bathing + body image

I feel sad when I think about the the wars we wage with ourselves over body image. My body has changed shape quite a few times in my life and my skin has had its challenges. I regret to say that I haven’t always been the kindest to myself.
Many of us have an image of our “ideal” body, skin, hair… the one we would have if we could only… lose 20 pounds or do a detox diet or get rid of some of our acne/wrinkles or change our hair color or keep up with a regular exercise routine or….
It is as if by being critical we are somehow forced to make the “needed” changes. Unfortunately, this never really works and doesn’t address the important issue of loving self care.
In yoga today, my teacher talked about the importance of cleaning our energy field, of letting go of mental and emotional accumulations, of what no longer serves us. As someone who makes bodycare products for a living, my mind went to how often I “clean” the stresses of my day or wash away the emotions that need release in the bath! Oh, how I love my bath! When my life becomes difficult or I become overwhelmed, I often head to the bath. When I emerge, I feel a tangible attitude lift and my ability to cope restored or I just feel relaxed enough to head to bed for a much needed rest.
I wonder about the reasons some people don’t “like” taking baths. I have heard many people tell me,”Oh, I don’t take baths.” Some say they don’t have the time or privacy for baths or their tubs are cramped, but maybe there is more to their story. I have read there are many women (and probably men, too) who avoid taking baths and prefer to shower because they are uncomfortable looking at themselves naked in the tub. Could it be, that for some, it is difficult to turn off the negative self-talk so that baths are no longer pleasurable?

I wish I could wave a magic wand and give EVERYONE, no matter the size of their thighs or bellies or the shape of their breasts, permission to be comfortable in their own skin and enjoy the multi-layered cleansing of the bath… to release emotions and clear away tension, providing physical and mental rest and rejuvenation. (I guess you can tell I think baths are pretty wonder-full!)

If you are one who has a hard time turning off the mental chatter about what needs “fixing” on your body and then feels bad about not having achieved that ideal self, I have a few suggestions for tub transitioning: (For those of you who are self proclaimed “showerers,” all I can say is you’re missing out.

* Turn off the lights and light a few candles… everyone looks sensuous in candlelight.

* Even if your tub isn’t “spa-like” … no worries. One doesn’t need a deep claw-foot tub or a beautifully decorated bathroom to enjoy a bath! Taking a bath at night with the candles lit can transform any bathroom!

* Now gather one of your nicest towels, a soft floor mat (or another towel), a cloth or pouf if you use one for washing and a robe you feel beautiful in for afterwards.

* Find some beautifully fragrant bath salts and some soothing music if you like.

* Give yourself time to slow down, lovingly wash yourself or just soak in the soft and scented waters, allowing the worries and cares of your life wash away and yourself time just to be.

Here’s to loving YOU no matter what!


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