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Friday, February 22 , 2019, 11:07 pm | Fair 50º


Collin McShirley: Healthy Body Image to Occupy Santa Barbara

I love it when my work connects me with other like-minded individuals in our majestic city. We are lucky that we live in one of the healthiest and happiest cities in the country.

Even though we are ranked so high in health, with great expectations come some consequences. By age 7, 25 percent of kids have engaged in some kind of dieting behavior.

These numbers are pretty high. Having struggled with poor body image and emotional eating myself, it’s now my life’s purpose to raise awareness and provide education and tools to help prevent poor body image and issues with food.

In my search to expand this message, I met the kind and compassionate Melanie Elkin, the creator of Occupy Beauty and founder of Yoga’licious

Through workshops, group programs, private programs and retreats, her mission is to support women in reawakening to their essential beauty.

She is not interested in the quick fixes or cookie cutter asanas or yoga practices. Instead she guides women to cultivate an experience that reconnects them back to their heart, body, soul and pure joy. 

When she discovered yoga and body intelligence work in her own healing journey, she knew she had found a practice that really brought her back home to herself. She felt a deep remembering and she wants that for all women, too. 

Her message really resonated with me, and I am happy that she is part of my tribe here in Santa Barbara and supports the message of helping women and girls shine from the inside out.

This year Melanie is at it again, hosting her third annual Occupy Beauty Event. This free transformative retreat for women will provide a safe sacred space to explore and create a new dialog around beauty as well as explore a physical yoga practice to reconnect to the self and learn mantras as a way to shift the mind’s attention from the constant barrage of critical thoughts back to the heart.

Those who join will also experience 8- to 10-minute workshops from experts in the community, who will share some of their juiciest wisdom.

If you’re interested in signing up for this free event or sharing it with others, please visit melanieelkin.com to reserve your space. 

Collin McShirley, MA, IMF, is certified and specializes in mindful eating, emotional eating, body image and self esteem; she provides coaching services in Santa Barbara, Montecito and Goleta; and she developed the program, “Break Free From Emotional Eating and Learn to Love Your Body.” She grew up in Santa Barbara​, graduated from UC Santa Barbara and received her masters in clinical psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara. Click here for more information, contact her at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter: @CollinMFTI. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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