They kept telling me the synchronization of the body and the mind were the last pieces to fall in to place. I always thought “the last” to happen meant “will never” happen. The mind and body often heal at different times and paces which can make eating disorder recovery a brutal endeavor.
Perhaps there was this mentality that I was blindly allowing my body to restore to its healthy shape, regardless of how I felt inside of it. How do you recover from something that not only impacts your soul and brain, but also the physical body that houses your being? In my own journey, in addition to resilience, diligence, compassion, empathy, and endurance, there was this piece of “willingness.” How could the simple concept of ‘just being willing’ be the bridge that would gap the crater that remained between my physical body and my mental, emotional body?
I spent nearly a decade of my life battling an eating disorder. I survived many ups and many, many relapses before I stabilized and started living a life in recovery from my eating disorder. It was often advised to me by therapists, colleagues, and even friends who were living a life of recovery from their own eating disorders, to give yoga a try. I’ll be the first to say that yoga was the last thing I wanted to do. I couldn’t fathom the idea of sitting in my own skin for an hour. To me, exercise always meant feeling sore the next day, sweating up a storm or burning as many calories as possible. Why would I want to just roll around in different stretches and poses? However, yoga recently became the very thing that jump started the unifying of my mind and physical body.
Although I always felt uncomfortable about yoga, someone mentioned to me a form of yoga that was more challenging and unique – acro yoga. I was a gymnast in my younger years and enjoyed the adventure and risk of what acro yoga would entail. So I found not only a willingness, but an eagerness and excitement to give it a try. With the warm-ups and principles of traditional yoga – which yes, I found myself uncomfortable as I predicted – I tapped into willingness. Of course I questioned my abilities and found myself second guessing moments of grabbing this, resting on that, pausing here and there. “I can’t do this,” was a frequent visitor in my mind, but I kept going and learned that my body was capable of doing extraordinary things.
Yoga itself is extraordinary. The practice of being silent and unifying the body and mind seemed so absurd to me, really most of my life, until this experience. It was during the cool down after the acro yoga class that I had my ah-ha moment. How did I know that my mind and body were finally on the journey to start synchronizing?
I wanted to make it my mission to enhance and strengthen my body. For the first time, my thoughts were no longer about shrinking away and becoming this small being through hurting myself with starvation and purging. My thoughts were kind and encouraging. I knew my body was starting to recover when I felt this new yearning to train my body with strength and flexibility, health and nourishment, so that I could do miraculous and extraordinary things with it.
The body that houses my spirit will be empowered, cherished, and nourished.