The body-positive movement has blown up on Instagram over the past few years, with women and men sharing their struggles with confidence and self-love.
Rachel Sharkey, who chronicles her journey on Instagram as Babyyshark, posted about an issue almost anyone can relate to in the warmer weather — wearing less clothing while exercising. Because it’s summer and it’s hot.
Sharkey shared with her more than 4,300 followers that she decided not to wear a top over her sports bra at her yoga practice.
“First time wearing just a sports bra to yoga tonight! I am deciding to challenge myself,” Sharkey wrote in the caption.
Yahoo Style reached out to her for comment, and Sharkey told us about going to her class and how it made her feel. “At first I felt nervous,” she shares. “A lot of people were looking at me strangely. I felt bare and vulnerable.”
She adds: “As I started to really get into the intense poses of sports yoga, I caught myself staring at my body in the mirrored walls. I was in love with what I saw. I was really feeling myself. I felt free in my skin. After the class, I really felt like it was the best class I ever took. I felt really good, and even went to get groceries in just my leggings and sports bra.”
Will she continue her yoga practice in just a sports bra? Heck yes! “I don’t think I’m going to be as worried about weird looks or comments in the future,” she says. “Ultimately, I felt really amazing, and that’s what matters!”
The body-positive community on Instagram has helped many rethink how they view their own bodies and others. Sharkey explained how it’s helped her become comfortable in her own skin. “Posting on Instagram has truly helped me so much,” she says. “Not only were accounts similar to mine in the body positive community huge inspirations to help myself in my own journey, but now I am helping others through visibility as well. I make awesome connections, and overall, just experience great and empowering conversations with many individuals.”
Others have taken to social media to show off burgeoning confidence, like Jasmine Owens, 25, an accounting student in Honolulu, who recently posted a body-positive image. In it, Jasmine wears a colorful bikini — the first one she’s ever worn on a beach — while walking along the shore with her husband, Keenen.
Sharkey’s sports-bra moment might not seem like a big deal on the surface, but incidents of women being shamed for their clothing and bodies while exercising is unfortunately common. There’s of course Dani Mathers, the former Playboy Playmate who was charged with a misdemeanor for cruelly posting a nude photo of an elderly woman in her gym’s locker room, with the caption “If I can’t unsee this, neither can you.” And in 2016, a man wrote a letter to his local paper criticizing women wearing yoga pants — which resulted in a group of women hosting a yoga pants parade by his house.
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