Dana Falsetti shares how she wants women to stop listening to society's expectations and find peace within themselves.
For those of you who might not know, yoga teacher Dana Falsetti has been a leading voice in the body positivity movement for quite some time. With over 207,000 Instagram followers, the promoter of self-empowerment has proved that yoga is indeed for every body and that simply losing weight isn't going to make you happy if you're lacking self-worth to begin with. (Related: Katie Willcox Wants You to Know That You're So Much More Than What You See In the Mirror)
That's not to say she never feels at odds with her body. In a recent Instagram post, the 23-year-old opened up about feeling self-conscious about her belly, particularly in a recent photo she took.
But after taking a step back and recognizing her negative reaction, she quickly changed her outlook. "I looked at [the photo] again and decided to stop freaking compartmentalizing my body like I've been taught and looked at myself as a whole," she wrote alongside the post. "And then saw that I'm literally glowing up because damn when I did this shoot, I felt like fire." (Related: 5 Ways to Boost Confidence, No Therapy Required)
No lie I've been looking at this photo for days wanting to post it but my eyes kept going to my belly and I kept feeling shame. It comes and goes you know, the assuredness of self. I talk about this shit but I'm not perfect. I just talk a lot ;) I looked at it again just now and decided to stop freaking compartmentalizing my body like I've been taught and looked at myself as a whole. And then saw that I'm literally glowing up because damn when I did this shoot, I felt like fire. So it shows. Zoom in on that face. I have come a looooong way my friends. A long way. The thing is every time I step into my power in a way I couldn't have years ago, it still feels like I'm living for the first time. Internal narrative and the stories we tell ourselves and the way we see ourselves... these patterns are hard to break. When society wants you to feel shame, disgusting, wants you to change you have to remind yourself it's all noise. Because damn look at that wet white cotton bodysuit clinging to an awesome saggy bellied babe coming out the water like Suddenly now I look at this and I cant stop smiling and can't wait to post it because for me, this photo represents so much more than what you can see. I can feel it. Power. Boooooom. Glow up. Photo is by @michelesuits. PS I love you all but really don't need reassurance, truly. The message is about how we see ourselves. Just had a human moment. I tend to share them Lots of love.
For Dana, sharing moments like this is important, both for her and her followers. "Personally, these are always the kinds of messages I like to post, because for me social media has always been a kind of diary," she told Shape. "I like to keep everything very transparent, and I found this helps other people recognize that they're not as isolated as they feel in their own experiences." (Related: The Right (and Wrong) Ways to Use Social Media for Weight Loss)
Denver! Next weekend. Fundamentals, Restorative, Intro to Inversions. Each workshop includes some serious real talk (like, prepare to be uncomfortable and do some real self enquiry). They are all open to all levels. Those with yoga experience will probably get the most out of intro to inversions, but beginners are absolutely welcome. This shit really is more about the conversation and showing up and just having the experience. Beyond that, don't even worry about it. I pour literally my whole heart and soul into these workshops and I can't wait to share with you!! See the results in my last post . Link in my bio for registration. Photo by @codyapp (where you can practice with me online always )
Getting to this point wasn't easy. "I'm someone who's struggled with my weight and body image my whole life and I've cycled a lot through weight loss and gain," she said. It was her relationship with yoga that really helped her finally appreciate her body for what it is, allowing her to finally feel comfortable in her own skin. "It's shown me my strength and my worth and everything seems to have come full circle," she said of her practice.
I've spent my whole life not showing up for myself. If I don't actively choose otherwise, my typical state is depression. I could be in bed all day, sleep forever, be alone until it hurts and I'm convinced nobody cares (they do, that's my brain talking), taking a shower is a chore, eating is a chore (then I'd binge). When I started practicing it was the first time I found a way to consistently show up and it was the first time I acknowledged my bullshit. When I started traveling and teaching and this became my whole life, shit got crazy and my practice started to escape me until not showing up got really comfortable again. And here's the thing - the darkest parts of myself, the version of me that doesn't really serve me... that person is always with me and I can easily be that. Reactive, lacking awareness, self-loathing, self-hating. Don't think for a second I don't have that within me because I do. I have to actively choose otherwise. I have to actively feed and nourish the parts of me that serve me. So I've been getting back to consistent daily practice and it feels amazing and it's so hard and I'm learning all over again. On top of that my body has changed, I've got more belly to work with, less space, so I have to create it, mind and body. What's different this time around is I know I'm strong, I know I'm capable, I know my own habits and patterns and I learned it all on my mat. Back to exploring what's possible. FYI - it's ok if you fall off. You know how I say forgive yourself if you binge and move on in the direction that serves you? Same thing here. If you've been away for a while, make your peace so you can find your way back. We're all just trying to do our best, myself included. Photo from @codyapp.
As women, we're so used to analyzing our bodies and Dana realizes the strength it takes to do better and treat yourself with grace. "We compartmentalize every detail about ourselves whether that's their belly or their thighs—it's always super specific," she says. "For me, my belly has always been tough to love and it's hard to retrain my eyes not to shame what I see and look at my body as simply an extension of myself."
To those who've ever been in her shoes, Dana says, "All forms of external validation are fleeting. Until you can find a sense of worth that comes from within yourself, you'll continue to feel the same way about your body. So give yourself the gift of knowing your worth and prepare for it to change your life in unimaginable ways."