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How to Learn to Love Your Body, Part 1: Body Awareness

Woman with curly hair in a blue top and a scarf, laughing in front of a red door.

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We often talk about body love like it is a switch we can just flip. If I’m feeling judgment or anger toward my body, I should just be able to turn that off and instead feel warm and fuzzy about how amazing my body is. Right?

Um, no. As nice as it would be, it just isn’t that simple. Getting to the point where you adore your body starts way before you’re in love (or even in like) with your body. In fact, like most things in life, it’s a process. And in this five part series, we’re going to walk you through each step to get to the point of body love.

But why can’t I just love my body right now?

We all want instant gratification, and one of the most frustrating things for me when I began my body acceptance journey was the feeling that I was so far away from acceptance and didn’t know where to start. I wanted to be on the body love train! Right now!

But I didn’t know enough about my body to accept it. I just didn’t get it. The gap between not knowing my body and loving my body was just too wide. And that’s where the first step of body acceptance comes in: body awareness.

Woman with curly hair in a blue top and a scarf, leaning against a brick wall. Her hand is on her chest and she smiles.

It sounds simpler than it is. We are all aware we have bodies, so it should be easy to be aware of our bodies, right? It wasn’t in my case. I’d spent years ignoring my body.

I had dieted for decades and had learned how to ignore my body’s cues for hunger. I trained for and ran a marathon, which required building even more disregard for the messages from my body. I forced myself to run when I was physically and emotionally tired. Not only did I create a disconnect between my mind and my body, but I also taught myself to choose my mind over my body.

Body Awareness Comes First

The switch didn’t happen for me magically overnight. I didn’t wake up one morning and say, “Hey, I’m going to be body aware now!” No, instead I happened upon this awareness on the yoga mat. One of the biggest lessons I received through my yoga practice was simply the awareness that I had a body and that it had things to tell me.

Woman with curly hair standing on a yoga mat with her arm over her head.

And while I found this awareness on the yoga mat, you can easily find this without a dedicated yoga practice, through your breath. I believe that each breath we take with attention helps us rebuild the bridge between our bodies and our minds. When we pay attention to the breath, we are paying attention to the body!

Once we trust our ability to dial into the breath, we can start to broaden our awareness out of our chest and into our bodies. It’s just a bonus that it’s something everyone can do with no special equipment or special skills, and it is totally free!

Woman with curly hair, a blue top, and a scarf sitting on a couch. She has her eyes closed, one hand on her stomach, and the other on her chest, as she thinks about body awareness.

Get Started with Body Awareness with this Guided Meditation

To help you get started developing body awareness, I created a simple breathwork guided meditation you can follow. Look at your day, and find 15 minutes. Find a comfortable place to lay down. Keep your mind open. And press play. This is the first step in your body acceptance journey.

Your Next Steps Toward Body Love

Before I could love my body, I had to learn to pay attention to it. I had to learn to dial into how my body felt. It can feel intimidating to reopen communication with our bodies if we haven’t been attentive. We can be scared of what we may learn about ourselves when we start to ask questions. But I promise this is the first step to being at peace with your body.

If you feel like you’ve mastered body awareness and are ready to move onto the next step, head on over to Part 2—Body Neutrality.

Krissie is a clinical counselor turned life coach out of Lexington, Kentucky. She helps rebuild the brain-body connection with breath, meditation, and a healthy dose of Curvy Yoga. Her favorite places are her yoga mat, dance night at the Irish pub, and on the couch with her husband and two chunky cats. You can find her at www.krissiebentley.com and on Instagram as @krissiebentley.

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1 Response
  1. Barbara

    Thank you for the meditation. I really enjoyed it. Before I got started I rubbed some lotion on my feet and put a facemask on. Maybe meditation isn’t supposed to be about multitasking but it did wonders for me!

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