I always knew I wasn’t the only one. There is no way a person can grow up in our society and walk away completely unscathed when it comes to how they see and relate to their body. We should be skinny, but not too skinny. We should be fit, but not overly muscular. We should be perfectly proportional in every way. Have a little glow from the sun, but never get too dark. Have great lashes, bright white teeth that are also straighter than straight, and the perfect color and length of hair, and then apologize for, or shake off every compliment we’re given. It’s… exhausting.
Finally publishing my book and therefore, releasing the story of my eating disorder to whoever wants to read about it, has had some surprising outcomes. First, I feel truly freed from my story. It almost doesn’t feel like it belongs to me anymore, but to some girl I knew way back when and recall from time to time as I go through my current life.
Second, are the other stories – your stories. I cannot tell you how many females have reached out to me in some way to tell me that my story is their story. That they also were in a battle with their body, waging war day after day to get their body to fit into the confines of what they had deemed acceptable… until they walked into a yoga studio for a great workout and a huge detox and stumbled out a few years later realizing that they no longer wanted to go to battle. The yoga had a profound effect on how they see themselves and their body, and their practice has helped them keep that eating disorder demon at bay.
I think it’s become quite cliché in our current yoga culture to hear about the mind, body, and spirit connection that yoga can provide. So, cliché, in fact, that we barely hear it. Yoga for right now is all about that perfect Instagram picture, the wow of accomplishing a seemingly impossible posture, and talk about calories burned and pounds of sweat dropped within a single session. And that’s okay.
Because it doesn’t matter why you roll out the mat. The yoga works anyway. There is no way a person can have a regular yoga practice and not receive the benefit of actually appreciating the body they have. Personally, the more I achieve within my practice the more I realize how crazy incredible my body is – it is my partner and my cheerleader in everything I do and is always working for my best health no matter what I put it through.
So, if you are out there and in some way at odds with your body – men and women, alike – I hope you give yoga a try. You don’t have to have an eating disorder, an addiction, or be falling apart in some way to get the benefits that yoga can give you. You could have an injury or a health concern, or maybe you’ve never felt you were strong and you want to gain strength, or maybe you have always felt tight and you want to gain flexibility. The list goes on and on. As you work with your body instead of against it your whole world opens up. As the body improves, your mind improves, your connection to your life improves, and I will tell you each day offers promise, opportunities you never saw coming, and the sweet surprises that amount to a life well-lived – a life you will be proud to call your own.
Love the blog? You will love the book! Follow my yoga journey and the accomplishments of five of my students, as well as, recount some of the most popular blog posts in my first book: Views from the Podium: The Life & Times of a Hot Yogi.