We all want to feel good in our skin.

But how?

If you had told me twenty years ago that someday I'd be guiding people toward accepting and loving themselves and their bodies just as they are, I would have thought you were crazy.

At age seventeen I was silently stewing in a toxic body-image soup comprised of ballet studio culture, the media's unrealistic portrayal of women, and the memory of negative comments from classmates about my body going all the way back to third grade.

Though I was deeply loved by my family and community, part of me believed that my value resided primarily in the way I looked.

My story is not unique. It may be nothing compared to what you have endured. And chances are, part of you also believes that what matters most about you is the parts that are visible.

But it's not true. The size and shape of our bodies has nothing to do with our worth as human beings.

So how did I come to see that? Through a long and winding journey of prayer, friendship, journaling…and gentle, joyful, loving movement.

Here is what I've learned, and what I want to share with you:

Movement is one of the most powerful tools we have to heal & transform our relationships with our bodies.

Over my 38 years as a dancer and a human, I've explored many gentle, healing movement modalities: dance therapy, contact improvisation, functional exercise for pregnancy and postpartum, yoga, somatic experiencing therapy, embodied prayer, and lots of plain old walking. It is through these practices that I've been able to slowly befriend my body.

I've learned to apply that gentle approach to more traditional dance classes, as well. When I teach ballet or modern dance I encourage my students to listen to their bodies, to modify the exercises as needed, and to be kind to themselves in the thoughts that go through their minds.

Dance classes are usually places of self-criticism, comparison, perfectionism, and feelings of failure. Even those who look confident on the outside are often insecure and tearing themselves up on the inside. But there's a better way.

You see, what matters is not so much what kind of movement we do, but how we approach it. I believe that most forms of movement, exercise, and dance can be part of your healing journey if you are approaching them with attunement and love.

As helpful as reading books, journaling, praying, and talking can be, the thing is, we can only think our way so far. We have nerve fibers in our bodies that communicate messages not only from our brains to our bodies but also from our bodies to our brains. When we speak the body's language of movement, we can rewire our brains to attune to and appreciate the body we live in.

Today, when I look in the mirror and see my curvy thighs, my squishy belly, my stretch marks, and my emerging wrinkles, I see myself with love. I see myself as someone who has endured suffering, delighted in the gifts of this life, and poured herself out to care for others. I see myself as someone who is deeply loved, just as I am.

And that's the journey I want to invite you into.

No matter how broken your relationship with your body, no matter how negative your thoughts about yourself, there is hope. You can take one step closer to seeing yourself with love. And then you can take another step, and another, and another.

You can move from seeing your body as the problem, as something to fix, or hide, or hate, to seeing your body–yourself–as beautiful, and strong, and wise, just as it is–just as you are– today.

I’m here to be your guide. As we move with gentleness, joy, and love, we will care for our bodies not in order to transform them into society’s ideals of beauty and health, but because they are worthy of care.

Take the first step today by trying out my free class:

4 Steps toward Less Stress, Tension, and Pain

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