Sprout Yoga

Month of Self Love

In Eating Disorders and Yoga on February 15, 2012 at 3:24 am

Valentine’s Day came and went. How did you celebrate the day of love?

I used to really dislike Valentine’s Day. Shouldn’t you celebrate love everyday? I would be tremendously hurt if my loved one didn’t make a big deal out of it. But i myself hated the idea of making a big deal out if it. It was a lose lose situation to say the least. And the Valentine’s Day I was alone would be worse of all. I would sulk and mope about being alone, cringing at every lovey dove commercial.

This year I decided it was going to be different. I was not going to allow someone else to make or ruin my day. One of the many lessons I learned on my yoga mat is that we are the sole pilots on the plane of emotions. We have a choice of how others are going to affect us. But even more than that, through yoga I realized I am worthy of my own self love. In fact, there is no better love. Every time I stepped on my mat and listened to my body, self trust grew. I began to care how my body felt rather than reject it. Even if I was feeling fat or ugly that day, I tuned in and paid attention to what it wanted. Slowly that self trust grew off the mat.

On this Valentine’s Day, I committed to doing at least three things for me. Three things that would make me feel special and alive. It didn’t have to be big, it didn’t have to be expensive. It just had to be thoughtful.

One of the things I did was take my lunch break to go on a nice walk around my downtown. It felt good to get out of the office and enjoy the mild winter day. The second thing I did was buy myself a rose and carried it with me. It was nice to be able to rest my gaze on something beautiful at work. And lastly, I drew myself a bubble bath. I gave some time to myself to read, sit, and be.

By the end of the day I felt pampered and loved by the one person I am “stuck” with 24/7. It didn’t matter if the person in my life treated me the way they are supposed to according to the media. It didn’t matter if I was alone on the day of love. All that mattered was that I spent a little bit of time in my day to connect with my heart and spread a little happiness in my life.

So I decided I want to continue spreading Valentine’s Day cheer and do something nice to myself once a day. They say that you cannot love others until you love yourself. It hasn’t been easy to fall in love with myself, but I am not giving up. It’s a battle definitely worth fighting for and I know that if I put myself first even just once or twice a day, that can make all the difference.

I invite you to make this commitment with me. Let’s use this month to celebrate self love. Really dedicate a few moments each day to honor your uniqueness. We deserve it.

Susi’s Story

In Uncategorized on February 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm

I asked Susi Costello, director and trainer extraordinaire for a blurb on her path of recovery. She shared with me an answer to a question she wrote that touched my heart. So without further ado -

“Do you recall a time when you allowed yourself to experience the dark side of an emotion in order to later experience the light?” Funny you should ask. I remember so clearly. 

I was 28 years old, participating in a 10 day retreat, seriously anorexic, probably weighing about 80 pounds. I probably looked depressed but I really wasn’t. Mostly, I was emotionless. I guess I was looking for a change, throwing myself into spiritual practices, getting more serious about yoga, meditation. I had no expectations; I really had no idea if anything could help me. 

More than halfway through the retreat, we learned metta. Apparently one of the traditional ways to learn this is to picture a newborn baby and allow feelings of innocent love and wishes for well-being to arise in yourself and then transfer those feelings to yourself and others. OK, this was 1983….you didn’t hear people talk about “triggering PTSD” but I guess that’s what happened. The only newborn baby I could picture was my own, my small daughter born during a very late and very unfortunate illegal abortion 12 years before. My eyes teared and I began to, once again, turn away from my feelings. But I had a crystal clear thought, almost like a voice, “This is your choice….you can be like this forever or just face it.” At that moment, I stopped seeing my robot-like emotional life as something that just happened to me and realized it was something I was doing to myself. 

OK, I don’t think the monks were particularly thrilled that I had such an emotional release that day. (Stern looks were not having the desired effect on my sobbing however I did leave the room at some point.) I allowed myself to look at the snapshots in my mind and physically re-experience the emotions that came with them. Fear when I saw an actual moving baby. And then, crazy as it sounds, I remembered thinking of this baby bird that my family saved by feeding it, round the clock, with a medicine dropper. Surely someone would help my baby with a medicine dropper…”or an incubator?” I naively asked. “We just took her out of an incubator, honey, we’re not putting her back in one.” Feeling that stricture in my chest when I made eye contact with this lovely little girl and realized no one was going to try to save her. Can a newborn baby’s eyes look pleading? Cause I would have sworn, hers did. Horrible as these memories were, I drank them in. 

That was the beginning of my slow, maybe lifelong, recovery. That’s why I come to my mat every day.

Thank you Susi for sharing your story with us! I think we can all relate to her experience in some way or another. It really is amazing just how unique we all are and yet – we are all truly the same.

Love and light,

Thais

Fresh Start

In Eating Disorders and Yoga on January 31, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Dear Sprouters,

As some of you know know, and many of you might not, I am the new blogger for Sprout Yoga.

I stumbled upon Sprout’s webpage many months ago and as I was perusing their site, something just felt right. I felt like I was coming home.

Although I claim I started binging when I was dealing with the breakup of my first real relationship freshman year in college, truth be told I can now tell you I’ve had binge incidences since I was very young. A repressed memory that only came out during an intense therapy session, I can now distinctly remember when I was six years old waking up one morning to an empty apartment. I was terrified and lonely, so I went to the kitchen and grabbed myself a bowl of powered milk, something of a commodity in Brazil. I just kept eating it and eating it and my mom came home to a sick little girl.

Now, I don’t want to give you the wrong impression, I had a pretty great childhood. But incidences like those, as rare as they might have been, are stored in the brain and the body . The feelings of abandonment and loneliness I felt when my boyfriend and I broke up triggered the same feelings that little girl felt over a decade before. It also didn’t help I was feeling very insecure of my body and had surrounded myself with friends with unhealthy relationships with food. I fell into a downward spiral of binging, starving, over exercising, and binging some more. I decided early on in this vicious circle to go to therapy and although it helped me identify the source of my struggles and why I went to food for comfort (because as we all know, eating disorders are never really about the food), I still had my binges. I still felt my waistline expand. I still hated myself.

It took years before I realized that although therapy helped verbalize what I was feeling, I still wasn’t really in touch with my body. That’s where yoga came in. I first went to yoga I because I was bored and had nothing to do. But I found myself going time and time again, even when my schedule got hectic. Eventually I found myself loving the yoga philosophies of breath, connection, openness, compassion, and trust. As I began to respect my body, it started respecting me back. For the first time I started viewing my body as a partner in this path of life rather than a slave. 

The most transformative lesson I learned through yoga and therapy is that I have a choice of how I view my binge eating disorder. I can either see it as a curse, and wallow in my misery for the rest of my life. Or I can view it as a way of learning more about myself and using it as a stepping stone for mindful presence.

I decided to undergo yoga teacher training because I knew I wanted to share this magical connection I have found with others. I want to give those with food issues an option. A way out. A little strand of hope that you do not have to suffer forever. That there really IS a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Now, let me level with you. I am not telling you this from a place of total “healing”, whatever that may be. I still struggle with loving myself, loving my dysfunctional relationship with food, and loving a life that has given me this obstacle. I am much further than I was those dark days of college. But I still have an exciting road ahead of me. And I wouldn’t trade it all for the world.

So why am I sharing all this with you?

Well because I want you to know that you are not alone. I am right there with you, cheering you on, spreading the light, and providing you a platform for you to find hope again.

I want this blog to be source of healing. A place that you can come and read words of those who are right there along with you. Body image warriors who advocate that there is more to life than looking a certain way. Recovered anorexics who can give you guidance and reassurance. Therapists who know techniques for when you are at your worse state. You’ll hear from Maggie, our wonderful founder from time to time, as well as Sprout teachers from around the country. There will be videos, essays, poems, and factual pieces about new legislation and scientific discoveries of the world of yoga and eating disorders. A little bit of everything!

That is what I aspire for in this space. I hope you all enjoy our time together.

If you would like to contact me for more details on how you can help Sprout, if you would like to contribute to the blog, or if you just want to say hi, my email is -thaiscgui@gmail.com

Namaste friends!

Thais

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