So excited for you to meet this month’s yogi! To see everyone who has been interviewed, please click here.
1. What’s your yoga origin story?
The yoga studio was literally across the street from my apartment building. I signed up for immersion (5 early mornings a week) and more mornings than not, I rolled out of bed and into yoga. Why did this stick when at other times it didn’t? It was a time in my life where I was taking a leap, creating a business that expresses a deep, albeit vulnerable, belief in the right for all women to rid themselves of the bully of a dieting mind and live wholeheartedly in the bodies they have…and I was excited, anxious and plagued by fears about my own inadequacy and ability to make a dream into a sustainable reality. I remember finding that the practice of yoga, and the opportunity to be in my body instead of my head, held me when I was willingly navigating uncertainty in my life. A lot of fervent prayers for my new adventure were whispered into the wood floor of that yoga studio. I think of some of those whispers as a part of the very foundation of Be Nourished now.
It is in yoga where I learned about going into (as opposed to living in distance from) my body and really feeling it’s true expanse and boundaries. I began to notice what I was literally made of. The more time I spent going in, looking around, the less damage I noticed. I couldn’t find the brokenness I had feared for so long. It helped me see and realize my actual wholeness. It was, and continues to be a loyal and true place for me to be with what I am, instead of what I am not.
2. What pose do you love? Loathe?
I love pigeon. Anyone with me? My supportive hips love the attention, and it is a pose where I feel I can go deep and sustain in the “not-quite discomfort, but definitely not comfort” place that yoga allows us to explore. Triangle is a bit of a demon for me. I want to get it, but I don’t. I definitely witness and explore my own perfectionism in this pose. No wonder I usually just want it to end.
3. What advice would you share with other curvy yogis?
I now try think of my body as truly a compassionate being in my life. It shows up for me consistently no matter what I’m throwing in its way. I now view it as my wise companion in this life, and the more I trust it , the more I can stay connected to my truth.
I encourage you to move towards compassionate weight-neutral self-care, regardless of whether or not you can accept the size of your body right now. Body dissatisfaction and the distracting dieting mind do not create conditions for sustainable health or connection with yourself. I know it can feel counter-intuitive to let your body “off the hook” (especially if your mind wants you to focus on weight loss) but it is the way out. Put pleasure before to-do’s as often as possible, and then allow yourself to breathe in the good stuff.
And, last but not least, I feel confident saying that you are undeniably loveable. Right now. As is.
4. Who’s your favorite curvy icon?
Lena Dunham is pushing boundaries in the best way possible. Eve Ensler is also a huge guiding light for me. And although it’s a bit obscure, I’m really in love with Aunt Edna in Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ stories – such unabashed realness without the expected dose of shame.
And, I must say, I’m a bit enamored with this lovely Anna Guest-Jelley. She often is writing about what I’m thinking, reading what I’m reading, and running a kick-ass liberation-based business. What’s not to love?
5. What’s your favorite yoga resource?
Well, not to be too obvious or redundant, but Curvy Yoga is where it’s at, right? Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health has my heart too. I always do some deep, powerful personal work in that wonderful place. Undeniably when I go, I will weep through Kirtan, bear my soul to someone, solve a problem, renew my faith and place in a generous and compassionate universe, and I will feel loved. I’ll eat really well too. More than worth the price of admission!
6. What quote inspires you?
The first few lines of Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese poem are the ones I reach for over and over to remind me of my purpose & calling:
“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.”
7. Wild card: anything else you’d like to share?
My favorite vision: A world of women that don’t fear that their bodies are the thing keeping them from love and belonging. A world of women that give each other permission to reach for satisfaction, pleasure and love. This vision is in our reach and is possible now. We can support each other in taking up space, loving the bodies that give us so much, and breathing into possibility. As Brene Brown says, “Don’t shrink back, don’t puff up, just stand your sacred ground.” Love it.
Hilary Kinavey is a licensed professional counselor and the co-founder of the revolutionary Be Nourished. Be Nourished is founded on the idea that we were all born with remarkable instincts to love and care for our bodies. We believe body trust is your birthright. Our Body Trust Wellness approach to food, body and health is deeply nourishing and counter to conventional paradigms. Our passion is helping people explore how an enjoyable relationship with food happens naturally when the focus is more on nurturing the body and mind and less on dieting. We believe that courage and boldness are rewarded with freedom and that women who live in the bodies they have will change the world for everyone. We offer programs, workshops, retreats and are excited to announce our eCourse: An Intro to Body Trust coming soon. To learn more about us, visit www.benourished.org.
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