Saturday, September 5, 2009

Standing Head to Knee

Standing head to knee pose was just not happening this morning. It just wasn't. As I peeked into the mirror in front of me I could see cute-skinny-bendy-blond behind me perfectly posing with her right leg firmly planted and her nose touching her extended left knee. The more frustrated I became with my lack of focus and inability to perform, the more I wobbled.

At the first sign, oh wait no, it was definitely like the 8th or 9th sign of comparison to the women around me in yoga class this morning, I noticed the emotion, I observed it, and I spoke my truth: I am not cute-skinny-bendy-blond and that is okay. Once I had determined what I was not, I had to consider what I was.

This morning I was tired. I had a lot on mind. I was having a difficult time focusing on the postures, particularly the eagle pose. Who invented this anyway? I'm guessing it was not for their own enjoyment as much as watching silly people attempt it.

Liz often says, "Do not come to class expecting to make steady improvement. Some days you will stretch to the full length of your body. You will stand tall and confident. But other days, you will slouch and crumble, you will feel weak and inadequate. Yoga is about letting yourself be wherever you are, not where you think you should be."

If I had to pick only one lesson that yoga continues to teach me, it would be contentment.

When I'm arching my back and kicking my leg up into standing bow, Liz has the nerve to say, "Relax and breathe. As your heart starts pumping harder, your breath becomes shallow, your leg starts to quiver, and your arms want to let go...take a deep breath. As your body is shouting, "NO!"...take a deep breath. Continue breathing and tell your body, "It's going to be all right." Because really it is. You're not about to die, you're just training your body to stay calm in stressful situations when other people might scream."


When I'm comparing myself to cute-skinny-bendy-blond, I remember that every day is different. I will not be able to stretch with the same strength as yesterday. Heck, I may never be able to stretch how cute-skinny-bendy-blond does anyway. I am who I am.


Sometimes I will notice that I'm comparing my stomach to her stomach. I'll become aware of my own self-hatred. Sometimes my mind is elsewhere and my breath becomes heavy. I'll attempt a tree pose, and end up more like a fallen shrub. All I want to do is surrender to the darkness of my mind, walk out of the room, and never go back. But that is contradictory to what yoga is about. I am learning forgiveness. I am learning to accept myself for who I am and where I'm at.


Contentment has been a continued lesson in other areas of my life as well. Since I've been home for the last year, I've been pouring antibiotics, probiotics, ginger tea, and a few other natural remedies in my intestines hoping, praying that someday my digestion would return to normal. Every time I ate I felt sick, bloated, and nauseas.

Tests began coming back with less and less germs. Apparently the drugs had been working and the bugs are lessening. But still, I felt like crap. I continued becoming sick whenever I ate, whether it was half a sandwhich or a 6-course meal.

As you might imagine, I have enough issues with food, I would've much rather come home from Cambodia with a skin disease or some weird growth on my arm, anything to avoid messing with my already warped sense of body image. But no, it was parasites, amoebas, and all their friends. I never woke up hungry, I never wanted to eat, and after I did, I felt so crummy, I dreaded eating again. So I kept piddling with my food choices, less or more, organic or vegetarian, vegan or otherwise, it always felt like I was overeating no matter what I ate. This was only fueling my eating disorder.

My wise mind had to focus on contentment, because otherwise every other part of my body was saying, "You are a pig. You eat too much." I didn't know what was going on, but more often the eating disorder won when after every time I ate, I felt sick and couldn't figure out why.

For the last month or so, my mind has been more clear than it has been in a long time. I have less clutter in my head and I don't hate eating as much. I don't feel the insatiable urge to run or exercise because of my poor food choices. The voice of the eating disorder has had less fuel because I've been feeling healthier than I have in 2 years.

I might be sensitive to wheat.


It seems too freaking easy. I've been substituting barley, oats, corn, quinoa, and millet for my regular wheat fix and, whatdayaknow? I

My mind is less polluted with, "Ugh, my stomach hurts," and more with, "Huh, okay that was lunch. Now what do I do?"

It just seems too easy all of the sudden. I'm still kinda surprised and a little wary, but I'm going with it for now because I've been feeling so much better.


What have I lost over the course of the last year hating myself and forcing ridiculous work-outs and rigid standards? How many times have I become stuck in my head as a result of irrational thoughts about food?

I'm learning how to eat again.

I'm learning how to forgive myself.

I'm learning how to accept the somewhat cute-healthy-often flexible-blond-ish girl who peers back at me in the mirror.

She's kind of a hoot and has a lot to teach me.


Anonymous said...

whatever you ARE super cute.....