Part One: Awareness & Acceptance
Welcome to Module 1. Go you for jumping in! Just a note, be sure you’ve read over the INTRO first by clicking HERE. There’s stuff there you’ll need to begin. Now let’s do that! Often when we want to change, grow, heal, etc. we start moving towards where we want to be before truly accepting where we are. This is one BIG reason we find ourselves in the same place no matter how hard we try. Moving into action before having a full awareness and genuine acceptance of where things are currently is akin to entering a destination in a GPS without the system knowing your exact starting location. How can you possibly get where you want to go if you’re not fully grounded in your present position?
Acceptance makes fertile soil for the seeds of change.
I know this sounds crazy, especially when it comes to body image. You’re likely thinking, “Ya right lady! I can’t accept this body! It’s awful and if I accept it, it will never change.” or something along those lines. I get that. I felt that way for years and still have to work this part of the process over again sometimes. Acceptance is scary but its also where authentic, sustainable change begins. You’ll come to feel this for yourself, try to trust the process.
When you don’t want to be where you are, you create suffering for yourself. Change happens through acceptance, kindness, and relaxation-not resistance, warfare, and fights.
Print and complete (skip page 1) my Discovery Session Application by clicking the picture here. This will lead to a deeper awareness of your current relationships with body, food and life purpose. Go slow. Allow for reflection. Work to be with where you’ve been; it holds great wisdom. Afterwards, journal emotions and insights then write the following affirmations on a sheet of paper. State them aloud 3 times (I know, it’s awkward!) then leave them with your completed application out in the moonlight for one night. Burn them the next morning.
“I accept and understand my past experiences. I was doing the best I could and it was enough.”
“I accept my present experience. I am doing the best I can and it is enough.”
“I am whole, worthy and deserving of health and happiness.”
Part Two: Inspiration & Intention
How was going through Part One for you? Be sure to take your time with this process. It may take a while just to work through this first module. There is a lot of information and experiential activities in this course. Never rush your healing. That said, here we are at Part Two! The first step is to grab your Creation Journal and pens, markers or crayons for each color of the rainbow. Sit comfortably with your journal. Take a look at the link HERE and come right back to this point.
This is the truth of yoga illustrated in the Rights of the Chakras. Can you imagine the freedom of really feeling this way and living from here? How would your life be different? What would you be empowered to create, to change, to be, to experience, to let go of, to receive? Notice for a moment how it felt for you to read these words. Do you believe them? What did you feel in your heart? Perhaps lightness, heaviness, fear, joy, or sadness. What sensations did you have in your body? Maybe a shift in the breath, pulse, or muscle tension. What thoughts came up? Take note of your experience: body, mind and soul.
Start your Creation Journal now. Copy the Chakra Rights, one by one, in the first person at the beginning of your journal. Use the corresponding chakra colors. As you do so, pause to state each of the rights aloud then close your eyes to tune in and feel any inner reactions or resonance before moving on to the next. Journal about your experience in the following pages once completed. After this step create your OWN life manifesto! Feel free to share it with me and others. We always seem to share our complaints and frustrations, how about sharing our hopes, dreams, higher vision?
How was that? You may be wondering what these statements have to do with body image. I promise you’ll come to understand this in ways that enhance your entire life.
The relationship to our bodies is our first one and therefore the foundation of ourselves.
-Marcia Germaine Hutchinson, Ed.D, body image expert
Now let’s really embody these. Here’s the first of my signature PEACE Practices: The Chakra Soul-U-tation. May this powerful combination of mantras (chants or affirmations) and mudras (hand postures) help you reclaim your basic human rights for a light and lovely life.
You looked over my intentions, now let’s discover and set yours! Go to the BKH Creation Page below for this next step, setting your own Empowered Intentions. Use this video to get you started with the first step of “I want…”
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep.
Repeat the process with the other 3 sections on the sheet. Once completed, flip it over and write each of the 12 statements out as intentions and affirmations that start with the following phrases as they make sense and are true for each unique statement:
I belive I deserve…
I bravely release…
I can and will…
I agree to receive…
Intention is the commitment to your desires.
Now, take all this goodness and make a Vision Board! Use magazine clippings, glitter, paint and other art medium to create a BIG image of your most magnificent life. Take your time, turn on some of your favorite music and go for it. Here’s some songs I find super inspiring for this phase of the work. Something Better by Troubadours of Divine Bliss. Maybe you’ll even see me in this video (wink, wink). Also Manifest by Zach. These amazing artists are friends of mine and are people that courageously shine their light in the world. Check out all of their music!
Part Three: Intro to Yoga & The Body Karma Healing Model
Now that you’re rooted in awareness and acceptance and have clear intentions for your journey, let’s learn the basics of yoga and the BKH Model so you’re all set to practice and reclaim your power. Read over the About Yoga page HERE. Journal your questions and any insights that arise as you look over the info.
Grab your 3-ring binder and print each of the following documents (7). I suggest putting them in page protectors. Make several copies of the PEACE Pages Basic since you’ll be using them daily.
*Note that the audio links in this PDF and some of the Practice Guides are not available due to website updates. All audio files (meditations) are linked on the main eCourse page for this reason and at the recommendation of current users for ease of maintaining their practice.
The Body Karma Healing Model & PEACE Approach
You don’t have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body.
Turn to The Body Karma Healing Model image in your binder for reference as you read the following information. Have your Creation Journal nearby for writing about emotions and thoughts that arise as you read.
“I feel FAT…I am FAT.” What do these statements mean to you? How often do you feel this way? Do you say it or notice the women around you lamenting their physical selves? Through both my personal and professional experience I’ve come to understand this statement to be about so much more than weight, size and cellulite. I’ve come to hear the deeper meaning via my journey and sharing in this healing process with lots of other women. I believe what I call “The FAT Experience,” is an expression of soul suffering. It’s the way we experience feeling trapped, stuck, contained, controlled in our lives. It’s a symptom of not living as our fullest selves therefore our life force (prana) gets trapped. This model summarizes this dynamic and my approach to remedy it. Bolded words call attention to the different images and their meanings. Here’s the BIG breakdown.
It is through the body that you realize you are a spark of Divinity.
Yoga philosophy holds that our essential nature is that of divineness. The word Atman means “spark of the Divine.” This is the True Self which is illustrated in the top left corner of the model as a spark. The most fundamental mantra of the yogic tradition is “so hum” which means “I am” or “I am that” referencing this teaching. The experience of being uncomfortable in our bodies regardless of size, weight or shape, is due to Forgetting Atman Temporarily. We express this by saying, “I feel FAT” or “I am FAT” or some other variation of self-judgement. This is illustrated on the model as the fat cloud.
Let’s face it, life’s not all sunshine and rainbows right? We experience pain here on earth and it’s natural to want to pull away from those sensations. Since the body is what we feel everything through, it’s natural to want to contract from it when hurting, for the soul to disconnect from soma (the physical). Often clients will say, “But I’ve had a pretty good life, no major traumas or hardships.” You don’t need to have been abused or teased to feel uneasy in your body. Forgetting our light and pulling back is part of the process of spiritual evolution. Everyone struggles with this on some level, at some time, in their own unique way.
It’s actually an ongoing process, a spiral that moves both up and down much like the flow of prana, a.k.a life force energy, moves down from Source (God as you understand him, her, it, them) via the path of manifestation and back up through the path of liberation. More on this in later modules. We spiral up from the lower chakras into the higher vibrational states of the upper ones, then back down again to dig deeper into our samskaras (entrenched patterns of thinking and feeling), and then back up to clear them layer by layer. Think of it as a dance, kind of a 2 steps forward and 1 step back kind of thing except it’s not so linear. This is illustrated by the figure 8 in my logo and by the subtle yellow spiral behind the triangles. The infinity sign also symbolizes the 8 limbs of yoga and the interconnectedness of everything. Interconnectedness is one of the many aspects of karma.
This disconnect, or forgetting, happens unconsciously as a form of self-preservation. It’s a sacred survival mechanism actually. It’s how we know to protect ourselves before we awaken. It’s not a place we’re meant to stay however because it sends us spiraling energetically downward creating the sense of heaviness shown here as the grey energy around the figure. This is the vibration of fear rather than love. When this happens the three main aspects of the self; body, mind, soul, become imbalanced. Instead of a harmonious democracy, the “vritti” mind (aka inner critic/worrier) takes over oppressing body and soul. This is illustrated by the big head and stormy mind on our stick figure.
We understandably take on a different persona to protect the soul from further hurt. This is called the ego or False Self as it’s named in the cloud on the lower left side. We literally take on a new identity of “I am FAT” defining ourselves externally instead of by our essence. We begin to live in “The FAT Experience” described more below, which in the least causes disordered eating and poor self-esteem. At it’s worst, it drives full blown eating disorders and other self-harming, self-sabotaging habits. I call the changes to the food relationship due to The FAT Experience “Diet Drama.” The characteristics of which are:
- yo-yo dieting
- food/body/exercise preoccupation/obsession including with “healthy eating”
- restrictive eating due to fear of gaining weight
- mindless eating, imbalanced eating, overeating, bingeing
- over-(compulsive/addictive) exercise or under-exercise
- frequent and drastic weight and energy fluctuations
- distrust or ignorance of basic body cues of hunger and fullness
- feeling out of control around food
- “getting rid” of what’s been eaten ie. purging through exercise, self-induced vomiting, laxatives etc. NOTE: none of these work and they damage your body and soul process
In this state the body seems like the enemy. How can we meet our body’s needs effectively if we are out of touch and constantly trying to change it? Body image is the foundation to our relationship with food and movement. It is the first relationship we form as a soul in the world. Body image challenges can be somewhat subtle or what I call “problematic.” This is what’s most common among American woman. Though only an estimated 1-3% of women in the US have actual eating disorders, you can hardly find a place in our culture where body image issues and food focus are not ever present. There’s even a psychological term “normative discontent” referring to body dissatisfaction being just something that is. Disturbing right?! I don’t think this is normal or OK at all.
This dissatisfaction is related to the emotional distress of disconnection and can easily evolve or cycle into distortion which is Painful Body Image. At this intensity the perception of the body, of the self as a whole and even other areas of life, are distorted. This constellation makes us unable to see the body, or ourselves as we truly are. Distortion at this fundamental level can inhibit clarity in all other areas of life including what we really want and need, what our passion is, what we are here to do as a soul which is our Divine Dharma, our life’s purpose. If we attempt to control “The FAT Experience” through Diet Drama this depresses the energy of the anxiety, it contains it instead of allowing it to flow through and be released. Connection to love, what we love and the reality that we are love, helps us cultivate the courage to face our fears to heal our wounds and return to our wholeness. In my humble opinion, karma and dharma are really what the path of yoga is all about. Karma means many things to many people. In BKH I mean it to be the definitions of interconnectedness, action and service. I teach that the path of yoga helps us do three essential things:
#1. Remember we’re awesome.
#2. That we are here to have fun (a.k.a. follow our bliss)
#3. That we are here to be of service.
I find that if you work on the first two, the third will inevitably flow.
Note that body image is a fluid experience. One moment you may feel fine, the next you can become wildly uncomfortable in your skin. This is due to energy as illustrated above by the grey shape around the stick figure. Emotions are energy, life force is energy, ideas, dreams and desires are energy which takes us into more on the triangles in the model.
A downward pointing triangle is symbolic of the divine feminine energy, also referred to as the “tha” of hatha yoga or Shakti. The upward triangle represents the divine masculine, the “ha” or Shiva. These forces need to be balanced to feel peaceful, vibrant, heaIthy and to be empowered in creating the life you desire. The divine feminine in our culture, to this day and age, continues to be feared because it is flowing, often chaotic and incredibly powerful. Painful body image is primarily the result of oppressing our Shakti. Liberating Shakti is essential to realizing our full potential for peace, joy, health and service. When Shakti is free, Shiva can work to cultivate the attributes in the top triangle: clarity, creativity, calm and contentment. More on these sacred energies in modules 3 and 4.
In addition to FAT representing Forgetting Atman Temporarily, it also represents how being aligned with ego instead of Atman makes us feel which is Fearful, Anxious and Tense. Fearful because that’s what the ego is; a fear-based version of ourselves. Ego gets it’s sense of worth from the outside; body, possessions, money, status, etc.. We become insecure about who we are causing anxiety about preserving our identity. The soul is still there trying to come back into play but it’s nervous about opening back up to the fullness of life. A tension builds up between the false and true self. It can often feel as if there’s a war going on inside, the heart battling the mind and the body caught in the crossfire.
So how do we heal it? First and foremost, we connect. We let ourselves Feel All Truth. That’s right, another fat acronym! To summarize, think of it as a map…The FAT Map. We are starting somewhere we don’t want to be yet we have clear directions on how to get, in this case, back home to our True Selves.
We feel Fearful, Anxious and Tense,
when we Forget Atman Temporarily,
which is healed by Feeling All Truth.
Yoga connects us to the now, to what truly is. It’s clears the veil of fear and illusion. I know there’s a lot of information here so let’s begin to wrap up this first go round. Here’s your “OM” work until the next module.
Review and journal about The PEACE Principles. Don’t feel pressured to do them all right away. They are principles that we’ll work into throughout the course. Just explore them now, and look at where you are with each of these ideas. Next, work with the PEACE Pages throughout your day. At first use the detailed one with the instructions. The page instructs you to start your day connecting deeply to yourself including starting a “sadhana.” Sadhana means daily spiritual practice. Start with at least The Body Image Clearing and the Charka Soul-U-tation. This is a great intro to yoga practice and healing body image. If you already have a yoga practice, by all means continue with that too. I also have my JNY Membership for fresh practices every month. To learn more about that click HERE. We’ll get more into postures in Module 2. Lastly, you can begin to work with The PHAT Practice meditation as part of your sadhana and any time you feel FAT. This practice is key to Feeling All Truth and shifting the experience of our bodies from fear to love. When you’re ready, move on to Module 2 here or through the main eCourse page.
Thanks for taking the journey to body peace. It benefits you and the world. Remember, if this inspired you and you’re able to, share a little something.