The Whole Dancer Body Image Booster

If you’re struggling with body image, you’re not alone. When faced with your reflection each and every day in just a leotard and tights, it’s easy to get caught up in judgment. I started offering this exercise to my clients who were really struggling in the body-image department. For some of them, a shift happens after incorporating the exercise just once. For others, it takes a bit more time and consistency.

The Whole Dancer Body Image Booster is a great place to start if you struggle to come up with any positivity concerning your body. If your body image struggles feel insurmountable, start here.

Yoga and meditation-inspired body image booster.

When I stopped dancing, yoga was the main exercise I picked up. Some of the value came from the absence of mirrors. It was also helpful to focus on the strength and power within my body instead of on the external. The Body Image Booster is inspired by the Savasana (Corpse Pose) in yoga and meditation.

If meditation intimidates you, I totally get it. So often the intimidation factor comes from the thought that we have to meditate for a long period of time in order for it to be effective. In the Body Image Booster, you can lay on your mat, the floor or even your bed for as little as 60-90 seconds, and the impact can still be profound.

The Body Image Booster How-To:

  • Lie on a mat, the floor, or in bed first thing in the morning.

Make this your first daily activity to set a positive tone for your day. This way, you’re also more likely to actually do it, instead of putting it off. If you don’t have a rejuvenating morning routine yet, use this to kick things off!

  • Close your eyes; tune into your breath.

Slow, mindful breathing is calming. When you tune into your breath, you’re setting yourself up for a less stressful day. Work to incorporate the practice of tuning back in to your breath any time stressful moments or experiences arise throughout the day.

  • Place 1 hand on your heart and 1 on your stomach.
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Physical touch is key, especially if you have any “body-checking” habits. “Placing your hand on your heart is considered a safe touch action, and even from ourselves it acts like a trigger to release oxytocin and can help bring our entire body back into a state of calm and trust.”1 Oxytocin, known as the “love hormone,” has a positive impact on relaxation and trust and can decrease stress and anxiety.

Allow the hand on your stomach to encourage belly breathing. Let your belly and hand rise and fall together. “Diaphragmatic breathing, or belly breathing, is a way of breathing that helps induce a more calm, relaxed state. It is something that you can do anytime, anywhere, that quickly diffuses feelings of stress and anxiety.”2

Finally…this is a big one:

  • Thank your body.

Think about all the things your body does for you. Start simply. Your body carries you through life. It allows you to walk, move and dance!

Combining these two touch points while speaking to yourself lovingly brings The Whole Dancer Body Image Booster to life.

Does This Exercise Scare You?

If you struggle with this physical connection or have a hard time coming up with positive things to say to yourself, here are a couple alternative strategies that might help:

What would you say to a young child or a best friend if she were struggling with body image?

What would you say to your younger self or what do you wish someone else said to you when you were young?

Cultivating positive body image and loving yourself exactly as you are right now is key to reaching your personal best dancers’ body. It’s part of The Whole Dancer 7 Step Best Body Process as you cultivate self-love and confidence.

Achieving positive body image is like working a muscle-the more consistent you are, the better you get at it, and the more easily you’ll come back to a positive body image.

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Notice when the most challenging days come. If you’re particularly stressed, tired, or PMS-ing, you’re more likely to struggle with body image. Reconnect to your body and mind. Return to gratitude. As you incorporate more healthy practices to achieve positive body image, your positive self-perception will be more consistent.

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Do This to Achieve a Positive Body Image
  1. https://eatingmindfully.ie/2019/09/03/hand-on-heart/
  2. https://www.montana.edu/counseling/selfhelp/selfhelp/relaxation-strategies.html

Jess Spinner

Jess is a former professional ballet dancer turned Holistic Health, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Coach for high level dancers. She founded The Whole Dancer in 2015 after identifying a greater need for balance, wellness and support in the dance world. Since The Whole Dancer was founded, Jess has worked with 100's of dancers worldwide at top companies and schools. She has been featured in or written for Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Pointe Magazine, and Dance Spirit Magazine.

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