Sara Ablinger is a Vienna-based fat, queer bodyworker and workshop facilitator. She specializes in bringing messages of body positivity, radical self-care & self-love, consent culture, intimacy and conscious sexuality.
She is the founder of Big Body Love, which seeks to create spaces of empowerment, authenticity, connection, pleasure and healing, for women and marginalized bodies such as queer, fat, disabled bodies.
What is the teaching that is most important to you?
The most important teaching is that a huge amount of wisdom lies within our own bodies. I've learned that first during a breathwork training and understood that everything is a wave or a cycle - the breath, life itself, menstrual cycle, seasonal cycle, etc.
And as long as one is breathing they can use the power of breath to connect to the body, tune into it, channel and transform feelings, listening deeper to the voice of their body rather than the voice of conditioning.
No matter the body, size, ability or living conditions, one's breath and therefore the magic of creating & shifting energies (in all kinds of flavors) is possible and powerful.
Through that, we not only connect to our bodily wisdom, but also to ancestral wisdom, cyclical wisdom, wisdom of the earth and gain an understanding of collectivity and connectedness.
What helps you practice self-compassion?
I started training my self-compassion by imagining how I would treat a loved one in the same situation. This was a total shift for me. Because I would have never treated loved ones as harshly and unforgiving as I treated myself.
Critical thinking, understanding where certain mind-sets on bodies, worthiness, productivity, hierarchies and privileges mold our views on things, on us, on how we relate to other humans, living beings or the earth was also important.
Later on I understood the impact of cycles in and all around us and how pushing over those cycles, with the aim of finally “being good enough”, only to realize we always are already. And there is no goal to be met. On that basis, I try to be as gentle with myself as possible.
What are you most insecure about and what helped?
I am most insecure and vulnerable around being liked and getting along with everybody. Funny no? But I definitely walk my talk when it comes to my work. Over the years I´ve learned which people deserve my loyalty, whose opinion I care about and how to cope when somebody doesn't like me/what I am doing. I am still learning everyday. Understanding my patterns of co-dependency and my needs behind them was necessary - self-care and trusting my intuition was another vital aspect. Surrender yourself with people who support you
Tell us about the last time you lost your cool and how you navigated it.
I get impatient and grumpy when I am overwhelmed or stressed over a longer period of time. I apologized immediately and told the people affected that I am currently very overwhelmed and exhausted. I received understanding.
Tell us about the last time you cried and how you soothed yourself.
I cry very easily, because I am highly sensitive. The last time I cried was during a very intense retreat, that challenged unprocessed feelings of the last years. I felt a lot of grief, sadness and anger. I breathed, allowed myself to feel my feelings in the intensity they came up, did some free writing to dig deeper, had some revelations. Interestingly - when I feel my feelings fully and let them teach me what lay behind them, it never lasts that long. Afterwards I like to sing or to walk or otherwise move my body. Body vibrations are best to release all the tension that comes with uncomfortable emotions.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced? How did you overcome it?
There were many. Putting myself first, taking full responsibility for my life, being authentic with my needs/wants and disappointing/ending commitments/ending relationships that didn´t work for me anymore.
I gave myself time and space for that. Sometimes it took years, sometimes I tried having difficult conversations over and over again until I was able to.
I started being committed to myself and try it until the truth was out.
The feeling of relief, even if there was pain too, was always my indicator that it was the right decision for me.
What have you let go of that made your life a little easier?
Dieting and a scale. Duality-thinking. Negative, limiting or disrespectful beliefs.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Watching cooking shows and Christmas movies (even if they are very cheesy and heteronormative).
Luxurious spa days or a lazy day in bed are another.
Given the choice of anyone in the world, who would you want as your dinner guest?
There are so many. Betty Dodson (as it's a wish, I can wish for a dead person too) or Brené Brown. Oprah, would be another. But also: Lei´ohu Ryder and Maydeen Iao, my beloved Hawaiian teachers, that I haven't seen in such a long time due to Covid.
What is a funny, embarrassing moment from your life?
A few years back I was singing in a queer bar, first time in front of people I didn't know. And I forgot the lyrics. My friends googled and wrote them down, I thought I´d die. Still it was a lot of fun.
Another one was during an online workshop, during one of the exercises, one of my boobs popped out of my outfit (a tight yoga overall). It was a workshop of vulvas and sexuality - we had a big laugh.