If you think you're beautiful, you are beautiful. That's the way it rolls.

Watching a recent Ricki Lake Show episode dedicated to female empowerment, I was struck by how uncomfortable the audience and host were with their own bodies and desires.  And I don't even mean sexual desires.  When asked by guest Mama Gena to brag about themselves, to look into a mirror and say "You are hot!", or even to verbalize the desires they had for themselves and their lives, the discomfort was highly apparent.

Wow, I knew it was bad, but didn't realize it was this bad. 

An interesting moment came when guest Sheila Kelley (who pioneered pole dancing as exercise -- don't get me started -- women are so out of touch with their bodies that we have to emulate strippers to get in touch? strippers are some of the most wounded of all women, and they're more in touch with what gets men off than what they're feeling inside, but I digress . . .) led the audience through an exercise in which they were asked to relax and get in touch with their nerve endings by stroking their own arms and legs.  Wow, uncomfortable to watch the audience squirm! 

But what a wonderful exercise.  Just to give ourselves the benefit of touch in a feminine way.  This should be part of every yoga class -- and it's going to start being part of every dance class I teach. 

Now, can someone come up with a practice to gets women in touch with their bodies that doesn't rely on the sad and lonely world of sex workers as a touchstone?

If you're not familiar with Mama Gena and her simple message of permission to have pleasure in life, want to see the self-stroking exercise, and want to hear a great song from Storm Large (check my next post for her music video), you can watch the entire Ricki Lake episode here.