When I was 14 years old my brother bought P90X in an attempt to grow muscles and become strong and fit. I started taking the CD's and doing them on my own because I wanted to get fit as well. It wasn't long before I was absolutely hooked doing the workouts everyday, sometimes even twice daily.
Jump squats, weights, ab shredders the whole bit, it was intense and demanding but I was determined to do everything that they told me to do and MORE. I would not take the breaks they offered, never drank water while I worked out and thought I was being "stronger" for doing so. Little did I know then that this was the beginning of my eating disorder journey; a step out of my feminine energy and into this masculine world of pushing, counting, scheduling and tracking.
These videos and workouts are not bad, but coupled with my perfectionism, anorexia, and my need for control, it was a recipe for disaster but all hope was not lost, a lot of great things came out of this time period and one of those is Yoga. I stayed away from the Yoga sequence for a while because it was in my mind too "light" and not enough of a workout. I was super sore one day though but still wanted to work out and so I reluctantly put the video in because I honestly did not want to do a bunch of burpees and frog jumps that day. I walked off of my mat that day and I was in love, no kidding. I was in love because it was a break from the intense go, go, go workouts that I was during before. I loved it because it was challenging yet soft and light. I loved it because it gave my body a break. I loved it because it connected me to my breathe. This was the first time I had stopped to listen to my body, what it wanted, what felt good and what didn't. It was the first time in years I allowed my self to stop, slow down and reconnect.
And so my journey began, Yoga became a staple in my routine, something that my body screamed YES to, something that I looked forward to each week. I continued to do intense workouts everyday but a seed was planted a seed that many years later looking back I realized may have just saved my life.
You see if I continued on the path that I was going, I would have no joke killed my body. The stress I put it through as I forced myself to abide to these strict routines was unhealthy and doing more harm than good because at that time I was not eating right, hardly anything at all, and my muscles were wasting away. The more and more I did yoga though, the more and more I craved it which meant the more and more I tapped into my true self, connected to my soul and gave my body a chance to heal. The more I did this the better I got at understanding my body, what it needed in each moment and the ways I could listen and honor that.
Fast forward years after that I found myself 18 doing my 200 hr teacher training, learning the ins and outs of yoga, the philosophy, the asanas, the chanting, the pranayama, everything I could learn about this practice that I had found so much healing and growth from.
I struggled with an eating disorder for years after but my yoga practice is always what pushed my froward to heal. It ended up becoming my life savor as during the critical times of my eating disorder Yoga was the only workout that I could tell my family that I was doing. Yoga was the only thing that was "okay" in my life.
If you are stressed, dis-connected, frustrated, or stuck, yoga can help, will help and does help. My mat has been through so much with me, I have made it my place of solitude, thanks, love, acceptance and strength. Each time I put my forehead on it and take a deep breathe I sigh and sigh of joy, relief and readiness. Joy for where it has taken me, relief that I found this outlet, and readiness to learn more.