The Other “F” Word we Need to Talk About

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Let’s face it, FAT is a four-letter word in our culture. It’s seen as bad, wrong, even dangerous. Fear of it is the driving force behind most disordered eating behaviors, or is it?

In this blog series, we’ve been looking at fat from a different perspective and learning yogic practices that help us heal. In this installment of The BIG Breakdown on Body Image, we’ll explore some other “F” words that I believe are the real reason fat gets a bad wrap. We’ll complete The FAT Map™ with the last of my acronyms and their explanations. Lastly, there’s another signature Body Karma Healing PEACE Practice for you to do.

Ask any room full of folks, especially women, if they’ve ever “felt fat” and an overwhelming majority will say yes.  Bring out a model of actual adipose (see picture below) and watch everyone get reeeeeeeally uncomfortable.  

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 12.07.42 PMFaces contort, bodies recoil, sighs of disgust ring through the room.  I bring this to most of my events and  private sessions.  It’s wild how people react, even those without eating disorders.

Throughout my career, I’ve explored what fat symbolizes with thousands and have found that, first and foremost, it represents fear. Hence, the FAT acronym covered in my first installment. Fear of what, you wonder? Fear of what I call “The BIG F”: the feminine.

If you’re at all familiar with yoga you’ve likely heard the word “hatha.” As a whole, the word means willful or force, speaking to the physical practice of yoga poses or asana. Hatha is also broken down and translated as ha meaning “sun” and tha meaning “moon” referring to the masculine aspects — active, hot, sun, mind, logic, linear, doing — and feminine aspects — receptive, cool, moon, emotion, intuition, chaotic, being — within all of us. Yoga helps us unite and balance these energies.

Our modern culture is heavy in the masculine aspect. This is where we feel safe, in our heads rather than in our bodies. This imbalance is also born of the disconnection from Atman mentioned in my last article.  In yoga, the feminine is called “Shakti” which means The Divine Feminine Creative Life Force. This “BIG F” is the realm of feeling, intuition, and creativity.  

We fear connecting with and allowing the feminine to be there because in doing so, we run the risk of losing the love and approval of others.

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We risk being different or feared and therefore, rejected when in the whole of our humanness. We risk being…too much. Yet, when we don’t allow Shakti to flow, we feel like too much! This shows up as painful body image.  

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 12.07.57 PMThere is a way out of this conundrum. By tending the feminine we can return to peace allowing us to eat and exercise in alignment rather than out of balance. We can move from feeling FAT: Fear, Anxiety and Tension to FREE: Fully Restored to Ecstatic Embodiment.

Feeling All Truth

How many times have you been asked, “How are you?” and replied with, “I’m fine.” when you’re sooooo weren’t? Or maybe you catch yourself choking back tears because you don’t want to make anyone worry or have others see you as weak? We all do this. Repressing emotion is as common as getting a cup of coffee in our culture. To be free of body battles, it’s imperative to feel all truth and let life move through.  

This step of The FAT Map™ is about becoming exquisitely connected to our current experience, really embodying it and allowing it.  The path of yoga helps with this.  I’ve developed a meditation technique that distills this ancient wisdom into a few simple steps that target painful body image.  Click the link below for a written and audio guide.  Feel free to connect with me to share your experiences.  Peace and namaste warriors!

The PHAT Practice

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