Thank you yoga, Thank you teachers.

It’s International Day of Yoga. My friend reminded me last week with a little nudge, nudge and soft encouragement that maybe I should do something for it.

 

I don’t have any special class or event planned and I’m hoping I’ll make it to class tonight or even to my mat to move a little and meditate. But what I will do, what I will honor is what this practice has done for me. And what I have been able to do for myself by way of my yoga practice.

 

I used to squeeze my thighs so hard to try to get them to look more stick-like. I’d pinch my belly fat and imagine how much better my life would be if I could just cut it off. I calculated every calorie going into my body and how each calorie (and then some) would go out. My mind was consumed and I was completely obsessed. My obsession with food and how I could control my body took over my life.

 

Yoga sandwiched my eating disorder. My practice began when I was 16 and my eating disorder was full throttle around 19 – so I was practicing yoga all through my disorder. But what I know now is that during a lot of that time, I wasn’t really practicing. I was going through the motions of yoga. Showing up, rolling out my mat, bowing my head and saying namaste at the end of class. I nailed poses ease because I’m fairly strong and fairly flexible and have always had great proprioception. What I wasn’t doing though was connecting. I was completely disassociating from my body and for a while there, I was using yoga as just another form of exercise to burn off those calories.

 

This all shifted when I found a small studio in Bloomington, Indiana and a teacher by the name of Wendy. I didn’t even know what style of yoga we were practicing (turns out it was astanga) add to be honest I can’t tell you a whole lot of the asana that I learned – but what stays with me to this day is the feeling of entering into a safe space. It was always quiet when I walked into the building, up the stairs and turned the corner. Everyone spoke with a hushed tone as we set up our mats and gathered our props. The space and the time was sacred.

 

Wendy didn’t tell me how or what to feel. She instead created opportunity for me to feel. I kept returning to her classes, as often as I could fit them into my schedule and budget. It was in this space that I remember looking at thighs and bursting into tears because for the first time I saw them as something other than “too big.” My thighs, for the first time ever, were strong and beautiful and amazing.

 

I came home to my body for what felt like the first time. That was inner peace. That was my invitation to heal and no longer allow myself to stray and disassociate from my body and being.

This was the tip of the iceberg and there have been many more teachers since then who helped facilitate my healing – and still do to this day. So, I can’t stress this enough but  … Thank you teachers.

 

IMG_9114On this international day of yoga I also want to acknowledge the practice for what it has brought me – healing and inner peace. Eating disorder recovery is not a one and done deal. It takes time and it too is a part of my practice: staying the course, staying connected, noticing when I get triggered, and repatterning my responses.

 

Thank you yoga.

 

I would love to hear from you: How has yoga impacted your life? Whether you just recently got your feet wet or are a long-time practitioner – what have you noticed?

 

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9 thoughts on “Thank you yoga, Thank you teachers.

  1. Indiasologuy says:

    I’m an Indian, now back to India (was living in the states earlier). I never believed in Yoga though my parents have been practicing it forever. I normally walk or run in the mornings. Now, in my late 30s, i experienced pain in the foot that was traced to plantar. I have incorporated some yoga in my daily fitness and it has helped certainly! Enjoyed reading your post.

  2. Jeff Lewis says:

    Yoga has and is impacting my life in so many ways; some extremely subtle, some less so. Physically and physiologcally, for sure, as I have points of reference to compare to; spiritually, less obvious, but significant nonetheless, as I have ‘discovered’ a new mindfulness and a heightened awareness of my surroundings and how I move through this life and space. It is all constantly new and amazing to me and I know that there is much yet to be discovered. (I am, after all, very new to all of this).

    It is so amazing to realize that I am still able to change and evolve as a person, and, I have enormous gratitude towards all of my teachers who have helped to launch me on this wonderful path.

    • Jeff thank you so much for sharing your experience and how yoga has impacted you. It’s so amazing to have seen you grow and change in such a short amount of time. So glad to have you as a student and friend.

  3. Coming home to your body. This sounds so peaceful. Just reading this gives a sense of what yoga has done for you. I’ve started taking up yoga over and over again. Only to give it up after a while because I didn’t get to that place of safety, that is on the outside as much as on the inside. I’m giving it another try now, trying less, that is, allowing more.

  4. This post really resonated with me. I started practicing yoga after I was discharged for my eating disorder and it has changed my life. My whole mental attitude towards my body and my health has completely shifted. I loved reading this post – thank you.

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