Photo: Sheryl Nields
MK: Is Yogalosophy a good DVD for beginners to try?
MI: I think so! It's fun. I created a hybrid practice that entails a yoga pose alternating with a toning exercise. It is very challenging, but the poses are simple. I wanted to create something that was challenging enough for people who were already athletic but hadn't tried yoga and make it simple enough for the beginner to imitate. I have gotten great feedback from people who wanted to try yoga but felt intimidated or felt it was too slow. There are three options revolving around the same 30-minute routine, which includes a coaching session, guiding the viewer and instructing. There is a nonverbal version with affirmations that float in the background, with a great soundtrack by amazing artists who contributed to the project. Lastly, there is a fully loaded version that strings together all of the extras around the 30-minute routine. This is for once the beginner has mastered the first two, plus extras. The DVD includes four yoga extras, which are three- to seven-minute add-ons, specifically a five-minute stretch, three-minute balance and core series and a five-minute lower body strength section, as well as a view of the sun salute, which is the cardiovascular and flow aspect to yoga.
MK: If a woman is struggling with her weight or trying to lose weight, how can she adopt an attitude of acceptance and love her body as it is?
MI Have you ever heard that saying, "You can't think your way into correct action, but you can act your way to right thinking"? Action. Start where you are. Stop the cycle of procrastination—"After I lose 10 pounds, then I will..." Just taking the action to move your body will start to help you to enjoy your body.
Notice and list all of the things you are grateful for: that you can move your body, the feeling of taking deep breaths, the fact that you keep waking up and trying, that your body is constantly in a state of healing itself.
Eliminate negative thinking about your body. At first, you may only notice how hard you are on yourself. We tend to have habitual thought patterns. Replace it with something positive. Instead of, "My thighs are big," think, "I love my feminine shape."
Emotions are fuel! Joy, anger, grief...these very powerful emotions are just energy. Celebrate your body! You already have a perfect body! Move with joy!
Think about a relationship with someone you love. It requires thought and care, being kind, giving. Exercise and Yoga are things you can do to let your body experience that self-loving. If you think of yourself as your own child, you may feed yourself better. Would you let your child begin the day with a coffee and cake? Sometimes, thinking in terms of children, dogs and plants...all of these living things require consistency to feel stable and supported.
Sometimes finding a group with people who have similar struggles can help. Sometimes a class you really love can help. It is amazing to be able to hear other people's perspectives. We are all here to help each other!
Acknowledge yourself! You know, nobody is going to cower away from you if you are as big and as incredible as you are. If you outwardly acknowledge and love yourself, it is absolutely contagious!
I actually had an experience when I had gained 50 pounds in my early 20s. I went from being too skinny to chubby. I remember when I made the decision to shift. I looked at myself in the mirror, naked. I was in Italy and had been overdoing it. It was the heaviest I'd ever been, but I really took myself in. I had gotten away from myself, but even so, I could still see my body underneath a few extra layers, but it was there. After that, it seemed to fall into place naturally. Once I saw the body underneath, it was a matter of time before it was revealed. And I say that to you: The body you want is already in the room. It just may be concealed underneath a layer or two, but that body is there!
The power of the number eight