In 2019, I was at IAEDP (an eating disorder conference) and I got to take a couple yoga classes from Lori Haas. I loved them and reflected on them often. See below some photos Lori was able to dig up of me taking her class. That’s me closest to the camera.
I was thinking of the timeline of this and Ella was tucked away in my belly. I remember modifying the class as needed. Happy memories :)
I had the idea last year to reach out to Lori and she agreed to create some yoga videos for the blog. The below video is the first of three she’ll be sharing with us! In this first video, Lori mentions that at any moment you can change your posture towards something. No matter how you feel in your body, or about your body, you can choose to consciously shift in posture, breath and mindset. In the video, I loved the progression into twilight with the sun setting as I took myself from a frenzied to calmer state. So beautiful. That’s all I’ll say, as I’d rather you experience the yoga practice than have me tell you about it.
A quick disclaimer from Lori: These are therapeutic yoga videos created and donated by 500-hr Certified Yoga Therapist, Lori at yoganourishment.yoga. Made with passion and hope you enjoy! Please read the disclaimer before practicing.
I remember coming from the mindless, rigid, regimented cardio of my eating disorder days and feeling like yoga was “not enough.” It was slow, boring, and my brain at the time needed a lot of distraction and dissociation from the emotional overwhelm inside of me. Or, put another way, the complete engulfment by emotions I was experiencing. The function of my eating disorder was to dissociate/distract away from this emotional experience. Yoga did not provide that dissociation and distraction. It offered stillness and a place to experience that distress with the helpful actions of deep breathing and movement linking together. I couldn’t handle that level of stillness yoga brought until working with a therapist/listening to self-help podcasts/reading many books on developing skills to tolerate that emotional storm. I remember going to a float tank place after Jo was born and it was terrifying. So much stillness. So much quiet. So many thoughts flooding me…especially with being a new mom and feeling like I was barely hanging on. I’m so glad I never have to go back to being a first time mom again because that was terrifying. Really fabulous and magical, but also terrifying. I haven’t gone back to a float tank since (and probably never will), but fast forward to today and yoga has grown into one of my most powerful practices for accepting my body as it is.
At first, I found a mirror-less yoga studio in Houston and that helped me focus on moving my body and being in it, but not looking at it. Since looking at it was distressing. After a couple years, I then progressed to an exposure for myself of going to mirrored studios and taking my shirt off and doing the class in yoga pants and a sports bra so I could watch my body as it moved with it’s strength and soft + fleshy bits. I’d end the class by resting my hands on my belly and feeling my belly rise and fall to begin to practice embodying (not dissociating) from a body part I once hated and avoided. Intentional, gentle, and mindful movement – not throwing around my body in a random cardio exercise class – is one of the top factors that has aided my eating disorder recovery. I’m not against cardiovascular movement in and of itself. As long as movement rejuvenates and alleviates mental/physical stress, instead of exhausts, disregulates and depletes, it can be a healthy part of a person’s life. Everyone is different. What my recovery looks like will look different than what your recovery looks like. All this to say, if you try the above video from Lori, I hope you enjoy.