For as long as I can remember I’ve been ultra-conscious of my body. I have always been clumsy and physically fragile. My overall strength was always lacking. I had a distorted image of the way I looked and the way I SHOULD look. My confidence in my body and in my appearance was next to none.
Eating Disorders and Yoga
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, I was part of the 20 million women that suffered from “clinically significant eating disorders.” For years I let my lifestyle habits fluctuate between anorexia and bulimia, concealing what I should be eating or expelling what I had eaten. I found idols in super thin celebrities, but realized that I could never amount to their beauty.
Friends and family took notice of my unhealthy habits and suggested alternatives, such as eating healthy and exercising. I took that to an extreme, of course. My meals consisted of carrots and eggs, and my exercise routine left me running until my ankles bled. My hair fell out and was growing thin, so I cut it to make it less noticeable. It took me years before someone could convince me that I was beautiful.
My insecurities and body dysmorphia was not caused by anyone outside of my inner self. I blame no one for the way I was, but I give credit to countless people for helping me become who I am today. One of my favorite mantras to share with others who are suffering is:
Who I was yesterday does not dictate who I am today. Who I am today does not dictate who I will be tomorrow.
It is extremely important to remember that you, and only you, have the capacity to start your life over. Each day brings a new chance at life. Why not grab it?
One day a little over four years ago, that’s what I did. I still struggled with insecurities, but my overall behaviors weren’t quite as destructive as they had previously been. I stopped running excessively and ate more balanced meals, however there was one woman I still wanted to be: Audrey Hepburn. Thin, beautiful, talented, gentle, and caring, she was the full package. I hung photos of her on my walls, watched her movies almost daily, and cut my hair (again) to appear more like her. One day as I flipped through a magazine I found an article about Audrey’s yoga practice.
I began my own yoga practice out of intrigue and selfish physical desires. I was inconsistent and bored. I wanted to be someone I was not, and struggled to find any benefits of yoga…
Until I met a real-life yogi named Gabriella. Gab and I hit it off almost immediately. There was something truly different about her. The way she shined and carried herself with confidence was absolutely stunning. I didn’t want to be her. I just wanted to feel the way she looked (if that makes any sense), so I dove in.
About two years ago, yoga became more than just a physical workout for me. I was engaged to be married and wanted to be the best possible wife I could be. I wanted to love myself and to feel confident when we went off into the unknown. Yoga became a daily practice for me. I found a light within me that I never knew existed. Once I started focusing on the way my body felt rather than the way it looked, I noticed myself slowly getting stronger, more balanced, more confident. My husband, who has told me I am beautiful every day for the past 8 years, took notice of subtle changes in the shape of my body and in my posture. He encouraged my new found confidence and growth.
Yoga Becomes a Passion
Yoga became a passion of mine. It is now a way for me to connect back to God, to my body, to restoration, and to lose my head in the best possible way. I am mindful. I am enough. My faith and walk with Jesus is stronger than it has ever been. My relationship with my husband is more beautiful than I could ever imagine. I have become a better friend. I have become an entrepreneur and started With Love Yoga (a business that encourages constant learning and creativity to inspire others). For the first time in my life I actually feel like a success!
Yoga changed my life. I attribute much of my growth to my incredibly supportive family and circle of friends, but I cannot deny that yoga and my relationship with God has done amazing things to get me where I am today.
We all go through difficulties, and my journey does not amount to the suffering that many more people have endured. This is just one yogi’s story.