Leading up to the Love Your Body Summit, I am introducing you to our presenters through a series of interviews. I am so excited to share these interviews with you. Each one of these women is doing incredible work in the world.
Today we are meeting Lisa Papez, otherwise known as the Fat Yogini. Lisa will be speaking and leading a Body Positivity Yoga workshop at the summit.
Tickets to the summit are $70 and are available here.
Radical Self Love Warrior: Lisa Papez
1. Tell us a bit about your body positive work.
My body positive work is constantly evolving, but the foundation of this work is still rooted in yoga. Yoga gave me a language that I could use to teach and communicate about body love. It gave me tools to share with people about how they can form a more loving relationship with their body. It introduced ideas, older than our current diet culture, about the importance of a healthy relationship between mind, soul and body. These tools can communicate body love in non-threatening ways to people who are brand new to discovering body love and how it can play a role in their life. What I love best about the language of yoga, is the way that it allows us to explore not only body love but other harder to pin down struggles around self-worth, such as compassion (and how it applies to ourselves), connection to self and others, and acceptance.
2. What inspired you to become a body positive activist?
I discovered the Body Positivity movement quite by accident as I began to discover a sense of self-acceptance through my own personal work. I believe it first began when I heard about Linda Bacon's book, Health At Every Size, The surprising truth about your weight. Discovering there was actually a community of people in the world who were working on accepting themselves as-is was the most rebellious and revolutionary things I'd ever experienced. As my own journey continued, I discovered that I was really passionate about sharing this message with others.
3. What have you learned about body love that has made the biggest difference in your life?
The most important thing I've learned about body love, is that - like anything else - it isn't a switch you flip on one day. It's not like you just wake up and decide to love your body and then it's easy after that. It's a journey. It's work. It takes swimming upstream against the messaging we receive everyday and making choices about how to respond and interact with other people who are still enmeshed in negative self-talk and diet culture. It's learning when you need to pull back and focus on self-care instead of what others expect of you. Most of all, it's the part where you learn to forgive yourself when you slide back into old habits of body negativity and try again the next day. Those are the things that have made the biggest difference.
4. What is one change that you would love to see in the world to encourage more body love?
It's hard to boil it down to just one change. But if I had to choose one, it would be the lofty goal of ending diet culture. I believe that if we could shift the focus from aesthetics and societal ideals of acceptable forms of beauty to how we feel in our bodies and our health, it would have an enormous impact on the way we all approach our food and lifestyle choices.
5. Name another body positive activist that inspires you, and tell us about him/her.
I am constantly inspired by the work of Ragen Chastain. Her honesty, humor, and fearlessness taught me so much when I was still learning how to love my body and her work constantly challenges the way I think in difficult but necessary ways and I adore her for that.
Lisa Papez's work in the world as a yoga teacher and body acceptance advocate is based on her belief that we are all okay exactly as we are. Lisa is incredibly passionate about empowering people to feel good in the body they're in, to recognize their own worth, and to take up space and enjoy their life no matter their size. Through years of exploring, customizing and adjusting the physical practice of yoga to suit her own larger body, Lisa developed Body Positivity Yoga - an approach to yoga that is truly accessible to all ages, sizes and levels of ability. Body Positivity Yoga offerings are free of diet, weight-loss and other forms of body-negative language. Lisa is a certified yoga teacher, a body image warrior, and a community partner in the Yoga and Body Image Coalition.