The Curious Case of the Sexy Image

(same woman, different image. See posts below for image in question)

First there was this post about death. I used an image of a sexy woman on a beach when I posted the link on Facebook. Someone accused me of always using images of half-naked women to promote a post.

He was correct. but I also pointed out the obvious  in this post [“What Do You See When You Look At This Image“]: that the picture was of a human being at the height of physical achievement. A state I will never be in, nor will any of the “half naked” critics. And, by the way, she’s about 90% naked.

What’s funny is that even in the comments to THAT post, someone asked, “why do you always post pictures of half-naked women?”

First off, when is it so unusual to post pictures of half-naked women? Most men AND women’s magazines do it. It’s clearly an image that human beings like to look at.

Second, didn’t you read the posts you just commented on?

And finally, the woman in the picture wrote me herself and gave her own opinion on the topic.

The woman in the photo is named Dashama and can be found at www.dashama.com where she offers courses on yoga. I strongly encourage anyone who thinks they can do the position in the image in the above posts (or the images in this post) to take her courses and try to better yourself.

Here is Dashama’s response to the issue of using her image: 

Dashama wrote:

Dear James,

A friend of mine forwarded me the link to your article featuring my yoga photo recently. I read the entire article and also about 8 others you have posted on various topics. I find your writing style both easy to read and conversational, with just enough humor and authenticity to keep the reader with you until the end. So in short, you’re a great writer :)

The controversy around nakedness is always an interesting topic and I thought about the response you got to my photo for a while. The people who responded unfavorably, even down right offended – yes, I agree with the comment you got: they’re probably not your audience to begin with. You have a slight “I speak my mind and don’t really care if I offend you” writing style anyway, so regardless if the message is conveyed through words or images, that should remain. It’s actually, in my opinion, part of your magic. Stick with it. It appears to be working for you :)

When I posted your article to my facebook page, I got a lot of love and support actually. You see, this wasn’t the first (and I’m sure it won’t be the last) time someone commented on whether it is acceptable for me to be doing yoga in a bikini on the beach.

Can you imagine? ;)

Sometimes I just envision people sitting in their office or home on the computer fuming that I am on an exotic beach somewhere doing what I love most and what makes me feel most alive. That’s when my sister’s words of wisdom come into play: they’re probably just jealous.

For the past 10 years I have been strengthening my ‘It doesn’t affect me when people pass judgment’ muscles, since I know that what I do is from an authentic space of love and devotion to make a positive difference in the world. I came from a childhood of foster homes and poor health, so just to be alive now is a miracle every single day. The fact that I can put my leg behind my head and balance on my hands is even more miraculous than you may imagine, given that 10 years ago I was in a terrible car accident that cost me the curve in my cervical spine. After every doctor I saw told me there was nothing I could do to reverse that, I sought alternative options. Now, after almost a decade of self sought healing, I am able to do some very miraculous things with my body that most people, as you commented, may only dream about.

Besides the physical miracle of my personal healing experience, the fact that I can be living my dreams and doing what I love as a career is even more inspiring to me. There was a time when I was the one sitting in a cubicle working an office job and hating my life. Judging myself and everyone around me and focusing on the negative. It took a tremendous leap of faith to decide what I loved to do and move toward making a career out of it. Then it took another 5 years of personal development inner work to get to the point that I could get past my limiting belief systems that held me back from my power and authentic self expression. The rest of it was a steep learning curve of how to operate a business as a single woman in a male dominated world, navigating these waters has not been an easy task.

Despite all of the challenges, it was the best decision of my life. The ROI has been paid to me with dividends of joy and not money, but I’ll take that to the bank and cash it any day over doing something that kills my spirit just to pay the bills.

And that is what inspires me even more. That I know, in my heart and soul, that EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE. There was a time that I thought that specific yoga pose (from your article) would never be possible for me, but I worked at it daily for a few years and now its actually very simple. No real challenge there anymore – with that pose anyway!

The point I’m making is this: when I teach yoga or speak to audiences, I talk about the infinite potential within each and every one of us. Beyond the limitations of the mind, the scripts we run and the belief systems we have embedded so deeply in our subconscious minds that are running our every thought and action – there is complete perfection, clarity and that is where the magic happens. When we forget this, we fall into ignorance and experience suffering in our lives. I’ve been there many times, so trust me when I say, everything gets easier with consistent practice.

I tell people all the time: your life is a miracle.

The fact that you got up this morning, that was a great act of faith. You showed up here to discover and perhaps express your divine gifts and purpose with love and that is a miracle.

If you do it with grace and humility, then people call you a saint. If you do it with ego and pride, sometimes you get knocked off your high horse. Sometimes you get praised for it. But the Saint and the Sinner will both be ridiculed from time to time. I believe skeptics and antagonists exist to teach us patience and acceptance. Love and compassion. And perhaps thicken our skin a little as well.

That is perhaps the reason this photo is so controversial. The viewer has likely been programmed to see any woman that is showing some skin in any capacity as an expression of ego. Or, more likely, to see mere sexuality being expressed.

That is when the teachings of tantra yoga come into play. Part of what I teach in PranashamaYogais that all life is to be enjoyed. Shamelessly, passionately, joyously and without any pretenses. Living life without abandon! We are here on Earth for the shear pleasure of being happy and not to be concerned about what others think or say about it.

That is the key.

We rob ourselves of our joy and happiness when we stop and check in with what everyone else is thinking and saying about us. And then, if we are really self deprecating, we stop what we are doing to conform and please the negative naysayers.

This is a tragic recurrence that has to stop.

Years ago I read an interview with Gabrielle Reese where she was asked how she deals with the pressures of being a pro athlete, SI model, mother and wife of Surf God Laird Hamilton. She said, “In life, you will always have 30% of people who love you, 30% who hate you and 30% who couldn’t care less.” When I heard that, my entire world view changed.

Suddenly, when someone didn’t like me or expressed negativity toward something I was doing, I just said, well, that’s from the 30% who won’t like me no matter what I do or say. Good! Now I can focus on the abundant wealth of support and love I get from my fans and friends who love me and I can love everyone equally. Case closed. Moving on. Thank you very much.

I contemplated this for many years, as to why do some people have such a hard time with photos that show skin. For me, those are usually the ones I like to see most. I’m a lover of the human form and beauty, maybe you can relate?

I think most people secretly love to see it, but they struggle with admitting it. Possibly from fear that they may be punished in the after-life for sinning or be judged by others as being weak or lead by their sexual impulses. This is all fear based thinking. Most of this has been engrained in the subconscious mind from early childhood and it takes a serious commitment to reprogram those limiting belief systems. Some people may be harboring deep self loathing and can’t stand to see others shine because it only illuminates their own self perceived imperfections and insecurities. And some may just have very purist religious views and it’s difficult for them to see a female showing skin as sacred.

I realize that these images tend to arouse the senses. In our society, and media has played the largest role in this, any arousal of the senses, especially the sensual physical senses, has been shamed and placed into a category with titles like ‘sin’ ‘ungodly’ ‘prostitute’ ‘low vibration’ ‘ego’ etc. Those are all just labels and only carry the meaning with which we allow them to carry. We can change our entire worldview if we simply change the labels we use and stop judging everything we see as right or wrong.

I write about this concept of transcending right and wrong and the 3 Emotional Prison Keepers in my book JourneytoJoyful. Being human, we can reconcile our inner battle by transcending our limiting mental constructs, overcoming our addictions and finding balance within our minds and hearts.

I’m happy to say, I don’t have the body image issues I once did. Most people don’t know that I had an eating disorder in high school and college which gave me a horrible case of body dysmorphia for many years. If you’re not familiar with what that is, it means even when I was skinny or fit and in shape, my eyes always saw that I was fat. And I never accepted my body for what it was. For so long, I couldn’t actually see myself through those clear glasses you spoke about. I came to learn later, many people have this disorder.

About 6 years ago, one of my clients came to me for coaching. He said after 10 years of being 50 pounds overweight and never seeing it when he looked in the mirror, he finally one day saw a man at the beach with a speedo and his huge belly hanging over and realized in an instant “that is me!” From that moment forward, he started on a daily yoga, fitness and diet program. He lost the 50 pounds, got in the best shape of his life and was forever changed.

This is not an isolated occurrence. I’ve been training people in this capacity for the past 10 years. My intention is to catalyze transformation. I’ve always loved the caterpillar to butterfly stories. For me, that is where the true nectar is in my career.

These days I focus more on group trainings, leading yogateachertrainingsandretreatsglobally. These programs are much more than yoga fitness camps though. We get down to root of our limiting beliefs so we can cut them off and be free. Through meditation techniques, we reprogram our minds to focus on the positive and to see ourselves in the highest light imaginable. And then we take action, massive action. Typically at one of my Yoga Transformation Retreats we practice yoga around 4 hours per day. And another 3 hours of healing and meditation workshops on top of that. Combined with a detox diet and green juice cleanse, people can’t help but transform. We also take time to have fun, with weekly excursions like snorkeling, paddle boarding, volunteering at orphanages and other experiences. I love to take people out of their comfort zone to experience the beauty and magic of life.

My simple message: You just may be astounded by the sparkly diamond you are hiding beneath the layers of limitational beliefs. You are beautiful. You are raw perfection already, maybe it’s time to polish you up, you crazy diamond! I hope to meet you in paradise one day.

Love, Blessings and Namaste,

Dashama

http://about.me/dashama

 

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