By Lauren Imparato, Founder of I.AM.YOU. Yoga
I remember growing up with a unibrow and muscles, and despising them both. As a girl, yes, a girl — in my one-piece speedos and dresses only on special family holidays — at a relatively young age, I had a thick line of hair across my forehead and defined muscles from all the sports I loved. I hated both of these traits of mine, thinking I was the ugliest girl to ever exist, and masked the former by wearing my long brown hair in front of my face, and the latter with big baggy clothes. Luckily this was during the grunge period, so there was no dearth of XXL Stussy t-shirts and long plaid shorts. It was the easiest way to hide my very tall ugly giraffe self.
Funnily enough, now the two parts of me that I get most complimented on are my eyebrows and my muscles, which happen to also be the parts of me I most love. So what changed? Nothing out there — I changed from the inside, out.
"So what changed? Nothing out there — I changed from the inside, out."
As I address in my book RETOX, we all have two bodies, the tangible one of muscles, flesh, and bone we can see, touch, and feel — and the intangible, the one that streams inside us, our energetic body we cannot feel, but know is there. Our breath and more than anything, perception, dictates them both.
Beauty is as much in the tangible body as the intangible, yet the beauty industry and social media focus just on the tangible, the outside parts of you that go away, whether you like it or not.
Which is why I RETOX. RETOXing is about making yourself beautiful from the inside out. It is about fostering your essence, which is intangible and burns inside you forever, even if that six-pack doesn’t. Your intangible self is your true beauty – it truly IS you.
My eyebrows are not me – they were a decorative factor to me. I am me, and these outside things we all obsess over so much are merely ornaments hanging on the tree of our true essence. But it took me loving myself just a tiny bit to get it.
If you start with your inside, you will always love your outside. That’s the secret the beauty and social media industries don’t want you to know.
"If you start with your inside, you will always love your outside."
Start RETOXIng your way to beauty, and you will become beautiful in more ways that you ever dreamed of. Try moving every day, be it through yoga (my source of sweat), sharing time and meals with people you love, and above all, being a GOOD PERSON. Smile at people, help them, care for them. Laugh at life, relish in its irreplaceable wonder, and BE YOU. That’s beauty, your beauty, from the inside out and outside in.
Named one of the 100 Women in Wellness, Lauren Imparato resigned her job as a VP on the Wall Street Trading floors in 2009 to launch I.AM.YOU, a wellness lifestyle company based on Yoga, Nourishment, and Music. In NYC and across the globe she is renowned for her athletic yoga classes, and straight up, real approach to wellness, nourishment, yoga, and life. Lauren’s yoga classes are known for their attention to anatomy, sweat, and tradition within the chaotic modern lives we lead, and are always paired with I.AM.YOU famed MusicMixes, with music ranging from rock to salsa, jazz, hip hop and more.
She has been featured in Vogue, the Wall Street Journal, NY Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, The Financial Times, Bloomberg News, CNN and countless others — and writes for MindBodyGreen, PositiveMed, and her own blog. Lauren has led I.AM.YOU classes for up to 3,000 people in Spain, Cannes Film Festival, Ibiza Opening Weekend, and most recently, all of Times Square. She graduated from Princeton University, and her first book, RETOX, was released with Penguin, February 2, 2016.