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Can't you see, beautiful one?

A conversation really struck me last week.

In one of my dance classes last week a student came up to me and asked if she could leave her t-shirt on for the lesson. It's my policy that in a dance class students either wear a leotard and shorts or a crop top and shorts so I can see their bodies. This day, clearly distressed, a young dance approached me and asked.

'Miss Kate, is it alright if I just leave my t-shirt on today? I'm just feeling really bloated.'

She was close to tears and crossing her arms over her middle.

Usually very no nonsense and often taking a hard line with my students my initial reaction would usually be to say; 'don't be ridiculous, there's nothing wrong with you, t-shirt off and go warm up.'

Something about this young dancer on this day spoke to me and I knew taking a hard line wouldn't help. I said;

'Well ok, I personally think there's a perfectly beautiful belly under that shirt but just for today, that's cool. Leave it on'

What I really wanted to do was scream;

Beautiful soul can't you see how INCREDIBLE your body is!? When you dance, you light up from within. Your joy is tangible. Your body gives you this gift. You are flexible in ways that defy the laws of nature and your shoulders do that cool thing that creeps me out and you've finally nailed your back mount (for those non dancers, its a pretty cool skill involving standing with one foot on the ground and the other leg extended behind you in a full split, touching your head to your knee. Here's what it looks like).

Your body will be soft, then lean, then soft again over the course of your life. It will change and grow and sometimes be completely different over the course of the month as your hormones change and you're blessed with a monthly cycle that will help you stay connected to your body and it's infinite wisdom (yeah I know that's cringey now but it really is very cool and an awesome way for you to know and understand your body)

Your body might house babies (or not, and that's up to you) or take you trekking up mountains, it might take you diving into foreign oceans, wandering the fragrant markets of far off countries or take you cycling across rice paddies and it's definitely going to allow you to dance until sunrise when you're old enough.

My point is YOUR BODY IS FREAKING AMAZING!!! It's your best friend and it's going to be with you for life.

Sure, it might not look the way you want it to some days, but who cares?! It's fucking incredible!!

Believe me, just like you, I've stood in the studio with tears in my eyes, comparing myself to the girls around me. Comparison will do you NO GOOD! It only serves to crush your soul.

There's always going to be someone thinner than you, someone fatter than you, someone more muscular, someone less muscular, taller, shorter, whatever but there will only EVER be one you. How amazing is that!? Out of the billions of people on this planet, there is only one body that is beautifully and uniquely yours.

So please, please, PLEASE! See your body like I see your body. For the INCREDIBLE vehicle it is, for the GIFT it gives you, allowing you to dance and move and express yourself in ways that so many can't even begin to imagine!

You are attached to this gorgeous, glorious body you live in until the day you die, so you may as well be friends with it. It's going to do so many wonderful, breathtaking things for you, so learn to love it.

Like I love it. xxx

This article was written by Kate Hickey for Empower360 Fitness. If you'd like more information on our online or teen bootcamp programs, head to our website or contact Kate: ​

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