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    8 Little Ways to Show Your Body Love

    8 Little Ways to Show Your Body Love

    We punish, criticize, deny and take them for granted. I’m talking about our bodies. If we were dating our bodies, they would have broken up with us long ago and moved on to partners who appreciated them for the wonders that they are. Today, I want to encourage a loving relationship with our bodies. Take a moment to think about how truly amazing your body is. Really think about all it is capable of. It’s pretty awe-inspiring, right? If you need some suggestions on showing your body how much you care, take a step in a more gracious direction with these gestures of love.
    1. Write Down Your Love
    Everyday write down something you love about yourself. Really challenge yourself! You can go old school and write your daily notes on pieces of paper and keep it in a jar or, like me, keep a running list on your phone. Push yourself to focus on more than your appearance. Include all the amazing things your body does for you. On days where you are doubting your awesomeness read through your list and remember how incredible you and your body really are!
    2. Snuggle Up in Lux Fabrics
    Grab your favorite cashmere sweater or cocoon yourself in satin sheets. We are tactile creatures, but we often forget to slow down and really experience our surroundings. Take the time to fully enjoy the sumptuous feeling of soft fabrics on your skin and the natural sensuality it brings out. Make a conscious effort to bring materials into your life that allows you to enjoy your silky soft skin. Avoid fabrics that irritate your skin.
    3. Unplug 
    Turn Off Your TV/Cellphone/Computer for 30 min a day. I know, I know this is a tough one, but all those “oh so helpful” electronics in our lives are also major contributors of stress. Stress wreaks havoc on the body. It keeps you up at night, drains your energy, and it shows on your face. Treat your body and your mind to 30 minutes a day of quiet stillness. Take 30 minutes a day to remove the strain on your eyes, the hunching of your shoulders over a desk, and feeling the need to be at the immediate beck and call of others. Taking a hiatus will give your mind an opportunity to stop multitasking and rest, leaving you refreshed and ready to take on each new day.
    4. Dance Like No One is Watching
    Turn off the lights, kick out the cat, and get down with your bad self. Don’t judge, don’t second guess, don’t think! Allow yourself a song (or two) to let your body move to its' natural flow. If you are a pole dancer you may be tempted to cling to the pole, but do yourself a favor and let go of the security blanket as you let go of your inhibitions. When you move your body, not only will you feel more in tune with yourself, but a burst of exercise will leave you feeling rejuvenated.
    5. Sniff Your Body Good
    Smell is our strongest sense and is one of the quickest ways to improve your mood and relax your body. When you need a boost, incorporate essential oils into your self care routine with a diffuser, candle, or for bonus “body loving” points, add to a relaxing bath. Use rosemary to fight aches, cramps, and exhaustion. It can also be used topically to relieve muscle aches and pains. Both jasmine and lavender have calming properties and relieve nervous tension. My personal favorite, cinnamon, is a great mood booster and helps relieve fatigue.
    6. Stand Tall
    Bad posture is one of my biggest pet peeves. Why? Because it is one of the simplest and most effective ways to show pride in your body and many people fail to do so. To start, stand up straight, rolling your shoulders back and squaring them off - your ears, shoulders, and hips should be inline. Your chest will be pushed forward and your stomach pulled in. Make sure your weight is centered on the balls of your feet, not your heels. Good posture not only prevents backaches and pains, but it shows your body off to its' best advantage.
    7. Breathe
    This is a simple one so no excuses. Take 5 - 10 deep breathes. That's it. Allow yourself to focus on each inhale and exhale, relaxing your muscles and centering yourself as you breathe. You will instantly feel calmer and more focused.
    8. Say No
    How many of us pack our days and nights full of commitments only to get to the end of the week dead tired? Show your body and mind some love by giving it a break. Say no to something … big, small, anything… and experience the glorious feeling of weight being lifted off your shoulders. I promise the world will not collapse if you actually leave work on time or if you don’t make it out to your coworker’s sister’s husband’s birthday party. Make your mental and physical wellness a priority and your body will return the favor.
     What do you love about your body? Share the body love and let us know in the comments.

    Jillian is an avid pole dance student, accessories and costume designer, rhinestone aficionado, and a PDBloggers Executive Commitee Member. She also writes at PoleGeek.blogspot.com.

    Meet Your Bodybinds Bloggers: Sheena of SheenaLaShay

    Meet Your Bodybinds Bloggers: Sheena of SheenaLaShay

    This week we're interrupting our regularly scheduled program to introduce you to our Bodybinds Bloggers. Some voices you have come to know over the past few months and others are newbies round these parts. We have a lot of great content in store for you and we want you to know the bloggers behind the words.

    Editor's Note: I've been asked how I came to be the Editor of the Bodybinds blog. I do consider it an honor and it fascinates me that I find myself in this place. For those seeking new adventures whether it be to write for certain publications, manage new projects or go to the moon, here are some short tips. Always be ready for an opportunity. You never know when you're going to get your chance. Therefore even in your downtime, make sure you're always developing your skill set. Find your favorite places, businesses and websites and get to know them intimately. Clicking every button on the Bodybinds site revealed they were looking for bloggers. (It revealed a few other things too which is why there are a lot of things in the works! Stay tuned) Put yourself out there. Pitch your idea. Then try again. It took a couple tries to get Bodybinds attention....because they are so busy creating amazing things. So in my final pitch I catered my proposal knowing what their challenges were. And when you pitch and when you deliver.... BLOW THEIR MINDS AWAY. You wanna write for a website? Manage a team? Secure a sponsor? Get the guy? Start a business? These tips are universal. And now, a girl who used to have one bra, a side ponytail and over-sized clothes to hide her body, lives in pleasure and fashionable lingerie while writing about it!

    Bodybinds: Describe your fashion?

    SheenaLaShay: If ModCloth and FreePeople and Anthropologie and AllSaints had a baby that's how I'd imagine my style to be. I like really short shorts, girly dresses, high heels and patterned tights. I also have a love affair with pretty panties. Check out my pinterest board to see items I have purchased and that live in my closet HERE if you really want to see how I dress.

    Bodybinds: Describe your writing style?

    SheenaLaShay: I write, for the most part, in the same way that I dance. It's a freestyle format and then I edit, edit, edit. I write very emotional pieces that explore my thoughts and experiences. Sometimes I swear. Sometimes its a little too long. Sometimes its a little too revealing for comfort. In other words, I keep it real.

    Bodybinds: What's the most subversive thing you've ever done?

    SheenaLaShay: Live out loud! Years ago, my entire existence would have been banned. I like to pole dance. I have a few fetish tendencies. I'd walk around naked if I could. I date multiple men. (They all know.) I like to talk about and explore sexuality and sensuality and pleasure. And I feel no shame or guilt. Living fully in my power...that's been the most subversive thing I've ever done.

    Bodybinds: What's your favorite part about being a woman?

    SheenaLaShay: I love my body. I love my curves. I love my skin and my eyes and my curly hair. I like the way I feel against and with a man. And I like my connection to my girl friends as well. So basically, my favorite part of being me, is dwelling in my own beauty & wellness, as well as living very connected to others.

    Bodybinds: Who is your favorite style icon?

    SheenaLaShay: Dita Von Teese. 

    Bodybinds: How do you like to indulge yourself and/or experience pleasure?

    SheenaLaShay: I love delicious, decadent and flavorful foods. I love long luxurious showers and baths. I love mind blowing sex. And I love sensual dance in a dark room, with candle lights and 7 inch heels. ULTIMATE PLEASURE!

     

    Known as an Intellectual Sensual Shaman and Wild Magical Woman, Sheena LaShay has one mission: To inspire authentic and powerful living. Sheena is a Writer, Editor and Producer in New York City. More specifically she is the Co-President and Editor-in-Chief of the #PDBloggers, Editor of the Bodybinds Lingerie blog, a Lifestyle Tech Blogger for Verizon Wireless and a Contributing Writer for OwningPink.com under the direction of Lissa Rankin.

    Sheena LaShay is also a Motivational Speaker and has delivered keynote addresses at Lehman College, the historic Poet’s Den Gallery and Theater and has an interview featured in Abiola Abraham’s soon-to-be-released book, “The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self Love.” Most notably, Sheena LaShay was also recently interviewed by Dr. Richard Besser of ABC News for “This Week with George Stephanopologous” regarding sexual abuse, politics and culture.

    Having spent the formative years of her life in a repressive cult and surviving childhood sexual abuse, Sheena decided to live in abundance, freedom and joy after hitting rock bottom. Knowing the transformative healing power of art and creativity, Sheena created the ""Crafts + Cupcakes"" DIY parties, ""CREATE"" retreats for women artists, and ""Wild Magical Woman"" workshops. She also travels around the country capturing portraits and intimate boudoir moments of women. To follow her adventures, her healing journey and her creative art visit SheenaLaShay.com.

    Website | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Facebook

    Photo Credit: Glen Graham Photography

    What To Expect During Your First Boudoir Photo Shoot

    What To Expect During Your First Boudoir Photo Shoot

    Boudoir photo shoots are kind of like spa days; they're both designed to help you look and feel your best. Long before the camera turns on, you can begin your day of pampering. 

    Before you begin posing for your boudoir photographer, you can enjoy "a day in the life of a model" as you get your hair styled and makeup done. It's not every day that you have your own styling team, so whether the photographer provides it or you treat yourself, on the day of your intimate photo shoot, go all out and enjoy it! Right before your boudoir shoot, this is the perfect time to relax, have a snack (fresh fruit, green smoothies and lemon water are healthy options for boosting your energy), and fill your mind with sexy thoughts. Then when you are mentally and physically in the zone, you can change into your preferred lingerie and heels. Once you're ready for your close-up, the photographer can create amazing images of you against a gorgeous backdrop. During my first boudoir photo shoot, I learned a few things:

    1) The more uncomfortable the pose, the cooler the photo.

    The number one suggestion the photographer kept hollering at me all day?

    "Arch your back! Arch as much as possible. More!"

    I don't normally walk around, booty and chest portruding (to exaggerate that I have junk in the trunk and the front). However, the day of a boudoir photo shoot is not quite like any other day, and the same rules do not apply.

    An arched back is universally flattering. Use this to your advantage!

    It creates curves in all the right places, flattens your stomach, and makes you feel naughty, suggestive and flirty - all those things you want to express in your boudoir photos.

    During boudoir photo shoots, you'll need to hold poses anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes. The photographer might direct you to make small changes in your facial expression (smiling, not smiling, lips parted), the placement of your hands and arms (in your hair, on your body, on the furniture), and the way you look at the camera (tilting chin up, down or to the side).

    By the time you're finally "in place" and the photographer is ready to snap photos of your current pose, you'll notice it takes effort to hold the position. Between remembering to breathe, staying still and putting a sexy expression on your face, modeling can be quite the physical task!

    Once you see how your boudoir photos look, you'll totally get why holding unnatural poses is worth the discomfort.

    2) Props can spice up your boudoir photos.

    Depending on what tickles your fancy, you could grab a flogger or heart shaped paddle to play with in your photos. If you're like me, you'll grab both toys and a friend for some extra naughty snapshots!

    Boudoir photography is all about capturing a fantasy world, where your sensual side comes out to play and you can bring wild dreams to life. Bring props that go with the persona/character you're expressing or the theme of your boudoir photo shoot.

    If you're dressing up like a French maid, for example, have your feather duster, pretty spray bottle and vacuum cleaner with you.

    With props, you could go the sweet route and have lollipops or candy. If you're craving something kinkier, use hand cuffs or blindfolds in your photos.

    Shibari rope bondage looks especially hot in boudoir photography. If you like the idea of getting tied up and bound with intricate rope designs, consider including shibari as part of your boudoir shoot outfit.

    3) Implied nude photos can be playful and sexy.

    Even if you're nervous about your first boudoir photo shoot, you'd be surprised by how quickly you can get comfortable in front of the camera. Before you know it, you might even be stripping down for beautiful implied nudes.

    Implied nude means that your private areas are still covered (but not with clothing).

    For example, you might be topless but have satin sheets or your arm covering you. You could be facing the wall and looking over your shoulder at the camera.

    The fun thing about implied nude photos is that you get to be naked yet coy, bared but still mysterious, undressed but still letting 'em guess! You're showing some skin, but not all of it.

    Some of my favorite shots from my first boudoir photo shoot are implied nudes. I like that they have a "teasing" feel... it's almost as if I'm in the process of getting undressed and the camera catches that moment in between being clothed and completely naked.

    During your first boudoir photo shoot, you'll be bending and arching into beautiful poses, playing with sexy props, and maybe even teasing the camera with implied nudes - if that's something you'd like to try!

    Whether you're doing a boudoir photo shoot as a sexy gift for someone special or to give yourself the fun experience of feeling like a supermodel for a day, the whole process can reconnect you to your sexual side. Boudoir photography accentuates what makes you uniquely sexy. That could mean the freckles on your shoulders, the colorful tattoos on your body, the hint of mischief in your eyes, or the joie de vivre that you express with your laughter and gorgeous smile. Boudoir photo shoots are especially fun to cross off your bucket list. Planning to do your first one can be both thrilling and nerve-wracking... but with the positive experience you're going to have during your shoot, you'll be ready for your next boudoir shoot before your first one is done!

    Have you ever done a boudoir photo shoot? What was the experience like for you? Did you have to do any uncomfortable poses? Did you use props? Share your story below or a fun tip to add to our list!

    Tinie writes about sexuality, open relationships and pole dancing at DanceTinyFox.com. Her favorite hobbies are conducting life experiments and writing about them. Tinie is also an active member of the #PDBloggers.

    Image Credit: Vixen Photography / Scott Saw

    Feel Beautiful: Empowerment Through Photography

    Feel Beautiful: Empowerment Through Photography

    "I'm not hot enough!"  We might not always say it out loud, and instead of "hot," we might use the word "skinny" or "pretty" or "toned." Whatever word you use, I know that I am not the only one who has destructive thoughts about personal body image at times.  And while I think we all know deep down that we're being hard on ourselves, these thoughts often hold us back. The destructive thoughts hold us back from wearing a bikini to the beach without a coverup, from having our picture taken without making a silly face and from allowing ourselves to feel beautiful without hiding it. My friend Iman Woods is a strong believer in empowering women through photography, and I knew writing this blog post for Bodybinds would be the perfect opportunity for me to do the same. I wanted to show both the women who modeled for me and the readers of this blog that the inner critic is wrong and that we are allowed to feel beautiful. But I also expected to have a hard time finding volunteers. I was wrong. When I posted on Facebook that I needed women to pose for me wearing Bodybinds, my phone blew up with notifications from friends and strangers who all wanted in. It didn't matter that the modeling was unpaid, that the pictures would be posted online, that the time and location was inconvenient for many. I even had one friend drive a two hour round trip for a five minute photo shoot, and she explained it best:

    "When I saw your post I thought that I could never do something like that. And so I had to."

    Posing in any state of undress is for many considered taboo, and having the pictures shared online even more so. Yet by putting on Bodybinds lingerie and allowing me the opportunity to take their picture, sixteen brave women allowed themselves to feel beautiful, and they are letting you see their beauty as well.

    These are the results.

    Have you done something like posing in lingerie before? If not, is it because the opportunity hasn't presented itself yet, or because you find it too exposed/taboo/risqué? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

    And can we please give a (virtual) round of applause for the women who posed for me? You all look gorgeous!! Nina is a photographer with a love for all things aerial and sensual, works as studio manager and pole dance instructor at Vertical Fusion, runs the Colorado Pole Championship, and was a founding #PDBloggers board member. Nina also writes at NinaReed.com.

    Meet Your Bodybinds Bloggers: Lisa of PoleDancing Professor

    Meet Your Bodybinds Bloggers: Lisa of PoleDancing Professor

    This week we're interrupting our regularly scheduled program to introduce you to our Bodybinds Bloggers. Some voices you have come to know over the past few months and others are newbies round these parts. We have a lot of great content in store for you and we want you to know the bloggers behind the words. Editors Note: I first met Lisa virtually many years ago when I began pole dancing at Sheila Kelly S Factor New York. She dances in the California studio and we bonded because we both blogged about our experiences. Since then, we've maintained a wonderful, sensual and playful blogging relationship. Lisa is poetry in motion. Her words are magic and utterly inspirational. Enjoy her. I am thrilled to welcome Lisa to the Bodybinds blogger team.

    Bodybinds: Describe your fashion? Lisa: Sensual comfort. Danceable layers. In pink, leopard and colors of the ocean.  I know. I know, Stacy & Clinton from TLC’s What Not To Wear would not approve. Oh well. I let my body choose. Lacy lingerie under a pencil skirt, colorful leggings or yoga pants. Top with cotton tank and long-sleeved t-shirt. Or jeans and a Tinker Bell t-shirt (gifts from my husband). Polartec outer-layer for warmth in SF Bay Area wind and fog. Birkenstock clogs or sandals and Olukai ankle boots for my hard to fit feet. For special occasions, a curve hugging dress. Bodybinds: Describe your writing style? Lisa: Thoughtful and playful. Sexy and smart. Feisty and vulnerable.  Just like me.   I hope readers feel sprinkled with iridescent pink glitter. Inspired. Empowered. And that they learn something. The first time I found my storytelling voice I received this compliment: “This is so lyrical and sweet but feisty.” It still makes me do a happy dance. Bodybinds: What's the most subversive thing you've ever done? Lisa: Dance on a plane. I didn’t think this was revolutionary until I told my mom. I expected her to be proud. Her response? “I wish you wouldn’t do those things.”Bodybinds: What's your favorite part about being a woman?

    Lisa: Kissing my husband. Even after 10,000+ days of kissing, I’m insatiable for them. I’m like Audrey Hepburn. I believe in kissing. Kissing a lot! If you’d like to calculate how long you’ve been kissing someone, here’s the duration between dates calculator.

    Bodybinds: Who is your favorite style icon?

    Lisa: I fell for Sue Monk Kidd’s voice in essays I read in junior high. I loved how she learned from little and big events. In my late thirties, her book Dance of A Dissident Daughter awakened a longing in me for the divine feminine that I found in pole dance. I strive to teach well in my stories with as recognizable a voice.

    Alexandra Frazen is my most recent writing crush as I seek ease in my writing process. I look forward to her emails because they are full of wisdom + wit + so few words.

    I suspect this question meant fashion, rather than writing. For that, I pick my 10-year-old niece who’s had her own sense of fashion since she was 2. And we share a love of leopard. 

    Bodybinds: How do you like to indulge yourself and/or experience pleasure?

    Lisa: Through senses and sensations. 

    With a luxurious massage. A hot tub soak. Dancing in the sand and with waves. Or in the rain. 

    On sunrise walks. Savoring a sweet albion strawberry or juicy Cal Red peach. Letting the sound of saxophone caress my skin like the sultry tropics. Stepping off the plane into those tropics to feel the balmy breeze and inhale the plumeria scented air. 

    And so much more…

    Lisa Faulkner has longed to live in world filled with vibrant individuals since writing her first research paper on biofeedback in junior high school. She spent 20 years in academia researching and teaching public health and holds a PhD from UC Berkeley.

    It wasn’t until discovering sensual dance that she found the secret to radiance.

    Now she’s creating a world where dance, play and passion help women shine as founder of the Siren Institute—an educational and research center that celebrates tears of joy and yearning, intuition and sensuality. Because when women feel sexy they radiate enough power to heal and transform the world.

    She’s currently completing her memoir, How Pole Dancing Changed My Life, and an anthology of stories about the transformational power of sensual dance. She teaches an e-course called I Heart Sexy—a virtual treasure hunt designed to take a woman in search of her sensual self. And Lisa’s launching a live workshop in July 2014.

    When she’s not educating, you can find her skipping through waves, making sand angels, dancing in her dining room, or sipping champagne with her husband.

    Play and learn with Lisa at www.poledancingprofessor.com

    WEBSITE | TWITTER  | FACEBOOK | GOOGLE+  | FLICKR  | YOUTUBE (mostly for playlist)

     
    Photography Credit: In Her Image Photography

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