You Are Complex: Meet Self-Love & Body Image Advocate Sarah Joy Gaines
Here at Vibrant Health, we believe health is an inside job, unique to you. After all, you’re one-of-a-kind and your needs are complex – that’s why your supplements should be too.
To celebrate all of the beautiful complexities of our lives, each month we’ve been highlighting individuals in our community – taking a peek into the behind-the-scenes of their work life, wellness routines and all the wonderful things that make them who they are.
In honor of Self-Love Month, this January on the Vibrant Health blog we got to chat with self-love and body image advocate Sarah Joy Gaines. As the creator of joydust™and the joyflow™ movement, she is on a mission to help you feel good in your body while experiencing more joy and magic in your everyday life!
In this inspiring interview, we got to chat with Sarah about building wellness brands and communities from the ground up, how to infuse more self-love into your New Year (including dance parties in the kitchen), and how she never turns down a New York bagel. We hope you enjoy our series…and remember, keep being you!
Introduce yourself and tell us more about what you do!
Hi there! I’ve been building wellness brands, communities, and resources since 2013.
My mission? Recreate the wellness industry. Revolutionize what we have been taught about the body. Reclaim it as our greatest guide and healer. Transcend our conditioned fixation on the physical and shift our focus to feeling good from within.
I entered the wellness industry via yoga and group fitness: teaching at boutique studios, festivals, conferences, as well as on digital platforms, around the world.
I have a sweet spot for college wellness, as my first venture was a nationwide community of college students passionate about healthy living, Fit University®. While Fit U is no longer active, I’m always seeking opportunities to be involved in bringing wellness to college students.
I’m the creator of joyflow®, a movement practice for — simply put — feeling good in your body!
I also recently launched my own line of 100% plastic-free biodegradable glitter, joydust™, with the mission to inspire folks to be who they are. Why yes..I do think glitter can change the world!
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Creative, curious, leader
January is National Self-Love Month, dedicated to prioritizing your happiness and well-being. What does self-love look like for you?
Self love looks like a sunrise, a walk in the park, or gazing up at a starlit sky. It looks like a big ol’ delicious salad. It looks like crying when I need to and laughing a lot too. To me, self love means listening to my body and heart (I use the mantra “Body, I am listening”), and giving myself what I need. That might be rest, movement, play, journaling, communicating, more water, less social media, more hugs, a date night, a phone call to my mom or dad, etc, etc.
Tell us more about your work in the community through Body Image Magic and joyflow —and the intention behind it?
Body Image Magic is my answer to negative body image, which I struggled with starting at eight years old. Here’s my story in one minute. Body Image Magic transforms negative body image into joy; it shifts the focus from what your body looks like to understanding, appreciating, and embodying the power and wisdom of your body. Ultimately, Body Image Magic will guide you to feeling good, comfortable, and confident in your body; to befriend your body and let it guide you to your grandest, most wildest dreams!! I recently released my intro self guided course to Body Image Magic for free! It’s broken down into 8 short lessons. You can access it on Spotify or Apple Podcasts!
joyflow is a guided playful journey of breath, intuitive movement, ecstatic dance, laughter, and sound. It’s the movement practice that supports the intention of Body Image Magic: feeling good in your body, and more so, letting your body lead the way; breaking free of what it’s “supposed” to look like and exploring/embracing how your body naturally wants to move. joyflow guides you to experience your own joy!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to bring more joy and self-love into the New Year?
Dance in your kitchen! Get your hands into something creative like paint or dirt. Connect with the Earth…go out into nature and listen. Write yourself a letter, noting all that you are grateful for…consider the simple stuff like clean water to drink and fresh air to breathe. Take deep breaths. Give yourself space to feel whatever you are feeling. Scream, cry, howl, laugh! Laugh some more. Embrace your inner child! Remind them they are safe, loved, and free to express creatively. Meet any New Year’s resolution commentary about diet/exercise with compassion and a big “no thank you.” Consider how you want to feel, and let that be your intention for the year ahead.
What are your favorite foods to love and nourish your body?
Mmm…this changes seasonally but I am a lover of salads and hot tea at night! I love love love kale massaged with avocado and lemon. Around this time of year, I get excited about making soups. I make a really simple veggie quinoa soup (veggie broth, chopped veggies, quinoa, salt & pepper, and whatever other seasoning I feel called to). I also recently moved to NYC and those NY bagels are the key to my heart.
What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness is being alive! Fully present with body, mind, and spirit. It’s nourishing yourself with what feels good (food, media, people, and thoughts included). Wellness is understanding yourself as one entity of an entire global and cosmic community! Being good to yourself first, and letting that spill out to all those around you.
It’s gratitude, service, and understanding that your energy ripples out far beyond what you could ever even imagine. Taking responsibility for energy, words and actions, for the betterment of yourself and this world. I live in service to the prayer “May all beings everywhere be free and in love.” To me, this starts in the body; embodying that freedom and love. That is wellness.