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Empowerment Through Yoga

By Hanna Newman, Co-Owner of BYD

This past Monday BYD hosted 25 women from various Duke sororities who came together for a women’s empowerment-themed Bikram Yoga class. In preparing to lead this session I did some research on women’s health and body image. I was shocked to find that over 90% of women are dissatisfied with their body appearance. However, it makes sense when you realize that only one in twenty women naturally have the body type that the media portrays as ideal. In a society that financially benefits from us trying to ‘fix’ our bodies to fit a certain image, it is a radical act to love oneself.

Showing up is the first empowering act we make when coming to yoga class. In simply setting aside that time for self-care, you’re declaring yourself worthwhile. Then we ask you to focus on yourself for 90 minutes while your hair is messy, you have no makeup on, and you’re half naked. On top of all of that, we ask that you not judge yourself. In reality, this self-acceptance is one of the most challenging things we do in class. Bit by bit, you’re reconditioning yourself to be less attached to your appearance. You leave class feeling great about yourself because of what you’ve accomplished, rather than what you looked like.

When you overcome obstacles, like a tough Bikram Yoga class, you gain confidence and self-esteem. As you fine tune your alignment and go farther into your postures, you begin to expand your ideas of what you’re capable of. With time, you realize you are only limited by your mind. Let your practice remind you of your strength, and use it to uplift others. Women of all shapes, sizes and colors can and do change the world.
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