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Yoga helps us develop a positive awareness of our bodies. We stretch mentally and physically, learning to challenge our limitations and gain confidence. Once we step out of the Bikram studio, however, we are surrounded by negative conversations about bodies.

Women in particular are bombarded by images of bodies that simply don’t exist without PhotoShop. Men, too, are seeing more and more exaggerated bodies. (Not everyone can looks like David Beckham, nor do we all want to!) Over at Irresponsibility my friend Cila blogged about why the way we talk about our bodies matters. “We don’t tell our friends they would look better if they lost a couple kilos,” she notes. “Let’s show ourselves the same respect.”
body image

Here are her five tips for fostering positive body-talk.

1. Don’t make moral judgements about food. If it makes you happy, healthy and strong it is good; if it makes you feel like crap, it’s bad. It’s not a moral issue.
2. Don’t justify what you eat. If you really think you shouldn’t have ice cream, don’t; but don’t make a song and dance about it. If you want ice cream, just eat it — no apologies.
3. Don’t take part in body-bashing conversations. The next time someone starts with the negative body-talk say kindly, “I think you’re gorgeous” and refuse to discuss it further.
4. Talk about something interesting instead. We live in a big, crazy, exciting world full of events and ideas. It does not revolve around the circumference of (y)our hips.
5. Work your body. Part of the reason we get so hung up on our bodies is we spend too much time looking at them and not enough using them. Do Bikram yoga. Run. Dance. Do a headstand.

What are your tips for positive body-talk? Share in the comments.