My yoga studio does a community feature every month. They choose one of the 9 studios to highlight a community member each month, that person writes an article which is displayed in all 9 studios for the whole month! April was my studio’s turn and the owner asked me if I would be willing to write the community feature!
This is what I wrote:
I walked into PYC St. Catharines in November of 2013, 7 months after ending my most recent (and final) relapse from anorexia after a decade of illness, 4 years of relapses and recovery, treatment programs and hospital visits. If you had met me then you would have seen a scared little girl; afraid of standing out or being heard, buzzing with anxiety and insecurity – completely unrecognizable from the woman I am today.
There are a number of people in my life who have overseen my process from illness to recovery and they all tell me about how much they have seen me shift. I am softer, less guarded, less anxious, more present, more peaceful, generally happier and living life with passion and real vitality. That’s not to say it hasn’t been a struggle, it has been hell but I thank my PYC family every day for helping to facilitate the learning, growth and change that has occurred in my life over the last year and a half. I thank them for their love, support and encouragement that was shown to me from the first day that I walked through the door.
Almost a year and a half after my first class at PYC I find that this community has helped me not only discover myself but create something beautiful with my life. It has allowed me to fully express myself as the goofy person I have been hiding for years, to really connect with the people around me and embrace new friendships. This practice has helped me develop a sense of connection with my body and realize that it’s not about living without fear, it’s about living with fear but walking bravely into the fray.
As I sit here, poised to graduate from PYC’s Teacher Training and seeing huge changes come into my life, I am truly awed by the difference between the girl who walked into PYC and the woman about to teach her first class. This woman is happy, confident, peaceful, full of love, embracing challenges and lighting her life on fire! I never thought I could be this woman, I never saw myself as a strong, happy, confident and brave person, yet here I stand.
I can’t wait to share the joys of this practice with the world and help people find the same joy in life that I have found; to start sharing this practice with my community and bringing it to others suffering from body image concerns, to start spreading the fire that I have been building in my own practice and life.
Change does not come easily. For me, it came with sweat (lots of sweat), tears, and doing the hard work both on and off my mat. Transformation is possible but no one is going to do the work for you.