I’m back on the yoga mat again after about 6 months.
And not just once a week like I used to be. I’m now getting my yoga on daily, something I have never done before.
I’d been feeling more and more pain in my lower back, more weakness in my abdomen and less strength in my every day movements. After X rays and scans it’s been found that I have some early osteo (genetic), also scoliosis (curved spine) and one leg longer than the other. I know right?
Two caesarians in the last 3 1/2 years, the subsequent unconscious tummy protection that I had been doing for at least 3 months after both of these by bending from my back and not my hips, plus the carrying of my two babes on the same hip for this long meant that I had an easy choice to make in regards to my body health.
I have been kicked back into the yoga studio by an amazing physio who saw that I could probably do with some reconnecting with my monkey mind as well as by body.
After four weeks of daily practice, either an hour in a power flow room or 30 mins at home, depending on whether I can get the space from a travelling husband and tearaway kids, I feel lighter, more connected to myself and strengthened in both mind and body.
I used to think that those that spent so much time focusing on themselves in the floor to ceiling mirrors were a little bit narcissistic.
Then I began to do it to get my postures as correct as possible, for I’ve decided that if I want to heal then I better dedicate myself to improvement. After three weeks of looking at myself touching my body, moving and flowing, I’m forming a relationship with my body that didn’t exist before.
It’s like I almost envision it as a separate entity to me and am showing it all of the love and care that I can. I feel a deeper respect for my body as it struggles to move on one side as deeply as the other. This body which wobbles on one ankle more than the other and which drips sweat to keep me cool while I move. Aaahhh, I am experiencing a gratitude for this body that I didn’t have before.
“In the light of awareness, everything becomes sacred.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
The way I eat is changing also. I battled with an eating disorder at 16 years old and now focus on eating the right types of food but still sometimes stuffs my face with raw chocolate or nut cakes when I get frustrated or feel anxious, to the point of feeling bloated and gross.
I don’t know what the shift is. But when I am satiated, I stop. When I’m not hungry, I’m not eating. When in the past I would feel failure at eating an italian donut and then gorge the rest of the day, I can now have my cake and then cruise along with my healthy choices at the next meal.
I wasn’t content to just imagine this was myself who was feeling such a big difference within myself when it came to food and yoga. I went and sourced some information that came from research from Deakin University, Australia on the effects that yoga can have on binge eating and body image. The results didn’t surprise me as I had been feeling them myself, though it’s always nice to see it noted so clearly. Perhaps these results may inspire you.
The study, conducted by researchers at Deakin University in Australia, found that yoga can help obese women who struggle with binge eating. The 12-week yoga program included postures, breathing, relaxation, and meditation. All of the practices emphasised mindfulness, or non-judgmental awareness and acceptance of thoughts, sensations, and emotions. The women attended one 60-minute yoga class per week and were encouraged to practice at home for 30 minutes a day.
By the end of the 12-week program, the women reported less binge-eating, higher self-esteem, and a more positive body image. The group also showed statistically significant decreases in BMI as well as hip and waist measurements.
After only one month of practice, to feel such immense change and to bear witness to my shifting body which can already create movement in areas I found impossible a month ago, I can only imagine what one year of practice could bring. I have decided to dedicate myself to 365 days of yoga. Whether it be an hour and a half power session or a 10 minute flow of salute to the sun, I want to know what is possible for me and I have a choice to do that.
If I have to do it in jeans, in public or in the middle of the night. I am taking this opportunity. I feel more adventurous and free already.
I want you to feel this too and I know from experience that we are all pupils in different ways.
Do you yoga? What does it bring into your life? Have you had any of the same experiences as me? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.