By Lauren Taus
Feeling beautiful is by no means a superficial matter. Studies prove that people who feel beautiful are happier. This does not mean, however, that people who ARE conventionally beautiful are happier. So what does it mean to feel beautiful? Of course, it depends on the person that you ask, but I can certainly tell you about me.
For decades, I tried to conform to an idea of beauty that I had internalized based on celebrity and model culture. I never measured up to the images I saw in the movies and in magazines, so I set myself up to feel bad, and to move through the world feeling unattractive. Unfortunately, I (like so many) also connected my level of beauty or lack thereof to my sense of worth in the world, and I couldn’t shake it. I did so many things to try to feel good about my appearance, but they weren’t the right ones. No amount of exercise, shopping, or attention could fill my cup.
"I did so many things to try to feel good about my appearance, but they weren’t the right ones."
I’m not sure what exactly unlocked the change in me, but somewhere along the way I just stopped caring so much about the prescribed “ideal.” I didn’t all of a sudden feel pretty. I just stopped focusing on the physical, and cultivating more of myself from the inside. This affected my holistic sense of being. I started to radiate — and that’s just hot.
"I’d be lying if I said that I feel like a mega-babe all the time, but there are lots of moments every day when I feel really beautiful."
I’d be lying if I said that I feel like a mega-babe all the time, but there are lots of moments every day when I feel really beautiful. I’d say the most powerful moments are the ones in which I’m connected to myself. I feel drop-dead gorgeous while in a deep meditation and while moving through asana on my yoga mat. This beauty is, in a way, different because it’s connected to all that is. I’m not feeling independently attractive or pretty in a way that’s relevant to others. I’m just resting in the beauty around me, the beauty that I’m a part of.
I also feel beautiful when I’m with my tribe. Surrounded by the people who support me to grow and with the people who believe in me, I feel great about how I look because I feel great about who I am. I choose who I spend time with very carefully, and I’d say that everyone who gets a lot of my attention, taps into my heart space where I glow. I like to think that I do the same for them.
"Surrounded by the people who support me to grow and with the people who believe in me, I feel great about how I look because I feel great about who I am."
I’m no big public figure, but I do have somewhat of a public presence. I teach hundreds of students a week, and I have a meaningful social media following. As part of my work, I have photo shoots and brand affiliations. I work consciously in this realm with the people and companies that embrace the same kind of beauty that I value.
I’d like to call out my dear friend and photographer David Tufino who always makes me feel like a million bucks. Take one look at his images of me, and you’ll see what I mean. I also work with brands like Malia Mills and Juja, who are fiercely committed to empowering every woman to embrace her unique beauty. These companies don’t hire professional models (who, of course, are women who should feel beautiful too). They work with regular ladies, like you and me. They want to reflect a broader range of beauty.
I’ve come a long way in my journey. I’ve become willing to make certain changes in order to feel more comfortable in my skin, and I support people doing whatever it is that they need to do in order to arrive in this place. But what I absolutely know to be true is that it’s an inside job. You have to feel okay inside in order to feel okay outside, and this is a work of a lifetime.
We are all vulnerable to outside influences that dim our light. Me too! But when I do the daily work, the work to align, I naturally attract a heap of people just as you do and will; and that’s when we truly shine.
Lauren Taus is an NYC-based life coach and yoga instructor who works to align her students not only in their bodies, but in their minds and hearts. After several years in corporate finance, Lauren transitioned into a career in wellness over 7 years ago. She believes a good teacher is always a better student, and is constantly seeking more knowledge to share with her community. Lauren is primarily a vinyasa teacher, but has experience and education in Ashtanga, restorative, meditation, and trauma-sensitive yoga. She graduated from Columbia University and earned a Masters degree in Social Work from NYU. Lauren has spent thousands of hours working as a therapist. She aims to deliver a grounding, inspiring, and fun mind-body experience in all of her classes with the intention to help her students uncover their deepest desires so that they can actualize them. Lauren teaches at Soho House, Equinox, Pure Yoga, and in many corporate offices. Lauren also presents at Wanderlust, and leads international workshops and retreats.