How Yoga Makes You Pretty – Part I.

Via on Jan 30, 2011

The Wisdom of Bryan Kest and The Beauty Myth

This post is the first post in an ongoing series, The Wisdom of Bryan Kest. This series seeks to chronicle what I have learned in my yoga practice with Bryan Kest since 1997.

We’ve been told that “pretty” is the magical elixir for everything that ails us. If we’re pretty we’re bound to be happier than people who aren’t pretty. If we’re pretty, we’ll never be lonely; we’ll have more Facebook friend requests; we’ll go on more dates; we’ll find true love (or just get laid more often);  we’ll be popular. If we’re pretty, we’ll be successful; we’ll get a better job; we’ll get rewarded with countless promotions; our paychecks will be bigger.  In short, “pretty,” something Naomi Wolf refers to as a form of cultural currency in the feminist classic The Beauty Myth, will buy us love, power and influence. And, in the end, “pretty” will make us feel good.

And who doesn’t want to feel good?

The media juggernaut that actively shapes our 21st century cultural environment sells us this promise and perpetuates this myth beginning in childhood. The assault continues as we move through adolescence and adulthood, meeting our gaze at every turn through fashion, television, film, music,  and advertising. These images and messages are practically inescapable, even in yoga publications, and the peddled products entice us using sleek, sculpted models and celebrities in computer retouched photos.  Advertising is specifically designed to appeal to our emotions and shape desire thereby constructing cultural values, identities and lifestyles in order to sell a gamut of products and services from beer, luxury cars and designer shoes to yoga mats, DVDs and diet pills. Ultimately, we’re spoon fed streams of unrealistic images in a virtual onslaught that tells women, and increasingly men, that the most valuable thing we can aspire to be is, well, pretty.

And the tantalizing promises of a better, prettier, you are absolutely everywhere. The idea that we can simply “turn off” or “ignore” these messages is narrow in scope and short sighted. Unless you’re living under a rock-wait, make that a hermetically sealed bubble- you are affected in one way or another and so are those around you. Unfortunately, we’re being sold a superficial bill of goods that doesn’t give us the complete picture.

As my teacher of 15 years,Bryan Kest of Santa Monica Power Yoga, says time and time again in his jam-packed yoga classes:

“Everybody wants to be pretty because that’s what they’ve been told will make them feel good even though there’s no proof that people who are prettier are healthier and happier. So why don’t we just cut to the chase and go straight to what makes us feel good?”

Kest circumvents the chatter and speaks truth in simple terms accessible to virtually everyone. He is consistently “prodding and poking” his students by exposing the absolute lunacy of our increasingly and ubiquitous media culture. He challenges students, including myself, to confront the demands of our egos. He challenges us to do the work of raising our consciousness.  Ultimately, Kest assists us in untangling our psychic, emotional and physical knots.

When we practice yoga, we feel good even if the journey through a particular practice is emotionally and physically arduous  and confronting, as it usually is.  As Kest, who has been practicing yoga for over three decades, says, “I don’t like yoga. Who likes yoga? But I appreciate yoga and the way it makes me feel.”

There is no denying the sense of mental and physical lightness, openness and freedom one feels after quieting the mind, gazing inward and moving through the body in a sensitive, conscious and loving way. Yoga is a moving meditation and, as many studies have revealed time and time again, meditation makes you feel good. Competition, a fundamental national value,  that characterizes most of our encounters in the workplace, within our families, among our peers and ourselves is not a part of a mature and healthy yoga practice. Essentially, you’re bound to cultivate inner peace and feel fantastic practicing yoga if you’re able to let go.

The only time you probably won’t feel good is if you carry your baggage into your practice, strengthening and honing  external stressors. As Kest says, in his usual elegant Kest fashion, “If you bring your shit into yoga, you turn your yoga into shit.” As with anything else, how you use a tool makes all the difference. After all, you can use a knife to butter your toast or stab someone.

Yoga is a pathway to cultivate self-love allowing us to shift our sense of validation inward, as opposed to the standard practice of measuring one’s worth based on external definitions.  In fact the cultural validation we are encouraged to seek often fans the flames of further discontent since we can never be thin enough, muscular enough, wealthy enough or pretty enough by mainstream standards. Even if we are a waify size-zero, a bulked up mass of muscles, a millionaire or a picture-perfect model, happiness isn’t a guarantee. There are plenty of depressed, disgruntled, unsatisfied “pretty people”  with low self-esteem and we know that a slim body with a pretty face isn’t necessarily a healthy body, mentally or physically. In fact, in my own work as a body image activist, many of the most “beautiful” women I’ve met have had some of the most dysfunctional and unhealthy relationships with their body. Too often this has been marked by eating disorders, disordered eating and dangerous beauty rituals to maintain the outward facade. In the end, there isn’t a direct correlation between being pretty and being happy and/or healthy. Pretty hasn’t delivered and what has been defined as pretty isn’t even real or sustainable.

Remember, Naomi Wolf called it the beauty myth for a reason.

Barbie mural photograph taken by the author at Fred Segal Salon in Santa Monica, CA.

Cross-posted at Feminist Fatale. Read How Yoga Makes You Pretty- Part Deux: Looking Pretty Versus Feeling Beautiful.

About Melanie Klein

Melanie Klein, MA is a writer, speaker and Associate Faculty member at Santa Monica College, teaching Sociology and Women’s Studies. She attributes feminism and yoga as the two primary influences in her work. She is committed to communal collaboration, raising consciousness, media literacy, facilitating the healing of distorted body images and promoting healthy body relationships. She has worked with the new citizen journalists of the LA Academy of Global Girl Media and the peer-educators of J.A.D.E (Joint Advocates on Disordered Eating) on ways to tap into the power of their own voice. She is an expert contributor in the areas of media literacy and body image issues for Proud2Bme, a NEDA project. She is the adviser of the Santa Monica College Leadership Alliance and the founder and co-coordinator of WAM! Los Angeles. She founded FeministFatale.com and is a contributor at Adios Barbie, Intent.com, MindBodyGreen and Ms. Magazine’s blog. Her essay on yoga, body image and feminism appears in Curvy Voices and her extended chapter on the same topic is included in the anthology, 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics and Practice. She has been featured on HuffPostLive, KPFK’s Feminist Magazine and The Point on The Young Turks. She is featured in the forthcoming book, Conversations With Modern Yogis. Twitter: @feministfatale

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49 Responses to “How Yoga Makes You Pretty – Part I.”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Waylon Lewis, Melanie Klein, Melanie Klein, Francesca Dobbyn, Hadley Pollet and others. Hadley Pollet said: RT @elephantjournal: RT @feministfatale: How Yoga Makes U Pretty – Part I http://bit.ly/fmEBIV Wisdom of #BryanKest + The #BeautyMyth #yoga [...]

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Victoria Hart, Red Fox. Red Fox said: How Yoga Makes You Pretty – Part I http://bit.ly/hWdIFE [...]

  3. Well done, Melanie. And it's great to have an article that reveals the real Bryan Kest.

    Bob W. Yoga Editor
    (Join Elephant Yoga on Facebook)

  4. Sarit says:

    What an amazing part one of a series. I can't wait to read the rest. I love how you touch upon all the reasons that make a Bryan Kest class uniquely his. I love how he insists we quiet the mind and move the body with the breath. It's liberating. As one who meditates regularly, Kest's encouragement toward mindfulness particularly resonates with me. Both of these practices ultimately support each other. I came to yoga with an eating disorder and a terribly skewed image of myself. When I'm in Bryan's class, I get a reprieve from that insanity and in many ways, that reprieve is life-saving. In fact, most of the time, I am able to walk out of there, or rather float, with a sense of equanimity.
    Truth be told, I wish there were more teachers like Bryan and like yourself that were able to cut through the facade of desire and misperceived perfection so as to guide their students to a place of true healing and openness. Yoga is so much more than being flexible or looking good in your pose. It's a practice of the heart.

  5. Excellent article – and so very important. I think this is a hard nut to crack in terms of today's societal thought processes…I mean, the media itself is a total advocate for the pretties. But, I loved reading this and hope that the message seeps in. Much love, Tanya

  6. Aftan says:

    This was beautiful. Thank you.

  7. kathik says:

    I misread the title as 'How Yoga Makes You Petty,' which can happen, too : ) Nice post, thanks!

  8. [...] How Yoga Makes You Pretty – Part I | elephant journal – [...]

  9. [...] Read How Yoga Makes You Pretty – Part I: The Wisdom of Bryan Kest and the Beauty Myth [...]

  10. [...] 5,601 views, 98141Comments 12http%3A%2F%2Fwww.elephantjournal.com%2F2011%2F01%2Fhow-yoga-makes-you-pretty—p… [...]

  11. Jennifer Saeedian says:

    Very well said! I love how you touch on our inability to catch the all of the numerous accounts in which we are being sold false promises that being pretty will ultimately bring us happiness and fulfillment. I, as well, have met many people who are beautiful on the outside that do not feel beautiful on the inside. This exemplifies the notion that being pretty is simply not enough, just as you discussed. In order to be content, one must be in touch with himself/herself. It is very inspiring that you have found your method to feeling good through yoga. I have never been to yoga, but after reading this article I am definitely going to attend a yoga class very soon. Additionally, I must comment on Mr. Bryan Kest’s powerful words. His words are extremely moving and will most definitely leave an everlasting affect on anyone who is fortunate enough to be revealed to them. He seems like an amazing teacher and an amazing mentor. Thank you for making this unfortunate reality known. By doing this, you are helping more people learn about themselves and get their priorities straight, everyday. You are an amazing writer, with very important points to get across, and I greatly look forward to reading more of your articles!

  12. mehrsa says:

    Hello …Professor Klein, I have never looked at yoga that way . :) Thank you for this post…it really showed how beautiful could yoga be. I also agree with you about how pretty people have more opportunities and chances, but i have also realized that most of them, usually the ones that abuse this advantage or are too confident are not happy. They are never satisfied about themselves and are always worried about something. Based on what i learned from you is that Yoga could definitely be a help to have a open and beautiful mind which help to have a healthy life routine. :) thank you again for this post.
    Mehrsa Javanmard :)

  13. [...] “How Yoga Makes You Pretty—Part 1” by Melanie Klein at Elephant [...]

  14. [...] in popular, and grueling, forms of exercise such as high-impact aerobics, running etc. in the pursuit of the beauty ideal- with little regard for the physical consequences. Orenstein’s past is characteristic of the [...]

  15. [...] call it fusion or yoga sculpt, and I’m not a big fan of yoga sculpt because it’s often not very therapeutic. [...]

  16. Leora Sheily says:

    I wish everyone had an opportunity to try yoga. As a yogi I acknowledge that the practice works wonders for my mind and body. If everyone did yoga the world would be a more peaceful and understanding place. -Leora Sheily

  17. Wen-Chi Liao says:

    Enjoy reading the article. I am only a beginner in the practice yoga and already I have received the benefits of feeling more positive and energetic. I have heard other people speak in a similar way about their experience with the practice of yoga. This has led me to examine if research shows what I feel to be true about the practice yoga and meditation. Also, when I practice mindful breathing and meditation I can set my mind into a calm state. I think it is a great way to calm down my mind and relieve stress.

  18. aylin sarokhian says:

    It was realy intresting reading this article. I think if we practice yoga or do other kind of exercise in regular bases we will feal more possitive about ourselves and feal much better. I think someone thats pretty has a high selfsteam because usually they get a lot more attention. On the other hand i always tell my kids, my sister and my firends that you should feal good about yourself and have a high selfsteem no matter haw you look.

  19. Madeleine Marcicano says:

    It's funny what some girls do to look "pretty" nowadays. Most go on diets, starve themselves, and in the end it affects their health. They make themselves seem like objects and expect to meet the standards of guys. We as women need to have a little more self confidence and be satisfied with our bodies. I think if more girls realized that they are fine just the way they are then maybe there would be a little more pretty and a lot less insecurity. Yoga seems like a great way to find one's inner beauty…the real kind! My mom has raised us by telling us we are pretty and no make-up or top designer clothes will make us "pretty."

  20. Linda Segura says:

    I am aware that skinny is the way to look and I used to be skinny, now I am not but I still can see a shape in me regardless of my booty and I don't care what others think, only what I think. For me its trying to maintain my health and mental state of mind, this is most important especially today. Yoga is a great stimulator as I took a yoga course at Fullerton College before I graduated and I really loved it. It was very relaxing and helped me to maintain my breathing from some amounts of anxiety I was feeling. At times I felt so so aware like wide eyes open after each session and so relaxed during mediation I'd fall asleep, but I felt wonderful after I left. Yoga is a great stimulator and definitely a way to stay, feeling beautiful.

  21. M. R. Salvat says:

    M. R. Salvat
    March 7, 2012

    This article is very interesting and it gives an honest look at the beauty myth and how it shapes males and females of the 21st century. You say that “the assault continues as we move through adolescence and adulthood… through fashion, television, film, music, and advertising.” In my late thirties I stopped looking at fashion or, so called, popular culture magazines because as I flipped the pages I began to feel, literally, short of breath and extremely anxious. I even cancelled a couple of subscriptions to magazines that contained interesting articles. It was the ‘assault’ to my psyche with endless insidious pictures of how sexy women are supposed to look. To me, these women did not look human, like you and me, but as a construct of some ill mind that attempted to manipulate women into looking beautiful according to some types of makeup, hair style and wardrobe that perpetuate this myth. As you mention in your blog and I have learned from sociology texts, the myth of looking/being pretty begins in childhood and it continues to erode our individuality throughout adolescence.

  22. M. R. Salvat says:

    M. R. Salvat
    March 7, 2012

    Every day we are bombarded with harmful messages that tell us what it means to be a woman or a man. In the case of women they must look pretty (and sexy) to be popular. Choosing otherwise means we will be rejected, unhappy, lonely, unsuccessful, and will not find our true love. What I find fascinating is how advertisers play, as you state, with our emotions to shape our desires. They make us not only consume more, but they make us believe that we need certain products that will shape our identities. I used to belief that one can, as you say, simply “turn off” or “ignore” these messages. Unfortunately, the pressure is overwhelming due to our level of exposure.

    During the early nineties I used to practice yoga in San Francisco. After I moved to Los Angeles I found many yoga studios but they all focused on competition instead of acquiring peace of mind. Indeed, it did not take long before yoga became another venue to sell products and services to those who only aspire to have a pretty body.

  23. Yuliana Reyes says:

    Y Reyes
    WoW! Excellent job article, I like the fact that it incourages woman to be happy internally and not so much for your looks. Being consider pretty does not mean you are a better person, Those who are humble and give to others are better off and happier.

  24. Julianne Insogna says:

    There is no denying that our society holds very high standards to beauty. In fact, I am very guilty of judging people off of these same standards. I can recall many times me and my friends have said "She is so lucky, she is so pretty" or "She is so unfortunate, she is so ugly." But why are these pretty people so happy and why are the individuals who are not as pretty so unfortunate? It is because our society has deceived us into believing so. However, there is no research that provides evidence that beauty has any correlation to one's increase in happiness. Sadly, it took me until after reading this article to realize my way of thinking was completely irrational. In fact, it has brought to my attention that people who are attractive could be the ones who have many issues while the less attractive people are living perfectly happy lives. Unless we truly know the individual, or even sometimes not even then, we do not know how happy the individual is. Someone who we might view as extremely good-looking might be facing horrendous struggles to keep up with those ideals of beauty such as bulimia or anorexia. However, because we focus so much on image, we fail to miss the insecurities and negative qualities on that individual. Instead of being fixated so much on image, we should become more concerned with self-love and self-compassion, attributes that can be achieved through the activity of yoga.

  25. Matthew Smit says:

    This article brings to light the more important issue of just being happy with your inner-self and controlling the things you can control. Happiness is inside of us and if we are comfortable with who we are, then we will be happier with life.

  26. Jasmine Y. says:

    I definitely can understand how yoga is useful in helping practitioners feel good about themselves. As a dancer, the art of movement and expression of the body through time and space brings me the greatest joy – yet, in this field there is often a a great deal of competition, leading to dancers who are closed off and disconnected from those they must work with. The passion and emotion involved, along with the discipline and commitment, can be a great reminder of the struggles endured when we reap the benefits and results of our hardwork. Dance has helped defined me as a young woman – not the clothes I wear, the car I (potentially will) drive, or where I live. Though sometimes I find myself hating my body compared to the other dancers in my classes, dance gives me the release I need, like meditation.

  27. GabrielaV says:

    I've never tried yoga but I can identify with the notion the real way to feel pretty is by truly loving yourself. I am only 20 years old and I have spent hundreds of dollars on makeup and it has never made me feel better about myself. Beauty products have only made me feel more self conscious and less willing to go out inpublic without any makeup. What has made me feel better about myself is light exercise. I participate in physical activity not because I want to slim down but because it helps me forget about the chaos that goes on in my daily life. After I finish a dance class I leave feeling full of energy but I also feel at peace. I've never been an athlete but I have found that doing some kind of physical activity that is enjoyable can boost your self esteem. I really like how this article brings brings attention to the fact that many women aren't happy because they don't love themselves.

  28. Chynnassa E says:

    I must say that I enjoyed this article. What I really related to was when Kest said, “I don’t like yoga. Who likes yoga? But I appreciate yoga and the way it makes me feel.” I absolutely feel the same way. I took a yoga class in my sophomore year of college because I needed an extra unit. In my experience, it wasn't the most exciting class, but the way that I felt after was so wonderful. I was very relaxed, calm, and peaceful. Because of this experience, I have recently decided to start taking Yoga again. That lets me know that the experience that I got from the class was rewarding! I love how the article stated that loving yourself is the true key to happiness because it is so true. If we accept and love ourselves for who you are inwardly, that will reflect outwardly. Therefore, I do believe that the techniques and message that Yoga teaches does and will make one pretty.

  29. Oscar M says:

    Prof. Klien

    "If you bring your shit into yoga, you turn your yoga into shit.”
    -I dig this quote.

    I really liked the article and I can relate on how the media pressures people to look more superficial than natural. I've took some yoga class and I must say it does more for your mind, soul,and body than the average workout at the gym. Yoga personally put me in a state of peace and relaxation even though the many poses kicked my butt, the reward of completing the class was like running a marathon. I felt positive, at ease, and overall sexy. I would only imagine if they taught yoga in prisons, what effect would yoga have on inmates who are used to lifting weights with rage and doing push ups like a mad man. Overall I feel that yoga does give my soul a sense of bliss and a unique kind of energy different your average workout at the gym. I believe everyone should at least try yoga and understand its core values.. Namaste

  30. Tania says:

    I personally use yoga for that reason because it makes me feel pretty. I have a mom who is very judgmental, she is always telling me that I should do cardio or she is always telling me not to eat certain stuff. For a long time, she has been making me feel bad about myself and telling me I am not pretty enough. What I did is I stop listening to her and all her negativity and I began to do yoga because I like the meditation. As I continue to do yoga, my mom noticed the difference and she too did yoga with me. Now her negativity has stopped and we both do yoga and we both feel good about our selves.

  31. Esmeralda Martinez says:

    I really enjoyed reading this about your personal experience with yoga and this called "being pretty". I have had the opportunity to try out yoga a couple of times. Each time I feel like I have failed at successfully achieving the desired outcome. I am to preoccupied with "Am I doing this right? omg that other girl so flexible, are people looking at me? and of course the do I look fat?" I can now say that I better understand my mistake with the yoga. I have fallen victim to the "pretty" effect. As I am approaching my late twenties and dealing with the changes in my body post child bearing. I am begining to see beyond the the exterior beauty. I am working my inner beauty and self acceptance. I cannot continue to measure myself based on superficial standards. Thank you for introducing me to a new perspective. I think I am more prepared to re attempt yoga. This time however I will leave the shit else where. In order for me to be able to really enjoy the experience.

  32. kevin moore says:

    This article was a very interesting read. I have never done yoga, but from what i hear the way you do it, it makes you pretty. I understand that majority of people spend a lot of money on products that make them feel pretty while they are using it, but it is amazing how yoga makes people feel internally good about themselves. It makes people have inner beauty.

  33. J. Nguyen says:

    For a while I considered taking a yoga class to see what it is like. What stopped me? I felt yoga was for skinny flexible girls (which by the way isn’t me) and it did not help that I had gained weight from getting pregnant (six years ago). It is true we as women go through all these extreme measures to look and feel pretty. We spend sooooo much money investing in products which might be harmful to our body. For example makeup which might damage our skin, to spending so much on pedicures and manicures, to high heels that will eventually affect us in the future. We find different cultures where women are tortured because they find different things beautiful and we judge like for example in the culture where the women wrap their feet and bones are forced to be excruciated to the point where they can’t walk because they see small feet as pretty is crazy yet here we are wearing these hot sexy high heels even though they kill us after walking or dancing a couple hours. I am not going to lie I definitely do these things. After reading this post I will definitely make time to try out yoga soon.

  34. Michelle A. says:

    It’s hard to believe that people who are pretty aren’t happier. So called pretty people are usually more outgoing giving them more opportunities to meet people, have more fun, experience more things and appear to have a happier life. But I believe that pretty is a state of mind. Someone who may not be physically pretty can have a really great personality which automatically makes them better looking (to me that is). I think it isn’t so much how pretty someone is but how they carry themselves. I’ve honestly never taken a yoga class and not because I don’t think I’m capable of doing it but simply because I haven’t had a chance to. I’d be more than willing to try especially on those days when I don’t feel my best.

  35. Lyndsay Porchas says:

    I absolutely love this post because it is so true. The messages the media portrays of beauty is nothing but lies. We see images of women and men scattered everywhere in advertisements representing what advertisers like to refer to as the “ideal body image.” Infomercials are constantly shown on television that promise either magically diet pills to help you lose weight, or other various weight loss programs that promise you that you will look like the actors they have hired. Photoshop and airbrushing skills from artists depicts inaccurate images to our society of what it means to be beautiful. We see it in ads everywhere. It seems like this Bryan Kest instructor of Yoga is the real deal. Yoga should promote inner beauty, and people often seek exercise courses to improve their beauty. Inner beauty is something that is not as promoted in our society. Yoga can open your mind to a sense of spirituality that one could never image. Inner beauty is so much more important than the materialistic crap that the media sells us on daily.

  36. Jaeyoon chung says:

    Thanks for the great article, Bryan Kest sounds like a fantastic teacher. I know I have let my own ego get in the way, and that I've allowed myself to be confused on what "pretty" and feeling good. The reminder of the Naomi Wolf's Beauty Myth, and the reminder at the end that there is a reason is called a Myth at the ending. The Beauty Myth bookends the part of the article talkking about Bryan Kest's approach to feeling good. He sounds like an excellent teacher, and you must be an excellent student Melanie Klein.

  37. Danielle K. says:

    I enjoyed this article and got a good message out of it. I agree with the fact that yoga is both a mentally and physically stimulating activity. I really like how it was explained that being pretty is more than just physical appearance. It's also about how you feel about yourself in the inside as well. I liked the suggestion of coming to yoga without your problems being relevant. It is a time to relax and currently let go of all of your problems at hand. If one can feel good about the type of person they are, then that's all that matters. I know some real UGLY pretty people. Meaning that they are cold hearted on the insider, even though they may be attractive on the outside. To me personally it has to go both ways in order to consider one being pretty. If you are pretty and you have a bad personality, then it no longer makes you pretty. If someone is not so attractive physically, their personality is what can overshadow that. If society continues to paint the image that being pretty means less problems and more rewards . . it will in fact create more problems. I loved the last line in this article stating that what is defined as pretty isn’t even real.

  38. Aleksey R. says:

    I think beauty is something we all strive to find, but also eventually realize that it is something we really will never be able to attain. Being pretty is difficult for both men and women, although much more difficult for women due to societal expectations. Whenever any of my female friends discuss yoga, the one recurring theme throughout the conversations is the enjoyment they get when they do some form of yoga. Not only do they enjoy the feeling their body gets when doing yoga, but they also enjoy the feeling of being themselves when doing yoga. They can feel every aspect of their body move the way they want it to and for that moment they can control their reality and, in a way, be pretty. Whenever we find a way to be pretty or even feel good about ourselves, we should take advantage of that opportunity and focus on making it a constant.

  39. Brittany P says:

    It is true that media makes it seem that if one is pretty then they must be happy. The prettier a person in the happier they are supposed to be. Like you the prettiest people I know a lot of the times have the most problems. They never feel good enough a lot of times and resort to measures that are unsafe to try to keep up their prettiness. This idea also is effected men too. I see it within my own boyfriend and his friends because they go to the guy everyday they take protein, pre and post gym stuff, and I don't know what else. It is all safe and legal what he is taking but I constantly tell him that getting muscular is not a big deal and he doesn't need to look a certain way.
    One thing I really like in this article is that your yoga teacher states “go straight to what makes us feel good”. It is the truth we cannot be guaranteed that being pretty will make us happy so why don't people just do things that they know will make them happy.

  40. Jason Guanlao says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article. At the moment, I am trying to get back into shape, I used to play competitive sports before transferring out of community college to CSUN, and this opens my eyes to a new outlet of stress and new way of being healthy. I think that everyone should give yoga a try because it wouldnt be such a widespread activity if it didnt have such positive affects on people. Kest's quote "Everybody wants to be pretty because that's what they've been told will make them feel good even though there's no proof that people who are prettier are healthier and happier. So why don't we just cut to the chase and go straight to what makes us feel good?" is very motivating because it makes complete sense. After reading this, I think I will look into yoga exercises that can easily be done at home, and try them out myself!

  41. Kayla says:

    Long ago I dared to try yoga, and concentrating that intently on connecting with my body and listening to what it was telling me was the first time in a long time that I could not hear my mind. The inner quiet I found from one session of yoga made me feel wonderful. I never went back though, with typical excuses that should not matter in the big picture of well-being. With continuous pressure to always hate my body, actually making peace with it might change our relationship altogether. The discovery of a genetic disorder and several injuries later and I’m thinking I’m ready to go back.

  42. Simara Williams says:

    Working in weight management I have found that even when my clients have hit their goal weight they are still not confidnt. Being in tuned with your body is such an important thing to do and the first place one should start before inflicting h1urt on themselves. I enjoyed reading this article and when you stated that "Yoga is a pathway to cultivate self-love allowing us to shift our sense of validation inward, as opposed to the standard practice of measuring one’s worth based on external definitions." Living in Los Angeles self-image is such an important focus. It's insane how far people would go to get societies approval. So many want to achieve this unobtainable image that they see on TV and in magazines (don't they know that even those images aren't 100% real).

  43. Vanessa Ochoa says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article. My family has always been very judgmental of the things I would eat, wear or do. I began doing yoga early this year and it has really help me with my low self-esteem issues and made me feel beautiful in my own skin. I am now 14 weeks pregnant with my first child and started doing pregnancy yoga. I love it because every person I see feels the have the right to tell me what not to eat and that I shouldn’t gain too much weight and that I need to this and that to prevent stretch marks. Every time I had my yoga sessions, I feel like all those negative comments are left at the door and I’m able to embrace all these wonderful changes to my body and enjoy every minute of my pregnancy regardless of what anyone says.

  44. Yoga has several benefits. Among all others, its added bonus is to make you prettier. No it doesn't necessarily mean physical beauty, rather it brings about spiritual beauty as you begin to accept your body as it is. Through yoga, you are one step closer to self-love because you leave behind criticisms about your body. Yoga lets your body do that talking and tells you what it finds comfortable. Yoga relieves depression, stress, arthritis, etc. Society has implanted in us that pretty makes us feel good. However, the cost of that pretty in the end doesn't feel good at all. But through yoga, one can feel good and feel pretty just be merely clearing their mind and accepting their body as it is.

  45. Bryan is amazing and his teachings have bled into every aspect of my life, especially my teaching and writing. And, after 15 years, he still cracks me up time and time again!

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