The light of the sunset illuminated more than 100 women as they did yoga to sounds of nature.
Some let out a bubbly giggle as they attempted a new pose, while others contorted themselves like experts. The smiles from the women proved their pleasure at the relaxing exercise. But yoga wasn’t the only thing that brought these women together.
The Women’s Services and Resources Center kicked off its 10-day Body Image Challenge Tuesday evening by providing a free yoga night for women across campus. For the third year in a row, the Body Image Challenge provides participants with 10 individual challenges and journal prompts to help build confidence and self-esteem.
Event coordinator Erin McAdams said the challenge is part of the center’s overall campaign to “recapture beauty” from the media’s distorted portrayals of women.
“What we’re trying to get girls on campus to do through these challenges is to redefine beauty for themselves and for others, and hopefully start to see themselves more realistically and how Heavenly Father would see them as well,” McAdams said.
Camille Gunnell, a sophomore from Burley, Idaho, studying communication disorders, said she is excited to do the event for the first time.
“I’ve heard that this program is amazing, and I saw the (Women’s Services) magazine and it made me so motivated to be involved with the Women’s Services.”
About 600 women participated in the challenge last year, and roughly 800 have signed up this year. Young Women’s groups and other women’s organizations outside the state have also asked to participate.
LaNae Valentine, the Director of Women’s Services, led the yoga class.
“Yoga will tell you a lot about your body,” Valentine said during the exercise, “and our bodies are wonderful, so we want to treat our bodies well.”
McAdams said she encourages all women to participate in the 10-day challenge as well as the center’s other programs.
“I love the women’s services and resources center, especially because here at BYU it’s really competitive and a lot of people have very high, high standards for themselves, not only in Church areas, but in appearance and grades,” she said.
All women who complete the 10-day Body Image Challenge will receive a t-shirt with the word “beautiful” on it.
The closing celebration will be on Oct. 18 and will include a free Zumba class at 6:45 p.m. in the Wilkinson Student Center ballroom.