Monday, June 8, 2015
They say that the most stunning flower of all, the lotus, grows in the filthiest part of the pond, feeding on its filth to produce its beauty. My therapist also likes to say that strength comes from falling face down, sucking mud, and still being able to rise up and move forward. I try to remember this when the pain and shame cause me to feel dirty and flawed. I work through it every day, and some days are easier than others, but I am healing and creating beauty through the practice of yoga. There are still days when I put on my yoga clothes, which are not forgiving, by the way, and I look into the mirror, and I don't love what I see. Some days I even think about staying home and hiding instead of walking into a class full of people, where I'm exposed. Recovery is like that. I'm not this women who recovered perfectly from anorexia, and never looks back. I would like to be, but then again, each time I look back, I learn something new about why I sometimes fall into disordered thoughts or behaviors. It is never about weight, or food, or appearance, but what else I'm trying to control or avoid. During those moments in the mirror, when I'm struggling with the bitch in my head, who I know very well is me, I still walk out the door and go to the studio, and I get on my mat. As soon as I center myself, feeling the solid foundation of the earth beneath me, all of that crap falls away. I never feel more beautiful than when I'm flowing with my breath, and it has absolutely nothing to do with what I look like or if the postures are all in perfect alignment. I often tell my students to first feel the posture from the inside. For me, this is where the yoga begins, with breath, creating space in the body, rooting into the present moment, expanding and contracting, dancing with the breath. When you can pinpoint how a posture makes you feel on the inside, you can recreate that feeling anytime you need it. My therapist who doesn't even practice yoga, helped me discover this by moving me through postures during our sessions. She would say, Do a pose that makes you feel strong, or safe, or joyful, or whatever emotion she is helping me to tap into, and it helps because I'm not always skilled at knowing how I'm feeling. I checked out of my life by denying strong emotions for a long time, so it is still new to me, and sometimes I lose my footing. The mud is always there, but I have faith that like the lotus flower, I will not only rise, but bloom.