Tag Archives: Wellness

Agni Yoga Offers Self-Care For Queer People

Self-care is vital. Sometimes you need emotional self-care, like watching your favorite movie or spending time meditating or with friends. Sometimes you need physical self-care, like going for a run or eating salad. Agni’s Queer and Trans Yoga Class offers the best of both.

This weekly class is specifically geared toward protecting the mental and physical health of people from marginalized communities. This yoga class is two parts yoga, one part poetry slam; the class leaders incorporate poetry and the healing practice of reiki into each session.

Above all, this class aims to be a safe space. One of its organizers, E. Parker Phillips, describes the class as “fat-positive, body positive, kink-positive, multiracial, multigenerational, and feminist.” Before the class, organizers put signs

The class tries to be as accessible as possible. Before the class, organizers put signs on the male changing rooms that those rooms are open to people of all genders. “We seek to create a space where transgender and nonbinary people don’t have to worry about where they are going to pee, especially when they are there to take care of their selves and their bodies,” Phillips says. The center is wheelchair-accessible. And while many yoga spaces across the US are the domain of wealthy women who can afford to spend hundreds of dollars per month, Agni asks only for a suggested donation of $5.

Every aspect of the class is designed to encourage emotional openness. The organizers read poetry before and after class and even perform reiki healing. And instead of the physically intensive hot yoga that is encouraged for losing body fat, Agni focuses on the yin style, which requires participates to hold poses for longer periods of time and focus on their breathing.

This is more than just a yoga session. It’s also a learning space that emphasizes the link between self-care and resistance. Each class educates participants on “transgender stigma, sex worker stigma, the destructiveness of white supremacy, and the limitations of capitalism.” Many people wander into these sessions by accident, not expecting a queer-friendly self-care movement, but leave educated and empowered.

Currently, Agni is only in Miami, but we all hope that other studios will follow their model. If you’re interested in yoga, then learn more about the class to drop in or start a similar practice in your area.

15 Easy (and Necessary) Ways To Practice Self-Care

Self-care is vital.

But it’s hard to tell yourself that it’s vital. You’ll always have another assignment to finish, another job to apply for, another errand run to make – you probably live by the adage “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

If you don’t practice self-care, you’ll burn out. End of story. Human beings aren’t robots. Burnout leads to mental and physical side effects like high blood pressure, anxiety, depression and insomnia. Take care of yourself. Here are some easy ways to do so.

Here are some easy ways to do so.

For the body:

  • Meditate for fifteen minutes a day in order to clear your head.
  • Find an exercise that you enjoy, such as yoga, and treat yourself to it.
  • Get a full night’s sleep every night. It will increase your productivity the next day.
  • Don’t be afraid to eat dessert. Sure, you’ve heard sugar is bad for you, but sugar is also delicious, and you deserve to live a little.
  • Drink in moderation. Don’t be afraid to hit happy hour with friends and decompress.

For the mind:

  • Check out all of the new comedies on Netflix and devour at least one episode a day.
  • Take a nap several times a week (or a day).
  • Learn stress-handling techniques.
  • When was the last time you read a good book? Head to a bookstore or read one on your phone.
  • Learn something that you’ve always wanted to learn. It’s finally time for you to learn sign language and improve your contour game.

For your spirit:

  • Create art. You don’t have to splurge on a class – teach yourself from free resources on the internet.
  • Log off of social media when you’ve had enough. Don’t feel pressured to keep up with everything.
  • You don’t have to read the news. For your own sanity, skip it some days.
  • Find a safe space. This doesn’t have to be a community center; it can be your comfy bed or a friend’s apartment. Anywhere you feel at peace.
  • Make time for religion. If religion is important to you, don’t shove it to the end of your to-do list because life is too hectic. Attending a religious service will help you find community and also decrease your stress levels.

Need more inspiration? Here are 134 more ideas.

Are You Suffering From Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or BDD as it is also referred to, is a psychological disorder in which sufferers believe their body, or certain parts of their body are defective.

It is a serious disorder and often goes undiagnosed, especially as negative self-talk is often accepted in today’s society. Sufferers aren’t just displaying typical insecurities that we all feel from time to time.

They feel like their appearance is very flawed. So how can we tell if our belief that we have a big nose or huge thighs is actually something more serious than an insecurity? Below are five signs that might indicate you are suffering from BDD.

You never feel engaged in what you are doing.

This symptom can show itself if for example you are talking to someone but rather than take part in the conversation completely you spend the whole time worrying that the person you are talking to is looking at the part of your body you feel unhappy with.

You think that all she is thinking is how disgusting your nose is, or how much your chin juts out. If you go to an exercise class, you spend the whole time thinking everyone is staring at your thighs or thinking how awful your butt looks in the sweat pants you are wearing. You feel more comfortable at home in baggy clothes hiding under a blanket so you don’t have to look at yourself.

You hate mirrors

Do you avoid looking at your reflection at all costs, or when you do look in a mirror you are constantly thinking your ears look bigger than they did the last time or that last meal you ate is showing on your stomach already? Many BDD sufferers have an abusive relationship with mirrors and some people might even joke that you are always admiring your reflection.

In fact, the opposite is true. You are not looking at yourself to see how great you look, you are obsessing that the reflection you see in the shop window makes you look even worse than the last reflection you saw of yourself in the bathroom mirror earlier that day.

You have developed unhealthy coping mechanisms

You may have an eating disorder, a drink or drug problem, a shopping addiction, an addiction to exercise or even an addiction to plastic surgery.

These can be secondary symptoms to BDD as you believe that not eating properly will reduce the size of your thighs, or running 10 miles a day will flatten your stomach. Most sufferers will try do anything to fix whatever problem they think they have with their body immediately, even if it means drinking or taking drugs to escape the obsessive thoughts you are constantly plagued with about your body.

You keep comparing yourself to others

If you are at the shops you will look at people around you and compare the amount of acne they have to what acne you perceive you have. You might think that if you had been given the thighs of the woman working in reception you would look so much better and be so much happier.

Sometimes this obsessive comparing can even affect your work and you might try to hide your ‘effected’ part of your body from yourself, with a sweater on your lap hiding your ‘fat’ stomach for example, simply so that you can try to do your work without constantly comparing yourself to your co-workers.

Negative thoughts about your body consume you daily

BDD can consume your every waking hour. Sometimes it can start slowly, just a niggle about a certain body part, but then it becomes bigger, you start thinking negatively about other body parts and before you know it you are too scared to sit between two people on the tube in case you can’t fit as you think you are too big.

Sometimes sufferers will even avoid showering because seeing themselves naked and imagining how much of their body they want to cut off is just too much to bear. You might even cross the road to avoid walking past people because you think you won’t both be able to stay on the pavement and you constantly watch your friend’s eyes to see how much they are staring at your ‘ugly’ body.

If you believe you may be suffering from BDD you must talk to someone about it right away. The condition can be treated and sufferers do overcome the disorder to then go on and lead a life not consumed with such obsessive thoughts about their body.