Liz DiAlto is a speaker, writer and the creator of Wild Soul Movement, a 12 week online experience of self-discovery that combines movement, meditation and mantra. Her mission is to revolutionize the way women move and nourish their bodies and abolish current body image culture to create new standards for her peers, elders and all the young women and little girls who come after her. She is known for her raw and honest approach to body love and self-acceptance. In 2013, Shape Magazine listed her alongside Dr Oz, Ellen, Jillian Michaels, Tim Ferriss and more as a Top 30 Motivator.
Tell us a bit about the Wild Soul Movement. How did it evolve?
Wild Soul Movement is a practice that combines movement, mantras and meditation. The purpose is to help women get in, connect to, and trust their bodies. It’s not a workout, but it is soul-soothing, body-loving exercise.
It evolved through my own process of self-discovery and healing and the realization that home is not a place. Everything we need has always been inside of us.
First, In 2012 I was a personal trainer growing more and more dissatisfied with the industry, the expectations and the standards. The final straw for me was showing up for a video shoot for a major magazine only to have my freckles (which I love) covered with make up and contour lines painted on my abs, which I’d worked very hard to get myself.
The message of “you’re not good enough” was loud and clear and I was over it.
Since it’s not my style though to bash what I don’t believe in, I decided to find a way to create more of what I want in the world for myself, my peers and little girls growing up now.
I wrote more about my experience with the fitness industry and the personal experience of softening into my body here and here.
Second, I finally found the guts to blog about a naked photo of myself that I’d been privately treasuring for 32 months in the Fall of 2013. I called the post Getting Naked and Falling in Love and it’s still the most read blog on my site ever.
Your project is very empowering and quite feminist! It’s so important for women to challenge the body politics that we’ve been socialized with, or as you put it, anything that prompts women to “feel wrong, ashamed, less than, or unsafe in your sacred body.” Did you set out on this adventure with a feminist foundation for your work?
I’m really not one for labels so no, not specifically. I’m more about human rights even though my work is with women. I believe we all have masculine and feminine energies and we all need to marry both within ourselves. While the “powers that be” have skewed perceptions and put systems and regulation in place for centuries through government and religion to disempower women, the damage isn’t just on women. It’s on men, it’s on the planet, it’s fucking everywhere.
Through the process of developing Wild Soul, did you find any other projects or initiatives that are truly body positive that are also working on a macro, structural level against body-shaming?
I didn’t, actually. When I was creating Wild Soul Movement I intentionally unsubscribed from all kinds of email lists and unfollowed a lot of people on social media, including close friends and colleagues of mine. Since my message is one that’s rooted in self-trust, self-love and self-acceptance, it was important to me to live that message through the creative process and have it be totally my own.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a teen today, with the impact of social media on perceptions of one’s body and what it means to be beautiful. If you had the attention of a large audience of teen girls, what would you tell them?
I love this question because I intend to work with teens and young girls at some point. I even purchased the url ishinyoushine.org having no idea why just that it would have to do with younger girls.
I would tell them that no expert, guru or professional is better equipped than you are on how to live your life or treat your body. I would point out that a lot of our issues are handed down to us by our relatives and ancestors and ingrained in us by the media so we have to be careful about the information we consume. I would teach them how to listen to their bodies and intuition (I did a great podcast interview on this recently here), and explain the concept of being sourced from within. That means being the first and last check point for all choices having to do with you and your body, even when you get feedback from people you trust. Your own body always knows best and she always knows the answers if you just ask.
If you could share one in tweetable nugget of wisdom for women, what would it be?
“Movement is the most underrated path to freedom.”
It’s by moving that we can really engage our senses and get into our bodies which builds our ability to listen to and trust our bodies rather than overriding our innate wisdom with negative thoughts, fears, and worries.
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