So learn to listen to its cues for guidance about how to treat it, instead of all that monkey-mind mental chatter (which is often infused with negative messages from ourselves and others) that can leave us feeling lost, defeated, and confused. In upcoming posts, I'll explain the importance of body awareness and offer tips about how to hear what yours is telling you. Check back soon!
It’s not just about loving how you look! Consider this your BoPo primer.
BY TORI RODRIGUEZ
In a trend we hope will continue to take off, recent years have seen a clear shift among celebs in how they talk about their bodies. Stars like Kristen Bell, Ashley Graham, Serena Williams and Chrissy Teigen, for instance, have stood up to body shamers and proudly accepted their so-called "flaws." These displays of body love reflect the body positivity movement, which advocates accepting and appreciating yourself as you are.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't aim to improve your health if that's a goal for you–after all, that's the point of my Bettie Page Fitness videos. (Humblebrag: They're the first-ever body-positive fitness vids!) It just means you try to do it from a place of self-love versus not-enoughness. "The goal is to repair your relationship with yourself–to not only find acceptance for your physical body, but to claim and love every part of you internally," explains Kelly U, a blogger whose raw, vulnerable approach to sharing her journey to body acceptance and recovery from an eating disorder has not only helped her find healing but to help her fans feel less alone and more accepted.
Still, a lot of body positive content ends up overdoing the "love your looks" aspect, and while that can be important, it ironically reinforces the appearance emphasis that we already get slammed with nonstop. "While there are many pros to social media–inspiration, connection, community–it can also shred the web we weave for body positivity," says Kathryn Budig, a yoga teacher and author of the recently released book Aim True: Love Your Body, Eat Without Fear, Nourish Your Spirit, Discover True Balance! The endless stream of carefully selected, highly edited photos can trigger compare mode and make us feel inadequate.
Body positivity is about so much more than the external. Instead of just loving what you look like, try focusing on these four things instead.
1. What your body can do.
From keeping your heart ticking to getting you through a workout, your body quite literally lets you live. "Being able to wake up every morning and run and lift and do all of the things my healthy body allows me to do is the ultimate gift," says Cherry Dollface, a model and YouTube star known for her empowering and encouraging way of interacting with fans. Good health is a major priority to her, especially because she has heart condition, and keeps the emphasis on what her body is capable of instead of how it looks. "I finally realized that my life is more important than a few dimples or droopy bits–and that my body is a miraculous, strong, beautiful system."
2. How your body feels.
Budig teaches her yoga students to focus on how the postures feel, not how they look. This simple lesson is "wildly applicable to all aspects of our life, but especially to those situations that involve the physical body," she says. "It's a simple way to reconnect to the amazing ability of our physical bodies when we concertedly take the time to nurture it." When you're in a pose, mid-run, or even lying in bed, shift your attention to how vibrant, strong or relaxed you feel. "Then give yourself a supportive pat on the back for how responsive and amazing this physical body is."
3. What your body has been through.
Embracing body positivity might help some women discover a sense of pride about scars and stretch marks because of what they represent, while others may find ways to heal long-held body shame. "I was teased my whole life for being too skinny, and I grew up as many women do feeling insecure and uncomfortable about my body," says Cherry Dollface. After she began interacting with large numbers of women on her channel, she realized that lots of women have unresolved issues from childhood and teen trauma about their bodies. "This is something that practically every woman deals with, and I realized that I have a voice that I can use to help them feel better in their skin."
4. What your body needs and wants–and what it doesn't.
This means honoring your body's basic needs for things like movement, food and sleep, as well as respecting its limits. "For me, body positivity means actually caring for my body, not trying to change it to make it appear better," says Kelly U. She learned that she was using food and her body as coping mechanisms for internal struggles, and would try to make up for shortcomings through cycles of starvation, binge eating and over-exercising. Now, she views exercise as a self-loving activity that keeps her healthy rather than a way to maintain a perfect physique. "All in all, I prioritize my mental health and maintaining a healthy relationship with myself–that is body positivity to me."
(This article by Tori Rodriguez originally appeared on WomansDay.com)
Bettie's yoga practice often showed up in her modeling poses – especially in this shoot with Bunny Yeager!
BY TORI RODRIGUEZ
Having created an entire fitness video based on Bettie’s yoga-inspired photos, I’m always thrilled when I come across another one of these gems, so a certain shoot she did with Bunny Yeager is especially satisfying in that regard. It seems as if Bettie was drawing upon yoga for lots of different poses that day – I like to imagine that she was enthusiastically practicing during that time of her life, and so these moves were top of mind when it came to striking poses for Bunny’s lens. Take a look at yogi Bettie!
The overall theme: Fitness should make you feel good!
BY: TORI RODRIGUEZ
Exercise and body positivity can make for confusing bedfellows. On one hand, working out helps you get in closer touch with your body, makes you feel stronger, and helps you appreciate what you can do — all good things!
On the other hand, group-fitness instructors too often preach the “long and lean” gospel, magazines tell you how exercise can give you a “beach body,” and your friends talk about how they need to hit the gym tomorrow to make up for the pizza you’re sharing tonight. Not to mention the proliferation of “fitspo” imagery on social media, which makes it even harder to separate working out from trying to achieve a nearly unattainable body type.
But let me tell you: It is possible to make your fitness routine body-positive. As the creator of the first-ever body-positive workout videos, Bettie Page Fitness: Total Body Strength & Cardio, and Bettie Page Yoga, I'm always encouraging exercisers to think like Page (who, though you may not know it, was an old-school body-positivity icon!): She loved to move her glorious body in lots of different ways and didn’t give a lick about a bit of cellulite here or a belly bulge there. I rounded up some of my favorite body-positive fitness tips, along with input from a few experts I love. The overall theme: Fitness should make you feel good.
❤️ Don’t Do It To Earn Food. Just go ahead right now and disentangle food from any strange equations based on exercise. Getting those two bound up — “How many minutes on the treadmill would this brownie cost me?” — can drain the joy out of both, and is even a feature of certain eating disorders when it becomes extreme. Old-school fitness culture and thinspo have us conditioned to think we have to work up an appetite and “run off” calories. We don’t. It’s not a zero-sum game. If you’re taking generally good care of your body, it knows just how to deal with indulgences and excess. Food: You don’t have to earn it, you just have to eat it. Bon appétit.
❤️ Do Take The Inside-Out View. “Don’t be attached to a number as a goal,” says Kathryn Budig, a yoga teacher and author of the recently released book Aim True: Love Your Body, Eat Without Fear, Nourish Your Spirit, Discover True Balance! “Focus on how you feel, not on how you look.” This taps into mindfulness, which a new study linked with less focus on appearance and more exercising for internally motivated reasons such as the health and mood benefits. And, of course, yoga helps: In the study, an eight-week yoga program helped in these areas while also improving mindfulness.
❤️ Do Express Your Gratitude. Yes, do it even if it feels corny at first. Budig suggests trying this project, similar to one from her book: “Write your body a love letter! If you remind yourself that you and your body are on the same team, you’re more likely to go into your workout feeling connected and ready to progress without judgment.” Describe at least five things you appreciate about your body, and add to it over time as you think of more. Give it a glance when the two of you are at odds.
Burlesque sensation Dita Von Teese illustrates Budig’s point perfectly: “I remind myself of how fortunate I am that I have the physical capabilities to exercise, that I am grateful to my body for serving me well, and exercising is a way to thank it!” Von Teese is the author of Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour, which emphasizes uniqueness and self-appreciation. “I try to replace any negative thoughts I might have about how my body looks with something positive about what amazing things it does for me — how well it works, letting me walk, stand, jump, and dance.”
❤️ Don’t Bore Your Body. It only reinforces that tired “exercise-as-torture” myth when your workout starts feeling like same ol’ drudgery. Body-positive fitness is about pleasure, not punishment. Try as many different types of movement as you reasonably can and want to, including some not-so-obvious options. “I’ve always done Pilates and ballet, but I’ve also done yoga, Zumba, water aerobics, hiking, stretch classes, Body Rolling, trampoline, and fencing lessons, all for the sake of finding new ways to get moving,” Von Teese says. “I recently started seeing a CrossFit trainer and I love it. It’s a whole new world that is such a departure from Pilates and ballet, and it’s keeping me interested.”
❤️ Do What You Can. Respect your body’s limits, and set your own pace. “If you have to cut out of a class early because you can’t do anymore, that’s okay — give yourself credit for going and getting halfway through,” says San Francisco-based fashion blogger Chastity Garner Valentine of GarnerStyle. It’s far wiser — and kinder — to work your way up slowly than to get hurt or burned-out and end up not exercising at all. Challenge your body when you can, and back off when needed. If there are moves you’d like to try, but they feel out of reach based on your fitness or mobility level, ask a personal trainer or group-fitness instructor to show you some modifications that might work better for you.
❤️ Don’t Make It All About Weight. “I don’t work out to lose weight anymore,” says Kierra Sheard, a Grammy-nominated gospel singer, actress, and blogger. She exercises to protect her heart health — and her relationships. For instance, she might do a kickboxing class when she’s pissed off, she says. “That’s also a form of self-love to me — it allows me to release my anger and stress, and to maintain my character by not doing what I would really like to do to some people” in certain ultra-annoying situations. Bonus: Regular exercise helps boost body image, suggests a 2013 study published in PLOS ONE.
❤️ Do It For The Countless Health Perks. Exercise can reduce stress and the risk of various diseases while improving mood and longevity, and it just makes you feel better. “Any time that I feel tired or even on the verge of getting sick, I find that working out makes me feel more energized,” Von Teese says. Consider fitness a tool you can use anytime that has both short-term and long-term gains.
❤️ Do It For You. Avoid the comparison game at all costs. It rarely helps, always hurts, and you can’t measure your success with someone else’s yardstick. You’re on a completely different path than everyone else around you (including on social media!), so “be kind and patient with yourself,” says Blake Von D, a Chicago-based lawyer and style blogger. “As long as you’re enjoying yourself and are proud of your journey, you’re on the right track.” As sappy as this may sound, this concept is crucial for staying consistent with exercise and keeping it body-positive: Working toward self-acceptance and self-compassion is essential, or else we’re right back to all that punishment stuff.
~This article by Tori Rodriguez originally appeared on Refinery29.com~
A lifestyle guide inspired by the Queen of Pinups, Bettie Page, The Little Book of Bettie offers real advice on fashion, makeup, fitness, and more for today's modern woman who loves a little dose of retro.
I’m beyond thrilled to announce the upcoming publication of my first book, with none other than Queen Bettie as the subject and foreword by our modern-day goddess, Dita Von Teese!! (Somehow, I’ve managed to keep this under wraps for almost a year, and you have no idea how much self-restraint that took!)
This gem is called The Little Book of Bettie: Taking a Page from the Queen of Pinups, and its scheduled release date is May 8, 2018. (See pre-order link at bottom.) Here’s the scoop:
The celebrated Queen of Pinups styled her own iconic hair, did her own makeup, fashioned her own swimsuits, and was ahead of her time in endless ways, making her a source of inspiration to stars like Madonna, Beyoncé, and Katy Perry. Against the backdrop of the conservative 1950s, Bettie Page was an advocate of pleasure, fun, liberation, and body-positivity. There's so much to be learned from her!
Within The Little Book of Bettie you'll find:
* Bettie's remarkable backstory
* Retro fashion and styling tips
* Vintage hair and makeup lessons
* Bettie-inspired fitness routines
* DIY pinup accessory how-tos
* Advice from "Bettie Babes" like Dita Von Teese, modern-day pinups and entertainers, and everyday women who love Bettie!
Filled with both color and black-and-white images, The Little Book of Bettie is a beautifully gifty, celebratory look at the groundbreaking style of one of the greatest icons of pop culture.
About the Author:
Tori Rodriguez is the blog editor for BettiePage.com, manages Bettie’s official social media pages, and has written about her for various leading publications. She is a freelance journalist, licensed psychotherapist, health and fitness expert, singer-songwriter, and creator of Bettie Page Fitness. Tori lives in Atlanta.
~Click HERE to pre-order The Little Book of Bettie!
~Click HERE to shop Bettie Page yoga mats, fitness videos & more!
This photo of Bettie inspired the diagonal crunch we do in the Bettie Page Fitness: Total Body Strength & Cardio video. Get the full workout at bettiepagefitness.com (click announcement bar at top of this page to shop!), and try this crunch in the meantime
Start with your right ankle on your left knee, hands behind your ears or head and elbows out. Crunch as far as you can toward the right knee, aiming your left shoulder (not the elbow) toward your right knee. Do a total of 12 full reps, then do 12 pulses at the top of the crunch. Repeat on other side, then do each side twice more for a total of 3 sets.
*Make it easier: Keep one arm down (the one on the side of the lifted foot) with your hand touching the ground.
*Make it harder: At the top of each regular crunch (not the pulses), extend the left arm straight out past your right leg (opposite for other side, of course).
Talking yoga, body love and Bettie Page with Kathryn Budig
Though Kathryn Budig might object to being called a yoga superstar, she certainly is one to me–and not just because she can rock some of the most mind-blowing, beautiful poses I’ve ever seen. Her teaching style is fun, strong and transformative, in both the asana practice and the nuggets of how-to-do-life wisdom that she drops throughout her classes and writing. She is a noted champion of body positivity, authenticity and self-acceptance–much like beloved pinup queen Bettie Page–and that’s why I thought Budig would be an excellent person to interview for BettiePageFitness.com.
Learn more about her new book, Aim True: Love Your Body, Eat Without Fear, Nourish Your Spirit, Discover True Balance! and check out what she had to say below about fearless eating, self-love, and of course, Bettie Page.
Bettie Page Fitness (BPF): Congrats on your new book! I strongly suspect from its description and name that readers can expect lots of that signature, infectious Kathryn Budig joy and encouragement to embrace ourselves as we are while challenging ourselves with love–to me, that is the essence of body-positive fitness! Am I right, and what else can we look forward to in the book?
Kathryn Budig (KB): Of course! I put a lot of time and effort into the thought process behind creating this book, because I didn’t want to turn it into another self-help book that lists all the things that are wrong with you. I wanted to start from a place of encouraging the reader to understand that where they are right now is fantastic, but then ask them the following question: What are the tools we can develop to make ourselves even better?
BPF: One of the things that jumped out at me–and which I love–is the part of your book’s title that says “Eat Without Fear.” As a psychotherapist, fitness expert and Ayurvedic health coach specializing in food and body image issues, I believe that’s a powerful message that can’t be shared enough. Can you say more about it and what prompted you to make it an area of focus in your book?
KB: I’m an avid lover of food, but I’ve also been in the health world for years, and so I’m highly educated on the value and details of nutrition. And I’ve found that most people differentiate between “health” and “enjoyment.” They convince themselves they can either eat decadent or they can eat healthy. I wanted to bridge the gap, because I believe that you can nourish your body without taking away any of the enjoyment that food brings. I love that the world is moving in a direction that’s more conscious of food decisions, but sometimes that seems to also become very restrictive and creates neuroses, so I try to give people the tools to create true balance in the way they eat. So, eat that kale salad, but don’t be afraid to pair it with a glass of red wine!
BPF: I often take your classes on YogaGlo.com and read your work online. I’m a huge fan, and it has struck me that some of the head and heart stuff that you teach in class is similar to the things I teach clients one on one. You are incredibly wise, insightful and therapeutic! What steered you down the path of being such a fierce advocate for self-care, self-acceptance and authentic living?
KB: I think everything starts with how you take care of yourself as an individual, and I desire nothing less than to live the most embodied, passionate life possible. And in order to do that, I have to know what lights my fire and what makes my heart beat, but I also have to – as cliché as it sounds – absolutely love myself. So it starts with the self work and then, in doing that and discovering what works for me, offering that to my students, so that we can all help each other love who we are and support each other in that endeavor.
BPF: Whether in fitness or life in general, what are some things that help you treat yourself with kindness and compassion rather than with criticism and perfectionist pressure?
KB: Perspective. It’s called being human, and the human condition is to be objective and critical, so I don’t know if there’s ever such a thing as quelling that voice, but I’ve found that if I take a moment to step back when I’ve moved into a place of negativity, that often it allows me to see the bigger picture and not just the fictional story that I’ve told myself that has usually led me to the negative space.
BPF: Clearly, Bettie Page is one of my fitness and life muses. Who are some of your top sources of inspiration in either or both areas?
KB: Seane Corn has been a huge mentor, guide and friend on my journey and she was the first person to tell me that I had a voice and that it was important that I use it. Also, Maty Ezraty trained me and will always be my teacher and I owe my teaching career to her. Ashi, my 10-year-old Puggle, has been with me every step of the way and constantly reminds me of what actually matters in life when I start to go off the deep end. And finally, my friends and family are the ultimate support system. They listen to me even when I’m completely irrational. They humor me and keep it real.
BPF: I was so surprised and excited when I realized Bettie was into yoga, first from her photos and then from firsthand accounts of people who knew her. What are your thoughts about her yoga-esque poses?
KB: They’re beautiful. They’re reminiscent of the famous Marilyn Monroe yoga photos, and both women embody that old-world glamour that somehow seems to be lost today. I love the combination of playfulness and sexiness. It always brings me joy to see an empowered woman embracing who she is.
BPF: Where do you think someone like Bettie–a working model in NYC, generally–would have learned yoga back then? Marilyn Monroe is said to have perhaps learned from Indra Devi’s writings, and there are those beautiful photos you mentioned of her in various yoga poses. But it's not known where Bettie learned, though she did work out at the gym regularly and could have learned from someone there.
KB: It’s hard to say–maybe she learned from books. That was an era where yoga was still predominantly male, and Indra was incredible innovative and the first of her kind. So, I’m not entirely sure where Bettie would have learned from, but it shows that she had some prowess and moxie, learning wherever she could.
It has been an absolute fan-girl pleasure to interview you, Kathryn! Thank you so much for all the goodness you bring to my life and to the world!