do this work), here’s what I wrote back (from the heart & not the most articulate):
Thank you for responding! There’s a lot to unpack here, but I’ll say this. Many folks (myself and maybe you too) have had or do have a negative body image & seeing images of a tan and skinny “summer body” can be triggering. Saying “look good naked!” sends a message that folks don’t already look good naked (which means they don’t feel good naked) & that’s harmful. It isn’t empowering and is rooted in systems of oppression. It’s a story that says only certain bodies are worthy and worth celebrating.
Healthy does not always mean skinny and getting a “summer body” sends a message that who you are now isn’t good enough and you need to: eat this, avoid this, buy this, judge that, & starve that to be happy.
That message isn’t what acceptance/yoga/healing is about.
We need to exist without being at war with ourselves. I don’t think your intention was to harm (& I understand that you’re a business and there are additional pressures there), but if we all want to honor and liberate each other we have to celebrate and love who we are—then we can raise consciousness/move from kindness, not perpetuate a cultural messaging of judgment.
Our bodies are worthy. Our existence—today & right now—is enough.
Question anything that doesn’t uphold that wholeness.
Find your body, resting in space. Find your breath in your body. Become aware of the fact that you are alive; your breath is the evidence of that.
So much has brought you to this moment. A collection of stories and experiences, culminating in your identity. We forget that we are constantly evolving. Millions of years of survival. Each breath is evidence of your ancestors. Your next breath is evidence that you want to survive. This energy of life is always there, moving you towards something. What is that something?
Meditate on your dharma--your divine duty--beyond the archaic duty of gender or the constructs of society; it is your purpose. A deep purpose. A Truth that moves not from ego, but from love. Love for yourself and, in turn, love for others. Filling and then giving from that overflowing cup.
Focus on making your yoga practice a practice that fills the cup of your dharma. Svadharma. A practice that supports & supplements how you want to live your life. With each breath a chance to move from a place of truth, love, and purpose—not ego or judgment or approval.
Before you open your eyes, maybe ask yourself: Why am I here? What’s most important to me in the deepest part of my heart? What would life look like yoked to my dharma? What would it look like to consciously move from a place of purpose?
A reminder that you don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t have to know. But seek. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says it’s better to carry out your dharma imperfectly than to perfectly carry out another’s.
Rub your hands together, generating heat and place your hands over your eyes. Gentle open your eyes & feel the heat enter. Bring your warm palms to your cheeks, like a loved one holding your head in their hands. Finally, palms to your heart. Centering and offering. Thank yourself for showing up.