Body image problems can significantly affect a person's mental health and wellbeing. Feelings of inadequacy and self-consciousness can result from the social pressure to adhere to a particular body type or look. Fortunately, yoga can be a very effective method for raising self-esteem and improving body image. Malaika Arora's yoga instructor Sarvesh Shashi posted some incredible asanas on Instagram to help with body image issues. “Body image issues can be severe if not treated in time,” says Shashi. Low self-esteem, bad eating habits, and deteriorating health are possible outcomes. Yoga has demonstrated benefits for enhancing self-awareness, love, and gratitude for the body.
Here are 3 yoga poses that might make you feel better about your body:
Pawanmuktasana (Wind-Relieving Pose)
Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides and your palms facing down. Taking a big breath in, bring your right knee to your chest and encircle it with your hands as you exhale. If you find it difficult to comfortably reach your shin, try a yoga strap. Breathe deeply a few times while keeping your right knee close to your chest. Release your right leg, pull your left knee to your chest, and wrap your hands around your right shin as you exhale. Breathe deeply a few times while keeping your left knee close to your chest. Holding your left leg, release it as you exhale. Your hands should now be around your shins as you lift both knees up to your chest. Take a few slow, deep breaths while keeping both knees near to your chest. As you breathe out, let go of both legs and return to a flat back position. Repeat this movement sequence a few times, holding both knees together or bringing one knee to your chest at a time.
Cobra Pose, or Bhujangasana
Your feet should be flat on the ground as you lay on your stomach with your legs outstretched. Your fingers should be stretched wide as you lay your hands flat on the ground next to your shoulders. Lift your head, chest, and upper abdomen off the floor as you slowly inhale. As much as you can without locking your elbows, extend your arms straight. Keep your shoulders back and your elbows close to your sides. If it is easy on your neck, lean your head back and look straight ahead or up towards the ceiling. Hold the position for a few long breaths while maintaining chest lift and spine lengthening. As you breathe, slowly lower your head and chest to the ground.
Lie on your stomach in the bow pose (Dhanurasana) with your legs outstretched and your feet hip-width apart. Point your heels in the direction of your buttocks while on your knees. With both of your backhands, grab your ankles. Pull your feet away from your buttocks and elevate them as high as you can as you inhale, elevating your head, legs, and chest off the floor. Keep your shoulders away from your ears and your knees hip-width apart. Hold the position for a few long breaths while maintaining chest lift and spine lengthening. Release your ankles and slowly descend your legs, head, and torso back to the ground as you exhale.